When a woman is expecting a child she feels all kinds of wonderous feelings. She has expectations about how her pregnancy will go and how it will feel when she meets that someone special. I like so many others began my parenthood journey with ideals about what to expect. We were very lucky when trying to conceive. The first time I ovulated, after stopping contraceptives, we conceived. I was so excited. I already loved my little bundle from the beginning. Two weeks into our news I was vomiting day and night. It didn’t seem to matter what I ate, it just came back up. Through all this I was still awed by the whole process of being pregnant and growing a life. Twenty weeks into the pregnancy the extreme nausea and vomiting halted as quickly as it started.
My health had definitely improved, and I was eagerly reading all of the weekly updates on how my baby was developing. Even though I was 25-year-old nontraditional student, I was finishing up my last semester in college. My baby was due May 5th and it was only early February and by this time I was 27-weeks along. As I had previously experienced first hand, everything when pregnant seems magnified by 200%. For example, if you have acid reflux it takes on a whole new meaning. Therefore, when I was sitting in class and started having stomach pains, I wasn’t alarmed. I had a classmate help me down the steps of the school and went off to my parents for a visit. The pains were intense and came in waves, but I have had intestinal cramps that hurt that bad so honestly I assumed something would pass and I would be fine. My mother was not concerned but did jokingly ask if I was sure I wasn’t having labor pains, which was ridiculous as I was only 27 weeks and truthfully barely had a baby bump that was only visible to the discerning eye. I decided to head home and needed gasoline first. Conveniently, there was still one full service station in town. As I was sitting there watching the service attendant put fuel in my car, I was really getting concerned that if he didn’t hurry I wouldn’t make it to the restroom, but at last he was done and off for home I headed.
At home I curled up in the fetal position on the couch “no pun intended” and waited for the pain to pass. My husband was a farmer and came home for lunch and sat on the couch and ate a sandwich. Our 12 lbs black cat, quite without ceremony, sat on my back using me as a heating pad. As the pain progressed I made a trip to the restroom and tried to speed things along. No results, which quite frankly, was a blessing. Growing up if I had any kind of ailment my mother would have me take a relaxing bath. At this point I was willing to try anything to make the wave of pains stop. So I hunkered down in the tub waiting for its magic to start. As you guessed, it didn’t help. I was having sharp pain in my lower abdomen at this point and could not get out of the tub, so I called in my husband. At this point, he starts to get concerned and called my mother. They agree it is time for me to call the doctor’s office. I spoke with our nurse, she was patient, used to dealing with overreacting expecting mothers, and told us to come in just to check things out and put our minds at ease. I remember thinking as we drove to town, that I would probably expel gas and be fine and extremely embarrassed for going in the first place.
At the doctor’s office all of the staff was humored by having to strap me into the belts for monitoring. They left the room and came back to check the strip and send me home. That’s when a flurry of activity began and a nightmare and blessing began.
The doctors started to question my symptoms. I described the pains that came and went and the localized pain I was having in my lower abdomen. They looked at each other and said”smiley face pain” with a dreaded look. They quickly rushed me to the local rural hospital and began the usual course of treatment with Brethine injections. They quickly realized this was not slowing the contractions down, and I was dilated to a 2 cm and effaced 90%. They called the local NICU and sent me by ambulance with the doctor at my side with a NICU ambulance following. I remember laying on the stretcher with my mind whirling unable to comprehend what was happening. It was a surreal feeling. I wasn’t sure at that time if at 27 weeks gestation if my baby would survive. At the well equipped hospital they started me on a bolus of magnesium. As the IV medicine hit my vein, my body was ravished with waves of nausea and intense flushing over my entire body as I vomited violently. The bolus tapered off and I settled in trying to absorb the magnitude of what was happening.
see Premature Birth-Part II
- Sleep disturbances linked to premature birth, says study (time4sleep.co.uk)
- World Prematurity Day (gallipot.wordpress.com)