Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Waiting Game

Well, my 264-post streak has ended. I did not get a post in yesterday. Tom had plans to step in and pinch-hit, but given that his afternoon and evening were equally as crazy as mine, I can't really fault him for not getting around to it either. Besides, it was inevitable. It really is silly of me to concern myself with publishing something each and every day, though it makes me feel good to at least have that goal in mind, and it keeps me motivated and on-track.

No, there is no baby in-hand. Not yet, anyway. But yesterday was all about finding out whether Raspberry's entrance was imminent.

It didn't really come as any great surprise to me yesterday morning when I was plagued with contractions from the moment that I woke. I had, after all, overdone it the day before, in a big way. It occurred to me, on my way to my scheduled 2:30 OB appointment, that the way I was feeling might warrant a bit of monitoring, but I was unprepared for what my internal exam revealed.

I was 3-4 cm dilated. That change, in combination with the frequency of my contractions, caused my doctor some concern. Just a week ago, I was not dilated at all, and given that Michael came so quickly at 8 lb 14 oz, she felt that there was a real risk that my guaranteed-to-be-smaller, not-quite-36 weeker would fly right out if I progressed to active labor within the next few hours.

She monitored me in the office, just to gauge the frequency of my contractions (which were determined to be 4-7 minutes apart), but began making preparations to send me straight to the hospital afterwards before I was even hooked up to the NST machine.

The tricky part for me and Tom was figuring out what to do with the kids in such last-minute circumstances. He had dropped me off for my appointment and was driving around with them in the car when I called to update him on the turn of events. He called Mima, and initially headed for home to wait for her there, but once my doctor saw the frequency of my contractions, she was uncomfortable keeping me in the office for one minute longer than I had to stay. I had Tom turn around and come back for me before he even had a chance to unload the kiddos from the car, and we ended up meeting Mima at the hospital.

Mima and Tom switched cars in front of the hospital doors with the children still inside, so my poor babies ended up stuck in the car from about 1:45 to 6:00 (or whatever horrendous hour it actually was when Mima made it back to our place in rush-hour traffic. Abby took it all in stride, as usual, but Michael, who ended up long overdue for a scheduled sippy of milk, was screaming his head off by the time she pulled into our driveway.

Meanwhile, Tom and I nervously made our way into unknown territory. I chose a different hospital this time than I used for my other two births, and I hadn't had time to tour it or even to drive by and see the layout of the place prior to our arrival yesterday. Thankfully, the L & D triage area at Virginia Hospital Center consists of private rooms, rather than curtained sections, and provided a fairly comfortable environment for the several hours I spent being monitored to determine just what the situation was.

For a long while, it was unclear. The contractions continued every 4-7 minutes, but were not increasing in either frequency or  intensity- not in any organized way, anyway. I had some real doozies, but they were randomly occurring, and none were of the strength that I recall being characteristic of the active labor stage.

My first internal check at the hospital confirmed that I was definitely at four centimeters, if not a "tight five," but the following ones all revealed no change beyond that point. Despite that, and partly because, when it came to decision-time, I had just had three or four bad contractions in a row, the doctor on-call elected to admit me overnight, "just in case."

At that point, I sent Tom home, because I had a feeling that if nothing had happened yet, it wasn't likely to that night.

And thus began a horribly long, uncomfortable span of hours.

I thought about doing a quick "placement" post on my phone, but I was so miserable that the prospect felt like too much work. Though most of the contractions were not terrible, my back was in such bad shape that no position was comfortable, especially in a hospital bed with fetal monitors strapped to my belly. My ability to change position at all was further compromised by the IV I had in one arm (I was given a round of antibiotics, also "just in case," since I am GBS-positive this time around), the blood pressure cuff I had attached to the other, and later, a pulse-monitoring device I had taped to my finger to distinguish my heartbeats from the baby's (Raspberry and I were collectively moving around so much that the monitor kept losing track of its target).

Though I hate taking medication unless absolutely necessary, the very thought of surviving an entire night in the state I was in scared me into accepting the Ambien I was offered. It took a couple of hours to kick in, though, I and I ended up biding my time watching Freaks and Geeks on Netflix streaming as I rocked in the rocking chair, having exhausted any comfortable places and positions on the hospital bed.

I managed a few hours of sleep in the end, and in that time, the contractions calmed dramatically. My early morning check showed that no further dilation had occurred overnight, and I was cleared to go home. However, I stupidly went down to the cafeteria for breakfast, and it wasn't until I finished eating that it occurred to me that I now had no room or bed to nap in as I waited for Tom to arrive and pick me up. I ended up sitting around for nearly two hours, and must have looked in pretty bad shape as I hobbled through the hospital hallways with Tom; every staff member that we passed offered a wheelchair and a couple concernedly asked if maybe I should go get myself checked out. I had to awkwardly explain that I had just been sent home.

Ultimately, it wasn't the contractions that were the problem, though I did have to stop for one of them. It was my back, which finally appears to be recovering from Tuesday to the point that I can almost stand up straight, and the infernal pressure I'm feeling from the current position of the baby. I can't walk without a prominent limp, straddle, and stoop. It must be pretty pathetic to witness.

Not that much of that has been going on since I got home anyway. Tom has been quite the aggressive nursemaid, and has been chasing me away from any opportunities to even walk across the room to fetch things. I'm of two minds about it. I really needed my rest today, and since Mima stuck around until dinnertime, I was able to get plenty of it. Two naps' worth, in fact.

But once I caught up on sleep, that old boredom and frustration set in pretty quickly. And I'm once again feeling terribly torn about the whole situation (not that how I feel affects my reality in any way, in the end). I actually felt myself on the verge of tears on the way to the hospital, faced with the possibility that my pregnancy was just hours from being over. It felt too soon. I felt robbed.

A couple of hours in the hospital changed my perspective a bit, though. The experience was exhausting, and the thought of going through it only to go home and wait around some more was deeply troubling. Add to that my growing concern that if active labor starts while I'm at home, it may progress too quickly for me to make it back to the hospital in time. It was (and is) terribly selfish of me, but I began to wish, early as it was, that Raspberry was really on the way that very night.

Part of me still wishes it, though I am also very thankful that Raspberry is staying in a little longer. It can only be for the best, after all, as far as Baby is concerned.

Mommy just has to figure out how to survive the next few hours? days? weeks? until the time really comes. If only I knew when the moment will be.


  1. I'm glad that the little raspberry is staying put too. She/he can come out after 37 or is it 38 weeks when a baby is considered to be full-term? ;)

    1. It's funny- the medical community still seems to draw the line at 37 weeks, but all of the literature keeps confirming that big changes still happen between 37 and 38. Despite all of that, I've been officially taken off of all restrictions at 36 weeks, so once again I'm left to ponder whether I want to play it safe of my own accord or go ahead and let whatever will be, be. My nerves were so fried by this point in my pregnancy with Michael that I started increasing my activity level on purpose, and he still took until 38 weeks, 3 days to appear, after a little help from a membrane sweep. My back pain was doing a lot of the deciding for me over the last couple of days, but now that I'm feeling a bit better, I'm faced with the same choice again: to take it easy, or not take it easy?