Not the Weekend We Had Planned

The 35 weeks photo Chris took last Sunday. I'm kind of wishing I had turned off the bathroom lights and put away the shoes on the floor. Ah, well.
Waiting patiently in the waiting area. Per usual, Charlotte was kept occupied with Lady and the Tramp and Dumbo. (She likes the Disney movies with animals.)

We had a fantastic weekend planned in which we were going to go to our town's festival, followed by an Oktoberfest party (catered by a German bakery!) at the home of an old college chum.

Saturday morning dawned absolutely beautifully. We got ready to walk to our town’s equivalent of Main Street for the parade, but a horrible abdominal pain had me pathetically limping down the sidewalk, seriously slowing down my family. By the time we reached the end of our neighborhood, it was obvious I wasn’t going to make it. I hobbled back home, got into bed, and had myself a pity party. I had SO looked forward to watching Charlotte watch the parade and see all the farm animals, and I was so disappointed. How many chances did I have left to spend with her as my only girl?

The pain stuck around for an hour and a half and finally faded, leaving a dull labor-like ache in my back. This was a bit concerning, as I had very regular contractions all Thursday afternoon and evening until I fell asleep. I’ve had a baby before and I know the difference between the fake ones and the real ones. These, unfortunately, were real.

The problem? We were a couple days shy of 36 weeks. Full-term is considered 37 weeks. After a lot of internal debate, I called my doctor. Lucky duck me, my main OB—the one who delivered Charlotte—had the Saturday shift at the hospital. She asked me to come into Labor and Delivery, saying she’d feel better if she could take a look at what was going on.

We let Charlotte nap awhile longer, sheepishly bailed on the Oktoberfest party, and finally drove to the hospital. It was SO trippy being in Labor and Delivery again, three years later. I even filled out paperwork in the same freaking chair in the waiting area. I knew technically everything was fine, but I wasn't sure how problematic being short of 37 weeks was.

A nurse led me to triage, and I waved adios to my guy and kid and headed back. I felt silly getting into the hospital gown and all, certain I’d be sent home shortly, but hey. I do what nurses tell me to do. The nurse hooked me up to the all the necessary monitors, and a couple minutes later, my doctor arrived.

Note: My OB is WAY more chipper during the afternoon than at 3:00 a.m., which was the last time I saw her in the hospital context. Honestly, I think it had been a slow day and she was a little bored, so Lorelei and I were giving her something to do. Anyway, she examined me and confirmed that, um, those contractions were doing the job they’re meant to do, but it wasn’t like delivery was terribly imminent. Despite the irregular contractions, I was surprised how far along we were. While there, I had a couple contractions, neatly documented on the monitor, but I don’t need a machine to tell me when they occur. Trust me.

Meanwhile, I had a woman on either side of me in triage (curtained off, mind you) who were quite obviously in real labor, and I felt bad for just hanging out comparatively comfortably, texting Chris snarky comments. Then again, I’ve been there while feeling like I’d die, and I’ll be back again shortly, so I decided to enjoy the chance to lay down and hang out by myself without a toddler shouting, “Mommy, WAKE UP!” in my face.

Anyway, what I had suspected was preterm/early labor was exactly that, but because we hit 36 weeks on Sunday, we’re not stopping labor but also not encouraging it (e.g., no bed rest or medical intervention but no 5-mile walks to get things moving).

What does all of this mean? Nobody knows. Technically, things could drag on for a couple more weeks, or we could have a baby by tomorrow night. This is insufficient information for people as type-A as Chris and me. We thought we had scheduled plenty of time for my mom to get here two weeks prior to Lorelei’s due date (October 14), having her arrive on September 29. Now, September 29 seemed impossibly far away. What to do? I asked the nurse, and she said to listen to my body and go with my gut.

My body feels WEIRD and is contracting. Often. Irregularly, but often. With Charlotte, my body was at 1 cm and 50% (don’t make me publicly elaborate) on a Monday afternoon, and I was begging for an epidural by Friday night. We’re past those numbers with Lorelei, and I’m already contracting, so . .  . I called my mom and asked her to change her flight.

She did, and she’s arriving Tuesday night. Chris and I are taking things one day at a time. We’ll go into work as scheduled tomorrow (Monday), and hopefully again on Tuesday. We’d love to get this child baked to 37 weeks, but the doctor isn’t worried if she comes a little earlier. Getting through today seemed like a big accomplishment!


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