32/33-week update - AKA "why I'm sure this baby is a boy"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

On Monday I woke up at 6:00, went to the gym and ran five miles, feeling awesome. I came home and started getting ready for work, turned on the shower, was doing my thing, and noticed a little blood, which is never a good thing, especially for moms-to-be. I called my trusty 811 and they recommended I go into a walk-in clinic to get checked out, but I decided to forgo the clinic and head straight to the hospital - in hindsight, one of my best decisions ever. I called Peter who immediately headed for home to drive me to the hospital, and called into work to let them know I'd miss our morning production meeting and that I wasn't sure about an afternoon meeting we'd had scheduled.

I figured we'd be sent home from the hospital within 15 minutes with a clean bill of health and a "these things happen" spiel. Instead, after being hooked up to a heart rate and activity monitor, I found out I was having contractions 2-4 minutes apart. At 32 weeks - waaaay too early for those sorts of shenanigans. And I wasn't even feeling anything!

My first thought was "I'm NOT ready to have this baby yet!" I was worried about totally unimportant things at first - from the shallow, insignificant fact I hadn't shaved my legs (I'd cut my shower short) to thinking about how the nursery isn't totally finished.

And then we realized that the baby's heart rate was dipping after my contractions, which led the nurses and doctor to believe the baby may be in distress. At this point I started to panic. Normally, when preterm labour starts, doctors will administer drugs right away to stop the contractions and stop labour, no problem. However, if the baby's in danger, sometimes it's better to let labour progress and have the baby right away.

My next stop was the birthing room, which was completely surreal. I got put in a johnny shirt, had an IV hooked up, and got the activity monitor strapped back on at regular intervals to track my contractions and the baby's heart rate. I tried to keep my shit together and not completely lose it and start bawling. The nurses and doctors were all wonderful, answered all my questions, and took excellent care of me and Pete, who never left my side. I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything, which I realized was in case I ended up having a baby that afternoon.

I cannot explain how frightening it is, when you legitimately think you have seven or eight weeks to prepare for something, and being told it might happen that same day. Imagine getting a deadline at work or at school wrong - by eight weeks - and realizing whatever it is, is due that day. Now multiply that panic you feel by like, five million, due to the fact that this isn't a paper you need to pass in, or a client meeting you need to get ready for, but potentially bringing a baby into the world seven weeks early. That was me on Monday.

The baby had to be analyzed for overall health and size. When my stomach was measured externally, it was measuring small - adding a whole new complication (in addition to having a preterm baby, I'd also be having a baby that was extra small for his or her age). We had an ultrasound to confirm the measurements, and thankfully we found out the baby's head was just super low, which made him or her appear smaller. Our baby is actually in the 29th percentile for size for its age, and weighed 4lb 4oz on Monday. He or she also scored an 8/8 on an overall wellness test, so we knew at least if they were an early bird, they'd have a good start. I was given a shot in the bum of a steroid to help develop baby's lungs in case I went into full-fledged labour.

My cervix was checked (which is a disgusting process, btw) and was 1.9 cm dilated, so something funky was going on. I also had a swab test done to check to see whether I was at risk of going into preterm labour and it came back positive. The OB decided to start me on the drug to slow my contractions, which happened late Monday. I was so excited to hear I'd be getting the drug. I was less excited to hear it doesn't always work.

Overnight the drugs kicked in and my contractions became weaker and irregular. I spent Tuesday in the hospital receiving a lower dose of the medication, and had my last dose on Wednesday afternoon. I stayed in the hospital another 24+ hours with no medications to make sure I didn't start contracting again, and got released this afternoon, four days later.

Now that I'm home, I'm on a "reduced activity" plan until I go into labour or 36 weeks, whichever comes first (please, please, please let us make it to 36 weeks if not longer!) I'll find out for sure on Monday if I'm done work early, which also sucks and is unexpected, but as one of the nurses pointed out, having kids is alllll about dealing with the unexpected, so this is good practice. If we make it to 36 weeks, the baby is considered full term and there's no risk of delivering early, so that's the goal.

Every day the baby stays put is two fewer days he or she would need to spend in the hospital after being born, so we're hoping and praying they're content in there. Every twinge I feel, I panic. I hate the idea of bedrest and reduced activity - I despise sitting still. I hate the thought of not being able to work out or clean the house or shake my tailfeathers for the next few weeks but I hate the thought of our little one being in danger even more. We're 33 weeks today. Please hang in for at least three more weeks, baby!

And this is why I'm convinced (again) that I'm having a boy. A little girl simply wouldn't cause all this trouble. But for a bratty little boy this is typical behaviour.

I don't have a 32-week photo either. Those johnny shirts at the hospital? Not flattering.

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  1. Funny thing but I had a feeling you were having problems this week. Another funny thing is when your blog opened, it opened to you post on 3 wishes - weird, I know. One of them, remember, was for more free time to read, write, etc. Thin of this reduced activity thing as an answer to your wish. I know your baby will be fine and you were so smart to go directly to the hospital! Mummy instincts already!

    Take care little family - all of you!

  2. WOW, Amy! What a stressful few days for you.

    Glad to hear that things are getting better, and I'm thinking of ya!

  3. so glad you and the baby are ok. ellie was born about five weeks early, so i understand the panic that sets in when you realize you are SO not ready. keep that bun in the oven for a few more weeks!

  4. Geeze Amy! I'm glad to hear that you and baby are okay! When I read the title it made me think that you had gone early (the whole boy thing). Don't go early! And tell your little one that I'm using my teacher voice!

  5. Glad to hear things are looking up, what a scary experience!

  6. Omg that must have been so scary!! I'm so glad you and baby are okay, and sending you the best possible vibes that you and baby get through the next three weeks complication free. Maybe you can hire a maid service to clean your house....takes care of the nesting urge to clean like crazy in the last weeks before birth, but keeps you from worrying about doing it yourself. I'm 15 weeks and that's my plan for when I get closer to the big day.

  7. wow sounds scary! glad you're ok and are able to have a light perspective on it :)

  8. Amy, I'm happy to hear you're home and healthy and that you're little babe is still snug in his/her home!

    Going into the hospital while pregnant and not full-term is scary, no matter the cause (I went in around 30 weeks with a kidney stone). Sounds like the folks at the IWK were as awesome as I remember them to be. Just think of it as a trial run for the real thing -- if you can make it through a week like this, with all its uncertainty, and keep it together, it just proves that you are going to be a wonderful mother.

    Relax, take care, and savour any and all moments of peace, quiet, and trashy-TV watching before that bundle makes its debut!

  9. thanks everyone!

    Kathryn - good point about the free time, I'll have to keep that in mind!

    Bryn - I do remember Ellie came a bit early, but wasn't sure exactly when it was. It's reassuring to hear from moms whose babies arrived a little ahead of schedule and are just fine!

    Ainsley - I have done lots of "teacher voicing" to the baby over the past few days!

    Lindsey - I remembered reading your blog about getting put off work early too, so almost as soon as I got home I looked at your archives to see what had happened to you and how you dealt with it - I just read your list of tips and am going to follow them for the next few weeks :) Keeping a schedule, putting on real clothes, etc. will help!!

  10. Wow- I am so happy that you and the baby are okay. It must have been incredibly scary. I will tell you though, little girls do cause that much trouble ;)

  11. OH MY GOODNESS AMY! I'm so glad you're both OK!!! That's so scary =( We went through the same thing with Juliana at 28 weeks. She stayed put for just about 10 more if that makes things more positive!

    I think it's so funny that you think it has to be a boy for all the same reasons I knew from day 1 that ours was a girl. She was causing too much trouble to be a boy =)

    Either way, boy or girl, I'm so happy again that you're ok.

  12. Thanks Jenilee! It's so reassuring to know that you guys had 10 more weeks after your attempted escape :) We're still hanging in there!