12/21/2004

Long Night

Emily has been having a stressful pregnancy. For the past just-over-a-week, she’s been having a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions. At about the same time, the baby stopped moving as much as he used to. A few contractions would be ok, but she’s been having them really often. At first, they tell you not to worry unless they’re less than an hour apart. Then, when the start coming more than once an hour, they tell you not to really worry (i.e. go to the hospital) unless they’re more frequent than every 15 minutes. Emily’s have been getting progressively worse, so we were worried about her going into pre-term labor (she’s just 25 weeks along). Yesterday evening was particularly bad... they were stronger and more frequent than they had been in the past, and there was one hour when she had 6. I tried to take her to the emergency room then, but she made me wait a little bit, and they subsided.

We might as well have gone, though, because at about midnight-thirty, one of the contractions woke her up, and they continued pretty regularly at 5-minute intervals. This was enough to make even Emily agree to go to the emergency room. Once there, we then sat through an inordinately long registration process, during which the lady at the desk proceeded to ask us every question known to man. The computer on which she was entering the information locked up no less than three times (I almost made a Windows joke, but held my tongue). As we were sitting there answering endless mundane questions and worrying that Emily was going into preterm labor, her contractions slowed a little but were still coming regularly. Finally, we finished and got her to a hospital room where they hooked her up to a machine to measure her contractions and the baby’s heart rate (this was about an hour after we woke up). All of a sudden, her contractions subsided (she had a few more light ones, but nothing as strong or frequent as they had been) and the baby was more active than he had been for over a week.

After waiting quite a while for the promised contractions, the nurse gave us a you’re-making-this-up look and did a test to determine if Emily was at risk for pre-term labor (we don’t have the results yet). When she asked how long Emily’s contractions had been lasting and she said 2-5 minutes, the nurse replied “that can’t be”. At any rate, there was nothing more to be done, so she told us that Emily appeared to be fine and that we could go home. She gave us a sheet of paper which listed the things she should come to the hospital about. It basically described Emily’s symptoms. We left with the feeling that if Emily is having the symptoms she’s having, we should come to the hospital so they can tell us there’s nothing wrong and we might as well have stayed in bed.

Finally, four hours after we had woken up, we were back home and in bed, wondering how in the world we would ever know if Emily did go into pre-term labor. If contractions every 5 minutes for an hour is a false alarm, what isn’t? It would almost have been nicer for them to find something wrong... at least then we’d know for sure. So if you could pray that the rest of our pregnancy goes relatively smoothly, we’d appreciate it.

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