Our First Preterm Labor Dry Run Was Successful!

Well, I just got back from a two-night stay in the hospital and I am now at home on full bed rest, watching Huzzybee tidy the house and fold laundry.  My guilt is offset by the knowledge that he is learning how to cook and do the laundry on his own, which is an essential part of his dad training.

My contractions woke me up on Wednesday morning and I went to the doctor’s office for a non-stress test (NST), which showed that they were coming three minutes apart.  I was immediately sent to triage for more tests, where they gave me a shot in the arm to stop the contractions (the medication made me shake like an excited chihuahua for several hours) and then I got a PAINFUL steroid shot in the hip to boost the baby’s lung development in case he decided to make an early appearance (when they told me about this I started crying because I thought my baby would be born pumped up like Arnold Schwarzenegger). Then they sent me home.

Less than 30 minutes after my mother took me home the contractions started again.  When they were 7 minutes apart Huzzybee and I went back to the hospital – this time they were so strong that I couldn’t stand up straight.  Back in triage, a doctor that I had never met was on call.  She had hands like hams (any ladies who have had a cervical exam will understand why that is significant).  After a round of tests and inspections, which left me feeling bruised and violated, she checked me into the labor and delivery ward.

At this point it was 2 a.m. and I had been poked, scoped, squeezed, and slathered in ultrasound goo for 16 hours.  I was exhausted and scared, and this is when I discovered that Huzzybee hadn’t grabbed my hospital bag on his way out the door.  He had, however, taken his bag.  I rifled through it to see if I could glean some essentials.  I found his clean PJs, laptop, a few robot parts, and wires, but no chapstick or most importantly, earplugs.  Between the sounds of him snoring, babies being born in the adjoining rooms, nurses coming and going, and the pitter-pat of Sugar Lump’s heart beat like a tiny galloping horse on the fetal monitor, I did manage to get about three hours of sleep.

The next morning I was transferred to the antepartum bed rest ward, where they don’t insist that you wear a hospital gown. I sent Huzzybee back home to grab some some clothes and toiletries.  Since he wasn’t sure which clothes to bring, he sensibly looked in the dryer and took out what ever he could find, reasoning that if they were in the dryer that meant I had worn them recently and they must fit me.  This is all true – I had, in fact, worn my baggiest, ugliest green maternity shirt with my oldest, bleach-stained sweatpants when I was cleaning the house.  Those are the clothes that he brought, along with my huge fuzzy slipper socks and the oldest, most ill-fitting pairs of underwear I owned.

Now I am home in my own bed and I realize that we are lucky to have had a dry-run at this labor and delivery process.  I know now that I need to pack one hospital bag for the two of us so that we will both have toothbrushes and pajamas. I know exactly what a contraction feels like and when to call my doctor (ladies, if you are ever in doubt, just call your doctor!), and I know exactly where I stand in my pregnancy (33 weeks pregnant, 1 centimeter dilated, short cervix) and the kind of care I will receive when Sugar Lump does decide to make his appearance (excellent care).

Here are the things I discovered I really wanted while in the labor and delivery room:

– Chapstick
– My iPod
– My sleep bra
– Nice looking underpants (a lot of people will be seeing them through the back of your hospital gown)
– Toothbrush
– Facial moisturizer (hospitals are dry, like airplanes and Las Vegas hotel rooms)
– My own pillow (which I had the sense to take with me, thank God)
– Socks (because hospital floors are gross)
– Magazines (I am reading The Better Angels of Our Nature, which requires a little more concentration then I could muster)
– Clean hair


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