Well this week wasn't expected. Those contractions I mentioned casually last week? They had been coming pretty infrequently, resulting in the occasional "Jake, I think I just had a contraction." Well then last Sunday, that happened about 4 times in 30 minutes, so I laid down to see if they'd stop and they didn't. So, feeling silly, I called my midwife who said if they didn't stop soon to come in to the hospital. That left me feeling a mix of silly and nervous, so I laid down drinking water and I felt like my abdomen was pretty much staying tight. I was no longer sure what I was feeling, but when it wouldn't go away, Jacob and I decided we should err on the cautious side and go to the hospital.
So the two of us + Jack traipse over to Touro in the rain. I was put on the monitor and since I was indeed having contractions, the situation started to feel more serious since I was only 23 weeks. My midwife (who was there) turned me over to their covering physician and my cervix was checked (not dilating) and some tests were run to see if I had an infection and whether my body was showing signs that I would deliver soon. It took a while for the test results to come back, so I ended up sending Jacob home with Jack. Around midnight, I found out the tests all came back clear, but that the covering doctor wanted to keep me overnight for observation. A resident did an ultrasound to check the baby's size since they have a policy of not resuscitating babies less than 500 g (baby girl was 700+ grams). Throughout all this, I had the feeling that everything was going to be okay and was feeling calm. I finally got admitted at 1:00 a.m. and they kept me till the next afternoon.
I was sent home on bedrest with a checkup for Friday. I had mixed feelings about whether this was serious or not but felt like that I just had to wait and see. I ended up taking it easy all week, but still went in to a few meetings for work, worked from home, and obviously wasn't on bedrest the whole week because I have a 2 year old. Jacob was great though and took Jack to school every morning, came home early, and really did most of the Jack care so I wasn't having to pick him up.
Tuesday and Wednesday were a little unnerving because I continued to have pretty continuous contractions and what I'm calling "tightening" in my abdomen throughout the day. Thursday - Sunday has showed a decrease in these. I also went in to the covering doctor on Friday and still show no signs of dilation which means that these contractions are not causing me to go into labor, so they may just be something that I will experience with no adverse effect. I was referred to a maternal fetal medicine specialist next week just to delve a little deeper since no cause for the contractions has been determined.
The hard part about this week has just been the mental exhaustion of trying to figure out if this is serious or not. I definitely am hearing that some women do experience contractions and that they go full term; I'm also hearing that you never know and that these contractions may not be causing me to go into labor now, but they might ultimately. I'm hoping they stop completely so that I can feel more confident that everything is fine.
The other hard part is that I chose to go to the midwifery practice because I believe pregnancy is a natural condition, not an illness to be treated. To all the sudden be seeing a doctor I did not choose and do not know is disconcerting because I don't know if our philosophies line up. Assuming the contractions continue to lessen, I plan to see if I can just do my follow-up with the midwifery practice since they can do the checks just as easily as a doctor could and I know that we both see pregnancy in the same light.
I am thankful that nothing bad happened this week and feel pretty confident everything is going to be fine with this pregnancy. For this next week, I want to:
1) Continue to monitor how I'm feeling and how many contractions I'm having; I know what to watch for, so I just want to be aware
2) Gradually get back to my normal routines but pay attention to how my body is responding
3) Not disregard my need to feel comfortable with my doctors and bring this up at my midwife appointment on Tuesday
Lastly, if you are looking for a meaningful charity to support, please consider donating to the March of Dimes, whose mission is to reduce the prevalence of prematurity and birth defects. We were already fundraising over here, but this last week has made this feel more important!