False alarm...but wheels are spinning...
Two days before I had Cooper, I was 33weeks and 3 days pregnant, and suddenly had crampy "I'm going to get my period" feelings. I couldn't put my finger on it, and it wasn't incredibly painful, but the cramps were annoying. The next day, when I was spotting, and then the spotting turned bright red
, I high-tailed it to the hospital to find out I was 4 cm dialated, 100% effaced and the baby was ready to arrive.
Earlier this weekend, I spoke with a girlfriend, who is 33 1/2 weeks pregnant, and suddenly started feeling like she was getting her period. She called her midwife, got checked, and while not dialated yet, is now on bedrest until 36 or 37 weeks as her cervix has started to shorten. I urged her to follow her bed-rest command (as difficult as it is) as I know first hand the difficulties of having a preemie, the stress involved, etc. And this coming from people who somehow got lucky on the odds and have had zero complications due to the prematurity.
So imagine my profound concern when last night, at 25 weeks 3 days I suddenly began feeling horrible menstrual-like cramps. They were unbearable, and though I would change position it would not make them go away. The baby was kicking up a storm and while my immediate thought was "must have been something I ate", the relentlessness of the cramps (and unproductive trips to the bathroom) had me fearing that again, I had started premature labor. And at not even 26 weeks, I know all too well that the outcomes are not favorable (survivable, but not always necessarily favorable).
I crawled into bed, and began watching the clock. The cramps would get more and more intense, and then drift off much like waves rolling in and out. Every half an hour they would become so painful I couldn't speak or concentrate, and my memories were flooding back to my last pregnancy. Additionally, I kept feeling like I needed to rush to the bathroom, and I know that can be another sign of early labor. I called D into the bedroom and told him my fears...which of course made him panic. He usually looks to me for the "authority" in these things, and my doubt made him very nervous.
Suddenly I ran to the bathroom, and became violently ill north and south...I was trembling with tears streaming down my face. In an odd way, I found this reassuring because this was falling more in line with my initial thoughts of food poisoning. I spent the next hour or two between dozing off in bed and running to the bathroom, finally collapsing from exhaustion. When I next opened my eyes, it was 6:20 am and Coop was waking up.
While clearly this was the result of eating a dinner that was far too rich in butter, the emotions it stirred up are still lingering. My fears of another preemie, while I try to surpress them, are real and present. My knowledge of how lucky we were with Coop makes me more nervous about another preemie, questioning how lucky we could get twice. Realizing how much harder an emergency trip to the hospital (in the middle of the night, no less) will be with a toddler freaks me out, and we are working on several different contingencies depending on time of day, day of week, etc. If only we lived in an area where we could knock on a neighbors door, but we don't.
As time goes on, and I get closer and closer to term, I know these fears will grow stronger. It is a weird feeling, knowing that every day I remain pregnant is one step closer to a healthy baby, and yet it is also one step closer to the possibility of going into preterm labor. I know that I am being monitored, and I love my OB. I know that I don't currently show any signs of being at risk (blood pressure - normal, blood sugar - normal, urine levels - normal, etc) but my history and my age make me scared all the same.