(I see my husband has already spilled the beans, if a little obscurely.)
Cayenne is here, and he is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
His birth story starts three weeks before he was born.
At 34 weeks pregnant I came home from yoga class, had dinner, and started feeling … wrong. I didn’t know it was contractions — there weren’t any waves of feeling, there wasn’t any pain, and my belly just felt consistently tight. I actually thought it was a digestive problem. I went to bed, and in the morning when it hadn’t gotten any better I called my OBGYN. They sent me to the hospital, and I checked in feeling very silly — surely they were going to examine me and send me home with instructions to keep taking Colace, right?
They put me on the monitors and asked if I was feeling any contractions. I wasn’t, but they kept me on the monitors and as the morning went on I did start to feel discrete contractions, about five minutes apart, and not very painful. I was dilated to 2 cm. They gave me Procardia to stop the contractions and steroid shots to help Cayenne’s lungs in case things should progress. They kept me overnight and then sent me home when it was clear the Procardia was working.
Three days later I was back — painful contractions, less than 5 minutes apart. Because I wasn’t any more dilated they sent me home. No drugs this time, and the contractions did not stop. I was put on restricted activity — I went to work, then came home and went to bed. No yoga, no music, no housework, no shopping. I continued contracting for the next two weeks.
When I went in for my 35-week OB appointment I asked for some clarification: throughout the pregnancy I had been told that it would be dangerous for me to have contractions, which is why the C-section was scheduled for 37 weeks. But there I was, contracting regularly, and no one seemed to be concerned. I figured one of two things must be true:
- Either what was happening was dangerous, in which case we should get the baby out, or
- It wasn’t actually dangerous for me to have contractions after all, in which case we should push the C-section back to 39 or 40 weeks.
It was explained to me kindly that I am an idiot.
Apparently 37 weeks was still the point at which the risk to me from the contractions intersected with the risk to Cayenne’s lung development. The answer was still to wait it out and keep contracting.
Then I went back for my 36-week appointment. They did another non-stress test and noted with surprise that I was having contractions.* Three minutes apart by this point. I still don’t really know what made this so different from what had been going on for the past two weeks, but this particular doctor was definitely not of the opinion that I should go home and wait it out. She had the nurse walk me directly over to the labor & delivery section, I was admitted, and I had the C-section that night.
*I don’t want to malign any of the doctors I saw throughout this process, but really, would it have killed any of them to have read my chart? Every time I saw someone new (which was often) we had to start from the beginning.