Friday afternoon I began experiencing abdominal pain that felt suspiciously like contractions. A few hours without relief sent us to the emergency room at Willow Creek Women's Hospital (a local hospital, not associated with the doctor I've been seeing in Little Rock.) When we first arrived, the monitor showed more 'uterine irritability' than actual contractions, but as the hours passed, the waves became more pronounced and closer together. By 1am, the contractions were about a minute apart. During this time they gave fluids and demerol+phenergan through an IV to hydrate and sedate, but the contractions did not stop. An ultrasound showed that my cervix had thinned significantly but was not dilated. Around 3am, both the emergency room doctor and the on-call doctor with the hospital soberly approached my bedside to tell us that there was nothing left to be done. They would not give medicine to stop labor at only 20 weeks and 5 days. The doctor said that he would consult with my high risk doctor in Little Rock and would give us a call as soon as he could. In the meantime, he sent us home and told us to return only when labor had intensified. We made it home around 4am...contracting every two to three minutes.
Saturday went quickly. We slept in late and I had contractions off and on during the day. I was so frustrated by the lack of action and I wasn't ready to give up. I knew that some doctors DO give medicine to stop labor at 20 weeks. We decided to take a risk and chance the drive to Little Rock the next morning...not knowing if I had dilated in the meantime.
During the drive, the contractions picked up again. By the time I was put on the monitor at UAMS, they were back to being every minute or so. We learned that there was a possibility that I had an infection but my cervix was miraculously still closed. They also did a fetal fibronectin test to determine if I would deliver the baby in the next day or two - surprisingly it came back negative. The doctor seemed to think that perhaps the ultrasound that showed my cervix thinning may have been incorrect....apparently the cervix can look shorter if it is looked at during a contraction. I was discharged without any further intervention than a bottle of antibiotics and told to make an appointment with my doctor soon. Despite that, we felt optimistic that we had a possible cause of the contractions and a reassurance that I would not deliver the following day.
We stayed in Little Rock and waited all day Monday to see my high risk doctor there. I don't know what I was expecting to hear from him, but it wasn't encouraging news. As we had been told by other doctors, he would not use any medication to stop labor at this point. He felt convinced that if we used it now, it would lose it's effectiveness after a mere four days...four days that would not get us to viability (23 weeks and 5 days.) He would not place a cerclage because I was contracting and would just tear through it. It was obvious that he was upset that he couldn't offer us more...and that he simply did not understand why my body has started this process without any known cause.
I had the choice to stay in Little Rock on bedrest, or to come home on bedrest (pretty much what I've been doing for the last few weeks anyway.) I can't tell you what a difficult decision this was for us. It's too hard to describe....all of it centered around one crucial point. Viability. Viability. Viability. We know WAY TOO MUCH about this subject and I must say...ignorance is bliss. Eventually we decided to come back home and wait...for hours, days, weeks, or months. It is out of our control and completely in God's hands.
In the meantime, I will cherish each and every kick and punch that our little Annalee throws...and pray as much as I can for God to step in, stop these contractions, and give us a miracle again.
Not just viability....much, much, much further.