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34 weeks pregnant | Pregnancy week 34 

The Braxton Hicks have continued and actually got worse as the week has progressed. My longest episode was five hours and just when I was about to ring the on call midwife, they stopped.

The pangs and pains of this false labor have not only got more regular but more painful. And although I try not to get too worried I finally had to do something after a disastrous shift at work.

I work weekends and evenings as a radiographer, so basically there aren’t any jobs that require me to sit. Knowing this I probably should have planned to go on maternity earlier. My plan was to work my last shift three weeks before my due date. However that has now changed.
 - 34 weeks pregnant | Pregnancy week 34
34 weeks pregnant © iStockphoto
I went to work as usual. Firstly my top did not fit and I genuinely thought that as I bent down a button would shoot across the room and cause a patient serious injury, its almost like a projectile missile! Luckily we did find a theater top that was big enough to cover my huge bump but also not cause injuries to others. It looked something like a tent!
I started the shift well, but an hour into the shift the Braxton Hicks started, they were very small twinges at first and I just took a breath in, smiled (or winced) and carried on.

They started getting worse and worse until I couldn’t actually stand upright, it actually looked like I had an accident in my pants or something.

Anyway after an hour of the pain increasing I had to hide in the viewing room, bent over the sink taking bigger and bigger breaths, all the time reassuring my colleagues, "don’t worry baby’s not coming just wants to remind me he’s there."

However their faces did not look like they were in agreement and deep down I was getting worried. I don’t think it was the fact that baby may come, at the end of the day I was in the right place- I mean I work in a hospital!

It was more the embarrassment to be seen so vulnerable and out of control. I also work with blokes and the last thing they or I want is for my waters to break all over the floor at their feet- that would not go down well!

Anyway two hours later the Braxton Hicks stopped and I got on with it, all of us having a laugh in relief when we realized baby wasn't on his way just yet...

Working during pregnancy

However four hours later, an hour left on my shift, and it started again but this time it was stronger and incredibly painful, and to top it all I was sick. Luckily I made it to the loo but then I wet myself whilst being sick so violently.
Discomfort increases when you're this big! © iStockphoto

That was the final straw and made me wake up to the fact that this is not a good situation for anyone. I was totally embarrassed, tired and emotionally drained, my colleagues were constantly aware and worried about me, and although I was working as hard as I could, it would probably be best to have someone else cover the shifts with a lot less drama.

So by now I was upset and crying to my husband to come and pick me up, lets be honest it's not a great idea to drive home in this state, oh and I asked him to bring some clean clothes!
When we got home I rang the on call midwife and she was very kind. She said that firstly not to worry because even though baby is premature, he is fully formed. He probably weighs more than 2.2kg and is filling out and getting rounder.

All those fat layers are developing so as to help regulate his body when he arrives in the world. He also has fully formed hearing so better watch that swearing when the contractions get more and more painful!

However she did say that the main cause of Braxton Hicks is dehydration and over doing it. She asked me what I had stopped doing recently which I did before I was pregnant. I thought and thought, and I honestly could say nothing.

I was still taking my little boy for long walks, walking the buggy a couple of miles to get shopping, still going swimming and soft play and still working as I always had. The midwife suggested that perhaps it may be time to reconsider work and go on maternity early and actually rest more.

So that’s what I’ve done. Work have been fantastic and I have been put on maternity early, I have allowed others to do stuff for me such as the gardening, and also my little boy is still doing all the usual things but with mummy watching rather than joining in.

Although he struggled at first and occasionally grabs my hand and says up, which is a little heart breaking, I know its only for a few more weeks and then I can do these things without feeling guilty about the baby in my tummy. So far I haven’t had any pains or pangs so rest obviously does work.

Read more of Roanna's week by week pregnancy blog! 

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Roanna Dolan
19/10/2011
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