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.
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.
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.