Here's the story, greatly shortened for your benefit!
On Tuesday, the 5th, I went to the OB for an NST that my doctor ordered before I flew cross-country. An NST is a non-stress test that basically measures fetal heart rate and contractions. They are usually given to high-risk women, women who are overdue or those who sense baby is not moving as frequently as usual, as was my case just over 2 years ago.
I did not fall into either of these 3 categories at the time, but my doctor wanted me to have one as a precautionary measure (because he is super conservative, worries about me for no good reason other than he holds a special place in his heart for us :) and because Addison was suddenly and unexpectedly delivered at this exact time due to low fetal movement which ended up being confirmed with an NST.)
So, I went in feeling great, feeling sufficient fetal movement, having no contractions, etc. As soon as they put the belts around my abdomen, my nurse said I was contracting and asked if I could feel it. The answer was "no" but as she continued to ask me each time the machine registered one, I realized that I was feeling a lot of cramping that I wasn't associating with possible contractions - more like the sensation of having to pass gas!
After about 30 minutes of this continuing, it was decided that I should have my cervix checked and other tests performed. My cervix was closed/not dilated (whew!) but the ultrasound showed that it was a little short at 2.6cm. This isn't a huge concern as it's not really considered "too short" but it is shorter than the average 3.0-3.5cm that they'd like to see at my gestation, so it became a factor in decisions yet to be made.
On the plus side, the baby is doing GREAT, amniotic fluid is plentiful, AND he is measuring 4lb 3oz (75th %) which is amazing at just under 32 weeks! I also got to see lots of detailed pictures, including 3-D ones, of our little man which is always appreciated!
They also ran a urine culture to see if a bladder infection could be causing these contractions, but those results would not be back that day. (The test ultimately came back negative.) So, I went home and was told to take it easy and come back the next morning. Indeed, I was back the next morning registering contractions, though not as consistent, and a lot of uterus irritability.
At that point, I was tested for Fetal fibronectin (also known as fFN), which is a “glue-like” protein that bonds your developing baby to your uterus. It is detectable in vaginal secretions toward the end of pregnancy, when your body is getting ready to deliver the baby. After the 35th week of pregnancy, it begins to break down naturally, and is detectable. If your body is getting ready to give birth prematurely, fFN may be detected before week 35.
The doctors doubted I would test positive for the protein, but needed to be sure. I was then sent to Labor and Delivery for fluids, as dehydration can sometimes cause false contractions because the receptors in your brain that tell your body it's thirsty are the same exact ones that tell your uterus to contract when pregnant. Weird!
Off to L&D I went. I was there for 6 hours and won't bore you with details, but let's just say it took me over 5 hours to see the attending doctor, I was still registering a lot of uterus irritability, they unsuccessfully attempted an IV 3 times, blowing really my only good working vein (one of the tolls chemo has taken on my body) on the last attempt and leaving me with a huge golf ball sized hematoma. Wait, then they ran out of toilet paper in my room and couldn't find any so Dustin had to go get some from another room. Oh, and Dustin also had to get ice for my large battle wound (something they failed to do) along with bandaging for the lovely swollen hole in my arm that was gushing blood. I did not receive great service, let's just say that. ;)
I kept hearing how crazy everything was there and that "the roof was blowing off L&D", and because I had a wonderful experience with Addison, I am going to let this one fly.
While there, I found out that I did test positive for fFN.
Now, I am totally going to confuse you with my explanation of what a positive test result means, so brace yourselves. A positive test result means your body is leaking fetal fibronectin, a sign that your body may be getting ready to deliver. There is an increased chance that your baby is going to arrive early — but not everyone with a positive test result delivers early.
Whereas a negative test result gives you a greater than 99% assurance that you will not deliver in the next two weeks, a positive test is much less predictive. 30% of women who test positive will deliver within a week and the other 70% will deliver sometime after that and up to their due date. So, the end result is that we have no clue what will happen to me. I could deliver tomorrow, I could deliver on my scheduled c-section date of February 25th. Or, I could deliver somewhere in between.
After finding out the test result, I was admitted to the hospital. Of course I
We finally had a chance to speak to the attending doctor and told her our wishes (my doctor was out of the country during all of this) and she reluctantly sent me home. I knew I was making the best decision for my baby. All the stress this was causing me certainly wasn't going to help anything and I trusted myself to be diligent enough to go back to the hospital if I had noticed even the slightest change.
So, the question is...where do we go from here? No one knows! There is no special formula for my situation, So for now, I am to take it easy and if I have the means to do so, go on indefinite bed rest. Because "take it easy" and "toddler in the home" do not mix, I am pretty much forced to go on bed rest. Fortunately I have lined up people to watch over Addison and help me out over the next few weeks. I am going to be strict about it for at least a couple of weeks and reassess with my doctors as time goes on. My goal is to make it to at least 36 weeks. 37 would be great and 39 would be wonderful! Dustin and I have been through the preemie experience and though Addison is perfect beyond measurement, we do not care to weather the difficulties and challenges that go hand in hand with a preemie if we can avoid it.
So, that's where we stand today. I am already tired of this bed rest thing, but I know that it is for the best and am trying to make good use of my time (i.e. get things done that I have been on my to-do list for ages). Unfortunately, many of those things require me up and moving, not laying horizontally. Which reminds me, eating and digesting in a horizontal position is not doing my indigestion any favors. BUT, the baby does have hair (per the ultrasound), so at least the indigestion is for something. Old wives tale, I know, but it's proved true in both of my pregnancies!
Here is my 32 week belly (and one of the only times I've stood vertically over the past couple of days!)
Just a few more details about the baby.....
By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You're gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she'll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth.