Baby #3

Preterm Labor and Being Grateful for More Time.

So much has been happening lately, that I’m finding it hard to put into words. Trust me, being lost for words is new for me.

Still, I find myself sitting here in the early morning trying to get some of these feelings onto the screen…mostly so they are out of my head.

I realize that one of my biggest personality attributes is also my biggest flaw. I am a planner. It is immensely helpful when dealing with schedules and packing, but often leads to disappointment and anxiety when dealing with people and life in general. All of my meticulous planning for Baby #3 was thrown in my face yesterday, and here’s how it went.

Yesterday morning, Husband and I had the house to ourselves for the first time in more than a month. We usually try to have a date night once a month at the very least, but as I said, things have been crazy. So, after spending the night ignoring the house (which took great effort on my part) and watching movies, we woke up looking forward to a lazy day. It was not to be.

Beginning around 9:30, I started to have contractions frequently enough to time them. The first 3 I timed were at 5 minutes apart. Then they moved to just 3 minutes apart and became quite uncomfortable. After downing some water (to differentiate between Braxton-Hicks and real contractions) and eating a little toast, we decided it was time to call the doctor. Of course, they told me to go straight to the hospital. We are not quite in the “safe zone”–36 weeks, so that added a little extra concern for Baby Girl.

The admittance process is a long one, but I was hooked up to monitors and IVs fairly quickly while we went through the intake info. My least favorite part (other than the IV) is the stupid pain-scale question. “On a scale from 1-10, how would you rate your pain?” I hate it because I have NO IDEA what the right answer is. Contractions don’t start out painful. They are really uncomfortable and kind of take my breath away, but honestly stubbing my toe hurts more than those beginning contractions. So, I said 3. A while later, it was determined that I was, in fact, in labor.

Not Ready

Anyway, while we were there, we managed to hit 3 of my fears pretty hard.
1. Baby in danger.
-Although 35 weeks isn’t a terrible time to come, there are certain risks of lungs being underdeveloped. That wasn’t my main concern, though. While hooked up to the monitors, her heart rate dropped 5 or 6 times.
2. C-Section
-#1 lead to talk of a possible c-section if they couldn’t get the baby to knock it off. That terrified me. I know c-sections are a possibility, but I also know they make everything harder. From recovery to nursing, it all gets more difficult. Fortunately, some re-positioning helped Baby Girl…even though it increased the pain in my hips (and thus the pain of the contractions) significantly.
3. Not being ready.
-This is where being a planner screwed me. You see, we were ready, but life got in the way.

For the last 3 weeks, we have been taking care of our nieces (ages 2 and now 7 weeks) while their mom worked on getting some things settled. It was exhausting and frustrating and trying to have them here. But, it was also amazing and beautiful and such a blessing to care for these kids. To give them some love and encouragement, to comfort and feed them…and to smooch on such a tiny baby, was great.

In many ways, it prepared us for our Little One’s arrival. The boys got to see a real baby, and we got to see their reactions to one. We found out what essentials we were still lacking (like burp cloths and socks)…and we found out what it would be like to have 2-year-old twins.

In other ways, it wrecked all my obsessive planning.

  1. I was exhausted.
  2. The boys had been sent away so we could have a date night…but I needed some time with them before our baby arrived. They had sacrificed and adjusted so grandly in the weeks with the girls, that I needed them to know that they were still vitally important to me. Having a newborn doesn’t exactly help with that.
  3. The house was a disaster.
    I’m not being dramatic. I’d spent 3 weeks surviving the tornado of suddenly having 4 kids 24 hours a day. Laundry had to be done–including things we need for Baby Girl, things we were using for the littlest niece. Dishes were piled everywhere. The nursery hadn’t been cleaned or setup for our daughter, and nothing was remotely close to being “Clean.”

All of the disappointment over these things, plus the stress and worry over the baby poured out of me in the triage room. I cried. A lot. Our nurse was amazing beyond words, though. She just listened and reassured and calmly told me that I had helped the girls, that the boys knew how much I loved them because even she could tell, and that our baby would be just fine. And I believed her.

Eventually, we were sent home with medicine to stop my contractions. It took another dose of meds, and hours of lying on my side to get the contractions to slow to once per hour, but they finally did, and I was able to sleep. Kind of.

Now, the house is clean (thanks to my husband and mother), and my boys are home, and I have exactly what Baby Girl and I needed most–more time.


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