It's funny how when things don't go as planned, we get pretty bent out of shape. I had planned to work 6:30 to 3:00 yesterday for instance. On my way to work, I noticed how bright, full, and close the moon was. It was stunning and I said out loud, "It is absolutely beautiful. Good morning, Moon!" I was glad for the sight. It took my mind off how I had been feeling since the night before. Headache, "sloshy" stomach, just not feeling right. I got to work right on time and didn't feel exceptionally better. I was able to be productive, however, before a calendar reminder popped up on my screen. Employee meeting. Man...I forgot about that.
When the time was right I waddled, painfully (these darn hips) down stairs to the big room where our twice-monthly meetings are held. I grabbed a seat along the outside wall, towards the front. I tend to hear better when the sound can bounce directly off the walls into my ears, and there is a little more leg room along the outside of the room. Plus, I wanted to leave the table space for someone who would help themselves to a plate of food. Since I had already eaten, I didn't need the table space. During the meeting I still wasn't feeling "right". I can't really explain it. You know when you work out and then chug a bunch of water immediately after, and your stomach feels like a half-filled water balloon? That's what my stomach felt like. My head was still hurting. I was going to tough it out, but I kept replaying my last appointment in my head where my doctor told me, "The moment you feel sick, you call me." Then I heard myself telling her, "I will. I promise." That's about when I felt the first one. A contraction. Not "oh my baby is moving and therefore my uterus is getting tight." It was "Lord Almighty I FEEL Eve's pain in my abdomen!" The meeting was an hour long, and I sat through three of those contractions. I didn't feel like I could tough it out anymore. I had to go to the doctor.
I waddled, painfully, back up to my office and shut the door. I called the nurse and left a message of what I was feeling and even said something like, "I just need someone to tell me I'm over reacting." I called my husband and told him I might need to go in, and asked if he would be able to take me. To my relief, he said yes. I told him I would keep him posted. The nurse called me back within mere minutes, and after asking me more questions and consulting the doctor, told me to come in. I called Brent again, and he was on his way. I called in one of my office mates and went over everything that was on my desk. "Don't do anything until we know for sure whether I'm coming back or not, but just in case, here's what needs to be done." It's tax season. I'm the tax lady. All things tax cross my desk. I'm kind of a big deal this time of year.
I was trying not to raise concern in the office. I didn't want them to think I wasn't coming back until we knew for sure that was the case. When Brent came in and bellowed, "Are you turning on your out of office?" I shot him a look of panic and mouthed "SHUSH!" I went in to my boss' office (who was fresh back from vacation) and said, "I'm going to the doctor for a little bit. I'll keep you posted on if I can come back or not." The look on his face was a cross between "Well crap" and "I knew it." With that, I was out the door.
I had another contraction in the van on the way over. Brent dropped me off at the front door and I waited for him inside so we could ride the elevator to the birthing center together. Once on the right floor we walked over to be buzzed in, and there I went, into the triage room that neighbored where I had spent the morning two Saturdays ago. "Really I'm just trying to meet my insurance deductible before the baby comes, that's why I'm here all the time." I told the nurse. I put on the stunning cotton gown and the Cinderella slippers (with the rubber stickies on the bottom. They're not much to look at, but they are some of the most comfortable slipper socks you'll ever slip your feet into). I headed to the bathroom with a cup - my favorite activity. Afterwards the nurse stuck me with an IV needle to draw some blood samples, and leave in my arm "just in case". She was good, she got it on the first try. Three years ago, it was six tries, and the most painful part of my hospital experience. Time for the blood pressure. I closed my eyes, I took a deep breath, and was telling my blood pressure to be low. None of that worked. It was high. I laid on my side. She took it again a few minutes later. It was high. Wait a minute...it always goes down when I lay on my side.
This is it. I'm not leaving this hospital today. I didn't look at Brent. I couldn't.
I was having a few more contractions, even though they weren't registering on the little contraction monitor. I'm pretty sure the thing was broken, because I could feel them just fine. The nurse said the doctor wanted me to have an ultrasound to make sure baby was okay. An ultrasound was the determining factor three years ago in me being admitted. Here we go.
As we were waiting for the elevator to go down to the ultrasound room, I had another contraction. The nurse felt my stomach. "Oh yes, you're definitely tight all over. That's the real deal." We rode down to the room and got situated. The ultrasound began and the tech made the comment, "Your baby has dropped." She said something about the bladder and where it normally is, in comparison to where it was with relation to the baby, I don't know...medical jargon. All I could think was, "My bladder doesn't look nearly as full as it feels." Baby was measuring at about 36 1/2 weeks, even though I'm considered 35. My doctor has told me on more than one occasion, however, that I'm probably a few days ahead of where they think I am. It hit me - a huge, and painful, contraction. I was grimacing. I closed my eyes. The nurse asked me something, and I didn't hear what it was but I answered "Yup." Finally it passed. The tech commented, "Wait a minute...your baby dropped again. Even more. She's dropped since we started this." I know. I felt it! I was glad it happened that way, because the nurse and Brent realized I wasn't faking it. I wasn't making up contraction pains.
When the ultrasound wrapped up, I was wheeled back up to the tiny triage room. The on-call doctor came in to go over everything with me. This happened to be the doctor who was with me all through my pregnancy with Haley. She was very familiar with my history, and it warmed my heart and was an absolute comfort to have her in the room reviewing everything. She told me something I was not - at all - expecting to hear. "Val, your labs are beautiful. Everything a pregnancy should be. Absolutely beautiful. You don't have preeclampsia." ...Praise God... I uttered that out loud. She said, "Yes, absolutely." She explained everything in detail and told me that symptoms of headache and sloshy stomach sounded more like a flu-like virus. After all, it's going around. Still. When she described how "beautiful" my pregnancy was (and confirmed how big the baby was, over 6 pounds) I teared up. Sure my blood pressure may be higher than ideal, but you know what folks? I have a normal pregnancy. Not only that, I have a "beautiful", normal pregnancy. I think that gives me just cause to get choked up. She did instruct, however, since I have gestational hypertension at this point and since I was experiencing the real-deal contractions, I am to be on full bed rest. No more work. I wasn't really paying attention to that, though, because I had just been told I was having a beautiful normal pregnancy. Those words hung in my ears for a long time.
Once I was discharged (three and a half hours after going in), I went back to work to hand in my bed rest note, and to turn my out-of-office on. A coworker made the comment that my demeanor was much different (better) than it had been that morning. Yes...because I'm fine. Baby is fine. And I wasn't expecting at least one of those to be the case. We came home and I laid down until it was time for a massage I had scheduled a month ago. I will tell you, that is the absolute best activity you can participate in while on prescribed bed rest.
The day didn't go at all how I had planned. I didn't work a full day. Bummer. Then, I wasn't admitted to the hospital as I thought for sure I would be. Wait, what? Then! Then, I was told I was having a beautiful pregnancy! I never expected that. After the doctor said that, I turned to Brent and said, "Hey, that means we can maybe do this again!"
"You mean have another child? Oh, Val." What? I thought it was clever, at the very least.
Today is my first full bed rest day. I was up early because I'm used to waking up early. I got to get Haley out bed which I haven't done for a couple of weeks. I sat at the table and ate my oatmeal and toast. Now I'm here, feet up, on my side, and thanking God. Since yesterday, I have had a sense of peace wash over me like I haven't felt in I don't know how long. God is good, He is faithful, and even if I don't make it to the end of April, I'm ready when this baby is! She's healthy, I'm healthy, and I'm confident that won't change if she comes before April 30th. We'll see how my appointment goes on Tuesday - in APRIL - and in the meantime, I will revel in the fact that even when I freak out, get bent out of shape, and let my plans dictate my peace, my God doesn't falter. Doesn't change. Doesn't abandon.