Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A tale of two hospitals

Sunday night was the beginning on a stressful 24 hours. I was getting ready to go to bed about 11:00 and I started having cramps and contractions. I couldn't get comfortable, so I went downstairs and poured myself a glass of wine in hopes it would help me relax. I turned the lights back out again at midnight and tossed and turned until 1:30 am. I went back downstairs to check on Todd (I figured he was asleep in his chair). He came up to bed and I told him I was having contractions but hadn't been timing them.
About 1:45, I got up out of the bed and went downstairs for the third time. This time I sat down and started timing the contractions. They were close - about 2-3 minutes apart. The OB had told me to call if I have more than 5 contractions in an hour. After I had 6 in 15 minutes I called the on call nurse. She said I needed to come in to labor and delivery to be checked.
I went upstairs and got dressed and woke Todd. I told him I was going to the hospital and for him to stay home (didn't want to drag Will out in the middle of the night for nothing). I had 4 contractions while driving to the hospital. They were relatively strong - enough to make me have to breathe through them.
I arrived at the hospital a bit before 2:30 am. I changed into a gown and got hooked to the monitors. My nurse told me I had a steady contraction pattern of every 2-3 minutes. She checked me and said I was about one centimeter dilated. She started an IV and gave me a dose of terbutaline to slow/stop the contractions. She also gave me a dose of of pain medication (I don't know what) to help me relax. The contractions slacked up a bit, so she gave me another dose of the terb to help them stop.
After being there for several hours on the monitor and IV, they declared I was free to go. I was told to stay on bed rest for the rest of the day and to contact my doctor's office to see if they wanted to see me. If the contractions started up again, I was instructed to call the doctor right away.
I called Todd at 6 am to come get me. I wasn't allowed to drive myself home because of the meds I had been given. He was worried about what shape Will would be in if he drug him out of bed, so we arranged for a friend of mine to come and pick me up. She arrived shortly after 7:00 and took me home. We got Will up and dressed at that point and Will went to his best friend's house to play.

Todd and I gratefully fell into bed just before 8 am to try and finally get some sleep. We got up about 11. Todd fixed me a sandwich and I got up to use the bathroom. I immediately had a contraction, so I got back in bed. My friend calls and says they're closing the schools (it had snowed about 3 inches), so she was going to drop Will back off. When she arrives, Todd talked to her about heading over to the hospital to pick up his car. So, off they go. Todd takes our camera with him and says he'll drive Will around for a bit and snap some pictures of the snow.
While they were gone, I started contracting again. So I went ahead and called the doctor's office. The nurse decided after talking to me that I needed to come back in to labor and delivery. But since my contractions weren't stopping after the meds they'd given me, they were concerned about preterm labor. They told me not to go to my regular hospital (just a few miles away), but to head to the University of Tennessee where they have a large NICU. Her words were "our hospital can't handle a 33-weeker and you'll need to be at UT if you deliver, that way you don't have to be transferred via ambulance."
Suddenly, this all seemed too real and I started crying. I called Todd and told him we had to go to UT because I might really be in labor. I started packing a bag and Todd hurried home with Will. I packed an overnight bag for Will and called my parents to have them on standby in case they needed to come up to get Will.
We dropped Will back off at his best friend's house with his overnight bag and headed downtown. We managed to make it through the terrible maze that is UTMC to find labor and delivery triage.
I got checked in, changed into a gown and hooked back up to the monitors. They said the on call doctor would be by shortly to check on me. They continued to record contractions every 4-6 minutes. The doctor finally arrived (a few hours later) and gave me a Fetal fibronectin test. She said this test would be able to tell if my cervix was breaking down and if delivery would be within 2 weeks. She checked me again and said I was still only 1 cm - so all these contractions hadn't caused any progress - which was good news.
She said if the test was negative, I could go home and take it easy for a few days. She said if the test was positive, it didn't mean I was going into labor - but that is was more likely. She said if that was the case, they'd have the perinatologist come and meet with me to see if I needed a prescription to keep the contractions at bay.
We finally got the test results an hour later - about 6 pm. They were negative. Thankfully, though all of this, it was only false labor and not preterm labor. We were released and told to take it easy for a few days.
We picked Will up on the way home and stopped for an ice cream to try and relax after a long day for all of us.

I fell into bed at 11 pm and slept the best I've slept in weeks - I think I actually slept the entire night. If I woke, it wasn't for more than a minute or two.
Sunday night: 10:30 - DTD 11:00 - start having contractions 11:30 - drink a glass of wine and try to relax 12:00 - try to sleep - lay in bed, tossing and turning 1:45 - get out of bed and start timing contrax 2:00 - call doctor's office - told to come to L&D 2:15 - wake Todd up and tell him I'm leaving 2:30 - arrive at hospital Hook me up to the monitors - contrax every 2-3 minutes. 1 cm dilated. Give me 2 shots of terb and a dose of some sort of painkiller to relax me. 6:30 am - released from triage to go home on bed rest. Todd's home with Will and I'm not allowed to drive. My friend picks me up and returns me home. She collects the now awake Will and takes him to her house. 8 am - 11:15 am - finally sleep for a few hours. Todd's called in to work, so we both catch up on our rest. 11:30 - Shannon returns with Will and picks up Todd - they leave to go get his car from the hospital. From 11:30 - 12:15 - I have 8 more contrax. Doctor's office says they're getting ready to close (we had a snow storm), so I need to come to the hospital. But since my hospital doesn't have a NICU, they want me to go to L&D at the Univ. of Tenn - our local NICU. In the event of having to deliver a 33 weeker, they want me at the right place instead of having to transfer us via ambulance. 2:00 - Will's been dropped back off at Shannon's house with an overnight bag (just in case) and Todd and I arrive at UT. 2:00 - 6:00 - still contracting every 4-5 minutes. No progress on my cervix - still 1 cm. Doctor performs a fFN test - results take an hour - so they finally let me eat something. Test comes back negative - WOO HOO!! False labor! So, they released us a little after 6 pm and we picked up Will and came home. She said I should anticipate to continue to contract regularly. She said that unless they get noticibly stronger (they were already stopping me in my tracks and taking my breath away) or very painful, to just live with them. So, that's the story. LONG NIGHT AND DAY, but we're all okay. Went back to the doctor this morning for my weekly appt. I had gained 4 lbs in the last week at my last appt, but lost it back again. So I'm still only up 3 lbs total. Spent an hour and 20 minutes on the monitors since the baby was sleeping and wouldn't give them a reactive test. Ultrasound looks good - fluid, placenta, respiration, etc. She didn't measure him this week since he was measured last week (4 lbs 8 oz). I go back next week for another u/s and nonstress test. The doctor said that between now and when the baby is born I really need to buckle down on my diet and control my sugars very carefully. That the last month or so is when his pancreas will be taking over and it'll help ease his transition if my sugar is carefully controlled. The doctor also said that by being more strict on my eating plan (but obviously not "dieting" by any means) that I'll likely deliver this baby weighing less than my pre-preg weight. Which makes me VERY happy. Makes being diabetic be not all bad.

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