The Pre-Term Labor Movement

28 weeks and 1 day

10:00 am – Arrive at ultrasound to see if baby is still measuring 11 days behind.

10:15 am – Baby is getting back on track at 7 days behind. This is good.
My cervix, however, is 4mm thick when it’s supposed to be 4cm. This is bad.

10:45 am – I’m admitted to the Labor and Delivery ICU to see if I’m having contractions. I am.

11:00 am – Cervical exam #1: I’m not yet dilated. This is (relatively) good.

11:30 am – 3 IV bags in my veins and 2 fetal monitors on my belly attempt to stop the contractions. They aren’t working.

12:00 pm – I get my first steroid shot to develop the baby’s lungs because I might deliver at any moment. It hurts a lot.

10:00 pm – Cervical exam #2: I’m dilated to 1cm. They up my magnesium sulfate to 2.5 grams per hour. I spend the rest of the night throwing up.

12:00 am – I get a second steroid shot. It hurts a lot, too, but I don’t give a shit any more.

28 weeks and 2 days

I lay in the hospital bed, I sweat, I throw up, I pee in a bedpan, and I try not to pass out.
That’s all.
Nothing else.

28 weeks and 4 days

Bed rest continues with no foreseeable end. I’m now off the mag and on progesterone and nifedipine. With those drugs, they think it’s under control. They think that my current pattern of contractions won’t further compromise my cervix. They think I might stay at 1cm till at least the end of the month or 30 weeks gestation.

I’ve entered a world where delivering a baby 10 weeks early is considered a major success. I don’t like this world.

29 weeks and 6 days

They insert a pessary into my vagina, which is a plastic device propped against my cervix that may delay early labor. Next to the speculum, it’s the least fun device that’s ever been in there.

But I don’t really think much about it because instead I’m distracted by the news that I have gestational diabetes because of course I do.

30 weeks

I’ve reached 30 weeks, and I’m still pregnant. They’re sending me home on Saturday, but if I have any contractions, then I need to get to the hospital quickly. The only problems with this plan are (1) I still don’t know what a contraction feels like, and (2) I don’t live close enough to get to the hospital quickly.

Otherwise it’s a great plan.

Water Works: A Retrospective

For the past 2 weeks, this hospital bed has been my bubble bath of self-pity: a chorus of sadness suds popping at my ears and harmonizing in the key of poor me – a soundtrack that shuffles and repeats until long after my fingers are pruned by my tears.

I feel like saying this isn’t fair, but then I don’t believe in fairness. I want to cry that I don’t deserve this, but there’s no such thing as deserts. Yes, there’s fear, but that’s different from wallowing in self-pity, especially when the self in question is privileged, is healthy, and has insurance for those times when the body gives out.

The me-of-a-year-ago wouldn’t feel sorry for the me of today. The me-of-a-year-ago would say, “You know what? You should consider shutting up a little because you’re fine. You’re still pregnant, you’ll probably keep being pregnant, and even if you stop being pregnant and deliver pre-term, your baby will get the care she needs to make it just fine.

“Be grateful,” I’d say to me. “Quit crying, be thankful that you got pregnant in the first place, and remember that things could always be worse.”

I’m not sure if the me-of-a-year-ago is an asshole or not, but I’m fairly certain that the me-of-today could use something of an ass-kicking — but perhaps a gentle kick, because I really want the me-of-5-weeks-from-now to still be pregnant.

About TG

My eggs don't work, so I'm trying to manifest babies via egg donation. Let's blog and see what happens.
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14 Responses to The Pre-Term Labor Movement

  1. Scary stuff. Hang tight, every day counts and apparently at this point every extra day on the inside means 3 less days in the nicu (or so my close friend with 30 weekers told me). You’ve got this. Also, contractions feel like cramping that comes and goes. Good luck. And babe stay in there!!!

  2. Uh Uh. Not allowed. Don’t do that to yourself. It is totally okay to be scared. Stay baby stay.

  3. augusta19 says:

    I’m guessing the you of a year ago was doing the best she could, and the you who is now in a hospital bed, begging her fetus to stay a fetus longer is also doing the best she can. Being a pregnant infertile is not easy. It somehow disentitles us to normal, healthy feelings typical of pregnancy. That you feel distressed and scared is an appropriate response to what you are going through.
    I hope your baby waits a little bit to make her big entry. And I hope her mama can find a way to be gentle with herself.

  4. augusta19 says:

    Hey, I forgot to say that I’m really sorry this pregnancy can’t be easier. I hope for a smooth delivery in the weeks of upper 30s.

  5. Gina says:

    I went through something very similar back in February with my daughter (via DE). Cervix was dilated 3cm at 23 weeks, hospital bedrest, got the steroid shots at 24 weeks, the mag (oh god), and my daughter was born at 24wks + 3 days on 3/4/13. She spent 94 days in the NICU but is now a totally healthy, perfect 7 month old who hasn’t even had so much as a diaper rash since she came home in June. You will get through this and so will your little one. 30w is actually amazing! (I would have been thrilled to make it to even 28w – which is when the doctors said they would “breathe a sigh of relief”). Stay close to a very good NICU. I will be following and sending strength and love your way!

    • TG says:

      Thank you. I know you’re right. So glad to hear about the health of your girl. Definitely helps to hear.

      • Gina says:

        p.s. I highly recommend the book Half Baked: The Story of My Nerves, My Newborn and How We Both Learned to Breathe by Alexa Stevenson, to get you through at least a couple of days of bedrest. It’s hilarious and really well written and will resonate with you on many levels right now.

  6. Kimberly says:

    I am so sorry that you are dealing with this! Your outlook is very impressive! I will be thinking of you and hoping you stay pregnant for 10 more weeks!!

  7. Fanatic fan says:

    I read this and want to tell you something that I know you won’t believe and won’t want me to say…but I’m saying it anyway because it’s true, damnit! You are strong and brave and honest and amazing! I don’t say you are strong because of what you’ve been through…lots of women have been through what you are going through and they were strong too….so that kind of strength is just what you have to do because you have no choice. I say you are strong because in going through all this you are taking an unflinching moral inventory and being so honest about your emotions that it is breathtaking. While I agree with Lisa@blackpantysalvation that you are being way too hard on yourself, I’m still amazed at how good you are at processing your feelings in the midst of everything you’re going through. Your humor is remarkable….I love you…you give me courage. Your little one is going to be the luckiest baby in the world to have a momma like you. I’ll stop gushing now…I know you hate that.

    • TG says:

      Oh my goodness. I love you right back. Thanks so much for your kindness and support. If ever you want to connect more personally – especially if you have an infertility story of your own that would be helped by sharing – please email me. Best, TG

  8. Sarah says:

    TG, how are you doing? I’ve been checking the blog and timeline regularly for updates. If you feel up to it, let us know how you are!

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