The Christmas Baby Scare of 2011!

Our Christmas morning started out as expected and planned…almost.  We were excited that this holiday had finally come, and for what the rest of the day had in store for us.  We had no idea just how eventful the day would turn out to be!

I woke up with some slight cramping and discomfort on my right side, a few inches below my belly button where I imagine my uterus is still hanging out.  I wasn’t in pain so I just dismissed it as normal “growing pains,” or maybe it was from me “holding it” through the night and not using the bathroom HOURS ago when I should have.  Dominic and I joined my brother, his girlfriend and my parents at our house for our annual and DELICIOUS homemade Eggs Benedict.  You see, my stepdad was a chef at one time and I’ve never had a better plate of Eggs Benedict than his…it’s all in the Hollandaise sauce.
After breakfast, we opened our gifts.  The cramping that I felt in the morning was still nagging at me.  I laid on the floor and slowly stretched.  Whenever I stood up straight, I felt a tightening or a stretching feeling in my uterus, so I sat a lot.  What was going on?!  I wondered, “Could this pain be due to the fact that I don’t get to experience a Christmas tree this year and I’m oh-so-sad about it??”  See this year’s “tree” here…

Holiday festivities continued at Dominic’s house where we exchanged gifts with his sister, brother-in-law, dad, and Roxi dog.  Over the next few hours my pains were still hitting me, so I drank a lot of water thinking this could help.  Nah, it didn’t.

We were back at my house for dinner, another outstanding homemade meal made by my stepdad.  He made Cioppino which is a seafood stew.  It’s mostly made up of clams, mussels, crab legs, shrimp and scallops, all in a tomato based sauce.  I love seafood.  After some family shmoozing, it was back to Dominic’s for the night.  At this point, I was hurting badly and planned to just lay down for the night and try to relax.  By 10:30pm, I was in extreme pain and in the fetal position on the bed.  I was breathing heavily and having shooting cramps, pain, and tightening in/near my uterus.  They were happening minutes apart now and there was no sign of them easing up.  I definitely knew something was wrong and poor Dominic was so worried and didn’t know how to help me feel better.  He said, “Call your mom.”  She always knows what to do and in this case her advice was to call my doctor.  Now you might be thinking to yourself, DUH!  Why didn’t you call earlier?!  Answer (2 parts): 1) All my life, I have never been one to call the doctor for pretty much anything unless I was having an emergency.  I always would let my colds or flus run their course with over-the-counter remedies.  2) I had no idea that the doctor’s office had a phone service that would be there to take my call on a Sunday, on Christmas, in the middle of the night!  Pure ignorance on my part there, I guess.  I thought my only options at a time like this were Urgent Care or the Emergency room!  So, I called my doctor’s office and was given the number to the on-call doctor (mine was unavailable).  Our instructions were to head to the hospital now…they will be expecting me.  After grabbing a few things from my house and changing my underwear (because my mom always said it’s good to have on a clean pair of underwear on in case you’re rushed to the hospital), and after a short, nerve-wracking drive where I couldn’t stop shaking, we arrived at the hospital.  Minutes later I was admitted into the labor and delivery unit around 11:30pm.

Everything happened pretty quickly up until I was in a bed in a room that only had curtains to separate the few patients that it held.  This room was meant for keeping a close eye and ear on the moms.  At this point, the pain wasn’t nearly as bad as it had been at Dominic’s house.  They took a urine sample and a blood sample (I hate needles!).  They hooked me up to an IV (more needles) to help hydrate me.  I had 2 different monitors wrapped around my belly, one monitored (loudly) the baby’s heartbeat and the other monitored my contractions.

Yes…CONTRACTIONS.  That’s the pain I was experiencing all day!  They were coming every 3 to 5 to 8 minutes.  Dominic and I didn’t even know what had hit us.  We were pretty quiet for all the commotion that had been going on around us.  I think we were in shock, confused, horrified and also in disbelief that I was having contractions all day and still at this point.  We were scared that there was even a possibility that I could go into premature labor at only 23 weeks.  We didn’t say much to each other, we just held hands a lot.  We were hit even harder when the nurse said that she was about to check if my cervix was dilated!  Oh, please NO!  Dominic and I exchanged a quick look of pure fear before the nurse began.  After a little 2-finger check, our first sigh of relief came.  It was closed.  More good news came, all the tests they had run all came back fine.  I didn’t know what that really meant, all I knew is that this baby wasn’t coming that night.  Whew!  Dominic stayed right by my side through all of this and my mom stuck it out in the waiting room.

Around 3am, I was moved into my own private, large room in the high risk section of the maternity unit.  Both my mom and Dominic were allowed to be in there with me.  I still had an IV plugged in my hand and only one monitor wrapped around my belly, recording any contractions.  They had greatly reduced.  We were drained.  At 4am, I livened the room up a bit once I was told that I was getting an injection right in the butt.  Did I mention I hate needles?  Once I saw the needle I tried to get out of it….it was big.  The nurse promised she had a special trick that would help me take it.  I turned on my left side, my mom faced me and held my hand.  This wasn’t good enough.  I told her to SQUEEZE my hand…harder, HARDER!  I was panicking on the inside.  The nurse rubbed my skin clean with alcohol, and then started slapping my bum!  I could feel it jiggle and was thinking how great of a visual this must have been for Dominic and my mom!  Eeww.  At the same time as one of the slaps, the nurse injected the needle.  Yeow!  Seconds after she pulled it out, it felt sore and bruised like she had just given me a dead leg (on my rear).  Relief came at the thought that at least it was over…until…I was told I will be having the same shot AGAIN, in 24 hours.  Not only do I have to do this again, but it will be at 4am, which means I’ll be here another night?!  Aw, crap.  My mom went home soon after this and Dominic slept in my room on a fold out bed.  We got 3 hours of sleep at the most.

We were up around 7:30am (Monday).   Don’t I look purdy…yikes.
I ordered and ate breakfast: fruit & yogurt parfait, an omelette with mushrooms and cheese, milk.  My mom came back around 9am.  Dom went home soon after.  The on-call doctor came by to see me around 11am for maybe 10 minutes.  He was unsure of why I had contractions this early.  His best guess was that I had a severe case of Round Ligament Syndrome, which could have greatly aggravated my uterus, causing it to have contractions.  He had me taking a pill (Procardia) every 6 hours to relax my uterus.  He also wanted to observe me longer to make sure I was in the clear of any further complications so he gave us the great (sarcasm) news that I was to stay another night.  I ordered and ate lunch: grilled chicken sandwich, chocolate milk.  My mom left and I was alone until 4pm.  All I could do all day was to lie there.  Take a look around…

Since I had a constant hydration drip going in me and I was drinking a lot of water and all the cranberry juice cups they could give me, I had to pee every 1-2 hours.  To do this, I had to unplug the contractions monitor on the left side of my bed and then unplug the IV drip to my right.  Then, I had to wheel the IV “stroller” into the bathroom with me while keeping the belly monitor still wrapped around, and while juggling 2 different cords.  It was a pain in the butt (no, not like the needle to the butt earlier experienced).  The only pain I felt during the day was when I had to pee.  The cramping and tightness I felt the day before would come back pretty strong as I…urinated.  It hurt.  My whole body clenched until it was over, and even then my “cramp” would hurt a few minutes longer.  Aside from my many annoying bathroom breaks, I just watched TV.  My brother and his girlfriend visited me around 4pm for a few hours.  Dominic came back to see me at some point during that time. I ordered and ate dinner: Spaghetti and meatballs, grilled mixed veggies, chocolate milk.  Then, my parents came by for the last bit of visiting hours (over at 8pm).  I slept alone that night.  I made the decision for my caregivers (Dominic & Mom) that they both stay home that night and get some sleep, since both of them had only about 4 hours of it total since I’d been in there.  I braved the 4am needle to the butt by myself that night morning…with my face in the pillow.

Good morning, Tuesday.  I greet you with the hope that this will be the day I can return home.  I ordered and ate breakfast: cream of wheat with raisins and brown sugar, milk.  My mom stopped by around 10am for about an hour before heading to work.  I spent all afternoon doing the bathroom dance I explained, and wondering when my doctor was going to see me..I was told it would be soon.  I made a few phone calls, chatting with a few friends on my condition.  I ordered and ate lunch: turkey and swiss cheese sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mayo, potato salad, pickle, chocolate milk.
 Dominic worked all day and came to see me around 3pm.  At this point, I was told we’d see my doctor between 4-5pm.  While waiting, I received flowers and a balloon that was sent from Dom’s best friend and his wife.  So thoughtful and very sweet.  Made me smile.
Dominic sponge bathed me by the sink.  That was a first for us.  It was very sweet to have him take care of me like that.    My mom was back around 5pm.  Soon after, MY doctor poked her head in!  She told me I could go home!  I had to be on bed rest all of Wednesday and Thursday, but at least I’d be home.  I was also to continue taking the uterus relaxing pills every 6 hours and to take it very easy.  I was in the car and on my way home at 7:30pm.  Goodbye, hospital.
Wednesday, I literally was in bed all day as the doctor ordered…but with a new view and a better attitude.
I only got up to shower in the morning and to use the bathroom.  My mom made me breakfast and lunch and I ate them in bed.  Dominic came by in the evening with dinner: chef salad.  Thursday looked a lot like Wednesday, but with a little more sitting at the computer rather than lying in bed all day (which I still did a lot of).  I chatted with my doctor to check in with her and she said I could be more “active” over the weekend, which still meant to rest and take it easy, but I could at least leave my bed and bedroom :)  I had both my mom and Dominic watching over my every move to ensure that I wasn’t straining myself, on my feet for too long, or overdoing anything.  I was able to get out of the house a few times over the weekend to visit a friend in the hospital (again, the hospital) and meet her brand new baby girl that she had on Wednesday.  I also spent time at the sewing machine making a few quilts.  I’d say I took it easy.

I was supposed to go back to work today, but my doctor instructed me not to until after seeing me at our appointment that I had this afternoon.  I spent the afternoon finishing up my baby registries online (man those are time consuming!).  All was good at the appointment.  I’ve had no pain or discomfort to report about so my doctor gave me the green light to go back to work, but to try and stay off my feet as much as possible.  Once I get instructions in writing tomorrow from the doctor, I’ll hopefully be back to work tomorrow afternoon!  We’re all hoping that this was just a fluke incident and that all is good.  I feel good.

I’d like to conclude this lengthy post by thanking my dearest fiance for the much support and love he gave me throughout this whole ordeal, and for the continuing support he’s giving me now.  He stayed calm, cool and collected for us when we both should have been freaking out.  He made sure I had everything I needed, he gave me more kisses and hugs than I know what to do with, and he gave our baby, Mia, more pep talks than she’d like (Okaaay, dad!) about staying in my belly for a few more months and taking it easy on her nervous, new parents.  I love you, Dominic.  We love you.  Also, thank you to my most nurturing and helpful mom, who is always there for me when I need her, no matter what.  She’s never let me down.  She always puts me first.  I’m so thankful for her and everything that she does for me.  I’ve got a pretty great care team on my side.  I’m lucky.

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