Stay in, please

So last night was exciting, but mostly a little terrifying. I had a serious labor scare, terrifying because I'm not quite to 35 weeks yet. Around 3 p.m., I started noticing very regular, mild contractions, mostly painless but with the occasional twinge in my back or pelvis. They were coming every 4 to 6 minutes. This is exactly how my labor with Kent started, except that it happened right at his due date instead of five weeks early. After the first hour or so, I was joking that it was going to be an exciting day, but after a few more hours, I really started to worry. I started packing a hospital bag (which of course we hadn't packed yet), I had Jack get the infant carseat out of the attic just in case, and I generally felt helpless and broke down crying at one point. I just wanted the contractions to stop. Like with my first pregnancy, I'm used to having frequent Braxton-Hicks contractions, once or twice an hour for the last several months, but when they became this regular, it felt like my body was telling me it was time for labor. I desperately wanted it not to be time.

I had trouble getting in touch directly with anyone from the midwife's office (though I've since located the right number to call), but I did get in touch with my doula René, who suggested I go to the hospital to be checked out and reminded me that if I am showing signs of labor, they might be able to stop it, depending on the situation. Kent had just gone to bed, so we started calling friends, leaving several messages before our friend Mary, who had planned to watch Kent when we went to the hospital anyway, called us back and said she could come over while we went to the hospital.

We got to the hospital around 10, our doula met us there, and I got on the monitor, which confirmed my regular contractions. The nurse we got was terrific, very calm and down-to-earth, and she had me answer a lot of questions and give her a urine sample to make sure I didn't have a UTI or other complication that was spurring on labor. She checked my cervix after a while, and it wasn't dilated at all, not even a fingertip. Thank goodness. The contractions hadn't subsided, but in the absence of any other signs that I was actually in labor, the midwife on call had them send me home at about 11.

I know that a lot of women who go to the hospital and end up not being in labor feel silly, like they cried "wolf". Maybe if this happens again a month from now, I'll feel that way too, but when we left the hospital last night to come home, I just felt relief. Dean's not done yet. Mostly, I feel giddy and thankful, like we dodged a bullet. I also feel totally justified in hiring a doula this time, since we've had this nice practice run now, and I know how calming of a presence she is and how much better I felt just talking to her on the phone about what to do.

I had been anxious about flying to Maryland at 34 weeks, since that's right on the border of when most docs are comfortable letting their patients fly, and I had this irrational fear that I was going to go into labor during our three-day visit and then be stuck away from home with a newborn in the NICU. All through this ordeal yesterday, when I thought I might really be in labor, I kept thinking, "My gosh, we missed that by a day. Maybe it wasn't such an irrational fear."

And yet, mercifully, Dean is still inside. We got back home to his sleeping big brother around 11:15 and fell into bed, and by 3 a.m., my contractions had subsided. I had a great prenatal visit today in which I was reassured that I did the right thing. My game plan for the next couple of weeks is to take it easy and drink a ton of water. Midwife's orders. We'll see how much Kent cooperates with that. If only he were strong enough to open our fridge, I could teach him to get me a glass of water... that'll definitely be a useful skill for him to have once his baby brother is here and constantly nursing.

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Take good care of yourself! Glad your Doula was available.
Oh dearie! That's what happened to me, too. Regular contractions at 34/35weeks. Had to go to the hospital and get injections of anti-labor meds which made me feel horrible. :( Consider it the beginning of a very long prelabor. No fun. Take it easy this last month. Get all the help you can get.
In my case I would often get stretches of regular, shortly-space, but non-progressive contractions that month. Usually around the same time of the week, and then I had Marlowe on the fourth week of those miserable contractions.

Hang in there. (hugs)
Definitely take care of yourself. When I was told to "do myself a favor and take it easy" the last couple weeks this time, I had to realize that Eli watching extra TV, etc was not going to harm him for life! I also accepted any offers from friends/family to take him places, have him come over to play, and whatever. It'll be okay, and at least now you have peace of mind, which is huge. Just keep listening to your body!
Oh my goodness! I am so glad that Dean is still cooking. You definitely did the right thing by getting checked out. I am sorry you had such a scare to start the new year. Try to stay off your feet and take lots of naps, at this point in my 2nd pregnancy, DVDS for my eldest were my friend. Stay in there, Dean!
That would have been quite the New Years surprise! I'm glad Mom and Babe are still percolating though. ;)
Oh my gosh, that sounds scary! I wish we were closer so that we could take Kent for a day to give you a break. I'll echo several others here to say that there's nothing wrong with a few more DVDs for Kent for a few weeks; or you laying on the couch while he "cooks" pancakes in his play kitchen for you!

Take care and stay in for a few more weeks, Dean!
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