Well, not such a happy blog post this go 'round. I'm in the hospital in preterm labor...here's the whole story.
Last Thursday at around 6pm we were on our way to serve at our church's student ministry. I had been noticing a LOT of Braxton-Hicks contractions the whole time we were there, and on into the night afterward. I say Braxton-Hicks, because they were similar to what I'd been having for weeks and they weren't painful. I was having about 6 an hour, and you're *supposed* to give your doctor a call if you have more than 4 an hour. I didn't feel like it was any cause for concern though, so I just went to bed. On Friday, I went to my regularly scheduled check-up appointment with Doc F. I had been having the same kinds of contractions all the way to the hospital (his office is in the hospital itself). I mentioned the contractions to him during my visit, and he said that he wasn't concerned at all but that he'd check me anyway. After he finished, his normal, calm demeanor changed as he said, "I am SO glad I just checked you. You're 2-3 cm dilated and are considered to be in preterm labor. I've got to send you down to labor and delivery right now, and I'll need to transfer you to another hospital with a more advanced neonatology department so they can take care of you."
So, they wheeled me downstairs, and medical people whirled me into a frenzy of treatment. I got set up with an IV of magnesium sulfate to slow the contractions and protect Lily Mae's brain from bleeding and cerebral palsy should she be delivered. I was shot up with some steroids to beef up her lungs, and then a transport team came to take me to the other hospital. By the time I got there, my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart. Eventually, I was examined again by the new hospital's doctors and found that I was a full 3cm at that point. An ultrasound of little miss Lily Mae showed that she looked perfect, though, and there was no specific reason that I was going into labor. Things settled down and I started to rest in the labor and delivery wing, but 20 minutes later nurses and doctors rushed in and said her heart rate had dropped and they needed to do another ultrasound. I got checked again, and in that 20 minutes I had gone from 3 to 4 cm, and the ultrasound showed that the umbilical cord was being compressed between me and her head - thus the reason for her heart rate dropping. We got that settled down, but the doctors thought at that point that labor was coming pretty quickly. Thankfully, it didn't, and I made it through the night without having her.
I spent the next day continuing the magnesium IV and felt pretty bad. They gave me another dose of steroids for her lungs, and the contractions eventually slowed to about once an hour. They checked me yesterday - Sunday - and I had not progressed any further so the doctors felt comfortable moving me to the antepartum department. I'm still here in a much more comfortable room, and I'm allowed to get up and go to the bathroom, eat, and shower. However, I'm not being constantly monitored anymore, so it's a bit difficult to know where things stand at this point. After the magnesium was stopped (I could only be on it for so long), I did a round of another drug to stop contractions - finished that, and then started a third type. That third type was a drug that was only speculated to help slow contractions, but it hadn't been proven or been found to be highly effective. I've felt pretty bad all day as it significantly lowered my blood pressure - I had headaches and chest pain, and an EKG showed that my heart was acting a little funky. The doctor decided that it was not a good medicine for me and that I should not continue it. So now I'm on nothing to stop the contractions (but that doesn't necessarily mean they'll pick back up - let's hope they don't).
The plan for now is that I will be on permanent bedrest until she's born :( It could be a few days, or we may be able to hold things off for a few more weeks, but none of the medical people here are very optimistic that I'll make it to full-term. I get the impression that everyone is just hoping to get to the 34-week milestone which is about 2 weeks away. I'm told that there's a chance that I could go home and be on bedrest there, but we'll really have to play things by ear for at least a few more days here at the hospital to make a better evaluation. So that's that! For now she's still cookin', and I hope she won't need much intervention or help when she's born!
My parents came down from Maryland to be with me, my mother-in-law Mary came for a couple of days, and Clark and friends have been a huge support to me - I don't know what I'd do without you guys. I love reading emails and comments on here and Facebook, so if you feel like keeping me occupied for a few minutes while I'm sitting in bed, send some words my way!
I'll be updating on Facebook, Twitter, and on here if I get the chance, but I apologize in advance if you don't hear much from me. I've been here since Friday afternoon and just now have felt like updating the ol' blog, so bear with me. But please, PLEASE know with confidence that I appreciate every prayer you've offered to God...I know without a doubt that he is all over this situation, knows exactly what's going to happen, and has intended every bit of it to play out exactly as it will. Just gotta have some patience to find out how it will turn out!