Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Another day in L & D

So, this morning started with my first non-stress test. The good news about that is that the baby did great! His heart rate went up and down like it was supposed to, and he was practice breathing like a champ. I also got to see him sucking his thumb and looking super cute.

The bad news was that I was having contractions. Not big ones, I couldn't even really feel them, but they were happening pretty often. "More often than you should be right now," said the nurse. Given all my cervical woes, she decided to check my cervix, and found it to be "very short" and about 1 cm dilated. That in and of itself is not so unusual at this stage of pregnancy, but that is a change from the last time it was checked about 2 weeks ago, and between that and the contractions, they decided to send me over to Labor and Delivery again.

I called Iggy and he met me over there. They attached me to a fetal heart rate monitor and a contraction monitor. I kept having small contractions, and they seemed to be getting closer together. I think we were there for a couple of hours before we saw a doctor, one of the residents, and I tried to get as much information as I could out of her, but she basically told me that they were going to continue monitoring me, eventually do a pelvic exam, "and then we'll decide whether we're going to let you go home or whether you're going to stay and have your baby right now."

Eventually, the attending physician decided that I should be given a drug called terbutaline to see if it would stop the contractions. Luckily, the terbutaline worked great, and I immediately stopped contracting.

They kept me on the monitors for another couple of hours (and I had zero contractions in that time after getting the terbutaline, whereas before I was having them every few minutes) and then did another cervical check to see if the contractions I'd had earlier had resulted in any cervical changes. The doctor said he estimated that my cervix was 1 cm long and still 1 cm dilated, so basically unchanged as a result of the contractions I had today, which was great news.

The less great news is that terbutaline often only works for a few days to delay labor. That doesn't necessarily mean that I will go into labor later this week, but it's a bit more of a concern given the events of today.

So, I guess it's a good thing that I am having the twice-weekly non-stress tests from here on out, because I really didn't feel the contractions I was having this morning, and don't feel confident that I would be aware on my own if it happened again. I am also planning to make a renewed effort to take it easy...I have to admit that oxymoronically, I have been slacking off a bit in my taking it easy. It has not escaped my notice that both this trip to L & D and our last trip there happened during times of intense stress at work. I was supposed to do a really important experiment today, and two of my wonderful co-workers stepped up and took care of it for me, and I owe them big time. So, from here on out, a renewed commitment to relax and try not to get stressed out. Not so easy for me, but I'm going to try!

p.s. A couple of people wrote to me after my last entry to ask if we'd definitely decided on going with the hybrid procedure rather than the Norwood surgery. We haven't made a decision yet, and probably won't until after he's born, as his physical condition after birth may give us some insight into which is the better option.


  1. I don't know you but stumbled upon your blog from either The Simmons Family or Just Joshua. Anyway, I was reading your story about contractions and the Terbutaline and wanted to let you know that I experienced pre-term labor at 29 weeks and tried the Terbutaline pill and it worked for about a week. I went back into the hospital and was given the dreaded magnesium and then put on the Terbutaline pump (little needle stuck in your leg that gives you a continuous feed of medicine) and sent home with a contraction monitor and another pill, Procardia, also for contractions. I was carrying twins, a girl with a healthy heart and a boy with a CHD known as Tetrology of Fallot, so it was critical that I carry him full-term. Long story short, all the meds worked and I was taken off of them at 36 weeks since the babies were safe at that point to come early. I never went into labor and had a c-section at 38 weeks. You'll make it and just know that there are other alternatives to getting you further along so just hang in there. And drink LOTS of water - I drank a gallon a day and they really think that is what kept the contractions at bay. Good luck and I'll be reading up on your progress and the news of your baby. Of course, we will also pray for you as we can relate to the road you have ahead. We pray God will comfort your nerves and strengthen your baby in the coming days and weeks!

    In Him,
    Greenville, SC

  2. JEN please tell IG to call us if you guys need anything and to also keep us posted on your status - or you call/text okay?? XOXO

  3. Hey Jen,

    Unbelievable. When we saw you come in at work after you'd gotten the drugs to stop the contractions.
    I'm so happy you did eventually go home that day. It should have been easier to push you to go, but then, we know who we're dealing with ;-)
    Flowers are still pretty, and did I mention Jason thought I'd got them for him for our anniversary (the next day)? And was so disappointed when they were actually from you. So funny.
    You shouldn't have, but I'm still glad you did. Learned a lot that day. Was a very useful experience, wouldn't have missed it.

    Good luck on not slacking but being intense on taking it easy.