I figured I'd write a post explaining everything that's happened so far to make my "uneventful" pregnancy status change to "very eventful"
(John and I think Jack was just wanting some attention).
My pregnancy so far has been very smooth.
I had very bad morning sickness in the beginning, but since 15 weeks
everything has been going smoothly.
Every test/check up has gone 100%.
Nothing has been off or needed any change this whole time.
I've had a lot of Braxton Hicks since about 20 weeks,
but thought nothing of it, since my family is known for having a lot of them.
Last week I started noticing that I was getting them a lot more often,
and they were getting a lot more uncomfortable.
On Wednesday (May 15) I started feeling a bit of back pain, and a very little bit of menstrual like cramping.
I had a doctors appointment already scheduled for Thursday morning
so I just decided to wait and mention the cramping the next day.
At the doctors the next day I explained what I'd been feeling and the doc decided that, based on the menstrual cramping and the pretty consistent Braxton Hicks, that I should be on bed rest for the weekend and see how it was doing by Monday (the Braxton Hicks were too hard to count because sometimes my belly would just stay contracted for 10 minutes straight).
While at the doctors she decided to do a few tests just to make sure nothing was happening.
I was 32.5 weeks at this time and wasn't dilated or effaced, but the dr. did a FFN test. I was told that this was just as a precaution and that if the test came back negative it would mean that there is a 99% chance I wouldn't go into labor for at least 2 weeks, but if it came back positive, it doesn't mean that I WILL go into labor for sure, but it just means there's a chance I could at any time.
The doc called later that day and told me to make sure I stayed on bed rest because the test was positive.
So... I was on bed rest for Thursday and Friday.
On Saturday I started really trying to monitor the contractions more, and seemed to be having 6-9 every hour, as best I could tell, and the cramping/back pain was getting worse.
I was debating what to do, because it was the weekend and I couldn't just go to my doctor, I'd have to go to the hospital.
I really didn't want to be one of those girls that is in and out of the hospital for no reason.
After a while of trying to decide what to do, John and I decided it'd be better to go in and just make sure it's all ok.
We went to Unity at about 3:00 on Saturday and when they hooked me up to the monitors saw that I was contracting every 1-2 minutes.
They then checked and saw that I was 1 cm. dilated and about 80% effaced.
They immediately started getting me hooked to an IV and figuring out what meds they could give me to try and stop the contractions as well as started me on the steroid shots (2 shots over 48 hours that develop the baby's lungs faster to give him a better chance at breathing well if born that early. These shots are the most PAINFUL things ever. The nurse gave it to me in my arm and I later heard that they're not supposed to do that because it's so painful there and she should have done it in my hip).
The nurses checked me again at about 6:00 and I was dilated another centimeter to 2 cm 80% effaced.
They then decided to send me to Strong. Unity isn't equipped to deliver babies before 34 weeks and at this point I was exactly 33 weeks.
I was then taken via ambulance to Strong and settled in.
I continued to have contractions every 1-2 minutes through the night, and through all of Sunday, with only a few breaks of 5-10 minutes between contractions.
The doctors tested for lots of different things trying to figure out why I was going into labor, but nothing made sense. The meds weren't stopping my contractions, so they were just trying to get me to slow down until the steroids were effective (48 hours) to help Jack's lungs.
The doctors were starting to think that I was going to be going into labor because nothing was stopping the contractions.
( one of the hardest things was going through the labor pains, and having them try to stop them. Because it wasn't working I felt like I was in so much pain without having the joy/motivation of giving birth to/meeting our baby. It just felt like pain for no reason. )
They sent in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) Dr. to talk to us about the reality of what risks we might be facing, and what the process would be like after birth and how it'd be to have the baby in the NICU for about 6 weeks.
I was scared, thinking about having my baby and him having to stay in the hospital that long instead of just coming home with us, but I knew that no matter what happened God was taking care of our baby.
Finally on Sunday evening my contractions started to back off. They were less intense/painful, and spread out to being about 5 minutes apart.
They then moved me to a regular room that was not in the "high risk" unit, and I was finally able to eat after about 30 hours with no food.
Monday afternoon they told me that, even though I was still contracting some, because it was less painful and through the whole time I wasn't dilating or effacing any more, they would let me go home on bed rest.
I was so excited to be home again.
John was so helpful and supportive of my through this whole thing.
He helped get me settled in at home,
and stayed with me on Tuesday, to make sure I stayed stable, and the contractions didn't pick up too much again.
Then, Tuesday night/Wednesday morning I was unable to sleep all night because of EXTREME back pain. It felt like a charlie horse that lasted for 15 minutes straight. John massaged it, and I tried every position possible to relieve the pain.
I learned at the hospital that the baby is on my left side and is posterior (which means he's face up instead of face down) so, even though he's down in the birthing position, his spine is pushing on my back, creating back labor (the most painful thing ever! It was the worst part of the pain during the contractions I had all weekend).
That night, I tried every possible position as well as sitting up and leaning from side to side, and couldn't stop the back pain. Part way through the night the menstrual cramping started up again and was very painful.
I called the doc in the morning and they wanted me to go back into the hospital.
Wednesday I went in to Unity, again!
They hooked me up again, and saw that I was again having intense contractions every 1-2 minutes.
They tried to stop them, but nothing was stopping them.
They checked, but said I was still 2 cm 80% effaced, so though I was having consistent contractions, they couldn't treat me as if I was in labor because it wasn't progressing anything.
After watching me for about 6 hours, with a few short stretches of the contractions getting lighter and spread out to about 4 or 5 minutes apart then picking up again, they decided to just send me home,
and said that I must have an "irritable uterus."
They told me that basically, my uterus is irritated and just contracts a lot.
I was so discouraged, knowing I'd just have to live with this pain for who knows how long... possibly 7 weeks. I couldn't imagine that length of time with that pain/exhaustion.
That evening I was overwhelmed. Not only from getting no sleep and being in pain for days, but we also found out the insurance we planned on having wasn't going to work, and we had to figure out how to fix that (having a baby in NICU with no insurance is not a fun thought), we also found out from our neighbor that our electric line on the side of our house is worn and when he walked by it, it shocked him, so the wires are exposed and we need to get an electrician to come change it all out (to change that we need to replace our entire circuit breaker).
Once I heard all of that, on top of everything that had happened I just broke down. I couldn't handle everything happening at once, and thinking about not getting any sleep for weeks and felt so helpless.
John just hugged me and told me we needed to get some sleep and relax.
Incredibly, that evening the back pain went away, and the contractions finally really slowed down.
I know I had so many people praying for me, and I definitely felt the prayers.
I finally have been able to get some sleep at night. I still wake up with back pain and some cramping every once in a while, but I've been able to get some sleep and some breaks from the pain.
I'm taking things one day at a time right now, and seeing how everything goes.
The hardest part for me right now, is knowing that on Saturday, I was dilating and effacing, and didn't know it. I'm nervous that, after going through this, I won't know what is "irritable uterus" and what is real labor.
I know that I'll know it's real labor before the baby is actually being born, but I'm nervous I'll miss the beginning and get to a point where they can't stop the labor, if I don't notice it early enough.
I'm just doing my best now to trust God and put the situation in His hands.
Every day that goes by, and I am still pregnant,
is one more day that Jack is growing.
Through all of this, I'm so grateful that Jack is healthy and growing. I can't wait to meet him in a few weeks, but pray he stays in as long as possible.
For anyone that actually read all of this... I'm impressed. This is suuuper long! Hehe.
I'll try to update when/if anything else comes up.
(Here's an ultra-sound picture from this weekend of the little troublemaker. His heart rate was great through everything, and he looks very healthy!)