4/08/2015

About Premature Labor (33 weeks pregnant)

Yesterday, I woke up before the alarm clock as usual. I sat up in bed and rubbed my lower belly. I felt sore and tender and it hurt to slide out of bed. I had recently recovered from the flu, but I was still working on healing the broken ribs I'd gotten from coughing during the flu. I waddled to the bathroom, did what I needed to do, and got back into bed. I figured I would try to go back to sleep before getting up for work, and reset my alarm to go off a little later.

I couldn't get comfortable. I tried to lay on my left side, I tried to prop myself up, and nothing worked. My ribs hurt, my stomach hurt, and I wasn't sure how I could get up out of bed again, let alone spend the day on my feet at work.

I stayed in bed, reached for my iPhone, and used it to search on Amazon for a belly support belt. I was thinking that maybe because my belly was so big, things were just starting to get heavy and sore. I ordered the belly belt and paid extra for the same-day shipping. Then I got out of bed and struggled to get dressed.

I packed my bag full of drinks, snacks, and my lunch for the day and made my way to the door, thinking that maybe now that I was up and moving, I would start to feel better. I walked to work (I teach at a school that's right at the end of my street!) very slowly, and the pain seemed to get worse. I wasn't sure I was going to last the whole day.

I had almost made it to my classroom when our head custodian caught up with me to talk to me. I continued walking, afraid to stop in case I couldn't get moving again. The custodian noticed the pained look on my face and asked if I was okay. I told him I thought that I was just sore and uncomfortable from being so close to the end of my pregnancy. Then out of nowhere, the tears came. 

As he hugged me, one of my fellow teachers walked by. She stopped to see what was going on, and then walked with me the rest of the way to my classroom. After I had gotten seated, calmed down, and taken a few deep breaths, she joked, "You're not going into labor, are you?"

I shook my head and explained my theory about just being very pregnant and very uncomfortable. After she left, the bell rang and students started coming in. I found that it hurt to sit, it hurt to stand, and for some reason, it even felt like it hurt to talk. When another fellow teacher came in the room, she took one look at me and asked me what I was doing at school.

Suddenly, the pain seemed like it got much more intense. I told her that I needed to go home, and asked if she would drive me, even though I lived maybe 1/10 of a mile away. I texted my husband: "Don't be alarmed, but I'm really hurting and I'm going home. I'm going to call the doctor." He immediately wrote back and asked if I wanted him to come home. I said yes. 

The students went to their first period class, and we headed out to the parking lot. I could barely hoist myself up and get seated in her minivan. Getting down was just as bad. When we got to my house, she helped me get situated on the couch. She waited with me for a few minutes and then headed back to school. I called my doctor's office and requested an appointment. The earliest they could get me in was 11 a.m.

I sat on the couch, waiting for my husband to arrive. For a minute or two, the pain seemed like it got really bad - and then it stopped. Then it happened again a little later. I thought it was strange. The next time the pain intensified, I looked at the clock. 9:49. When it happened again at 9:59, I started to get nervous. My husband came home, and when the pain came back at 10:09, I had to try not to cry. At 10:19, I whispered, "I think I might be having contractions."

At the doctor's office, the pain seemed like it subsided a bit. I had an ultrasound, and the technician seemed to think everything looked okay. However, when I mentioned that I thought I'd been having contractions, the doctor sent me to a room to be hooked up to a fetal monitor. The nurse that hooked me up to the monitor handed me a button to press every time I felt the baby move. "Every time? Seriously?" Yup. So I started pressing the button like crazy, because the baby was always moving around a lot!

My husband and I nervously watched the printout come streaming out of the monitor. We could see each squiggle that corresponded with the baby's every movement. When the doctor popped in to take a look, she seemed relieved. Then she picked up the printout and slid the long strip of paper through her hands, her brow furrowed. She studied the monitor and all of the buttons and switches before she noticed that one of the plugs hadn't been pushed in all the way. She told me I'd have to sit for another ten minutes or so, because the sensor that monitored my contractions wasn't plugged in properly, and she really wanted to get an observation.

As soon as she left, my husband and I started watching the printout for another line. Sure enough, I felt a twinge of pain, and the line on the printout started to go up. There was another... And another...

When the doctor came back a few minutes later, she didn't even need to look at the chart. "You are having contractions," she said, helping me sit up and taking the monitor off. "So you need to go to the hospital. I will let them know you're coming. They will admit you and give you IV fluids to stop the contractions..."

That was all I needed to hear and I fell apart. She assured me that I'd be fine and that the fluids would help rehydrate me, which would in turn calm the contractions. My husband and I headed straight home, grabbed a few things, and then hurried for our first visit to the maternity floor at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

I was admitted, taken to a room, gowned up, hooked up to a fetal monitor again, and had an IV inserted in no time. We sat there for hours. My husband stared at the monitor, asking me if I felt each contraction as they peaked on the screen. I didn't need to look at the monitor to know that I was still having contractions, and that despite all the fluids, they were coming faster and getting worse.

I figured that if anything was going to happen, at least we were in the hospital and the baby and I would be taken care of. I wasn't worried about having the baby right then and there - I was worried about all the other stuff. The nursery's not done. We haven't been to any of our childbirth or baby care classes yet! The car seat hasn't been installed. THE BABY DOESN'T EVEN HAVE A NAME YET!

Later that night, the on call doctor finally decided to give me a drug that would stop the contractions. I had to take three pills, one every twenty minutes. By the time I took the second pill, the contractions had eased up. By the time I took the third pill, I couldn't feel anything at all. I was given a steroid shot to beef up the baby's lungs in case he decided to show up early after all, but was told that I could go home and that I had to take it easy for a week or so - modified bed rest.

When we got home, I took a shower and had a bowl of cereal. It was the only thing I'd had to eat all day except for an Italian ice in the hospital. I crashed on the couch and my husband slept by me on the floor.

I was exhausted. My whole entire body hurt. I'd survived twelve hours of contractions.

I felt like I'd been hit by a train and I didn't even have the baby. What was I going to feel like when I DID deliver?!

Have any of you had any scary pregnancy problems? 

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