**I have no dignity and no shame left. My first pregnancy robbed me of that. Therefore, this entry contains descriptions of hospital goings-on. Proceed with caution.**
Thursday, I wound up in the Labor and Delivery ward at Northside. I have been having relatively fierce contractions for weeks, which I have been assured are normal. However, I woke up Thursday to some very light spotting. I called the doctor, who immediately sent me to the hospital.
(I have to give a shout out here to my OB office's staff. I called right at the beginning of lunch hour, and sweet Nurse Maggie literally chased Dr. Sermons through the parking lot to ask him what he wanted to do before he went to Wendy's. She came back all out of breath. I love them.)
It's funny, I was not at all panicked until I was told to go to the hospital. I imagined being told it was yet another joy of pregnancy, to go home and rest, and call if it got worse. Checking into the L&D unit at 23 weeks is unsettling. Poor Mike, who was off that day, went into Quiet-I'm-Not-Talking-But-I'll-Rub-Your-Hand mode. I fell apart sobbing, called my sister for emergency childcare for Jeremiah, and started alternately praying and bribing Parker with trips to Disney World.
My sister and dad met us at the hospital to get Jeremiah, and I acted ugly to them. I could blame it on fear, but that's not a real excuse to shout at your family members when they are trying to help you. Must. Work. On. Stress. Management.
I stood in line to check in behind a poor woman who had the classic soaked-jeans-screaming-obscenities demeanor of a woman who is very ready to have a baby. She raised all sorts of a ruckus. What amuses me most about Northside is that the L&D check-in shares a lobby with the waiting room for the families. In fact, the check-in desk is in the middle of a huge 5 story atrium, so her shouting was bouncing off the walls and magnifying by the second. I suppose this is not out of the ordinary there, but I spent my waiting time watching the horrified faces of the family members in the waiting area. The Yodeler was quickly whisked away by a large man with a wheelchair.
I checked in, explained the situation, and was put in the LH wing. I have no idea what LH stands for, but I have decided upon "Labor Holding." To translate, they are tiny tiny little rooms with a tiny tiny ensuite mauve-tiled toilet. I ended up there when I fell during my pregnancy when Jeremiah, and there we were again. The large improvement this go round was the squeaky vinyl recliner shoved in a corner for Mike. His legs hung off the end by approximately 18 inches.
I was hooked up to a fetal monitor and a uterus monitor. I am pretty sure there are technical terms for that, but I don't know them. Parker's heartbeat was fine, and my contractions went along quite merrily. I was somewhat pleased by this, as it proved that I was not hallucinating them. They did a urinalysis, checked my cervix, and did a fetal fibronectin test. Side note-- God bless labor and delivery nurses. I know they have chosen that path for their lives, but for the love of pete. You get to know each other VERY VERY WELL in such a short period of time.
Dr. Eller, our perinatologist, came in and did an ultrasound. He's an odd duck-- you may remember him and his Christmas tie from the Bad News Day (Thursday's tie was pink)-- but very nice, and he complimented the length of my cervix. Um... thanks?
He said that Parker looked great, there was no internal bleeding, and that in all likelihood I was dealing with aggravated uterus and cervix from some sort of infection setting in. He gave me an antibiotic to take as a pre-emptive strike. Then he told me to wait for the fibronectin to come back. His words: "If it comes back negative, you're fine. You're not going into labor anytime soon. If it comes back positive, it doesn't really mean anything because I see no other symptoms."
Thankfully, it came back negative. They told me I could go home, unless I wanted to wait for Dr. Sermons to make his rounds. Um, no. I knew he would call me to check on me, and sure enough he did Friday morning. I apologized profusely for what apparently amounted to nothing, and he reassured me profusely that it was right of me to be worried and to go get checked. I asked him what he thought the problem was. He said that without any real results on any of the tests, it could be anything. Just a simple matter of something triggering an inflammation. This, of course, was not good enough for me and I set about thinking of what variables have been presented in the last few weeks. So I asked him...
Y'all-- I was nearly sent into labor by STORE BRAND TOILET PAPER.
I just don't really know what to say about that, except that it just figures. Just when I thought we'd seen it all with this pregnancy, there you have it.
I feel terrible... I was temporarily convinced that Parker was causing all the drama, and I put him in donut detention. I suppose now I will have to apologize, and reinstate his pastry privileges. I'm holding out until Thursday, however. We have our initial meeting with the pediatric surgeon (whose name is Dr. Parker! I was tickled to death to hear that!) Thursday, and a perinatologist visit Friday. As always, Parker must behave nicely during those appointments, at which point I happily will stop at the Krispy Kreme on the way home.
I also will be stocking up on Kleenex Cottonelle.