Preterm labor at 19 weeks, a humbling reality check

Well, I never expected to be in this boat again yet found myself landed in Labor & Delivery last night with quite the scare. This had happened with baby 1 but not until 32 weeks. I was admitted through the ER with the same hum-drum questions, sign here, initial here. I sat waiting for the nurse to wheel me up to the second floor when I realized that they never made me sign for the baby. When I was in pre-term labor with baby 1 I was given authorization forms for the baby in case he was born, this time there was no paperwork. I’m only 19 weeks pregnant and haven’t reached the age of viability yet. So if baby was born there would be no chance of survival, no need to authorize care… When this dawned on me my heart sank.

I kept my thoughts to myself, plastered a smile on my face, and joked with the nurses. I wasn’t sure what else I was supposed to do or feel.

The day started out just fine, around lunch time started having some really sharp and pinching lower abdominal pains which honestly felt like bad gas pain. I just assumed that was the issue and kept about my business. But the pains continued constantly for hours. I couldn’t understand why it wouldn’t just go away. I even took some Alka Seltzer but nothing was working. So I reluctantly called the on-call OB, she told me to take some Tylenol, sit with a heating pad, and see how things went for the next couple of hours. I still had intermittent pain 3 hours later and so she told me to head to the hospital to check my cervix and make sure it wasn’t contractions.

Now doing this once before you’d think I’d have an idea, but honestly I really thought it was just gas pain, it didn’t feel anything like Braxton Hicks contractions or ‘real’ contractions to me, but then again I was induced last time so I didn’t have the best gauge for “normal” contractions. I felt like an idiot being admitted to triage on L&D and was waiting for the nurse to tell us we could go home. The monitor showed a few minor contractions going on and she checked my cervix…. 1 cm dilated and 30% effaced… I was taken a bit by surprise at that news! At that point they admitted me for the night, started an IV, shot me up with my favorite drug- Terbutaline, handed me 2 Ambien to sleep, and instructed me that the high risk OB’s would be by to evaluate in the morning, discuss a possible cerclage, etc. 

Certainly not the news I was expecting! I figured I’d be quietly laughed at and sent home like one of the first time moms who thinks every tiny thing is the start of labor. Instead got myself landed for an overnight.

Thankfully the night was relatively uneventful. However, let me tell you it is NOT fun having to pee every ten minutes from all of the fluids while having to unhook the compression stockings from your legs, unhook and untangle the contraction monitor, grab your fluid bag and IV tubing and scramble to the bathroom before peeing your pants while being so drugged up that you think your phone is an Xbox controller (true story)… every…. 10…. minutes!!!! And that’s how I spent my night.

I was alone in the hospital since hubbs went to be home with my little dude and it was pretty surreal, a visual that I won’t soon forget. I was wheeled down the hallway to Labor & Delivery room 2 just 4 doors down from where I delivered one short year ago. I sat in the room staring silently at a baby isolette with a lump in my throat. There was a baby blanket with little footprints on it sitting in that isolette, the very same baby blanket that we have tucked away from last time. The same blanket sitting right in front of my face. It wasn’t until then that it really started to hit me.

Reality really sets in for you when you realize how grave the situation could be and that even if this baby makes it full term you will be sitting in that room again welcoming a new baby to this world. I wasn’t sure how to feel about the situation. I was excited that some day we’d be in that room hearing a new baby cry, but I didn’t want that day to be today or any day in the near future.

I managed to get some sleep and then met with the high risk docs. After an ultrasound it was found that I am indeed dilated to 1 cm, however, my cervical length is 3.98 cm which is “good” so I won’t be needing a cerclage. At this point it’s kind of a wait and see game, I’m sure I’ll be monitored closely, moreso than I already am and hopefully the rest of these 20 weeks are uneventful. No bed rest so far, I meet with my regular OB later this week so we’ll see what she has to say about everything. Baby was measuring about 2 days ahead and doing great which was a major relief.

All in all it was quite the humbling experience. With all of my other health issues it just makes me extra paranoid when things like this happen but I’m putting my faith in the doctors and care team around me, I know they want to see a healthy full term baby as much as we do. So for now I am having daily talks with Little “D” about his home in my uterus and that he is not allowed to evict or move out anytime soon and that we’ll probably be having the same conversation in about 16-18 years.

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