Saturday, November 16, 2013

dress rehearsal, 35 weeks

Well. It happened.

Our first only? totally unnecessary, could have been avoided, FREAK OUT FALSE ALARM trip to labor and delivery <checks that off pregnancy bucket list>.

Mark your calendars folks. It is officially, on. And by on, I mean, you know, very much off. Cervix is closed, contractions are distinctly of the Toni Braxton variety, heartburn is unrelenting!, business as usual.

Really, it started earlier this week. I had a few days of light bleeding –spotting even. Panty-liner nonsense. Sure, it was mildly alarming the first time, when it happened about five weeks ago. But after some confident reassurance from the OB and a more-painful-than-usual pelvic, I kind of shrugged my shoulders and moved on with my day.

Which is why I didn’t think much of it when it happened again a few times this week[1].

But this time it wasn’t just bleeding. There was also something else. Pain. Intermittently. Sometimes when I was walking, sometimes when I was sitting, sometimes when I had to pee, sometimes in the middle of the night. Pain like a pulling, a tightening; acute sparks of… a contraction? Or also maybe like… a UTI[2]? Err? I’ll buy a vowel? What can I say. Doctors LOVE patients like me, what with my completely non specific symptoms and inability to rate anything on a pain scale without incredibly tedious consternation. <C places palm to forehead, exasperated>.

So, today, when the pain intensified, and armed with my law degree and the wisdom of Dr. Google, I did the only rational thing I could think of: I took matters into my own hands. For just $11.99, it was me and my trusty CVS brand UTI test sticks[3] against the world!

Spoiler alert: the at-home UTI test was positive. Like, strong positive. I weighed my options. Yes, I am smug, see supra, but at 35 weeks, waiting until my next OB visit on Wednesday still seemed rather imprudent. So I called.

An hour later, C and I were sitting in labor and delivery, having signed off on release forms that named both me and my unborn child as patients. The nurse explained, “when it says relationship to patient, you write mother. Ahem. Noted. <Eyes wide with disbelief>.

I’m not sure exactly how to write about the rest of this experience. First there’s the easy part: after one urine sample, two separate rounds of a fetal heart monitor and a contraction monitor, two exceptionally saccharine hits of cranberry juice “Suncups[4]”, one astonishingly-painful-let’s-please-not-do-that-again-anytime-soon examination of my cervix, one grainy ultrasound – Look ma, my knee! And, bonus, my tibia! – plus an introduction to “baby practice breathing[5]”, and a partridge in a pear tree! we were finally cleared to go home. No UTI[6], no preterm labor, hakuna matata. Except, total-and-complete-embarrassment-at-having-called-in-the-first-place. And, also, C and I can never have those 3 hours of our life back. At least I got this photo?

Absolutely not in labor.

But there’s also another part of the experience that I wasn’t quite expecting. I’d never been to the labor and delivery floor until today. Never seen baby bassinets wheeled up and down the hall. Never been hooked up to a device that measures my contractions, never had to don a stylin’ back entry gown. And, for that matter, C has never had to wear a sticker anointing him as a permitted visitor, a baby daddy. It was very, ahem, real.

At the same time, in the last couple weeks, I have felt more pregnant than ever[7]. Working out has been more arduous, keeping up long days at work more tiring, sleeping through the night less possible. I had almost begun to believe I was getting there – that, as C has begun predicting, this little chicken might arrive earlier than expected. Because, honestly, <looks down at belly, can no longer see feet, begins to feel nauseated without head in upright position> five more everloving weeks of this?

But today, well, today just smacked of reality. I am totally not ready for this. Five more weeks – give or take – will be, ahem, JUST FINE, THANK YOU.

Also, this: The irony is not lost on me that our child birthing class is, of all days, tomorrow.

[1] GAH. Seriously, what kind of former infertile am I? I’m becoming positively SMUG. Send pessimism, terror and a heavy dose of unceasing anxiety. Pleaseandthankyou.
[2] Somehow I have made it 30 years without one. So actually, I have no idea what they feel like. <knocks on literally every piece of wood, wood laminate, faux wood, wood finishing, and all wood like substances within a 3 mile radius>.
[3] Test sticks. Shades of pregnancy testing. <Gulp>.
[4] The “science” behind whether the chugging of high fructose corn syrup encourages fetal movement seems dubious at best. In any case, nothing makes me feel like I’m at a hospital like drinking through a plastic straw.
Not the kind of cocktail I was hoping for.
[5] Including the unexpected and SUPER EXCITING 10 minutes of the doctor standing, motionless, blank-eyed and staring at the ultrasound until I cleared my throat to inquire, as politely as possible, what the eff was going on and she quietly mentioned to me that we begin to worry if the baby isn’t practice breathing after 30 minutes…<long pause>. (He’s fine. A few minutes later, he did as he was told and put on a nice show of inhaling amniotic fluid. Attaboy!)
[6] Surprise! False positives with at home kits are not uncommon. Especially in pregnant ladies. Grrreat.
[7] And, apparently, more and more prone toward stating the obvious.

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