At about 26 weeks into my high risk pregnancy, with my first baby girl (after 3 boys), I started having some pre-term contractions. This is a continuation of my story of infant loss, from 4 years ago. I hope that I can do a little more healing by sharing my story, even though at times I feel like I am good. I am caught off guard with certain emotions that are very random, and I felt like by sharing my story, I might be able to help others who may be going through something similar. Sometimes just knowing that others have gone through something similar, and they came out OKAY, can be of some comfort. If you want to read my whole story, you can read bit by bit, starting with Finding Out There Is Something Wrong With My Baby.
After a few visits with the Perinatologists and a couple of visits to the Pediatric Cardiologist, we basically determined that we just needed to keep an eye on my baby girl, and just wait to see what problems she would really be born with. At 26 weeks, my husband and I were at a wedding reception when I started feeling some contractions. They weren’t hard contractions, but knowing that my pregnancy was already high risk, I was very cautious. I began to time the contractions and they were about 2 minutes apart. I tried to drink some water and relax a little, in hopes that they would stop. When they wouldn’t stop, we thought it would be best to make a stop into the ER.
Something that I haven’t mentioned before was that once my pregnancy was deemed as high risk, the Perinatologists took over my care. All of my specialists were in Sacramento, which was an hour away from home. This also meant that my delivery hospital was an hour away. I didn’t think it would be best to make that hour long drive to the ER, so I went to my local Emergency Room. They checked me in pretty quickly. I informed them of my difficulties related to this pregnancy, and they immediately hooked me up to monitors, did a cervix check and called my doctor. I wasn’t dilated, but I was definitely having regular contractions. I was terrified because I knew that 26 weeks was really too early to deliver, especially for a baby with problems. 26 week old babies CAN be viable, but I had my fears. The doctors and hospital worked surprisingly fast. Within a short matter of time, and the hospital conversing with my doctor, they decided it would be best to transfer me to my delivery hospital, an hour away.
I was taken on my first ambulance rideeve, which was a tad exciting, but I was so nervous and shaky. I think the nerves was not helping my contractions a bit. My husband decided to follow behind the ambulance, so we would have our car once in Sacramento. The paramedic that rode with me was so kind and calming and really tried to get me to calm down. We tried to talk about random things, to distract me. He was constantly taking my heart rate, which was entirely too fast.
Several nurses were ready and waiting for me to arrive at the hospital. It was quite the experience being wheeled out of an ambulance and into the hospital, via paramedics, without anyone by my side. My hubby wasn’t too far behind. As soon as I was set up in my room, the meds and shots began. I believe the first meds I was given was Terbutaline. Boy did that one make me shaky and all sorts of jittery! The Terbutaline was to stop the contractions, and try to delay labor. This shot was delivered into my upper arm. It seems like I was given a second drug right away, but I can’t recall what. Then it was time for steroid shots. The doctors wanted to give me the steroid shots, to help my baby’s lungs to develop quickly, in case labor could not be stopped. The doctors were very concerned to make sure my baby received two doses of steroid shots before being delivered. That evening was a bit of a blur, but one of those two shots was the most painful shot I have ever received. Throughout the course of 24 hours, I received at least two of the Terbutaline shots, and two steroid shots. I can’t recall which one was the painful one, but OUCH! I think the nurses even said that it was the second most painful shot there is. I withstood it though and just kept thinking – this is helping my baby!
Luckily, after that first terrifying 24 hour period, we were able to slow labor. We didn’t know yet if it was completely stopped, but the contractions stopped. My cervix wasn’t dilating, which was fantastic news. Monitors were constantly on me, and I knew I was in good hands. To be honest, at this point, there was nowhere I’d rather be than the hospital. I know that people hate being in the hospital, but I felt for the first time in this pregnancy that things might be okay. Because I lived an hour from the hospital, I was always terrified that I would stop feeling my baby move, or that her heartbeat would stop and that I wouldn’t get to the hospital in time. Or I was afraid that I wouldn’t notice soon enough. I had a very difficult time ever relaxing because every single day, I had the fear that my baby would die that day, and I would never get to hold her. No mother should ever have to experience that kind of fear, but unfortunately, many of us do.
I am very grateful to my parents who kept my three boys for that week that I ended up staying in the hospital. My husband had to go back to work, so I was left alone for most of the week. I had a couple of girlfriends come visit me one day, which was very nice and refreshing. I was glued to my hospital bed for a week. I had a roommate whom I got to know pretty well. She was in for extreme kidney pain, and she was only 24 weeks along. At times I was frustrated with having a roommate, because I had to deal with her snoring when all I wanted to do was to sleep and relax. Other times, I was grateful for the company, the laughs and the distraction. Her hubby lived close by and would bring us twinkies and movies.
As the days went by, and the midnight blood pressure checks continued, I began to wonder how long I would be held up in this hospital. As frustrating as it could be, I was terrified of the day I had to go home. In the hospital, I knew my baby was being watched and cared for. After a full week, the doctors gave me clearance to go home. My cervix was not dilated, and the contractions seemed to have stopped completely. I was sent home with the instructions to come back to the hospital twice a week for non-stress tests. Living an hour away from the hospital, I was nervous about who would take me each time, would we get to the hospital quickly enough if something had gone wrong? etc. The questions in my mind were endless. Between friends and family, those trips were made – but not for long.
This post is getting rather long and I imagine my next one will be a difficult and long one, so I will sign off for now.
You can read my next post: A Terrifying Emergency C-Section.