Labor, Part 1
I didn’t feel well all weekend, once again I knew I had done too much. There was so much to do though and time was running out. Monday night I went to bed early and was awakened several times with contractions too strong to just ignore. I also was checking my phone repeatedly for updates on my best friends labor – she was at the hospital and awaiting the arrival of her third child, a baby girl.
By about 2 AM everything had calmed down and I was back to sleep. Hours later I was at work and trying desperately to concentrate, I noticed a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions and again, that I was generally not feeling well. By 10 Am I had called my OB’s office and made an appointment for later that afternoon. By 12 noon, I had called and asked to come in ASAP. Sometime around 1Pm, my doctor checked me and said that I was surprisingly at a “2″ and about 50% effaced and that that baby’s head was really low. She decided to send me to the hospital for monitoring to see how often the contractions were coming.
All of this would have been really exciting, except…I was only 34 weeks.
After an hour on the monitor at the hospital and contractions 3 minutes apart, my doctor admitted me for preterm labor. I was really scared and stressed out. I didn’t want to give birth at 34 weeks. I knew it wouldn’t be catastrophic but it wasn’t ideal for the baby. He needed to “cook” for at least 3 more weeks.
Once admitted, I made a lot of phone calls and let everyone know what was going on. Once admitted I was given a pill that is supposed to stop labor and a healthy dose of IV fluids. By 10 pm that night, contractions were still regular and they decided a I needed an IV medicine called magnesium sulfate. For those of you not familiar….mag sulfate is pretty much the Devil’s cocktail. It makes you feel hot, tired and like your limbs weigh 100 lbs each. You can’t get comfortable and you are in total misery.
By midnight that night, a nurse was comforting me as I cried and proceeded to let my emotions get the best of me. I realized how emotionally unprepared I was to have Elijah at all, let alone 6 weeks early. We had so much going on, we had just put an offer on a house and life was just too full to really think about adding another person to the mix. But here I was, faced with the prospect of an early baby with possible complications and a guaranteed stay in the NICU.
By morning the contractions had slowed and I had not made any more progression toward delivery. They decided to let me go home that evening but I was to be on bed rest for the next 4 days until my next appointment. I was thankful to be going home.
Once home, I realized I had some emotional preparation to do for baby Elijah and I needed to start taking better care of myself. Over the next three weeks I would have multiple sleepless nights from contractions and I was generally very uncomfortable but baby Eli stayed in place which was the goal.
I stopped working at 37 weeks and it wasn’t a minute too soon. I spent the next week preparing for baby, taking naps and spending time with Isaac and Joshua. By week 38 I was getting anxious to not be pregnant anymore – all of the false labor was extremely exhausting and I was starting to swell really bad.
The week I went into labor, I had a doctor appoint on Monday and she “stripped my membranes”. Seriously let’s just not talk about that. “Ouch” and “ick”, should be enough explanation. I was convinced I would go into labor later that day, all of the signs were there. Tuesday morning I woke up, still pregnant and cried. I had lost all patience with pregnancy and became a quintessential pregnant lady – hormonal and weepy. By Wednesday morning I was a flat out crazy person. I had no patience with anyone. Period. Joshua was not helping the matter by being such a pill that I actually had him stay home from pre school for a little mommy time because the day before I got a note from his teacher saying he was biting his friends and being generally ill behaved.
Around 11 am I decided to take him to the park. On the way there, this lady with a stroller was talking on phone in the middle of the street. No joke, the middle. I waited patiently. Then I started to get mad, who stands in the middle of the street, on the phone with a stroller? I decided that honking might scare the baby and she was oblivious to my presence so I figured that turning around was the best option because I could get to the park another way. As I threw it into reverse to begin what was going to be a three point turn, I forgot I was on a hill. What happens next is just plain unfortunate.
The big giant mom car that I drive decided that going on reverse on a hill required my tires to peel out. I swear I wasn’t going fast. The look on cell phone lady’s face when I peeled out just mere feet from her and her baby was priceless. She looks up, and gives me this look of sheer panic that I am going to go all Dukes of Hazard and try to jump her and the stroller with my 1 ton hot rod. She then cusses me out. At this point my patience is totally depleted and it seemed like flipping her off was my best response.
So, after giving her the bird and finishing my 3 point turn, I head to the park. I park, get Joshie out and head to the swing set. Guess who was also on her way to the park (and STILL ON HER CELL PHONE?) I decide that it is too late to go to another park and that I just have to face her.
Five steps later, I feel as though I’ve wet my pants. Then I laugh because my first thought was “cell phone lady better not think I’m so scared of her that I peed my pants, cause I will totally fight her.” I had read someplace that a sign of impending labor is irritability…..
Joshua is oblivious to my wet pants and as I chase after him, I continue to loose more fluid (and dignity). I finally catch up with him, bribe him with Halloween candy, and head for the car. I called Kevin and everyone else that needed to know and went home to get ready for the trip to the hospital. The doctor said for me to come in right away, that with my incident of preterm labor, it was likely I would go very quickly through labor since my body was already prepared.
That would be the first of many assumptions that proved to be incorrect in the next few hours. Here is a picture I took 5 minutes before we left for the hospital….
There is now a little newborn crying so I have to go. More later on what happened at the hospital, including the Jamaican nurse and how I managed to kick my doctor out of the room in the middle of labor.