Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 (35 Weeks and 3 Days)
I woke up that morning feeling crampy and stiff. I didn’t think too much of it, because honestly, sleep had been difficult for weeks. Usually, after getting up and moving around, the crampiness would go away. I got up, poured a bowl of Pops, and settled down to read my Bible and journal.
The crampiness was not going away, though, and I was trying to pay attention to see if there was any kind of pattern or rise and fall to the discomfort. There didn’t seem to be, so I decided to keep an eye on it throughout the day.
Later that morning, I texted my sister to let her know how I was feeling. We planned on her being there during delivery, so I wanted to let her know just in case. I just wasn’t sure what to make of the discomfort. Do I chalk it up to the last few weeks of pregnancy? Do I go in to get checked? She suggested that I go in to get checked-better safe than sorry.
Josh was getting ready to take the car to go to work, so she offered to take me to the hospital. My brother in law was working from home that day, so it would be possible for her to leave her two boys with him and go with me.
As we circled the parking lot trying to find a spot, I kept thinking, it’s probably nothing, and I’ll feel dumb if it is. But we’re already here, so there’s kind of no going back.
We walked into the Emergency Room, and I told the receptionist, “I’m 35 weeks pregnant, and I might be having contractions, but I’m not sure.”
“Ok, follow me.”
They led me back through the ER doors, and my sister had to go around through the main entrance. We wove through several hallways, “Have you ruptured?” She asked me.
I was taken to the labor and delivery floor, and the receptionist had me sign in. They took me to a triage room, and when I saw the hospital gown on the bed, things got real. I mean, I just wanted to know if I was having contractions, not actually be admitted. Memories from my ER experience during my miscarriage came flashing back.
When the nurses came in, they asked me what was going on.
“Ok, I just want to clarify,” I told them, “that I don’t think I’m actually in labor. I think I’m having contractions, but I’m not sure, so I just wanted to get checked.”
They took my vitals, including my blood pressure. It was elevated as it had been for the last few weeks. I normally run in the 110s over 70s, but my blood pressure had lately been something like 135/90. So not an astronomical number, but high for me.
They strapped the fetal monitors around my belly, and I watched the screen as they asked me questions about medical history. I could see (with some relief) that I was having contractions, but they were not strong enough to be able to feel clear divisions between them. It was justifying to see it on the screen, though, and to know that I wasn’t crazy.
The doctor then came in to check cervical dilation and take some swabs. She said I was dilated 2 centimeters and 50 percent effaced, but that did not necessarily mean that I was in labor. Many women can walk around at that stage for weeks before delivery. They decided to monitor me for a few hours to see if I would progress at all. I was given a big jug of water to drink, and at first I just thought it was a courtesy. How thoughtful of them. Come to find out, they wanted me to drink it like crazy to see if that would stop the contractions.
My sister and I got to know that triage room pretty well as we waited. The nature of my contractions was not changing, so they told me they were going to give me IV fluids. Until this point, I had never had an IV, at least not that I could remember (I did have one as a baby).
Two nurses came in to give me the IV, and I could tell that one was a student. It took her a few tries to place the IV, which was not fun, but I just tried to stare at the spot I had picked out on the ceiling. I could tell she felt really bad, and although it was definitely not fun, I didn’t want to freak out and make her freak out.
Eventually, the IV was placed, and they started the fluids. After receiving the fluids for awhile, my contractions slowed and my blood pressure went down. They concluded that it was probably an irritable uterus that was causing the contractions. The uterus, they told me, is a muscle, and when I get dehydrated, it starts contracting. So apparently I was dehydrated. I guess I should not have had that big glass of sweet tea the day before. Oops.
I was sent home with instructions to drink tons of water, rest, and to come back in if I started bleeding, if my water broke, or if I started having stronger contractions in a pattern.
Thursday, March 5th-Friday, March 6th (35 Weeks and 4 Days)
Sometime overnight, I began leaking amniotic fluid. I didn’t recognize what it was at that point, because honestly I just thought I was getting really sweaty overnight. By late morning on Friday, when I had had to change underwear again, I started to become suspicious.
I kept an eye on it for a few hours, but things were not changing. My contractions were about the same as they had been for the last few days, but I was beginning to be able to feel a bit of a rise and fall with them, rather than a continuous background of discomfort.
By early evening, I was starting to think that we needed to go back to the hospital. Josh was off work that day, but he had gone out on a walk, so I waited for him to get back. I had started to write down the times of contractions, and they were ranging from three to seven minutes apart.
When Josh got back, we decided to go in to get checked again. If it was still nothing this time, I was really going to feel stupid, but again, better safe than sorry.
We were taken into triage again, and I ended up seeing the same doctor that I had a few days before.
“So tell me what’s going on,” she said.
“Well,” I told her, “I think I might be leaking fluid. And my contractions are getting a little stronger and more defined.”
She told me that she would check my dilation again, and take a sample to look at under the microscope to see if it was indeed amniotic fluid. I was still dilated to a 2, but now I was 75 percent effaced. After a few minutes, she returned with the results.
“Well, it is fluid. Once you are ruptured, there is a risk for infection, so we will be admitting you and inducing you tonight.”
Ok. It’s happening tonight. I’m going to have a baby. I felt strangely calm.
I really had hoped not to be induced with pitocin, so I asked her if there was any form of induction that we could do that was one step below pitocin.
“There are other methods, but at this point the infection risk is high so pitocin is your best option.” If that was what I would have to do, then that’s what it would have to be.
With shaking hands and climbing adrenaline, I called my Mom.
“Well, they are inducing me tonight.”
Part 2 Coming Soon…