Saturday, March 26, 2005

Fun with Preterm Labor

Early Friday morning I woke up at around 2am, went and peed, then lay back down. I couldn't return to sleep and soon realized that I was having Braxton Hicks contractions. Then I noticed that I kept having them (which is weird) even though I was just laying there (I usually only get them when active, never while just laying in bed). I got back up and drink a bunch of water, twice, hoping that is the problem but it didn't do any good. I realized that these contractions were getting painful - not bad, I rated them 2-3 on a scale of ten, but still they hurt my lower belly and back, and I could feel them gathering and peaking and squeezing and that was worrisome as I've never felt that before. They were about 30 seconds long with about 30 seconds between, pretty regular.

So I got up and looked in The Birth Partner and online to see about preterm labor and when I should go in to the hospital. I read that before 37 weeks if I had four contractions an hour (yeah, um, I'm having them four every five minutes at least?!), I should go in to the hospital.

I lay back down in bed and the contractions were much more noticeable/uncomfortable then, which is interesting... I'll have to remember that when I really go into labor. Anyways I was still having them and it'd been almost two hours at that point. Mr. Peach asked if I wanted to call the hospital, and I told him I didn't want to but wasn't sure if I needed to or not. I really don't want to be 'that woman' who is always running to the hospital because she thinks she's in labor. However I finally told myself I'd just have to suffer any embarrassment this might bring me because I do not want a 30wk old baby. I paged my CNM.

She called back and we talked a bit, she said they didn't sound like real labor contractions because of their short duration, but that perhaps I had a bladder infection, so go to the hospital and they would hook my up to monitors and test my urine.

Off we went to the hospital. I was sitting up in the car so couldn't feel the contractions and thought, 'Great, they've stopped' which would have been good but was irritating because I didn't want them thinking I was crying wolf.

Since it wasn't even 5am we had to get to L&D through the emergency entrance. I told them I'm supposed to go to L&D, and the nurse asked, "Are you in labor?" I said I didn't think so but they brought out the wheelchair anyways and another quite chipper nurse pushed me over to L&D. I asked "Do I really have to ride in this?" But I'm glad I did as I was still having contractions, and it was quite a ways to L&D from the emergency entrance.

She got me to L&D and into a room there. Another nurse got me changed into a gown and took a urine sample, got me hooked up to fetal heart tones and contractions monitor, pulse checker thing, BP cuff.. checked my cervix which the nurse said felt thick and a little over 1cm dilated. She had me lie on my side and chill while the monitors monitored me. Soon I was able to feel the contractions again, a little less regular and frequent than they had been. But they were definitely still there. Baby's heart and movements were sounding good, I could tell she'd been okay all this time because I could feel her thumping around between contractions.

After a while the nurse returned and says it looks like I may have a UTI but they're waiting on the rest of the results. She gave me a big cup of water to hydrate me and told me once the results come in they'd call my CNM and see what she wanted to do. I lay there a while more, at one point my cervix was checked again, no change thank goodness. I had to page the nurses soon after that because I reallllllly had to pee and that is no fun during a contraction! Who knew! Not me.

Anyways a phlebotomist came and took some blood and the nurse said that after that she'd be back to help me get out of bed to pee and give me a shot. Shot?? What shot?? Terbutaline, a muscle relaxer used to stop contractions. My contractions had gotten more frequent since settling in there. They said they'd give me one shot and see if it worked and if not, another, and if not still, another. So they gave me shot and after that I didn't feel any more contractions. I felt woozy and icky from the terb, and from not eating... not allowed to eat in L&D, shoulda ate first. I'll remember that come real labor...

I called my mom at this point as she had said the day before, "You call me if you go to the hospital for any reason!!" I reassured her everything was ok, told her what was going on. Anyways I couldn't feel the contractions but apparently I was still having them enough to worry the nurses, although they were much smaller on the monitor than they had been. So over the next couple hours I got the other two shots.

Just after the last one my CNM came in to see me. The nurses told me she might put me on oral terb and send me home but she didn't. She asked how I was doing and made me feel like she was concerned and cared about me. She prescribed some antibiotics as it looked like I might be starting a UTI, and that may be what was causing the contractions... said she wasn't going to do an internal exam as that tended to get things stirred up. She told me she was going to have them give me steroids shots for the baby in case I do go into labor, and that I'd have to return tomorrow at the same time for the second shot. I'm on bed rest for the next 5 days or so, and I'm to call or come in if I have any problems. Then she returned and told me that the doctor on call is making her do an internal. She apologized and checked, I was still a little over 1 cm, no more than 50% effaced but my cervix felt soft. And sure enough right after that the monitor showed some little contractions.

Anyways that was like 9:40am, and finally we could go home. Mr. Peach went and got the car, we went and got my pills, ate some scones for breakfast, and drove home. I had a few spells of contractions later that afternoon, and timed them carefully. I sure didn't want to go back to the hospital but if they progressed in any way of course I would. I didn't have any by that evening so went to bed and had a thankfully uneventful night.

This morning we went in and got the second shot to mature baby's brain and lungs and stuff in case I do deliver in the next 7 days... they asked me if I'd been having more contractions and I told them just some, not like before, so they sent me home to rest again. Which is what I have been doing all day. I had another short spell of contractions at around 4pm, but again not as frequent or strong as the other night.

So it's pretty mysterious and worrisome, why this is going on... the UTI might be the cause of it (ah, the yootie-eye, my old nemesis....) but while the first nurse said it looked like I had one, my CNM didn't sound so sure, said it looked like I might be starting one. But I'm the antibiotics for it so it'll get taken care of if that is the problem. But maybe it was the full moon, or the line of storms that came through before I started feeling the contractions... or maybe I wasn't drinking enough water. I don't know. I hope this is an isolated incident though because like I said I don't want a preemie, I want her to stay safe in there a while longer. I also do not like bed rest (couch-rest in my case, I can't bear the thought of being shut up in the bedroom at the back of the house like someone's abandoned dying grandmother). I want to take care of the house and go outside and walk around and get some exercise.

Mr. Peach has been a good helper, doing dishes and laundry and cooking supper, and fetching anything I need. I felt bad about waking him and dragging him to the hospital, he was tired, poor guy, we both were, but I'm glad we went. I just hope we don't have to go in again.


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