It started Tuesday on my way home from work. I was feeling some pressure and cramping in my belly. I thought my skirt was too tight and was making me uncomfortable.
I went to the gym and walked around the track, hoping it would make me feel better, but I was still getting cramps every few minutes.
I slept fitfully that night, so I decided to work from home the next day. I debated whether to call the doctor, but kept putting it off. Finally, the nurse called ME to remind me of my appointment next week and I told her what had been going on, fully expecting her to brush it off as growing pains or round ligament pain or Braxton Hicks contractions. Instead she told me I was welcome to come in and get checked out, it was up to me.
I decided to go in and didn't even tell Lee, assuming I'd be able to call him and say "Went to the doctor just to be sure, everything's fine." The doctor walked in and said "How far apart are these contractions?" Oh, we're calling them contractions? I thought. I hadn't been classifying them as "contractions" in my mind (probably because I've never been pregnant before and had no idea what a contraction feels like).
She did an exam -- I wasn't dilated at all and everything looked fine. In fact, she let me know that baby was now head-down, so no more breech baby! But when she asked, how many contractions would you say you've had in the past hour? and my answer was "maybe 6 or 7?", evidently that was the wrong answer and she told me she was sending me over to Labor and Delivery to be monitored.
I got registered (pre-registering with the hospital wasn't on my To Do list for another two weeks) and was shown to a room (our hospital tour was scheduled for next week's childbirth class -- so much for that) and Lee arrived.
They put me on the contraction monitor and a monitor on the baby. Baby was doing great. I, on the other hand, was having mild contractions every 2-5 minutes. At first they thought I was dehydrated and maybe that was triggering the contractions, so they had me drink lots of water and started me on IV fluid.
Lee and I were still naive enough to think at that point that we'd be going home that night. We hadn't even called our families because we didn't want to worry them and instead wanted to be able to say "we had a little scare, went to the hospital, everything is fine."
The fluids did nothing to ease the contractions, so when my doctor made rounds that night she let me know she wanted to be aggressive in treating this. She was starting me on magnesium to treat pre-term labor and giving me steroid shots to mature the baby's lungs in case she was intent on coming early. I was 33 weeks and 1 day, and the goal was to get me to 34 weeks, which is a milestone for the baby.
All in all, we were in the hospital for 3 nights, from Wednesday afternoon to Saturday morning. The magnesium made me feel like a crazy person. I had terrible double vision and my body felt like jell-o. As soon as they weaned me off the magnesium, I felt much better but started having some contractions again. They were sporadic and mild enough though that my doctor still felt comfortable sending me home on bedrest, with an oral medication that's supposed to ease contractions. My cervix is still nice and long, which makes her confident that I can still carry this baby until 37 weeks.
Throughout the whole ordeal, Ava has looked amazing. Strong heartbeat, strong fetal movement, and everything looked great (growth, fluid, position) on her ultrasound. Now if she'll just cooperate with mama and stay put...
We got home yesterday morning and Lee has been taking good care of me. The first goal is to get to Tuesday, when I'll be 34 weeks. After that, we'll set a new goal of 35 weeks and then 36 weeks and then 37 weeks, when she'll be full term.
I'll be on bedrest until 37 weeks, which of course is disappointing. This is not how I envisioned this pregnancy going. But I'll do whatever it takes to keep her in there, growing big and strong for as long as possible.
I was supposed to have a baby shower today with Lee's side of the family. They're still going to have the shower, and he and I will Skype in from Holly Springs to say hello. Then his mom and sister will make the two-hour trek up here to bring us our gifts and visit with us. Each day and week will bring adjustments like these, but we'll make it through because we have an awesome support system.
It's still scary that the contractions could start back/get stronger at any minute. You know I'm a worrier anyway, so every hour is a battle with myself to get my mind off of it and assure myself everything is fine. In 48 hours I'll be 34 weeks and I'm counting down every hour. Hopefully after that point I'll be able to relax a bit more and let things fall where they may (after 34 weeks they will no longer treat me for pre-term labor, if I go into actual labor then I'm having this baby). But that's not going to happen. I'm hoping for a nice, long, painfully boring and uneventful 3 weeks of bedrest.
Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. And maybe recommend a good book or two? :)