by Marie Franks
Justin was a surprise to me from the very beginning. In fact, I almost fainted when I saw the little line turn pink on the home pregnancy test. But, it seemed instantly I knew he was exactly what I needed.
From the beginning I had that "feeling" he was a boy. Most of my pregnancy was pretty uneventful. My weight gain was right on target, didn't have high blood pressure, and wasn't uncomfortable at all. I felt glorious and I was loving being pregnant. So, you can imagine my surprise when I went into pre-term labor at 34.5 weeks. I was in the car and all of a sudden knew something was weird. I said "I'm in labor" before I even had my first contraction.
Then, ten minutes later, I felt a tightening in my belly. Everyone kept telling me it was just a Braxton Hicks contraction, and to not worry about it. But then, they just kept coming and they kept getting stronger and stronger. To make matters a little more complicated, my husband had just had surgery that day, and wasn't able to drive anywhere. So, my mother took me to the hospital. I was so scared.
I got there and sure enough, I wasn't imagining things. I was having contractions every three minutes and was three centimeters dilated. At first, I got excited because I didn't realize the dangers of having a baby at 34.5 weeks. I thought I would be having my baby sometime that night.
Then, much to my surprise, a nurse came in with a syringe full of Terbutaline. I got three shots of Terbutaline, and my contractions stopped. At first I was a little disappointed, until the nurse explained to me what might happen to my baby if he was born that night. So, I relaxed and decided that waiting until 36 weeks was for the best. I stayed in the hospital for 3 days and then was sent home on strict bed rest and medication to keep my contractions from starting up again.
I was told I was allowed to take my last dose of medicine on Sunday, November 23. I woke up that morning and took my last pill. Since I was no longer on medication or bed rest, I hurried around the house, doing laundry and getting things ready for my new baby. That evening as I was walking through the grocery store, I felt that first tell tale tightening of my belly. I instinctively put my hand over my belly and my mother looked at me as I did it and asked, "Did you have a contraction?" I just smiled. We finished our shopping and went home. I didn't want to rush to the hospital for nothing, so we decided to wait for a while and see what happened.
I did all they say to do. I played cards with my family, I took a warm shower and shaved my legs. Then, once we realized that my contractions were there to stay, we headed for the hospital. When I got there, they decided since I was in very early labor and it was very late at night, I needed to sleep. I was given a shot of Demerol, which I was told would stop any Braxton Hicks contractions, but couldn't stop labor contractions. I slept all through the night, and my contractions kept on going.
My doctor came in at about 8:00 a.m. and decided that my water should be broken to help speed things along, since it was my first labor and was going to take a while. Once my water broke, things got moving! I immediately went into active labor. My mother stood by me the entire time. Every time I asked her to tell the nurse I wanted an epidural, she would remind me that I said not to let me do it. She rubbed my back, smoothed my hair, and she wiped the tears from my face as I cried in pain. But she never once let me give in and get an epidural.
When I went into transition, my blood pressure went way up. I honestly don't remember how high it got, but I do remember the nurse having a very worried look. She made me lay on my left side as she checked my cervix. Unfortunately for her, I had a contraction right at that moment, and my reflexes got the better of me, and I kicked the poor woman. But, fortunately for me she declared I was complete and ready to go!