I found out I was pregnant the day after Christmas 2001. My boyfriend and I were very much in love and getting ready to move in together. We were both shocked at the results of the test, but we were both very excited. I had the usual morning sickness the first few months and had a pretty normal pregnancy up until the end of June. I started getting what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions every couple of days. When I mentioned it to my two other pregnant friends, they told me that it was normal and not to worry about it. Being my first child, I didn't know what was normal and what wasn't, so I listened.
I will never forget the day I actually went into labor. I was 30 1/2 weeks at that point and I was having a horrible day at work. They had given me all kinds of projects and things to work on. I was so stressed out and very emotional that morning. I just wanted to cry. I noticed that my back was really aching and I felt much more tired than usual. I also started to notice I was having quite a few BH contractions. They were getting to the point that they would take my breath away, it was so tight on my stomach. I had a doctor's appointment that afternoon, so I just
thought I would talk to her at that time. Despite my co-workers pressure to skip my appointment because I "just had to get my work done", I went on to my doctor. My husband (we are now married) met me in the waiting room. He told me I didn't look like I was feeling very well. When we finally got in our room, I told her I had been having quite a few BH contractions and her eyes widened as I was describing how I felt. She told me we would talk more about taking me off work once she checked my cervix. Not two seconds later she told me I was going straight to the hospital. She said I was 2cm dilated and 90% effaced. She said she could feel the baby's head. She asked me to go get my husband and meet her in her office. I had to hold back the tears as I went to get Matt and told him what was going on. My doctor calmly told us that we needed to stop these contractions and to get some steroids to help the baby's lungs in case she was born early. She told us that she wanted to get me to 36 weeks, if possible. As we left the office I was crying so hard I could hardly talk as I left messages for my family, friends and of course my office.
Upon arriving at the hospital, they hooked me up to the monitor and saw that I was having contractions about 3-5 minutes apart. I could feel
them, but it didn't hurt. I just couldn't believe this was happening to me. We were just getting ready to move into a new apartment and we were just not ready for this baby yet. They gave me an iv to help hydrate me and gave me shots of terbutaline. Those were horrible! Anyway, they were able to keep the contractions at about 1 or 2 an hour. I had to have several more shots before they finally let me go home on
July 12. I had to take Procardia every 4 hours and I had to take Vistril if I had more than 7 contractions in an hour. I was only allowed out of bed to go the bathroom and to take a quick shower. I had to go to the hospital twice a week for non-stress tests and I saw my doctor every Thursday. I was in and out of the hospital for the next 6 weeks. I would have contractions every 5 minutes all day and all night long. My cervix would dilate about a cm a week until I finally reached the 36 week mark. We were so happy! And I
was SO ready to have my baby!
My doctor took me off bed rest and was convinced I would have the baby in a matter of days. I was dilated to almost a four and 100% effaced. The days kept passing and I was still having contractions 24 hours a day, but no change in my cervix. My husband had started a new job and had to go out of town the following Monday for a whole week. Everyone was teasing me that I would finally go into active labor
while he was gone. I just shrugged it off and kept on hoping to have the baby before he left. Matt left for St. Louis (about 4 hours away) and he called me every chance he could.
On Wednesday I had lunch with my grandparents and threw it back up right. After that, I started to get achy kind of cramps. I went home and had a strange urge to make cookies. I baked 3 dozen and didn't eat one. Anyway, Matt called to check on me around 7 or so and I told him I was fine. I did tell him I thought I lost my mucus plug earlier. He asked me if I wanted him to come home and I told him no. We said our good-bye's and I went to bed around 9 or so. I woke up at 2:25am with a sharp pain. I thought it was nothing and went back to sleep. Exactly five minutes later I sat straight up in bed with another pain. I suddenly felt like I had to go to the bathroom and I got out of bed. Two seconds later my water broke. I began to freak out. I was all alone and I knew this was going to go very quickly despite what the doctor said. I called Matt first and was crying to him on the phone to get to the hospital as fast as he could. I called my mom and told her this was it and to come and get me. I called the doctor and she calmly told me she would meet me at the hospital and I would have several hours of labor before the baby came, so not to worry. I was pacing around the living room trying to accept the fact that I was not coming home again until I had this baby. I got really scared and panicky.
About a half hour later my mom showed up and I was starting to have a lot of pain. I became very angry because she was driving really slow. I could no longer speak during contractions and I could hardly sit still. We got to the hospital at around 3:45am. I almost fell down while trying to get up to the L&D floor I was in so much pain. Keep in mind this is only an hour after my water has broken. I got up to desk and couldn't even speak. They put me in a room and told me to put on a gown. I thought I had to the bathroom and so I told the nurse. She told me she had to check me first. Her face turned into sheer panic and she told me I was 10cm and complete. She told me that I had to wait until the doctor got here to start pushing. I started yelling at the nurses . . . "I told you this was going to happen, but you kept telling me I wasn't really in labor!!" Not pushing was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life! I had to breathe through the next several contractions for the next half hour.
Right when I was at the point of pushing whether my doctor came or not, she walked in the door. She barely got her scrubs on when I started pushing. I pushed about five times in twenty-five minutes. I gave it everything I had and Bayley Elizabeth was born at 4:49am on August 15th. This was just about two hours after my water broke and after only an hour of painful contractions. I went from 4cm to 10 in less than two hours! Matt arrived an hour or so after she was born. He was devastated that he missed her birth. He held her in his arms and didn't want to let her go! She weighed in at 7lbs 8oz and was 20in long. They said if I would have made it to full term she would have been at least 9lbs!
We are proof that if you communicate with your doctor and trust your instincts you can make it through preterm labor. Get as much help from your friends and family as possible. Try to stay positive and ask a lot of questions about your treatment and condition. Talk to other women who have been through it. It helps to know you are not the only one!