I'm not sure if I can communicate how seriously traumatic last night was for me.
After picking up my son, around 6p, I was cooking dinner and feeling a bit dizzy and generally not well. I had some water and sat down. I let my husband finish making dinner when he got home at 6:20p. I ate dinner and had more water and told my hubby that I wasn't feeling well and that I'd be going to bed right after dinner and he asked "at 7p?" and I said "yep". I was realizing that I had been having BH contractions for like 20 mins straight with no relief. I know that you're supposed to drink water and lay down ... so I grabbed some water and headed to the bedroom.
Then I started feeling pain. I was timing things and it seemed like pain was washing over me every 8 mins, I started to wonder ... how many BH contractions do you have before you call the on-call? I called the on-call and waited for her reply. And since at that point I'd had 3, in less than 30 mins I thought ... what's the timing you should wait for if the contractions are painful and not just BH? should I be calling with these symptoms, maybe I'm overreacting? ... and then I realized ... it *wasn't* normal to have rhythmic PAINFUL contractions (it's then that I realized I was out of the realm of BH ... that took a few mins to process though) ... and then that fourth contraction was a serious doozy ... I was panting, breathing through it, I was switching positions, I called my old doula but got VM ... it felt JUST LIKE labor. It felt like back labor and I had the feeling of wanting to have a BM, I wanted to push. I knew this wasn't good. But there was no mucus plug, no bleeding ... my uterus was rock solid. It was painful to touch my uterus - that was weird. The only relief I could find was to do a hard pelvic tilt forward. But that only came with some relief.
This entire time my husband was bathing my son (on the other side of our small house) and putting him to bed - giving me time to rest ... little did he know how quickly things escalated. I tried repeatedly calling the home phone - his cell phone was next to me. He didn't answer. I yelled for him and he was shocked to learn what was going on. He tried to quickly return to handling our son, putting him down for bed, but before he could return ... I couldn't wait for the on-call to call me back nor could I wait for my husband - I couldn't imagine walking to the car and sitting for the ride to the hospital - I called 911 ... I just wasn't sure this baby would stay inside for the time it would take to be seen by a medical professional. But I prayed and I prayed and I prayed.
When the EMTs arrived it had been 10 mins since the last contraction (which was great since they were more like every 8 mins), they did the vitals and my heart rate was around 125. They took me to my hospital (about 25 mins away) ... I had two mild contractions in the ambulance and noted that I was at least feeling the baby ... I was still having BH, but the pain was all but gone.
I realized I had to pee in the ambulance - and I knew that holding pee exacerbates BH and contractions, so I asked the young EMT guy (note: he was single, no kids) if he had a diaper or pad or something ... he didn't, I told him he'd need to rig something or else I was going to pee on his gurney ... we found some chux pads and some absorbent wound dressing material and I tried as hard as I could to pee en route ... but I couldn't I guess I'm too well potty trained. I felt bad for the poor young guy ... I said - "unattractive bathroom activities ... this is what you can look forward to in marriage!" Poor guy.
When I got to the ER I demanded - who's going to help me go pee! and quickly they took me to the ER bathrooms - and I realized I was barefoot (ewwww) ... the orderly got me some skid proof socks and I tell you - I haven't peed more in my life. Then they wheeled me to L&D.
When the ER nurse who was wheeling me up to L&D asked me if I was still having contractions I told her no, that they were only BH at this point. When she dropped me off at L&D the L&D nurse asked - what is she here for? ... and the ER nurse replied "braxton hicks" ... and without delay I said, "No, painful, real contractions" ... punk.
As I mentioned, after arriving at the hospital I had no more contractions. I was seen by a fantastic L&D nurse and doctor who gave me an NST and an internal/pelvic ... I told them that I had eaten/drank just as much as I usually do and though this is usually caused by dehydration, I don't think that was the case here for me. The NST showed an irritable uterus (as usual for me - I had that with all my NSTs with Dru from 32-39w and again at my anatomy scan for this LO, they could SEE on u/s my uterus contracting!) and the baby was moving a ton :-) ... I haven't had an internal with this pregnancy (I opted out of the 10w appt) but I told her that in my last pregnancy I fell at 25w and my OB found that I had a soft cervix and she had my length checked via ultrasound - and since everything was good in that case, that perhaps a soft cervix was more normal for me. So with this exam she wasn't surprised to find that it was soft around the edges, but firm otherwise and a couple of centimeters in length with no dilation or effacement ... and high up - she said there's more centimeters inside the uterus and she was encouraged by the results. They monitored me for another hour just to make sure. She also said it was good news that: I've carried a baby to term previously, that after all those painful (seemingly progressive) contractions - the cervix was robustly in tact, and that there was pain ... she indicated that incompetent cervix usually presents with no indication, no pain. That and she said we did all the right things - that was nice to hear.
While I was there, I drank 3 cups of water and I took a fourth cup on the road. When I finished that in the car, I ate some nuts my husband had packed while the EMT guys were doing there thing and taking care of me, there wasn't much else my husband could do to help - so he packed a bag and followed behind the ambulance in the car. Anyhow, while driving home from our experience, I had an incredibly dry mouth trying to eat those almonds ... and just wanted ... needed ... more water.
I got home and during the hour it took me to get to bed, I was parched for water and drank 20 oz. Between midnight and 5A, I drank 20 more ounces ... since sleeping and drinking a ton ... I've really felt almost back to normal. Now I'm really wondering if I *was* dehydrated and just didn't know it! It was 80 degrees here yesterday and I was carrying around a smaller water bottle than I usually do and I didn't fill it up MORE times to compensate. I'm hoping I was just dehydrated ... because what the heck happened??! When I asked them this, when I was afraid to be released (because there didn't seem to be a cause and without a cause - what can you do to treat it??!) ... they said that with an irritable uterus, if the baby went through a growth spurt - this could have been caused by that ... but that doesn't provide me with any action to take to avoid this in the future. Just prayer, trust, and suppressing fear.
If you're wondering why they didn't give me an IV in L&D, it's b/c I kept telling them that I drank and ate as much as I usually do - it wasn't until leaving (and needing to drink SO MUCH more water) that I realized that maybe this was a dehydration issue.
I'm so glad that is behind me. I can't even *imagine* what it would have been like going through this in public or at work or something ... it was really scary and I felt very vulnerable. Both Berilac and I kept saying why did this have to happen this week? Why couldn't it be next week??! (I'm 23 weeks and my hospital considers viability with a baby's weight of 650g - that's the 50% for a 24 week old baby) ... I have been waiting to get past viability ... and all this happened just 6 days prior. Thank the good LORD nothing more came of this ... it could have ended very poorly.
Today, I'm drinking like a camel and maintaining my pattern of eating something every 2-3 hours ... I'm hoping this will keep that experience from recurring. I've had enough drama for one pregnancy.
Praising God and thanking all my friends that surrounded me in prayer. James 5:16
With much love and gratitude,