We had an eventful Halloween... To say the least.
On Monday I noticed that I was having Braxton Hicks contractions. I guess I'd describe them as menstrual-like cramps that would come and go without any rhyme or rhythm.
Tuesday. I noticed the cramping was a little more intense. After a quick email to our doula, she confirmed what I had thought - Braxton Hicks. She assured that it was normal and that the "work" being done was all in preparation for the big day.
Wednesday. Again, I noticed the cramping was intensifying and in the early afternoon, developing a pattern. I decided to head home early, put my feet up, and rest.
Once home, it didn't take long for these bouts of cramping to take on a wave - the wave I've heard about when someone is describing what real contractions feel like.
I turned on my Kick/Contraction Counter app and found that my minute (or longer) contractions were about 4 minutes apart.
Did I mention that as of Wednesday I was only at 33 1/2 weeks gestation?
Even more super.
After talking to my mom, OB's nurse, sister-in-law, and our doula, we decided that it would be best to head to Labor & Delivery and at least get checked out. There was certainly no harm is getting monitored and seeing what was going on in there.
|Monitoring contractions and baby's heart rate|
I was indeed having contractions that soon were 2-3 minutes apart and gaining intensity. Other "changes" were taking place (I'll just leave it at that...) and IV fluids were not helping slow things down.
This began our unplanned, overnight stay in Labor & Delivery and welcomed us into the world of preterm labor.
|Our plan of the day/night|
It took awhile, but magnesium sulfate
was able to make the contractions stop - all the while making me feel absolutely terrible. I felt like I was battling the flu (feverish/flushing but freezing, rapid pulse/heart rate, drowsy/aloofness, headache) while trying to get through these contractions at the same time.
While we were waiting to see if the magical magnesium concoction would work, I got a shot of steroid (in my bum, no less) to help make sure baby boy's lungs were as mature as possible if we ended up having to deliver. With him being just under 34 weeks, lung development and his ability to breathe (even with help) was a primary concern.
A very long night and long story short - the doctor and nurses were able to stop the labor. I got pumped full of juice/drugs to make it happen, but when considering the alternative - it was worth it.
Ryan was a rock. It was taking what energy I had left to stay calm and relaxed through all this unexpected chaos. If he was nervous or scared (which I know he was), he was keeping it all on the inside and really was amazing. I told him he went up to a whole new level of soulmateness.
My parents and doula, Laura, were there through all this as well, so there was no shortage of support. I know my parents really liked that Laura was there to help explain certain things and just provide extra comfort in a stressful situation.
We were discharged early Thursday morning after I got my second bum-shot of steroid for baby's lungs. Now, if he were to decide to come prematurely, he will be as equipped and ready for the outside world as possible.
I was not put on bed rest (hallelujah), but just told to take it easy and come back if I was experiencing anything similar to what I already had been.
Well, Thursday afternoon the cramping came back, and early Friday morning the contractions came back, too. Labor & Delivery, here we come.
They were able to stop (or slow, rather) the contractions with much less intervention this time - but without much explanation as to why this was continuing to happen. We were discharged again, about four hours after we checked in, with a prescription for a medication to be taken every eight hours to keep contractions away.
Here we are, on Monday (34 weeks and 1 day!), and I'm happy to say that baby is still cooking... Er, gestating.
I wish I could say that my diligence in taking my medicine has completely eliminated my cramping and contractions, but it hasn't. Instead, I am trying not to have a panic attack every time I have one - which seems to be about 3 or 4 an hour.
I go back to my OB tomorrow for my weekly check-up (we went ahead and skipped the two-week visits and went straight to weekly from all this) and I'm very anxious to hear what she has to say and what her "plan forward" is.
Whether he comes in 3 weeks or 6, he'll be here soon.
For now we are considering each day (and week) that he's in there to be a blessing.