Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Are those contractions, or have you flipped???

On February 27th, while Dad was away in New York City, I started to feel "off". My belly really hurt and it felt tense. I didn't feel you move as much, but my belly did look COMPLETELY different. I tried to call him (he said I better call him anytime something was different), but he didn't answer his phone ALL.DAY.LONG. I spent from 8am-6pm trying to reach him. He still to this day, makes the excuse that "he was in a meeting", but his meeting lasted till lunch and then...HE WENT SHOPPING! For one reason or another, he not only didn't answer his phone, he packed it away, until he got to the airport. After many attempted phone calls, texts and emails, I finally sent a very unpleasant message to him, that he miraculously answered, quite nonchalantly I might add! 

It went something like this:

Text from me: "Why the heck aren't you answering your phone?  Something is not right, I've called the midwives and I think you NEED to get home ASAP!  I can't reach you and am giving it 10 more minutes before I page you at the airport!  Please call me immediately, I'm worried".

Phone call 30 seconds later (why THIS prompted a response, but not the 10 msgs I left throughout the day of "are you alive" didn't, I don't know!):
Daddy: "What's up?  My flight's cancelled.   I'm annoyed.  You okay?".
Me: "What's up?????  What's UP????????".
Daddy: "Ya, you okay?  You better not be having this baby?  Are you having the baby?  I told you that you can't do that without me"!
Me: "No, I'm not HAVING the baby, but something is wrong and I've called the midwives.  Can you try to get on ANY flight.  I think I'm in labour, but am trying to eat, sleep, rest and have a bath to see if it these contractions will stop".
Daddy: "Okay, I'll call you right back".
Me: "Okay".

Phone call 5 minutes later:
Daddy: "I got on the only flight out of here, business class!  YAY!  Isn't that awesome?  Business class!"
Me: "I don't care what class you're flying on, but great.  What time will you be home?"
Daddy: "In about 6 hours, DO NOT HAVE THIS BABY IN THAT TIME.  I MEAN IT!"
Me: "Umm, ya okay, I'll work on your schedule, hopefully it's nothing!"

In the meantime, I had called our midwives, text Auntie Julie, called Aunt Kathryn and didn't want anyone to worry, as it was probably "nothing". I just wanted to talk with someone who had had a baby recently/before to tell me that it was "nothing". After speaking with the midwives, she gave me advice to: have a bath, lay down, drink at least 3 glasses of water, do some kick counts and call back if that didn't seem to help, or I didn't feel you move 6 times in 2 hours. She was sure that there was NO WAY that I was having contractions, as it was "too early".  I was quite uncomfortable, but knowing your Dad was finally getting on a delayed flight home, I felt better. I tried to go to sleep, or get comfortable, which I couldn't, but still tried not to worry too much.

Way too many hours passed by and WAY TOO SLOWLY. Daddy finally came home, said he was exhausted, asked how I was doing and crawled into bed. He slept like a rock (of course, no surprise there, if you know him well!) and I tossed and turned, having two more baths throughout the night.

That morning, I got out of bed around 4am, as I couldn't sleep and felt horrible. After Dad woke up, I drove him to work and said I was going to go shopping for a bit and then see if I felt better after walking around. I went off to Winners, to find Jack a 1st birthday present and try to distract myself.  I got to Winners, found a gift for him, picked it up and immediately felt dizzy, weak and like you had flipped to a completely different position, which made me feel nauseous.  I quickly paid, got in the car, drank some water and drove home.

Once home, I went to the bathroom, got water, layed down, counted movements and then stood up, as I felt "weird".  I had a HUGE gush of liquid and knew it was immediately time to call the midwives and then call Daddy.  After calling the midwives, they were sure I was having contractions, but wasn't sure if my water had broke, I had a leak, or if it was strong braxton hicks and a change in position.  They said to call Graham and that I had 5 minutes to gather a bag of stuff, pick up Graham and head to the hospital (30 minutes away).  I called Daddy and he informed me that, "He was in a meeting".  I told him that meeting would HAVE to end, as I was on my way to get him.  I think he was STILL convinced that it was nothing, so he got in the car, asked to go home to get our camera and then make our way.  I was in NO mood to argue, so we ran home and then headed to the hospital.

Upon arriving, we went straight to a triage room, where the midwives would meet us for an assessment.  Daddy tried to make jokes about playing on the Nintendo to occupy time (he makes inappropriate suggestions/comments all the time, you will come to know this QUICKLY!), which I did not find humourous.  I was in pain, worried and he was finding it a time to make jokes and pretend like it was NO BIG DEAL!  I'm sure he was slightly worried, but he felt more excited that you might have your birthday today.  I tried to explain why, at 31 weeks and 3 days, that it would not be ideal, while fighting back tears, but he had this smile on his face, like it was the

The midwives came in, strapped me to a machine (which I now know how to hook myself up to, work better than some nurses and can explain to anyone and everyone what it does/means), called a Non Stress Test Machine (NST from here on out), to see if I was having contractions.  They drew some blood, took some swabs and said they'd be back in a few minutes.  A few minutes later, they came back and this is where it all changed for me.  I started crying, sometimes not hearing a word that they said...all while looking over at your Dad, who still seemed to have a smile on his face.

They confirmed that I wasn't leaking fluid, so that was a GOOD sign.  They did confirm that I was having contractions and "some good ones" at that.  They said that I would need to be "checked" and that they had to consult an OB ASAP.  Sushma, one of our midwives, confirmed that yes, I was in labour31 weeks and 3 days and in LABOUR.  They left to get the OB, run another test and I broke down.  I tried to call EVERYONE and no one answered at first.  Not my Mom, Dad, Kathryn, Julie, Jenny, Scott, Stephanie, Dana, Jolene, NO ONE SO FAR.  I just wanted to talk to someone that wasn't sitting across from me, smiling.  Daddy did NOT seem to understand my worry, as he had ZERO experience in knowing anyone who had preterm babies and the long haul that could entail. 

The next 10 minutes seemed like hours.  I FINALLY got ahold of Papa (my Dad), after calling the switchboard and saying that they needed to get him out of his meeting IMMEDIATELY.  What felt like forever later, he picked up the phone, asking if I was okay?  I told him, through tears, that I was in labour and was being admitted to the hospital to try to stop it (that's all that we knew at this point).  I told him that I couldn't reach ANYONE and he said that he would try to get a hold of Mom for us.  I told him that one of us would update them when we knew more.  I knew that Papa was scared and for some odd reason, that actually made me feel better.  Maybe because I wasn't alone with being scared and that someone else knew how REAL this was.

Daddy left the room to admit me, where I was left alone to cry, freak out and listen to your heartbeat thumping away on the NST.  At least I had the reassurance that your heart was beating away.  It didn't mean that you were going to be okay, it just meant that you were still alive and hopefully KICKING. I then reached a few other people and reassured everyone that we would update them all when we knew more. After everyone came back in, Daddy came in, with his usual personality to say this:

"Umm, so the OB who is coming to "check" you, is HUGE! And when I say HUGE, I mean, not like your Dutch cousins HUGE, but like REALLY HUGE!"  I semi ignored this comment, thinking that he is probably no bigger than any of my friends/family and that Graham was just over-reacting...until he sauntered in. Yes, sauntered.  I looked over, to this very appropriate voice that matched his body size and reacted.  There was NO stopping me!  He introduced himself, "Hi, I'm Dr. Gilmore, I'll need to check you, as your being admitted for labour and we need to make a plan".  To which I replied, "Umm, YOU'RE checking me?  YOUR HANDS ARE HUGE"!!!  All I got back was a chuckle (he must have heard things like this before, as he told me that he would be gentle).  He was a 6 foot 6/7 inch man, that towered over EVERYONE in the room, with a voice that was actually, the most reassuring sounding voice.  He was calm, collected and really, really kind.  Just what I needed. 

All signs pointed to labour. I was slightly starting to dilate, my contractions were getting LONGER, HARDER, MORE FREQUENT, STRONGER AND MORE PAINFUL and he suggested that we get steroid shots for your lungs, as well as some medication to try to stop labour, or you'd have your birthday imminently.  No one could tell me WHY this was happening, other than "You have an irritable uterus and your baby moved from breech, to head down" (you flipping later confirmed that this could have started everything!).  Again, I tried not to cry and be brave, but I looked at your Dad for some reassurance and he was STILL excited. 

Everything after that, was quick, crazy and two completely different experiences for your Dad and I.  I wanted to keep you in, but not be in so much pain and he wanted to meet you.  I wanted a "take home baby" weeks from now and he wanted to see what you looked like, even if that meant that you'd be in a little incubator.  I wanted him to understand my fear and I think he wanted me to understand why he didn't want to HAVE to wait any longer, as it's felt like he has waited long enough already.

I got my first steroid shot for your lungs, some morphine for the pain and contractions, a nitrate patch to stop labour and too many attempts at getting an IV in my arms.  The midwives consulted with Dr. Gilmore, who stated that I would have to be transferred to Mt. Sinai, a hospital with a level 3 NICU, as our hospital can't take anyone before 32 weeks.  This scared me SO much.  I would be taken ASAP in an ambulance and Daddy would need to follow us.  They didn't seem to have high hopes that I would be transferred back there and told us to prepare for you to have your birthday and need A LOT OF NICU time.  Dad and I talked, well he tried to talk to me and I tried to breathe through the contractions and pain.  We ordered something to eat, while we waited for an ambulance and I just laid there in complete fear, while Dad seemed to enjoy his pizza, watch some TV and get on with life as if nothing was different.  I am now thankful for this, as TWO of us panicking would be REALLY bad, but at the time, I just wanted him to understand a LITTLE bit of my fear.

We had NO idea what the next few minutes or hours would hold, but we were ALL sure that'd we'd be meeting you before the morning came...


Rachel S

Thanks for sharing your story with us Lee-Anne! So glad your little one took your advice and not Graham's (sorry Graham - I do understand your excitement/anticipation though :)) and stayed in awhile longer! Hoping to hear the good news of his/her arrival in the next number of weeks! Hopefully you are doing/feeling well and can meet your little "take home baby" face to face soon! :) (p.s. I had to laugh at that - my sister always said she wanted a "take home baby" too after having her three preemies!)

Rachel Speelman

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