I was thisclose to not having to make an emergency trip to Labor and Delivery during this pregnancy, but apparently Breadcrumb had other ideas.
Monday afternoon, around 2, I started having noticeable contractions. They weren't exceptionally painful, I could walk and talk through them, but they were annoying enough that they had a definite stop and start and I could time them. They were coming anywhere from 3-5 minutes and lasted around 45 seconds. I chalked them up to third trimester irritation, but decided to text Keegan anyways to let him know. He suggested that I continue to time them to see if they would increase.
We eventually made it home after work where I parked myself on the couch for the evening. The contractions were still coming every 3-5 minutes, but were lasting between 1 and 1.5 minutes. I tweeted about what was going on, and everyone suggested that I call my OB/the ER. Keegan and I discussed it, but ultimately decided not to because it just didn't feel like it was time. The contractions weren't getting closer together or more intense like I expected them to when I was in full labor, so we decided to try and get some sleep. I was also scared to be that pregnant lady who came in thinking she was in labor when she wasn't.
I continued having contractions throughout the night, but I was able to sleep through the some of them. When Keegan woke up for work Tuesday morning, he asked if he should get ready for work or get ready to go to the hospital. I still didn't feel like I was in full blown labor, but everyone says that you should go to the hospital when you're having contractions that follow the 5-1-1 pattern (5 minutes apart, last for more than 1 minute for more than 1 hour.) Since they had been following that pattern for over 12 hours, I figured it was safe to go in to get checked just in case.
We loaded everything in the car and made our way to the hospital. It was early, around 7 am, and the ER was completely empty. I'm pretty sure the two ER nurses who took down my information didn't think I was in labor because of how easy I was able to talk and walk, but they took me back anyways. It was strange being wheeled to Labor and Delivery in a wheelchair when I felt like I could walk by myself, but I figured it was protocol, so I let them wheel me around.
When we got to L&D, I was told to put on a gown and lie on the bed so they could monitor me. I told my nurse, Chelsea, that I wasn't sure if I was in labor because the contractions hadn't increased in frequency or pain, and she agreed that many ladies get periods of contractions in the third trimester that don't really do anything. She manually checked me and I was still 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced like I was at my appointment on the 9th.
I got two monitors strapped to my belly, one to monitor Breadcrumb's heartbeat, and the other to monitor my contractions. Right away, we could see that I was having contractions which made me feel better (I was seriously worried that I was a crazy pregnant lady who didn't know what a true contraction felt like!) Breadcrumb's heart would increase like it should whenever I would have a contraction, and the monitor was saying they were coming approximately every 5 minutes. Chelsea called my OB, Dr. L, to come and check me, and I hung out on the monitors until she came.
Dr. L came in and right away scolded me for not calling into the OB's office first. Apparently she would have rather me come in to get checked at the office instead of heading straight to the ER, but since she had never told us that before, we didn't know. Dr. L checked me again and said that I was the same, and she didn't think I was in labor, but she would let me hang out for a few hours to see if anything changed.
We hung out until around 11ish when Chelsea came in to check me again. I hadn't progressed any, so it was decided that I would be discharged. Things then got busy around L&D, and we heard a mother next door give birth. Hearing the baby's first cry was an amazing experience and I can't wait until we get to hear our son's! Anyways, during this time, my contractions started increasing in frequency and pain. I started not wanting to talk through them and had to close my eyes to focus on my breathing. Keegan was very interested in the graph that was tracking my contractions and he noticed that the peak of each contraction was "over the half way mark" when they were barely hitting the quarter mark when we first walked in. A few even hit the top of the graph. My stomach would tighten so much with each contraction that the monitors would become loose and you could see my hospital gown move.
Around 1, Dr. L came in and said that they had noticed my contractions were increasing, so they were worried I was actually going into full blown labor. I was only 36 weeks, 1 day at the time, so if they could, they wanted to stop labor since we hadn't hit full term yet. I was told that if Breadcrumb was born that day, he would be considered a preemie, and while 90% of babies that are born at this time have no problems at all, there is the 10% that have trouble breathing and keeping their sugars up. Dr. L suggested giving me fluids through an IV just in case the contractions were being brought on by dehydration as well as a shot of a pain medication with the thought that if we could get my body to relax through the contractions, they would slow down and hopefully stop.
We agreed to this plan and I got my IV. I had never had one before, and apparently my veins on my hands aren't as easy to access as the ones on my arms, so Chelsea had to do a bit of digging around which wasn't fun when I was having a contraction. Eventually the IV went in, we started the fluids, and I got the pain medications. Chelsea warned me that they would make me loopy and sleepy, but I didn't expect to feel like I did.
I would focus on one spot on the ceiling, but everything else around me would continue moving. I also logically knew that my motions and thoughts were delayed, and tried to overcome that, but I could tell when I would speak to Keegan that my words were slurred and slow. I would involuntarily fall asleep, and then startle myself awake every few seconds. Let's just say that I hope I never have to have that drug again!
The pain medications did help mask the pain of the contractions, but it didn't help with my back pain (which I think was caused by lying in the hard hospital bed all day.) I could still feel my stomach tighten with each contraction, but they seemed to be less frequent which Keegan confirmed through the monitor.
Eventually, around 5:30, Dr. L came back and checked me. I still hadn't progressed any, so she agreed to let me go home and rest. She requested that I take the next day off work (Wednesday,) and that I decrease my hours at work if possible.
The contractions died down for about 12 hours until they came back yesterday morning. They're still 5-10 minutes apart and are small enough that I can talk and walk through them again. I've noticed that getting up and doing things make them come on more frequently, so I spent yesterday on the couch or in bed. I'm at work today (and probably tomorrow) so that I can finish up some last minute things, but starting next week, I'm going to be doing half days, or coming in every other day, whichever works best for my body. Thankfully my boss is super flexible and said I can do whatever I need to so that Breadcrumb can continue cooking.
I also think that I lost part of my mucous plug yesterday. Keegan wondered if it was just discharge from all of the lube that was used when I got checked so many times on Tuesday, but I've never seen lube look so much like what I blow out of my nose during a cold (sexy, right?)
I turn 37 weeks on Sunday which would make me full term and it safe (well, safer,) for Breadcrumb to come. I have an appointment and ultrasound on Tuesday to see if I've progressed any and to check Breadcrumb's size. It's really all a wait and see game now, but I'm pretty sure we'll be having a July baby.
Even though I felt stupid for coming into Labor and Delivery at the beginning of the day, I'm ultimately happy that I did. If I hadn't, there is the chance that I would have gone into full labor and delivered early. It also gave us a chance to have a run through of how the big day will work and what we should/shouldn't bring with us. Let's just say that we're planning on stocking up on snacks because hospital food is horrible, especially when your doctor puts you on the diabetic's diet.