A complaint about low back pain resulted in me finding out I was 1cm dilated and 50 percent effaced so I was sent to Good Samaritan Hospital for monitoring. The babies’ heartbeats looked great but a resident spotted a couple contractions (which I couldn’t feel) so I was given a shot of Brethine. The contractions stopped, and I was sent home. I had gone to my appointment alone, with Sophie, so for about 30 minutes I learned the art of entertaining a 2-year-old from a hospital bed. Sophie was thrilled with this quick hospital visit. She was given her very own hot pink hospital bracelet, all the graham crackers she could eat, and some well-worn crayons and a Christmas coloring book to color in. She also enjoyed weighing herself over and over again on the digital scale in the room.
The next day I had a follow-up doctor’s appointment. I was between 1cm and 2cm dilated and still 50 percent effaced. The doctor asked if I was feeling any contractions—I wasn’t. I then made the mistake of mentioning that I was 4cm dilated before I felt contractions with Sophie. (I should note, though, that about the time they told me how far dilated I was I really started to feel them.) She asked how early Sophie was born. I said 37 weeks. She tapped her pen on my chart, muttered something that sounded like an apology (I now know why) and said I needed to be admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital’s high-risk OB wing.
Monitoring showed contractions which meant two steroid shots and magnesium sulfate—for four days. I should have known this wasn’t a kind drug when the nurse said she had to stay with me for the first 20 minutes it was administered. When I asked her why she said, “Well, you’re going to feel like you’re on fire and that you’ve peed yourself and your vision will become blurry so you won’t be able to see and you might have trouble breathing.” Unfortunately, that was about right. Thankfully the dose was cut in half after 20 minutes but for four days I felt terribly weak and unbearably hot, my mouth was constantly dry and I couldn’t focus on books, the TV or my computer.
I had a roommate for awhile. I’ll call her J. J was a dancer and singer—her husband, a stunt man. Her story was much more complicated than mine—she was on all sorts of medicine, had had to have surgery, while pregnant, a month prior, and had already spent two weeks in the high-risk OB wing of Good Sam. I began to complain less about the magnesium sulfate after hearing what she had been through. I thought she would be in my room the entire time but in the middle of her second night with me she started crying out in pain from contractions. In my Ambien-induced hazed (apparently all women in Good Sam’s high-risk OB wing get Ambien) I buzzed the nurse and soon later overheard that she was 5cm dilated. She had a beautiful baby boy a couple hours later. I enjoyed having the room back to myself but I also found much comfort in having her a curtain away. Hospital roommates are a tricky thing and I got lucky.
Jill, Andy, Sophie and Doll Baby visited every day. I loved hearing “Mommy!” after a long night alone and I absolutely loved when Sophie would crawl up in bed and snuggle with me—amazingly, for hours. I’m grateful for the kind and patient nurses, and to Mandy, Megan, Christine and Connor for stopping by. Jenna stopped by, too, with flowers for me and a belated birthday present for Sophie—twin Cabbage Patch dolls. (Sophie also was treated to a visit to Sawyer Point, with Christine and Connor, courtesy of Jenna.) I’m thankful for the many e-mails and phone calls, to Jill for giving me a much-needed back rub with good-smelling lotion (it’s amazing how such a small act can mean so much when you’re stuck in a hospital gown feeling anything but pretty) and to Andy for spending many evenings with me while Jill put Sophie to bed.
On the fifth day I was discharged and sent home, on bed rest. I felt significantly better once off the magnesium sulfate, however I managed to develop sciatica, which now makes it quite painful to roll over in bed and walk. But sitting is doable so I suppose in many ways the sciatica forces me to behave myself.
I was 28-1/2 weeks pregnant when admitted to the hospital. Saturday I hit the 30-week mark (which is the day the above picture was taken). Thirty-two weeks is the goal. Of course, 34 and beyond is even better.
I can’t wait to meet these babies. But I’m not ready now. Not yet.
“A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.” —Groucho Marx