This post mentions: PG
At 23 weeks, I shouldn't know what the inside of a labor and delivery room looks like at 3 AM, but after this morning, I do. After awakening with overwhelming chills and lower back/abdominal cramping and discomfort, the best way to describe what was happening was that something was very wrong. I have long heard this same description when talking about labor. Being the type of person who generally has to be doubled over before calling any advice line, I knew that I was in trouble when I immediately contacted the on-call OB without a second thought. It was a frustrating call at best as I could barely hear him over the muffled connection, but when he finally said 'labor and delivery', his words could not have been more crystal clear.
The 20 minute drive over to the hospital was punctuated by intense 'what if' scenarios running through my brain and for much of those early moments, I wondered how I could possibly go on if the worst were to occur. It's thoughts like these that I still have often, but being in a car speeding towards this place made it starkly real. We got there and were immediately led into a room and as soon as I spotted the baby warmer, I prayed that our much too young little guy would get a chance to wait many, many weeks before meeting it. They strapped a belt across my belly and immediately found his strong heartbeat, but on top of that, they discovered that I had an 'irritable uterus' and at one point in time, used the big 'c' word to describe it (contractions).
Although the nurses did not give the appearance of being alarmed at all, I broke out into a cold sweat at the mere mention of contractions at just 23 weeks. So why was this happening? As is the most frustrating of medical circumstances, they had few possible theories.
To calm my 'irritable uterus' they injected me with a smooth muscle relaxant, which helped calm it, and explained that while I was cramping, it was not officially contractions. On top of that, Baby G (as he will now be called), being the ultimate night owl I've learned him to be, was kicking and moving so much they couldn't keep track of him, easing my mind that all was well with him. But these weren't the best peaces of mind handed to me that night. That arrived when we finally got an explanation, something that often does not come this easily in medicine. The nurse walked in with a big smile on her face, declaring triumphantly,
"You have a raging bladder infection."
I have heard these words many times before in my life but I would have never guessed the delight I would feel in one day hearing them. A bladder infection! That, my friends, can be solved. Other things, like preterm labor, not so much. The funny thing is, other than ongoing frequent urination, which is common not just in pregnancy but in the girl with the world's tiniest bladder (that would be me), I had no other preceding symptoms before that night. But I was more than happy to take the diagnosis and run with it.
After the nurse checked my cervix, which was thankfully long and closed, we were out the door with a prescription in hand. While I'm having some minor cramps, it's nothing like what I felt last night (and may be GI related). Never before have I felt as if I truly dodged a bullet. In fact, I come to feel that way every day of my pregnancy. I recently read Murgdan's blog post at Fertility Authority about being grateful for the miracle of life and more than ever, I am. Every second that passes, eventful and uneventful alike, is a gift I will never take for granted. I'm just hoping that we have many more seconds to come.