God knows what we need. He knows what we're afraid of, and knows how to help us get past those fears. My adventure this week showed me a clear picture of a God who cares enough to calm my most tangible fears.
I have been feeling crappy for a long time now, almost two weeks. It started last Monday when I was having issues and made it to work about a half an hour later than I was supposed to. Thank God for my understanding coworkers. I've had my share of illnesses, maybe even more than most people, but nothing like I've experienced during pregnancy. After I was able to finish out that work week of only three days, I was still not feeling great. I had to cancel a Bible Study meeting that I have with my friend on Saturdays. I wasn't sleeping well (although this had already been going on for months due to my growing belly and just all around discomfort) and I thought that was what was making me feel so down. Monday rolled around and I still wasn't feeling great, but Tuesday was the real kicker. I was supposed to go to work on Tuesday, as usual, but was unable to. I woke up feeling ok, but as soon as I got up and started getting ready I was ill. Flu like symptoms that I won't describe. Another day of work missed. How am I still employed there?
Thankfully, the symptoms didn't last long, and I was ready to rest and relax and go back to work on Wednesday. Sadly, I guess it wasn't in the plan for me to go at all this week. I sat up around 5 am on Wednesday after a fitful night's sleep. I couldn't get comfortable and was having cramps on both sides of my abdomen. I tried changing positions many times, sat up, moved around a bit...all this before finally realizing something wasn't really right. I called labor and delivery. They asked me different questions about the pains I was having, "how long do they last?" "does your stomach get very tight?" "do they come and go?" Finally they told me it was a good idea for me to go to L&D to get checked.
Andrew and I set out around 7 am and we picked up his mom on the way. St. Vincent Hospital is about 45 minutes from where I live. I got there expecting to do mounds of paperwork, all the while getting slightly more uncomfortable. The paperwork was minimal, although they did ask me quite a few questions and had me verify some things they already knew about me.
My nurse, Kris, was lovely. She was sent just for me that day. She was kind, knowledgeable, patient. I was hooked up to two monitors, one for the baby, and one for the contractions. According the monitor, I wasn't crazy. I was contracting regularly. Contractions are fine, as long as they are not changing a woman's cervix. After being checked it was clear that the contractions were starting to change mine. It was softening, which according to the doctor isn't supposed to happen till about 36 weeks. The main thing to do was to 1)get some water into my system as I was slightly dehydrated from my stomach issues the day before 2) get some food into me as I hadn't eaten anything that day (I rushed out the door when I thought I was in labor...and the last thing on my mind was food.) 3) stop the contractions.
They decided to give me a shot of Terbutaline, which is commonly used to stop/slow contractions. It's given subcutaneously (just beneath the skin). The actual needle stick didn't hurt much at all, but the medicine burned it's way into my body....and kept burning for awhile after the needle was gone. Almost immediately I experienced the side effects of the drug. My heart was racing, hands shaking, and I was short of breath. It wasn't anything I couldn't handle, it was just really weird. They also gave me a drug to help with that side effect, which made me sleepy. Add that all together and you get a combination of shaky hands, fast beating heart, shortness of breath, and heavy eyelids. Quite the weird combination. All that mattered to me was that I stopped contracting, so that my son could remain inside till he was fully (or at least much more) developed.
After I was checked again and my contractions came almost to a halt, I was released with strict orders to stay off my feet and stay at home. The doctor would be keeping a close eye on me from now on.
We left around 12:30. What a day. Since then things have been better. I've been feeling like my belly is stretched as far as it will go, but I know that it has even more to stretch! To all you who have been telling me I look small and asking "are you really pregnant?" - I'm growing right on target. Everyone has a different body, so everyone carries differently. According to the doctor, I'm right on schedule.
So - through all of that I learned to be less afraid of the hospital. I had a great nurse and a great doctor to help me through a scary situation. Because of that, I'm not so afraid to go the hospital when actual labor sets in. God is good....all the time!