Did you read part one of Allie’s birth story?
In week 35, I started having contractions.
For four weeks, I had painful contractions that felt real. I’d have them every 10 minutes for two or three hours, then they would stop. Each time, I was convinced that I was going into labor.
I worried that it was too early, that the baby would be in danger.
The days were long and difficult and made worse by the pain and anticipation of frequent contractions.
During week 37, there was a question about my amniotic fluid. My obstetrician’s receptionist called me at 5 pm on a Friday afternoon and asked me to go to Labor & Delivery for tests and monitoring.
I was sure it meant I’d have the baby that day. My days of bed rest would be over!
Baby was strong and healthy and, though my fluid levels were a little lower than expected, they were within the normal range. I could go on being pregnant for at least another week, maybe longer.
In my brain, that meant I could be stuck on bed rest for another couple of weeks.
My depression got worse, a lot worse.
I wanted to die.
Because my blood pressure was so erratic, my obstetrician scheduled an induction towards the end of my 38th week.
By that time, I was having contractions every few minutes. Most were painful; I was convinced that I’d go into labor before the induction.
At my induction appointment, I was having strong, painful contractions every 8 minutes. At the appointment, the doctor gave me a drug to prepare my body for labor and sent me home with instructions to return the following morning for pitocin.
I didn’t go home. I went to lunch at Red Robin with my mom and Grace. It was my first outing (aside from doctor’s appointments) since I’d been put on bed rest eight weeks earlier.
I felt normal, aside from the contractions that gripping my musculature every 5 minutes or so.
Two hours later, I was back on my couch, lying on my left side and playing with Gracie and the zoo Mrs. Santa brought two days earlier. I was breathing through stop-me-in-mid-sentence contractions.
I got up and walked around. I took a shower. I got a drink. Still, the contractions kept coming.
I started timing them.
Every 2 minutes, each lasting a full minute.
I called the OB’s office. The nurse who answered was alarmed and told me to get to the hospital right now!
Despite the near constant contractions, I was not making any real progress in the area that counts.
Hour after hour, doctors and nurses checked me. I was only dilated 1 cm more than I had been early in the morning, before my induction.
“Maybe an epidural would help me progress,” I suggested hopefully. “Maybe my body is having a hard time relaxing because I’m in so much pain.”
They ignored me.
Finally, the doctor decreed that I could either walk the halls to get things moving along or go home and rest.
How a woman rests when she’s having contractions every 2-3 minutes is beyond me. As long as I live, that will not make any sense to me.
Not wanting to endure a whole night of constant contractions, nor the possibility of this baby being born at home or in my car, I chose to walk the halls.
Another side note. I see no wisdom in telling a person who’s been instructed to lie down for 24 hours a day for the last 8 weeks to get up and walk around, but I’m not the doctor.
I walked. For an hour. That was 58 minutes longer than I had walked at any one time in the last two months.
Guess what happened.
My blood pressure spiked up to a dangerous level. The doctor had to admit me to the hospital to treat me for pre-eclampsia.
Part 3 will post on Wednesday.
© 2011 – 2012, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.