Let’s start by talking about these gorgeous maternity photos before we dive into all the crazy preterm labor stuff. We got these photos taken about a week and a half before the whole preterm labor thing went down. My good friend Ashley, from Ashley + Alexis Photo took them and they honestly couldn’t have turned out more perfect! I was 32 weeks pregnant at the time and felt giant and like a total mess. This is honestly the most I had gotten ready in weeks, because who has the energy for that when you are growing a tiny human?? Anyway, I will absolutely cherish these photos forever! I can’t wait to look back and remember when baby girl was in my belly kicking away.
Alright, Let’s talk about preterm labor. It honestly was never something that ever crossed my mind when I thought about my own pregnancy. My mom had normal pregnancies and they were super mild. I had a very normal pregnancy and a very mild pregnancy. Yes, I got nauseous during my first trimester like most women do, but I wasn’t throwing up every day which I have been super grateful for.
So when I was 33 weeks and started experiencing preterm labor symptoms I almost wasn’t sure what to do! In my mind I was worried I wasn’t going to even be dilated by 38 weeks. I really didn’t want to go over because the last few weeks of pregnancy are rough as it is. I had talked to my doctor about even possibly getting induced at 39 weeks if everything looked good, because having everything planned out and controlled sounded good to me! Let’s just say the past couple weeks have been totally unexpected and a little crazy!
Friday, June 28, 2019, I woke up just like any other Friday and started to get ready for work. Colin had already left for the day and I started to feel a little funny. As I was going about my normal morning routine my back started really hurting, and it was more than just your average pregnancy back pain. I also started to experience cramping, just like really bad period cramps, which I obviously haven’t had for the past 8 months. At first I didn’t think anything of it, but then I started getting contractions along with the back pain and cramps. These contractions were a lot stronger than the average Braxton Hicks and made me really hot.
After laying down for about 15 minutes everything started to subside and I started to feel better. I was able to finish getting ready for the day and head out to work. At the time I honestly didn’t really think much of it or even jump to preterm labor because I was only 33 weeks and 5 days. I went to work that morning and stayed till about 4:30. During that time I had a couple contractions, but nothing different than any other day.
When I got home from work that Friday I started to straighten up the house a little bit since Colin’s parents were planning to stay the night because they had an early flight the next morning. It wasn’t anything major, I started a light load of laundry, folded some laundry and put stuff away on the counter. After a little while all of my earlier symptoms started to come back, but even worse. Back pain and cramps started to get real severe and contractions started to get more frequent. As I was having contractions it was almost all I could do to breathe through them, and I thought to myself, “if this is anything like labor….it is going to suck.” Thank goodness for epidurals, amiright?
So I went downstairs, grabbed my water bottle and laid on the couch to try and make myself more comfortable. Colin came home while I was laying on the couch and was a little worried. I decided to make a call to the on call physician since it was after hours. He recommended I come in to the hospital to get checked out, but honestly, I didn’t want to be one of those first time mom’s who freak out over everything…So I decided to wait another hour to see if my contractions would stop. They didn’t.
Colin’s parents came over and we were just talking about their upcoming trip. I had been tracking my contractions the whole time and they got to be 3 minutes apart. So I finally told Colin we should probably head to the hospital to get checked out. In both our minds we were just going to go in, get checked out, they might give me some meds to stop contractions and then they would send us on our way. At least that’s what the internet lead us to believe.
So we got to the hospital, they admitted us, and started to check everything out. The nurse checked my cervix and told me that I was dilated to a 3 and 80% effaced. I was honestly shocked! Colin and I had been going on long walks every night because my doctor thought I might not be dilated until later in pregnancy, but here I was at a 3! So they started to hook me up to IV’s, take blood work, give me a steroid shot to help baby girls lungs develop more, and run some tests. Let me tell you, I am a wimp when it comes to blood and needles and feel like that part was almost worse than contractions/preterm labor. It took 3 tries in 3 different places to finally place an IV and by the time it was over I was chugging sprite, Colin was fanning me with a piece of paper as fast as he could, and I had almost passed out. (haha)
After they got me all hooked up to everything and gave me some meds to help slow contractions, they started talking about what was to come next. They said since I was laboring and not quite 34 weeks they wanted to transfer me to IMC because their NICU is better equipped to handle babies that are under 34 weeks. They thought there was a possibility I might deliver since my contractions were about 2 minutes apart. So they had called and ambulance and it was on its way over.
The on call physician came in and also talked to us. He said, “I’m so glad you decided to come in! If you are planning on working you’re done. Your life is about to change. Since you’re laboring there is a possibility you might deliver this weekend….” and so on.
After they left I turned to Colin and said, “We can’t have a baby! We literally have NOTHING. We aren’t ready.” Then I repeated that over and over in my mind. I thought we were just coming in for a check up, so the only things I brought with me were my phone and wallet. I didn’t have a hospital bag packed, we hadn’t had any baby showers. It was a weird place to be in, because I was planning on having 6 more weeks to get everything ready for baby and prepare mentally.
So the ambulance finally arrived about a half hour later. Before they loaded me up they wanted to check my cervix to see if there had been any changes (It had been about an hour and a half since the last time I had been checked). The same nurse checked me and said, “you’re at a 5 and 90% effaced.” She explained to the EMT’s the I was a 3 and 80% an hour and a half previous. Then they said, “Since you are progressing so fast I think we need to life flight you to IMC.” WHAT???? Immediately all I could see was dollar sign after dollar sign…and this video.
They called the helicopter and it had just landed at IMC. By the time it got ready again and landed at Riverton it would be 20 minutes later, which would be the same amount of time it would take to ride in the ambulance. So luckily they just took me by ambulance (thank goodness).
So they loaded me all up while Colin ran home to grab some stuff for our stay in the hospital. If you have ever wanted to ride in an ambulance I am here to tell you that it is nothing glamorous. It is very uncomfortable and I literally felt every bump, which made my contractions that much worse.
Once we arrived at IMC they put me in a room and hooked me up to a ton of monitors and got caught up on the situation. They checked my cervix there and the doctor said I was 4 cm dilated (the number might be a little different depending on who is checking you). After reiterating what the doctors said about possibly delivering they said they would do everything to make me comfortable and try to get contractions to stop.
By this time it was between 10:00-11:00pm. My parents and Colin’s parents came to check on us and see what was going on. After a little while they left and our nurse said we should be fine to eat. So Colin ran to grab us some food because we didn’t eat dinner and we were STARVING. If you have the opportunity to eat hospital cafeteria food, DO IT. It’s delicious.
After eating dinner, then started one of the longest nights of my life. They had to check on me every few hours and also run antibiotics through the IV in my hand. It took about a half hour to run the full antibiotics and it BURNED the entire time. Luckily we had the best nurse and she got me heated blankets to wrap around it to help.
That night I got about a total of 45 minutes of sleep. Between getting checked every few hours, taking more meds, getting up to pee, labor pains, and trying to sleep in the most uncomfortable hospital bed, I was exhausted the next morning. I also was hooked up to everything possible and had to call for help every time I needed to go to the bathroom. I had a baby monitor and contraction monitor hooked up to my belly the whole night that they had to constantly adjust every time I turned over, and they also put these boots on my feet that helped with blood flow. They would put pressure on my legs every few minutes and made a ton of noise. I don’t know why I didn’t just stay up and watch movies all night.
By the next morning my cute nurse said we had got my contractions from happening every 1-2 minutes to every 7 minutes. Which was music to our ears! So they were going to move us to the floor above to monitor us. The other thing that was music to my ears was that I didn’t have to be hooked up to the baby monitor and contraction monitor!! (woo hoo).
So all of Saturday wasn’t too bad! Just really boring. We watched some Netflix, took a couple naps, and had some friends and family visit. This whole weekend we were oh so grateful for friends and family.
I’ll be honest, we were a little bummed that we didn’t get to leave the hospital with a baby. We went through all the emotions while we were in the hospital. We were in shock and disbelief, denial that we might be having a baby, and then finally came to terms with the fact we might be leaving the hospital parents and that it would all work out. Finally we got a little excited, because we talked about what it would be like to have her there. Even though we were a little bummed, we are so glad and grateful that she gets to cook in there a little longer!
We were hoping to be out of there by Saturday night, but they had to give me another steroid shot for baby girl at 9:00 pm and wanted to keep us for one more night of observation. That night my family was at Taylorsville Dayzz, and watched the fireworks. Since I literally had been in bed all day they got me a wheelchair and we were able to go watch the fireworks from a window. By the time the fireworks we had ended I started getting back pain and a few contractions again.
I told our nurse and she kept an eye on it all night. Since they were happening off and on and only every 10 minutes they weren’t super concerned. Luckily this hospital bed was a little more comfortable, plus I wasn’t hooked up to anything. So I was able to sleep for a total of 3 hours! The next morning we ate breakfast, they checked everything and by late Sunday morning said we would be good to go home!
They told us that I would need to be on modified bedrest until baby girl arrives. I would be fine to walk around the house, use stairs, but no extra physical activity, heavy lifting or exerting myself. They also gave us medication to take home to help stop my contractions further.
We went home and basically slept the whole day away as well as the next! It took a couple days for me to finally start to feel normal and my body to stop freaking out, but since then I have been doing great and holding pretty steady. Luckily my work has been super awesome and I have been able to work from home as well during my modified bed rest.
We have had 2 appointments with my doctor since our preterm labor scare to see where we are at. 2 weeks ago was our follow up appointment. Our doctor said I was holding steady at 4cm and 80% effaced, but baby was definitely low. This past week was our second appointment and I am now dilated to 5cm and 90% effaced! She also said baby girl is SUPER low and I have a bulging water bag (which basically means my water is bulging and could break at any time.)
My doctor thinks baby girl should be here very soon! We can’t wait to meet this little chick who seems to already be a handful!
*if there are any spelling errors, or grammatical errors we can blame it on my pregnancy brain!