Saturday, September 20, 2014

Preterm Labor: The 33 week scare

We wanted to say thank you one more time for all who prayed for the baby and I throughout the pregnancy.  From the first announcement you rejoiced with us, and we needed those extra prayers.  I had pretty extreme "all-day" sickness and even though I was tired and weak, little Gracen kept growing strong.

During the summer I felt well enough for us to take a trip to Honduras.  What a blessing to see all they are doing there and to get to be a little part of the ministry at hospital Loma de Luz.  You can read about our trip by clicking here.  

Upon returning we jumped full strength back into life here in Oaxaca.  The kids with school.  Sam with Bible studies, classes, and disciplining.  Everyone at the church was excited to see my growing belly and give it a little rub.  That's very socially acceptable here and even expected.  I didn't mind, we were so grateful for the new little life growing, we were happy to share the blessing.

The kids had settled into the new school routine and I was even getting my garden in order.  With all our comings and goings over the last several years, it seems getting the garden in order (a.k.a. weeding, lots of weeding) is a very reoccurring theme around here.

The kids had September 15 off of school for Mexican Independence Day, so I high-jacked a part of their day with gardening.  Do you know how much more weeding you can get done with 5 able bodied kids?  After I relieved them from their gardening duties I returned to the garden several times that day.  The problem was, with all the day's activities, I think I forgot to drink enough water.  As evening approached, I quickly changed clothes so we could head down town to see all the festivities going on for Independence Day.  We had a great time drinking coffee on the down town square (zocalo), people watching, parade watching, and we got a very close up fireworks display.  You can see it here.

It was shortly before midnight that we headed back to the car.  On the walk to the car I noticed I was having some pretty serious contractions that seemed close together.  By the time we got home, they were every 3 minutes and I had to breathe through them.  I got in a warm bath, started hydrating and contacted one of our midwives and our doctor.  Our doctor answered his phone, but he was out of town.  After trying a few more things the contractions calmed down and I slept for a while, only to wake up several hours later to strong contractions again.  This pattern repeated several times until late afternoon.

After consulting several doctors, we decide it was time to go to the hospital.  I went and took a shower and tried to get all my crying out, so I could be strong for whatever the next days and weeks had in store.  Because, the way the contractions felt, I was sure at a mere 33 week, our baby was about to make an entrance...and I was scared.  The hospital most equipped to take care of premies (the Civil Hospital), really doesn't have a NICU.  Take a deep breath and let that sink in a minute.

Up until this point we had kept our little trial to ourselves, but in that brief time I was trying to pull myself together in the shower, Sam sent out a cry for help, I mean an email asking for pray.  Your response was overwhelming.

Also while I was in the shower, I remembered an OB/GYN that I had worked with a few times and we gave him a call.  Not only was he in town, he was at the Civil Hospital where we were going to need to go.  What a huge relief to see a familiar face in all the chaos.

The incredible thing really was that after all those contractions, my cervix was still closed and long and the contractions did slow down and eventually stop after an injection of terbutaline.  I remained on bed rest for a week or two and we all breathed a huge sigh of relief as week 37 of my pregnancy came and went.  This has been what Sam has come to call the 33 week scare.  Little did we know it would be a good thing that we were a little familiar with the civil hospital, as I would end up there after Gracen's birth.  You can read about his birth here.

A note to all my midwifery friends.  I am aware of the studies coming out showing bed rest to have no effect on preterm labor, however, when it seems like every time you move you have contractions, you tend to try not to move.   No matter what the studies say, it seems even the best of us are susceptible to anecdotal evidence.   

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