Friday, October 19, 2012

a scary day

we had a little adventure of sorts on wednesday.  i guess it started over the weekend, cuz i think that's when i first noticed i was having cramps.  they were usually only in the morning, right when i first woke up.  it felt like how it used to feel when i woke up the morning i got my period - they felt exactly like menstrual cramps.  i did a bit of consulting with dr. google and found that they are pretty common and nothing to be concerned about, so i let it go.  monday and tuesday, i was just not really feeling myself, but i chalked it up to the fact that this kid seems to think that my ribcage is the most comfortable spot, and it really hurts, so i thought i was just uncomfortable.  i did call my ob on tuesday and spoke to the nurse about the cramps, but she reassured me that unless they're accompanied by bleeding or they're not getting better with rest, they aren't anything to be concerned about.

wednesday, i really felt like i was having an off day.  i didn't feel like myself at all.  i was sluggish and uncomfortable, and the cramps just weren't going away.  after lunch, i felt really uncomfortable, but it mostly felt like i ate too much.  and i felt like i had really bad gas.  so around 3pm, i went for a walk around the block outside the hospital to try to get things moving and hopefully feel better.  as i was walking, though, i realized that something just wasn't right.  something just felt wrong.  i couldn't put my finger on it, but it was just wrong.  i fought back tears the rest of the walk there, and then when i got back to my office i sat down at my desk and started to cry, then i asked my coworkers to get a nurse to come and take my blood pressure.  they grabbed a nurse from the floor and he came in and took my vitals.  everything was normal, but i still just didn't feel right.  i wanted to just go home and rest until my scheduled ob appointment that night, but my coworkers convinced me to go down to the petu (perinatal exam and treatment unit).  i let them escort me downstairs and they stayed with me until i got checked in.

i was taken back to my room and given a gown to change into.  the nurse hooked me up to 2 monitors - one to monitor the baby's heart rate, and the other to monitor movements/contractions in my uterus.  once she walked out of the room, i burst into tears (again).  i was just so scared.  i called matt and told him where i was.  he was in the middle of something at work, and since i hadn't even seen the doctor yet, i had no idea how long i'd be there, so i told him to finish up and then call me when he was done.  35 minutes later, i still hadn't seen the doctor, so when matt called back, i told him to come down.  in the meantime, the nurse came in to draw blood and hang some iv fluids.  she told me that since i was having some contractions, they were concerned that i was dehydrated.  i was surprised to hear that i was having contractions, since i wasn't really feeling anything, so i asked her how much.  she said i was having about one per minute!  wwhhhhaaaaaa?!   i couldn't believe it.  when she tried the vein on my left arm, it went in fine, but within 10 seconds a huge bubble formed behind it and she had to pull it.  she placed the iv on my right hand and that went fine.  while all of this was going on, the doctor and matt arrived, pretty much at the same time, around 5:15.  i went through a brief medical history and pregnancy history with the doctor, and then she did a speculum exam.  since they didn't think i'd need an internal exam, they'd put me in a room with a regular bed, which meant that for the speculum exam, i had to balance my butt on an overturned bedpan and lay with legs bent, feet touching.  that was, far and away, the most uncomfortable speculum exam i've ever had.  she took 3 swabs and then removed the speculum and helped me off the bedpan.  after that, she did a cervix check to make sure i wasn't dilated - i was still totally closed.  so they left us there, waiting for the blood work results.

the first bag of fluids finished in about 45 minutes, and then i had to pee.  so we had to unhook the monitors and i had to carry the plugs and the empty bag and all the lines with me into the bathroom.  that should be an olympic event - peeing while holding onto all that stuff and making sure the monitors/belts don't fall into the toilet.  matt and i got me back into bed and all hooked up again, and the nurse came in to hang another bag of fluids.  at this point, i was actually starting to feel some of the contractions.  but baby's heart rate was looking good and he was definitely moving around a lot, so they took his monitor off.  weirdly enough, even though i was now feeling the contractions, they were slowing down a bit.  the nurse came back in to say that all the blood work and urine screens were negative, and we were just waiting to see if the contractions slowed down a bit more and then the doctor would do another cervix check.

finally, around 8pm (about 4 hours after i got there), the doctor came in to confirm that the contractions had slowed and they were no longer concerned about preterm labor.  one of the swabs she did during the speculum exam was the fetal fibronectin test (ffn).  this test detects the presence of fetal fibronectin protein on the cervix.  a positive result is an indicator that preterm labor may be occuring, but it's not very accurate.  but a negative result will definitively rule out the likelihood that preterm labor will start within 2 weeks.  my result was negative, so i know that baby boy should stay cooking for another 2 weeks, at least.  hallelujah!  the doctor did another cervix check, and i was still closed, so they felt comfortable discharging me.  they did tell me to take thursday off from work to rest, and told me i really need to monitor my fluid intake. 

so i stayed home from work yesterday and rested.  i rescheduled my ob appointment and they were able to fit me in yesterday, so i spoke to my regular doctor and they confirmed that with the negative blood work they are not too concerned.  she just told me to take it easy and not push myself (which i definitely feel like i've been doing), and stay on top of  my fluids.  she said that the cramps i'm having are normal braxton hicks contractions, but if i start to feel like my uterus is "balling" up and my stomach is getting hard, that is a real contraction, and if i have more than 3-4 in an hour, i need to call them right away.

i downloaded an app on my phone that sends me reminders when i haven't logged a glass of water in a while.  i have it set for 12 8oz glasses per day.  i start my day off with a bottle of water, which i try to finish before i even get to work.  then while i'm at work, i have a 16oz tumbler on my desk.  my goal has always been to drink 3 per day, but i'm usually lucky if i get 2 down.  i am really going to work harder on getting all 3 down every day.  it's hard, though!  but if i can do that, that is already 8 8oz glasses!

i'm back at work today and i'm feeling a bit better.  still a little...wiped out, but i think that is to be expected.  i am still having that crampy feeling, and i did feel one real contraction this afternooon.  i am still very nervous, and trying to limit the walking i'm doing at work.  tonight i'm going to get a maternity support belt to help hold up my stomach, because it feels very low and heavy sometimes.  my mom was supposed to come down this weekend to help me with some stuff for the nursery, but an emergency came up and she probably won't be able to make it.  it's probably for the best - it'll force me to rest a bit more. 

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