I had my entire month of February scheduled out in my head (and in my planner) and it was going to be great! Super productive and everything was going to get wrapped up in a pretty little bow for my employees so that when I left on my maternity leave in March they would all be prepared. No panics, so hiccups, just a smooth transition to several weeks without me.
It was perfect.
Then on Tuesday evening I was at work and started feeling very uncomfortable. I could feel something was wrong but couldn't quite put my finger on it. I started counting my Braxton Hicks contractions, which I've had most of this pregnancy, and hit "11" in two and a half hours before thinking "that's a bit excessive". Leaving work I told my husband that I felt like the whole world was starting to squeeze in on me, and even my clothing felt restrictive. As soon as we got home I stripped down and put some loose fitting PJs on, hoping that would help.
I wasn't swollen. I wasn't dehydrated. I wasn't showing any normal signs that something was "wrong", so I went about my evening.
From 8-8:45 I was in a chat for an online class and suddenly found myself very uncomfortable. Then perfectly comfortable. Then very uncomfortable again. I pulled a contraction timer up in a different window and started keeping track. By the end of the 45 minute class I was leaning forward and closing my eyes, unable to focus on anything but this discomfort I was experiencing. I still kept thinking that it couldn't possibly be labor.
I'd been in labor before, after all, and it wasn't like that.
So once the class ended I hopped in the shower. Clearly I was just stressed and achy from being hugely pregnant. A hot shower would de-stress me and relax my muscles and all would be good. At first, it was! I felt relaxed and decided to see if I felt better after resting on the couch a bit, watching some HGTV.
I did, in fact, relax so much I fell asleep.
Then, I was uncomfortable again. So much so that I woke up out of my relaxing slumber. Then I'd fall back asleep, only to be woken up again. This went on for only about 15 minutes when I decided enough was enough, this wasn't normal... I MUST be constipated.
However, in the bathroom, I threw up. This was the first real red flag that I had. I remember this feeling vividly- throwing up in the hospital with Barrett right around transition. Being two and a half hours from the nearest hospital with a NICU, and being only 32 weeks/6 days pregnant I decided a quick trip to the ER was probably my best bet at that point.
I fully expected them to tell me it was false labor and send me on my way home.
I quickly discovered that I was not experiencing false labor. I was experiencing labor. I was not in transition, but I was 1.5 cm dilated and my contractions were 6 minutes apart and 50 seconds long each. My doctor was called, shots were given, pills were given, and suddenly there was an ambulance being called to transfer me to that hospital two and a half hours away.
The one with the NICU.
I tried not to panic.
The pills (Procardia) initially seemed to work! The contractions slowed to 10 minutes apart. Then they seemed to stop. During that drive my contractions got closer to 4 minutes apart. Suddenly, I was in Labor and Delivery watching the monitor show a steady rhythm of contractions, like a country side road of rolling hills (and some peaky mountains).
My doctor rode down with me and as she left she said "bring me home a cute baby!". I still hadn't fully realized that a cute baby, at this point, was even possible.
Suddenly nurses I'd never met and doctors I'd never met were making "plans" for me. Plans I had no say in, nor did I have any way or experience to have any say in. I kept taking the pills, tried to focus on stopping things as much as possible, and praying for the best.
18 hours after they started the contractions seemed to slow down. They became less intense. More annoying than anything else, just like the Braxton Hicks contractions I was used to. I was checked again and while I was at 3 cm dilated that seemed to make everyone around me happy.
Two days later, not a whole lot had changed. I was still 3 cm, still having annoying Braxton Hicks like contractions, but also feeling more confident that there was no cute baby coming... yet!
I was right.
On Thursday evening I was sent home. With a prescription for Procardia and instructions to avoid heavy lifting and to rest as much as possible.
I was told the Procardia would get me through 34 weeks/2 days. After that, I was to come back to the hospital and expect a baby should the contractions return in full force. That is a week from today.
I'm still not really sure how I feel, but it's made me realize that you really cannot plan or predict pregnancy and birth! Everything has been relative normal for me up until this point and in just a few hours, turned upside down.
Now, instead of preparing for my final month of work and wrapping everything up in a pretty bow, I am frantically working to get something, anything in place. So if I leave in a week in labor and deliver a cute little baby things won't fall apart without me. It bothers me a bit that the pretty little bow isn't there, but some things in life are more important that virtual bows.
Work will survive without me. And for all I know this little girl I'm carrying will get over whatever was causing her to want to make her escape early this past week and decide to stick around even after the Procardia runs out.
All I know is, either way, I am so not ready.