{baby Gillis no. 2} preterm labor scare.

let me preface this story with the following: Baby Boy and i are doing very well – he’s still inside my belly, kicking and walloping up a storm, and we are so, so thankful for that.

when i titled my last post “crunch time’s a-coming,” i had no idea how right i was, or could be.

Baby-Boy-2-33-Weeks

on saturday night, October 25, i started experiencing contractions around 7:15PM. i was nearly 34 weeks pregnant. Jord and i were watching The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Netflix when i began to feel regular bouts of tightness in my belly. thinking it was just heartburn, as i had just inhaled about five pieces of Jord’s famous homemade pizza, i decided to take a bath in order to ease my upset stomach.

however, the contractions in my belly didn’t stop or slow as the water washed over my swollen belly – instead, they persisted, and they slowly grew more intense.

{side note: while i was soaking in the bath tub, breathing deeply through each contraction, little Lionel was right by my side, rubbing my arm and talking to me. “Mama in the bath!” he exclaimed. “i wash Mama,” he said. he demanded soap – not Mama’s soap, but Lionel’s bath soap, of course – and proceeded to rub his hands together – just like Mama and Daddy do – to build up a lather of soap bubbles. “Mama’s belly hurts, buddy,” i said to him. at that moment, he leaned over, his little hands drip-dropping water, and kissed my bare belly, which was taut with uncomfortable tightness. “all better, Mommy,” he said. oh, how i wished his kisses were the magic potion that i needed to stop the discomfort in my belly. in other words, our little L couldn’t have been more tender and sweet while i was battling contractions.}

i soon decided that the bath water wasn’t helping to calm my contractions, so i got out of the tub and called my Mom. she recommended calling my doctor’s office and speaking to the nurse on call – again, it was Saturday night, and by this time, i had been feeling contractions for approximately 40 minutes. the RN that i spoke with recommended lying down on my left side and drinking a few glasses of water in order to try to stop the contractions; however, she cautioned that if the contractions persisted for another 30-45 minutes or longer, i should be seen by Labor & Delivery.

sure enough, more time passed, and my contractions were still coming, and regularly, too – my attempts to time them showed that they were two minutes apart. Jord and i decided to head to the hospital.

my Mom came to stay with Lionel, who at this time was pajama-clad and ready for bed. once she arrived at our home, we gave L kisses, raced to the hospital and checked into Labor & Delivery. they took us to a triage room, where i changed into a gown and they hooked me up to various monitors to check on the baby’s heart rate and my contractions. after a short time of monitoring me, the RN and the Nurse Midwife determined that my contractions were coming fast and furious with little to no time in between them, and that i was 2 centimeters dilated.

it was in this moment that Jord and i looked at each other and realized that we might be meeting our baby much, much sooner than expected, and we were scared. we updated our families and close friends as to what had transpired over the past 90 minutes, and we were flooded with responses that promised prayers and help.

delivering at 34 weeks is certainly not the most dangerous time to have a child, especially given the fact that our hospital has a very capable NICU, but, as our Nurse Midwife said to us that night, “we want this baby to stay in the hotel a bit longer.” at our hospital, a baby delivered at 34 weeks automatically is sent to the NICU for an undisclosed amount of time in order for baby’s breathing and feeding capabilities, as well as body temperature regulation, to develop further. the nurse on staff prepared us for at least a two-week NICU stay for our baby under normal or ideal conditions. needless to say, if we could help baby to stay in my belly until 36 weeks at least {which is considered full term}, we were ready and willing to do whatever was possible in order to make that happen.

in order to stop my contractions, the medical staff gave me two injections of terbutaline, which were given approximately one hour apart. the first dose stopped my contractions for about an hour exactly, which is the typical time frame in which the medicine is effective. around that one-hour mark, the contractions returned; this time, however, they were located lower in my abdomen and were stronger and more intense. i received another injection of terbutaline, which, thankfully, then stopped my contractions entirely. since i hadn’t dilated any further in the time that i was experiencing contractions, and since my contractions had stopped, we were sent home around 11:30PM and were told to return to Labor & Delivery if the contractions returned or i experienced any leakage of fluid {i.e. my water broke} or bleeding.

thankfully, since that night, i haven’t experienced another contraction or any symptoms of labor. while my body can’t or won’t necessarily “un-dilate” itself {meaning that i’m still 2 centimeters dilated as i sit here telling this story}, the medical staff did not see a reason for us to worry about another bout of preterm labor, or delivering sooner than our scheduled c-section date of December 1. in short, the RN explained that baby could have just been readying himself to join our world in a few more weeks, and that these things happen from time to time. the Nurse Midwife also reinforced the importance of staying hydrated in order to help baby to stay put.

we returned home that night to a sound-asleep Lionel. in the morning, we told L all about how the doctors made Mama’s belly feel better, which soon became his favorite phrase to repeat over and over again for the rest of the weekend.

so, as i sit here today, at 34 weeks and 2 days, i’m feeling extremely grateful for the love, help and support of family and friends, and for the dedicated medical staff at our local hospital that helped to stop my contractions. while we would have been overjoyed to meet our baby boy this past weekend, we are quite content to wait a few more weeks.

About Sara

Sara works in higher education, but she's most proud of her role as a Mama to two precocious boys, Lionel Conner, age 4, and Quincy August, age 2. In honor of turning 30 in 2016, she pierced her nose to "keep her young." She loves watching guilty-pleasure television, writing about motherhood, decorating her first home, sipping red wine with her husband Jordan, and chasing after her sons.
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