It was a Wednesday afternoon, I had been working with a friend of my Mothers on her sewing machine as we were taking a quilting class together. I was headed home from town, which is about a twenty-minute drive from my house and I started to have immense back pain. I have had back problems since I was about 16 and diagnosed with degenerative disk disease. This though was like a pain I hadn’t quite ever felt. I pulled my car over and called my husband. I couldn’t sit in the seat to drive and thought I would need him to come drive me home.
After a few minutes the pain subsided substantially and I continued driving. A few miles down the road it happened again. It was beyond intense and once again I pulled over. I remember the exact spots I parked my car. At this point tears were beginning to roll down my cheek. I was so worried about my baby and had not put the to and two together that they could be connected. I was not having any pain in my stomach or uterus. I waited a few minutes and then continued down the road. I pulled over two more times before I made it home.
Once home, I paced, worked on my back stretches and was just uncomfortable. I called the doctor and was told I couldn’t take anything other than Tylenol, with this type of pain, it might as well have been candy! I thought maybe if I could go to sleep it would go away or at least become tolerable, that didn’t happen. I laid on the couch, the floor, stretched and paced some more. By morning time, I started vomiting. That is how I spent most of my day. It snowed on and off all day and the country roads were not good to travel on. Bryan called my parents and my Father drove my Mother and sister over.
The doctor wanted us to try to drive into the office but it being over an hour away, we could have never made it in the snow. I was convinced it was not related to the baby and that I would be okay so I convinced them we would make the trip in the morning. My sister was going to give me a manicure but I couldn’t even hold still for my second foot to be painted. Silly, that I did end up giving birth to my son with only one foot painted 🙂 It was a long evening and another long night of not sleeping much.
My Mother laid with me on the bed and unbeknownst to me decided to start timing my back pain. It was very early in the morning when she let me know, I had to be having contractions. My pain was fairly steady every fifteen minutes and within a few hours was now down to every twelve minutes. I just couldn’t see it because I wasn’t having the type of pain I expected! What did I know, this was my first baby!
Early in the morning we made the drive north to the doctor’s office so we could be there when they opened. I was ushered in, briefly checked and then told to go straight next door to the hospital. I was about 90% effaced and had already begun to dilate. This was Friday morning and it had already been a long 40 hours.
I was admitted right away, put in a bed and strapped to a ton of monitors. Now I totally understand why it is necessary to monitor the baby when there are complications but when you are having contractions the last thing you are able to do is be still. It seemed every five to ten minutes the nurses would come in to tell me they couldn’t read the contractions or baby’s heart beat because I had moved. Since I was in pre-term labor my doctor had decided to try to stop the contractions. I had no idea what was coming!
At this stage, my Mother and youngest sister were with us and now my Father, brother and another sister and her husband had arrived at the hospital. Just in time for me to get my first round of medications. I don’t remember exactly what the first medication was that they gave me but it was in the form of three shots. It didn’t seem to have much of an effect but I didn’t seem to be progressing much. Thankfully I had been given medication and was not vomiting any more.
The doctor was alarmed that the contractions hadn’t slowed down any so I was given magnesium sulfate. To say it was awful was an understatement. Magnesium Sulfate is given to help smooth the uterus and slow down labor, usually only by 24 to 48 hours, it does not stop labor. It has many sides effects of which I seemed to be blessed with. I am a very cold by nature and it made me feel like I was boiling from the inside out. I couldn’t get the room cold enough and didn’t have anything else I could take off. The longer I was given it the more flushed I felt. My vision became blurry and the room seemed to be moving all the time.
How can you cope with being in pain when you feel like you can’t get a grip on anything?
By late afternoon my doctor called to see how I was doing. The doctor at the hospital was young and very cocky, he assured my doctor I would be going home that night and not to worry about me but rather have a good weekend off!
I was however given the Magnesium Sulfate all night long. I was having such a hard time coping I asked for pain medication. I hadn’t slept now in three nights, I was weak from not eating and vomiting and my contractions had yet to stop! I was given a dose of Stayadoyl and it did seem to take the edge off. Saturday morning the doctor agreed to stop the Magnesium Sulfate and see if there was any change. I still felt as if my blood was boiling but my vision returned and the room stopped spinning.
We had left our dog inside and Bryan was going stir crazy so I sent him home to let out the animals, get extra clothes and just take a breath. Little did I know that things would change quickly.
My contractions started again it seemed with a vengeance so once again I was given one more medication. This time is was several pills and within minutes I was swelling. My Father was there and happened to think very quickly so he removed my rings with lotion and I am so thankful he did as they would have had to been cut off. My heart started going haywire and it seemed the room filled with people. I don’t know exactly what happened then but panic. My heart about stopped and I was given several shots to try to counteract the medication.
The doctor came in the room in a panic and mentioned life flight. I didn’t realize that I had gotten that bad. I really became scared. Bryan was gone, over an hour away and I was going to be taken to Little Rock, about 2 hours and 45 minutes from where I was by car. No one could come with me and what would I do by myself?
The first hospital the doctor called actually turned me away because of my complications. I was fortunate that UAMS was willing to accept me. There was not a helicopter available for 30 minutes so we opted to take an ambulance. I was still terrified about being by myself and then I found out the only way the ambulance would transport me was if I was connected to, Magnesium Sulfate. I wanted to cry but what could I do?
My sister and brother-in-law left immediately to head to pick up Bryan and then take him on to the hospital. The two paramedics arrived and I did my best to explain why my Mother should be able to ride with me. They explained their policies but must have had a soft heart as they let her ride in the front.
That rough and bumpy ambulance ride would prove to be the best thing that happened to me!
Next week I will share the rest of my journey of Austin’s birth.