Thursday, June 7, 2012

On Starting 37 Weeks, and Thinking I Was in Labor

Written: 6/7/12

So I was having a hard time getting the 37 week photo taken.

And the mystery has now been solved. But for a while there I just thought I was really, really pregnant. And it was bothering me how I could go from feeling pretty great, to feeling totally overwhelmed by my condition. I was fine, and then suddenly I was really tired, and sore, and wimpy feeling all at once. I didn't really understand.
Turns out I've been fighting an infection.

I thought the baby engaged a week ago. And maybe she did, I still don't really know where she is at, I think she is low. But I think what I mostly felt that day was the start of a bladder infection, that I couldn't recognize. (I didn't feel uncomfortable going to the bathroom. And I'm pregnant so I pee all the time no matter what. So I didn't have any way to tell.)

That day, I had tons of what seemed like Braxton hicks and after that the lower part of my pelvis felt heavy and full and moving my body felt harder. Sounded like engagement to me, but I think it was symptoms of infection, looking back. After that I was having more Braxton hicks often. I thought everything was pointing to baby coming.

Tuesday June 6th me and J took a walk, around 3pm and after that I was getting contractions that didn't go away when we got home.  So around 5pm I started timing them with an online counter. They kept coming for a couple hours. But they weren't in any certain order, rhythm or length. The were noticeable, but not anything that took my whole attention. But they were coming between 5 and 3 mins apart lasting for anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute long. (Just not in any order.)

I called my doula and she thought it could be false labor, or maybe early labor. No real way to know. She she said try and sleep incase you need it. So we panic-packed stuff for J, which I didn't have ready yet. (I was kicking myself.) Did some last minute stuff, and then went to bed at 10pm. I slept ok until 4am. And I woke up feeling the contractions and also feeling really cold. I thought, "I must have the A/C on too high." I couldn't fall back asleep because now the contractions were a bit stronger, and my brain was going crazy. (I was starting to question my sanity as to having another baby -- "Why did I say I would do this? How am I supposed to get her out? I'm not sure I like my options here!" Amongst endlessly repeating thoughts of "You couldn't do it last time!" that I was trying to fight off.) I thought I'll go take a bath. As soon as I got out of the covers I was shivering uncontrollably. Like full body trembling that you cannot stop for the life of you, like you might as well be naked out in the snow. I got in the bath and didn't stop shivering like that till I had been in the full bath for a while. It was freaking me out, I was giving myself the "I'm ok. I'm ok" chanting pep talk. But I thought it was just part of labor hormones or something.
After I got warm, I tried to go back to bed. Still having contractions. So I listened to some hypnobabies, hoping it would get me to sleep. It didn't. I laid in bed till morning feeling hot and cold and sweaty, with contractions.
7:00am: Talked to my doula, called my provider, and met her at the office. She wanted to check and see if I was making any progress to see what was going on.

The morning was werid because I thought I was in labor. I was induced last time, so I don't really know what I'm expecting early labor to be like without pitocin. So I wasn't sure how long I'd feel what I was feeling, before I started feeling more. And I wasn't looking forward to be in the car if it got harder fast.  Plus Blake had been up late trying to get some stuff done in case he wasn't going in to work for a while, so he was tired and still trying to email some of it into work. And he was getting "daddy brain" thinking we were having a baby soon. And I wasn't up for taking care of J, so poor guy had to do it all.  Eventually we got in the car. Bumps were not fun to feel. I listened to some hypnobabies on the way, and that did help me keep it together. (My emotions were running high.) We finally got there.

I got checked and was still at a 2 (same as last time). I was sure I'd be to a 3 by then. Then she said, "Do you feel warm? You feel warm to me." I said yes. (I just thought it was hot in there.) Took my temp and I had a low fever.  Not good. And more reason, on top of not dilating, to think this is not labor.
So we decided I probably had a bladder infection, or since I did test positive for group b strep, it could be that too.
In retrospect the fact that I had an infection made tons of sense with how I had been feeling, especially when considering the chills and sweats I had the night before.
So did the pee in a cup thing. And started antibiotics (which would cover a large range of infections, including both those mentioned.) To be on the safe side we decided to give an initial start with a dose in an IV, then keep taking pills at home. 

At this point I'm an emotional mess. I'm still having contractions, that I learned are worthless. (Because they really are just an infection.)  So I'm working through pointless contractions (that I know are no where near as strong as they will need to be later) and trying to process the idea of being sick. I tend to jump instantaneously to the concluding that "I'm dying, we are all dying" when I hear medical news -- I don't want to do that, I just do. So I'm trying to tell myself, "no one is dying." while processing what I'm being told.

So when we needed to start the IV, I'm trying not to go into my hysterical weeping festival. So since I'm all emotional now, I'm not staying calm for the contractions and they are hurting me now. And climbing up on the bed/table hurts quite a lot. I calm myself by taking my left hand and covering my eyes, so I can not think about the IV. 
(I have IV fears now. They just remind me of everything I hated about my induction and c-section. They bring on some post traumatic stress for me. They make me think of feeling confined during labor, they make me think of pitocin, they make me think of having hugely swollen feet and legs after surgery (I lost a lot of blood so they pumped me FULL of fluids, so when I went home my feet were so swollen the bottoms were rounded and I had a hard time walking on them because they were like rocking chair bottoms.) And the place in my hand where they put the IV last time hurt for months and months afterwards, because I had to lift my deadweight body with my hands for a couple days after surgery, and I think it messed stuff up in there.)
So I'm trying not to assume I need a c-section (everything makes me assume I need one) and not think about the IV while she puts it in. It actually didn't hurt at all. And she put it in my arm (which helps me not freak out, since its not my hand.) But I stayed with my other hand on my face the whole time, not saying anything. So I think I made her worry and she had to ask if I was ok. I said, "I'm just feeling really emotional." 

So it turned out not so bad, but I was still emotional after it. I was told if I stay sick I will need to transfer care, so that made me start imagining terrible things like immediate c-section without any warning and mental preparation. (I didn't cry in the office. But I felt like I had tunnel vision of disappointment and I wanted to pass out so I could not deal with it.)
So I was given the instructions on the pills, and to keep taking my temp, and to drink TONS and TONS of fluids.

We left and I felt so overwhelmed.
I had contractions on the ride home. (And I didn't know if I was going to just keep feeling them for weeks until this baby is out.) And by that point my legs were feeling swollen from the IV -- giving me more c-section thoughts. And I was feeling pretty pouty now, since I saw no reason for these contractions.  I didn't like working through them, since they only meant sickness now. But not staying clam and optimistic through them, of course makes them hurt. But how am I supposed to be optimistic right now?
I wasn't too upset to not actually be in labor, because part of me was worried that it was still kinda early for that when the contractions came on. (I know 37 weeks is full term, but I liked the idea of 38 better, for baby's safety.) I was also not feeling totally emotionally ready yet. I was upset because I didn't like what was going on in the moment -- unhealthiness and tons of uncertainty.

J feel asleep on the way home. When we got there I went and laid down. Blake put J in her bed. 
And guess what I did?
(Yes, you know me so well now!)
I had a pity party about being pregnant and how crazy I am for thinking I could give birth again -- either way. I Questioned how I could do any of it again. I cried because I still assumed I was super really sick or something -- like me and the baby quarantined in the hospital for months, or something silly like that. And I was mad that it felt like after all my efforts, it didn't matter. (I was ready to walk into some random hospital and have someone cut me open that afternoon.) A huge part of pregnancy that is so hard for me, is the fact that really, none of it is under our own control. It happens in us, to us --- but in-spite of us. And when things happen that feel so uncontrollable, it makes me feel like I am out to sea lost in the waves.

Eventually I fell asleep.
I felt more calm when I woke up. 
And my contractions were gone.
And my fever was down.

Since then, I've started to feel sane again.
And all those weird physical sensations, which turned out to be symptoms, I was having are gone. My pelvis feels more normal. I can bend, and crawl, and roll over in bed.
So basically my "labor's coming signs" were all just a bladder infection.
I'm glad we got it taken care of. I'm still taking the pills and drinking tons of liquids. 
But I already feel a lot different. Which is good.

But just be praying for me. 
I'm facing fears every day.
And I need to stay healthy in order to stay with the provider I chose. 
I know God will go with me wherever I go, but I feel like he's lead me to this lady, so having to switch would be really hard for me.

That's the news for now.


  1. You are doing so good!! I remember the feeling oh so well of this is?, well is this is? Still no? It sucks. It's hard, but you can do it. I remember the 24 hours I was in labor with abbie before things progressed how frustrated I was. Wondering if I would have to go to the hospital and be induced etc, but I didn't and you won't. You can do this Lydia! Some women do have contractions off and on the last few weeks of labor. I know I did and it was brutal. I hated it. Constantly wondering, constantly wanting it to be over but also fearing it. I didn't believe women when they told me I would know when I was in true labor. Even I still went to the hospital when they were 3-4 minutes apart but still only 20-30 seconds long....I did my makeup before going for goodness sake, but now...I know. Those women were wise. I was only in real labor when I had to give everything in me, every moment of focus to concentrate on getting through contractions. My friend (doula) told me rule of thumb for 1st babies was contractions 5 minutes apart for at least an hour, that lasted 60 second each....2nd babies is a little bit more strict cause they typically come faster. Ask your doula her thoughts. Praying for your heart! You are doing so well!

    1. Thanks. I wasn't really worried about knowing if I was in labor or not. (The only part of that's tricky is I'd like to call my mom to come in a nice amount of time, but with her being 6 hours away its hard to know when that is.) And I wasn't mad at contractions in general, or even having a lot of them before they matter -- I was just really upset to hear I had an infection -- and that they weren't really contractions but an infection hurting me. Plus I was upset to hear I had an infection, because if it didn't get better that could change a lot of things. Thankfully it seems to be already better, and I'm still taking medicine for it too.
      And then of course I have to face down all my fears, which really won't be gone until she comes out, since with J I went through everything except the last 2 inches. So until she's totally out (however she wants to come out) I will have to keep working through my emotions.


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