I made a trip to my ob-gyn to see my mid-wife because after three days of shooting pains I began to get concerned that my cervix was opening. I was right, instincts seldom let me down. What I wasn't aware of were the contractions that were presenting themselves in ways I was unfamiliar with. I barely noticed them but they landed me in Room 102 for 2 days and 2 nights. My doctor's office works with two on call CNM's. One of which is completely supportive, and encouraging, of my all natural attempt (and previous success) at child birth. She delivered my other baby... au naturale... in a hospital. Yes! It's possible! The other has a tendency to rely on protocol and drugs. Of course, she was the nurse on call. It is a strict policy at my local hospital to prevent and discourage at all costs the delivery of a pre-term baby. The limit is 34 weeks. My timeline marks me 33 weeks. Within hours of being admitted, with only irregular "contractions" showing, it was brought to my attention that for precaution sake it was being suggested that I be given a triple dose of a drug called Brethine to 'relax the uterus'... basically stop the contractions.
I immediately began asking questions.
For one, I hadn't even been checked to see if my cervix was widening further. So perhaps these pains weren't labor but rather 'uteran discomfort' as one of the nurses kept suggesting. Second, the 33 week mark is at best, a lucky guess. The truth is, we have nearly a 4 week open window of when he was actually conceived. Third, I wasn't uncomfortable in the least and Declan was just as active and happy and showing no signs of distress what so ever on his little monitor. I have to admit, nearly 3 days of listening to his heartbeat made my heart swoon.
I asked what the facts of and risks are to taking the medication. I was only going to be administered it because they were nervous about his lungs being under developed. The medicine wouldn't actually stop labor, just slow it down so they could transfer me. (Slow it down? Was it even going?) The most common side effects were the baby being born 'listless and unresponsive for some time' but generally they were 'ok'. Um, what the hell? I think my heart literally (insert Rob Lowe voice) skipped a beat. I asked for a minute and talked it over with Brett. I certainly didn't want my baby born and then immediately incubated because his little lungs are underdeveloped. However, I felt even more strongly against fighting nature and perhaps causing him more harm. When the nurse came back in she then told me the side effects for me but made sure I 'not worry' because there were more drugs they could administer to fight off those side effects. Sick cycle carousel for sure it sounded like to me!
The nurse returned to the phone to notify the on call midwife that I was not willing to take the Brethine. She then returned stating that they were going to check my cervix (Oh? Now?) and if I had made any change they were going to have to transfer me to another hospital more capable of delivering a pre-term baby. Ouch, is that my arm being twisted? I believe so. However, I am smart enough to know that I actually can refuse treatment. So, no contest. To me, standing my ground was an easy choice to make. I kept my system clean, which is what I strongly feel is best for us both, and all I have to 'suffer' is a 30 minutes ambulance ride (which, admittedly, seems a little exciting to my inner drama queen) and a different (probably nicer) hospital room? Done. Wouldn't you know it? They checked my cervix and found I'd only progressed half a centimeter and nothing was necessary? How 'bout that? I spent another night in bed and after another examination was sent home to wait it out. Drug free. I have 6 days until I can deliver locally. I don't mind in the least keeping my feet up for such a short amount of time!
It may seem like a simple win, but it's extremely daunting to be in an unfamiliar space with 'professionals' insisting on 'what's best' and reminding you how much more experience they have than you. Truth is, I'm actually a push over and easily manipulated. It's taken me years to learn that I find it easiest to keep my mouth shut, listen, respond with simple answers, and hold my ground. It also helps to have support. I am extremely blessed to have a banging support system.
Gown: Courtesy of Hospital... oddly liberating
Socks: most comfy everrr