The past few nights I've noticed that I seemed to have a fair amount of braxton-hicks contractions during the nighttime-- these are ones that were not uncomfortable at all, I could only really tell I was having them b/c I'd feel my belly (say, when getting up that 3rd time at night to go pee) and it would be very round and hard. I've also felt the dull ache of something similar to menstrual cramps off and on the past few weeks, way down at the bottom of my belly, but usually not accompanied by the contractions.
Then this morning I woke up at about 4:30am and realized that I was having that same crampy feeling, except this time it would come on and intensify up to a point, and then slowly melt away and go away completely. And then it would happen again. And it continued like that for about an hour as I lay in bed wondering if these were real contractions and what I should do. Eventually I got up and went downstairs to get something to eat and drink, and try to time them out-- they were fairly irregular, coming every 4-10 minutes and some were longer and more intense, others short and mild.
It's kinda kept up like that since then. They don't feel too bad yet, mostly just uncomfortable and only a little painful. I have noticed that lying down makes them worse, so I'm trying to stay upright. I've talked to my midwife, and we're waiting to see if the contractions will become more regular. It isn't uncommon for women to have a few "false starts", series of irregular contractions in the days before actual labor, we'll see if that's the case or if these turn into the real deal. They may be irregular, but have been steady for 9 hours so far today.
I have to say, as I laid awake in bed this morning trying to get rest between those first contractions, I thought of Loki's good timing-- he waited till I finally got around to getting her hair cut (yesterday), had most things ready, and Zach is off right now to go pick up my mom from the airport (her flight got delayed and re-routed till this afternoon). What a considerate child I have. =)
(though perhaps I should wait till after labor's over with before saying that....) ; )