By Dani Maxwell
Some of you may have noticed I haven’t been at work for about a week. Vacation time? I wish. I have been “relaxing” but it’s not what you think.
Last Thursday, I went into pre-term labor. I was lucky enough to be at the doctor’s office when it happened so they sent me straight to the hospital. I was only 32 weeks pregnant, a little too early to be thinking about having the baby yet.
The nurses at SwedishAmerican Hospital put me on an IV with fluids (I was dehydrated) and magnesium sulfate. The magnesium works to “relax” your uterus and stop contractions. They also gave me two steroid shots to help develop the baby’s lungs more quickly. Most babies would be all right if born at 32 weeks, but their lungs are not fully developed until around 36 weeks and that could lead to problems. I was also put on antibiotics in case I had some sort of infection that triggered the contractions.
The doctors told me the magnesium was supposed to slow down the contractions within 1-2 hours. It took about 15 hours once I was finally on the medicine. I had them 2, 3, or 4 minutes apart from about 10:00 a.m. Thursday to 4:00 a.m. Friday. Some got pretty intense and I thought for awhile I would be giving birth that night. The nurses asked if we had a car seat with us and I said, “I was hoping to get it at my baby shower this coming weekend!” Boy – talk about NOT feeling prepared. I thought I had a lot more time to get ready for this baby! Anyway, it was around 3:30 a.m. that I finally fell asleep thanks to some Benadryl (I was dealing with a cold too) and I think that’s when my body started to relax and the contractions slowed down. The next day I still had contractions, but they were every hour or couple hours. The doctors sent me home around midnight.
I spent Saturday and Sunday resting in bed. I was pretty bummed because as I mentioned, Sunday was supposed to be my baby shower. My sisters had to cancel it. I watched the Bears game instead and got a little too excited when Devin Hester had two great returns. I started contracting again and my husband wouldn’t let me watch the rest of the game.
Monday I had another doctor’s appointment and they put me on monitors to check the baby’s heartbeat and my contractions. I was having one every few minutes again, so back to the hospital I went. This time, they were able to slow them down with rest and a blood pressure medicine I had been on since I left the hospital, Procardia. The Procardia loosens the uterus similar to the magnesium. I was able to leave the hospital Tuesday.
Now I’m home resting and was given the green light by my doctor to go back to work next Tuesday. I can’t work more than 6 hours a day, but at least I won’t have to be on bed rest until the baby comes. Ironically, Steve and I have our birthing class this Saturday. I feel like I already know what to expect! The good news is the baby is just fine. The squeezing didn’t seem to phase her in the least. Her heart rate is good and she’s moving around like normal. The doctors tell me every day I can keep her in there the healthier she’ll be. Right now, she only weighs about 3 1/2 pounds; a little small for her “age” but I am a pretty small person so they say that’s normal. I’m trying to eat a lot to fatten her up!
I want to thank all the wonderful nurses and doctors at SwedishAmerican Hospital who were so attentive and so knowledgeable and the friends and family who visited or called to check in. It means a lot to know I have such a wonderful support group, and that includes my husband, who has been calm and caring throughout this whole thing. I might have freaked out a little bit if it weren’t for Steve. Thank you, hubbin.
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This post was written by dmaxwell on October 6, 2011