Update: More facts, less panic
Re: a few of your comments: ChrisLM asked about getting steroid shots for Bat Girl's lungs. Even though I had talked to my doctor about steroid shots months ago, I was so overwhelmed yesterday that I forgot to ask again. But I did a little googling and it seems the shots are generally recommended if you go into labor before 34 weeks, and since I'm already past that point, I assume that's why no shots for me.
As several of you pointed out, it's common for women to be dilated for weeks before anything really happens--in fact, that happened to a friend of mine recently, she was walking around 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced for a full month before she delivered. I really, really hope that turns out to be the case for me. (I hope this whole damn thing turns out to be a false alarm, and we all look back from 38 weeks when Bat Girl is still stubbornly in utero and laugh and laugh.) What I forgot to mention in yesterday's post is that in the hours leading up to my OB appointment, I'd been having frequent, low, hard contractions--much more painful than usual. I guess it was that, plus the dilating and mucus-losing (and the contractions generally ratcheting up in frequency over the last couple of weeks), that made TheGoodDoc think the end is nigh.
The good news is, things seem to have settled down a bit. I had contractions 10 minutes apart (sometimes 4-5 minutes apart) all afternoon and evening, but this morning they've eased up to every 15-30 minutes. Let's hope they stay that way. In the meantime, I'm frantically trying to keep up with work (it's a deadline crunch week for us...ugh) and am stuffing my face in the probably futile hopes of packing as many ounces onto Bat Girl as possible.
Fingers crossed that we can make it another week and a half. 36 weeks would be delightful, really. I'll keep you posted.