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Welcome to Week 31

2014 September 7
by Becky

31 weeks.

That’s how far I got in my last pregnancy before Ethan came flying into the world, 3.5 pounds of tiny preemie cuteness.

OneDayOldEthan, born at 31 weeks 4 days. 

So at 4:41pm today, I officially became the most pregnant I’ve ever been. Every moment from this point forward is a brand new experience. And we’ve been really excited to get to this point.

Too bad my body had a funny way of celebrating.

Wednesday morning, 31 weeks exactly, I was having “tummy troubles” (my non-graphic way of putting it) and after dropping Ethan off at school I started feeling strange, like something was wrong. For the first time all pregnancy, I called the doctor, just to check in.

And they told me to go to the Pregnancy Assessment Center…immediately.

BarnesParkingGarage

Déjà vu doesn’t even come close to describing the feeling of riding the elevator up to the bridge at Barnes Jewish Hospital. The same ride we took almost four years ago, the day Ethan was born.

This time, my packed suitcase was in the car. I had my phone charger, my Kindle, and was ready for the long haul.

The staff was waiting for me and got me all monitored up right away. Baby’s heartbeat was perfect. But I was having contractions. Like a lot of contractions. I started feeling them right after my arrival, realizing quickly that I’d been feeling some of this at home, mistaking them for rolls and stretches.

There was a moment of panic, but honestly my attitude was night and day different from last time. I stayed calm and relayed everything to Stu through text. Having him stay was work was good…two people sitting in a small room freaking out is WAY worse than one.

The OB checked and confirmed I was 1 cm dilated but, as I already knew, my water was completely intact. I actually cheered. They did an ultrasound to average baby’s size and make sure he was head down (he was). Though I stayed in the assessment center for a couple hours with no changes, no more dilation, cervix nice and long, my OBs stopped by and decided to keep me over night. They were not overly concerned, no grave faces like last time, but due to my history they wanted to take all the precautions.

These precautions included IV antibiotics to prevent any infections, two steroid injections to help baby’s lungs mature more quickly, and magnesium to prevent cerebral palsy in the case of pre-term delivery. All the same stuff we did (or at least tried to do) when I had Ethan. But this time, nothing happened. I just spent the next 25 hours watching my contractions roll by on screen and listening to Peanut #2 kick and hiccup on the heartbeat monitor.

contractionmonitor

And I continued to have contractions—painless but obvious and sometimes very close together—all afternoon and night. With each tightening of the belly I waited and wished it would be the last. Of course I slept about 2 minutes all night because between peeing constantly and being hooked up to so many uncomfortable things (heartbeat and contraction monitors, ivs, blood pressure cuff, O2 monitor) sleep was impossible.

But finally, around 10am the contractions stopped. Words like “discharged” and “bed rest” started to be floated around and I honestly couldn’t believe it was really happening.

I DID NOT have this baby.

The doctors chalked my pre-term labor up to severe dehydration due to my stomach issues. I didn’t occur to me that a day and a half of a stomach bug mixed with super hot and humid summer temps would cause this. I was drinking water and eating, but when I arrived at the hospital on Wednesday the nurse could barely get an IV in my arm due to the severe dehydration—she had to use the vein in my arm instead of my hand and the smallest gage catheter just to get fluids started.

So after my second steroid shot, my weekly progesterone injection, and one last cervix check to confirm I was still exactly the same, I was sent home. Baby was sitting “super high” and all sealed up. I was still in shock as I walked in the back door. We took the suitcase out of the car, I headed up stairs to shower because OMG did I feel totally disgusting.

Ethan was ready to help me drink my weight in water to get all rehydrated. I was so happy to see him…Stu handled things at home like a champ but man it’s hard to be away.

DrinkingWater

And then, very shortly after my triumphant arrival, the contractions started up again. And I had the tiniest bit of bleeding. I called the assessment center and they said to hang tight, it was probably just from being checked three times in 24 hours. So I did. I went to bed and woke up every two hours to constant contractions—again painless—and contemplated going to the hospital every time. Our neighbors were on call to come help with Ethan if we had to run out the door.

At 5am, I got dressed and headed in.

Stu stayed home and I’m glad because after an hour or so of monitoring and a quick speculum check (aka, no touchy the cervix) I was released. Nothing had changed. I was fine. So I took my contracting self home and got back in bed. Contractions finally stopped around noon.

So it’s “modified bed rest” for me for a while. My nightmare. But hey, at least I’ll have a better chance of bringing my baby home this time instead of sitting in a NICU for 6.5 weeks. And at least I get to be home and not on the Antepartum wing of the hospital. Every week, every DAY, helps get us closer to a bigger, healthier baby.

I’ll be going back to the doc next week and until they give the go-ahead, I’ll be laying here. Missing out on what seems like a million things. Missing the beautiful cool weather that has surprised us.

I’ll also be freaking out feeling this little dude rolling around in my belly—something I was REALLY enjoying until it started seeming way too similar to a contraction.

I had a blog post all written for this day. It was happy and simple and talking about all the differences between this pregnancy and my last one. I may have jinxed myself. But here’s a fun little side-by-side:

30 Week Belly Comparison

After seeing that old pic I realized that in 2010, there WERE NO SELFIES. I had an iPhone, but never ever ever ever took my own picture with it (lack of back camera?).

It also became clear that I have more protrusion in the belly department this go-round. I weighed more last time at this point, but there’s a major belly circumference discrepancy. Just one more reason I think this guy is gonna be bigger…

OH, and this time I still have ankles! Four years ago at 30 weeks my whole body was a giant balloon of puff.

Fingers crossed this whole thing was what I’m calling a “cruel coincidence”. Dehydration being the culprit, not a baby wanting to say hello earlier than planned.

Nonetheless, This time we are READY. The room is done enough (though the list of to-do items is just floating around my bed-ridden head…torture), clothes and diapers are washed and put away, bottles clean and sorted, pump parts all found and washed, and the (completely unnecessary) hospital bag is packed. We’ve even got nurse favors put together.

OB Nurse Favor BagsThey include Starbucks gift certificates, mints, trail mix, and chocolate. 

Thank you for all the calls, texts, offers of help.
Thank you to Ethan’s school for flexing his schedule for pickup/drop off.
Thank you to my sweet friend Breezy for taking Ethan all morning on Friday.
Thank you to our neighbors, Lindsey and Gym, for agreeing to my crazy request of possibly coming over in case of a midnight hospital run.
Thank you to the incredible nurses and docs at Barnes Jewish Hospital. Just like last time, you were so comforting and caring. We always know we’re in the very best hands.
Thank you to my parents who will arrive Tuesday (a pre-planned trip) and have offered to stay as long as we need them.

It’s REALLY hard to plan for all these unknowns. Having Ethan adds a whole new element of difficulty—if things go fast he may just be there to witness his brother being born. But hopefully we will over-plan and under-utilize our back-ups. Every minute from here on out is a new experience and every day gets this little guy bigger and more equipped to enter the world.

15 Responses
  1. Linda Johnson permalink
    September 7, 2014

    Thanks for the blog update and so happy to hear all is going well. If this little man stay’s put he may be 9 pounds like his dad. I love the goodie bags for the nurses!! Great idea since they do so much for the mom to be.

    You and Ethan keep drinking that water!!
    Glad your mom will be there to help you out.

    • Becky permalink*
      September 8, 2014

      The nurses are AMAZING…without them there’s no way I would have stayed as calm as I did.

  2. September 7, 2014

    Never fear!! The reserves will be on their way soon. We’ll get Ethan to school Wednesday morning. Can’t wait to see him.

  3. Lara permalink
    September 7, 2014

    You are amazing. Just wishing I could be there to help you guys out…

    • Becky permalink*
      September 8, 2014

      I don’t know about amazing, starting to think I’m not a very gracious host to babies with how they want to escape so soon and all. But I’m trying!

  4. September 7, 2014

    Bed rest is a bummer, but I’m glad that you and baby are doing well! It is really hard to plan for the unknowns, but you seem to be super prepared! I mean, you’re got nurses gifts and everything! Hoping things go smoothly the next few weeks!
    Cat @ MaryMarthaMama recently posted..The Beauty of EstherMy Profile

    • Becky permalink*
      September 8, 2014

      Thank you Cat! Trying to make the best of it. It’s worth every moment of extra cook time. :)

  5. September 8, 2014

    Yikes Becky! Glad things have calmed down — hoping for smooth sailing!
    Julie recently posted..19/2My Profile

    • Becky permalink*
      September 8, 2014

      Me too! Thanks!

  6. Grandpa & Grandma Voboril permalink
    September 8, 2014

    Becky you look great. So glad the little guy decided to stay put for now. I love the gift bags for the nurses. They are the greatest. We did something similar for the nurses who cared for Greg a while back.
    Take care! We’re thinking of you.

  7. Carmel permalink
    September 9, 2014

    I’m so glad the baby is well and still on the inside! Good luck with bedrest, if you’d like us to keep you some company, we’d be glad to stop by. :)

  8. Natasha permalink
    September 9, 2014

    Becky we missed you last Wednesday and I was very worried for you guys. I’ve been through it twice too so I totally understand the fear. I’m so glad you’re at home doing the very important job of growing a baby.

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