During my last pregnancy, everything was going wonderfully well until my routine 30 week appointment. It was my first pregnancy, and I was fairly clueless, so had been assuming my on-and-off period-like cramps since 27 weeks were just 'normal'. I was prepared only for the usual pee-in-a-cup, weight, blood pressure etc. routine at this appointment.
The nurse asked if I'd had any problems, and I (thankfully!) mentioned my 'period pains'. She said the doctor might want to check my cervix. Well, Dr. W. came in, and did check me. It was extremely painful. After he was done, he said I'd have to go to the hospital right away to be monitored, as he couldn't even feel the cervix as the baby's head was SO low.
So I was really shocked, but still thought everything was fine - thought they'd just monitor me for a while and send me home... I got in my car and drove over to the hospital, which thankfully is just across the street from my doctor's. office.
When I arrived at the hospital, they put me on a monitor to see if I was having any contractions. I was, but all I felt was a constant, dull period-like pain and back ache, and couldn't identify any specific contractions myself. So when my doctor arrived to see me, he had me admitted. I was hooked up to an IV, put on Procardia, given steroid shots to mature the baby's lungs, and one other muscle relaxer that I can't remember the name of. I also had the most awful urine test (where 'pure' urine is taken from the bladder) because my temperature was slightly high when I arrived, and they wanted to check for infection. My doctor talked to me very seriously about the risks of having a baby at 30 weeks and pronounced that I would need to be on complete bedrest until 36 weeks. Basically, my pelvic cavity is so wide, that the baby just settled right down in there at +1 station, and this was putting pressure on the cervix, causing it to efface.
So I was devasted and terribly worried about our baby. I was released from hospital five days later, once a home monitoring system could be set up for me. This was needed because I wasn't feeling the contractions. I had to monitor for an hr. each morning and evening and send the results into a nurse who would call me back with the results. As long as I stayed under four an hour everything was fine.
I stayed on bedrest for the next six weeks and it was a huge adjustment - physically, mentally, emotionally...it took a lot of commitment, and I couldn't have done it without my wonderful, supportive husband!! When I reached 36 weeks I got a call from the doctor saying they had been calculating my due date wrong and I was currently only 35 weeks (I did NOT want to hear that!). So I spent another week on bedrest, putting my total at 7 weeks.
By the time I came off bedrest, I was 3cm dilated and 80% effaced, with the baby at +1 station. We thought it would happen the minute I stood up!! We were WRONG. I went to 37 weeks, then 38, and I was utterly frustrated and so wired. My parents had arrived and it looked like they were going to miss seeing the baby...
At my 38 week appointment my blood pressure had gone up to 150/90 and I'd gained 4lbs in one week. Dr. W. determined I was developing pre-eclampsia (looking back on it, I wonder whether the high bp reading was largely due to being so stressed, but I guess we'll never know), and decided to induce me the following morning. I was by now 5cm dilated. How was this baby staying in there??!!
I went in for the induction at 6am the following day, and Samuel Frank was finally born at 4:34pm weighing 7lbs 1oz. It was a hard pregnancy, and birth wasn't a piece of cake either, but Sam is such a joy and SO worth it!!
I am currently 31 weeks pregnant with our second child, and despite being on partial bedrest since 26 weeks, my cervix has again started effacing (went from 3.5 to 2.9, and then 2.9 to a 2.0 in four days). I am now on full bedrest and with a two and a half year old this is not easy. I am experiencing all the familiar emotions and frustrations, but I know how worth it it is to do whatever it takes to have a healthy baby. I am a lot more 'clued up' this time, and way more pro-active in my care, but I am so thankful for the level of care I have received, and my doctor's cautiousness and diligence. Hopefully this baby will be born just as healthy as Sam was!