The past two days have been two of the most challenging and scary days of my life. I think I can safely say that they were pretty daunting for the rest of the family, too.
I am 35 weeks pregnant and everything has been going pretty well so far. On Friday the 13th, that all changed. I began have contractions. By dinner time they were about 5 minutes apart. After dinner, I called my midwife and she wanted to see me at the hosptial. That's sounds like no big deal, but at first, we couldn't get ahold of anyone to look after the kids.
Our neighbor had promised to help us out in a pinch if we needed her, but she is very busy and we saw her leave. Since moving across the city, we haven't made many new friends. Most of our friends are living near our old neighborhood. But at first we couldn't reach anyone. By then the contractions we 2-3 minutes apart and I was panicking.
I still had to pack a bag for me (just in case) and a bag for the baby (just in case). I was frantic, scared and praying. I grabbed a rosary and hoped and prayed that Sascha had finally gotten ahold of someone. He did and boy was I thankful.
We had to drive quite a ways to our friends house, which did not help the contractions any. Then we drove to the hospital. We met our midwife on the sixth floor and were hooked up to monitors and given a non-stree test. That is when things started to slow down, thankfully. The contractions went from 3-4 minutes to 7 minutes apart. We were happy that things were slowing down. We are not ready to have a premature baby. She checked my cervix and I was maybe 1cm. That is good news too. So she sent us home. We picked up the kids and thought a good night's rest would do the trick.
All Friday night and early Saturday morning, I was plagued with contractions. One after another after another. They were getting pretty intense. I tried to sleep between them, I really tried. I had to run to the toilet a million times. By five in the morning, they were so intense that I woke my already awake husband. We came upstairs and went into the living room and went through all of the possible scenarios. Because of the choas, we hadn't made Saturday's breakfast, which we always make the day before. We didn't have food for the kids. Living with food allergies/sensitivities adds a whole new dimenion to the stress.
I called the midwive and she urged me to take a bath and half a glass of wine to slow things down and that she would meet with me later. Sascha scurried into the kitchen and whipped up a batch of banana bread (our breakfast food of choice) and planned on serving that with fruit and yogurt. He also started making two loaves of gluten free bread. One for Saturday, for the kids' lunch and one in case of an emergency. Meanwhile I took a bath. This caused the contractions to get even more intense. They were now coming 1-2 minutes apart. It was so early and we had yet to call someone to help with the kids.
Sascha saw the neighbor lady head out to work. I called one friend, whom I love dearly. She also has 5 children, so I felt so terrible asking her at 6:00am to watch my kids. The kids all get along and have fun, but still that's 9 kids! She agreed to watch them.
Sascha and I wanted to see if we could let the kids sleep as long as possible. We hadn't gotten home from the hospital until almost 10:00pm the night before and only the youngest fell asleep in the car. I got the brilliant idea of drinking an Emergen-C (a drink recommended by midwives during labor to increase energy). I had some stashed ready to use for the home birth. Sascha brought me a glass and I drank it up rather quickly. Guess what? It caused me to become really drowsy and allowed me to doze off and it lightened up the contractions a bit.
While I was dozing and my dear husband was playing housewife making breakfast, bread and trying to keep busy, he also made me some laborade.
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 crushed calcium-magnesium tablet (or 1-2 Tbsp liquid Cal-mag)
enough water to make 1 litre.
You mix this all together until it is one homogenous mixture. You sip this over ice to ease morning sickness. You can sip it also to help heartburn. You can also make it into ice cubes and pour soda water over it.
Since my contractions had slowed down significantly, we called the midwife and she suggested that we see her in the afternoon and make sure that the contractions had changed the cervix in any way. We agreed and called our friends to tell them that hopefully things are slowing down and that we might need them in the afternoon.
The contractions came and went all day. I was pretty sure that I wasn't in labor. I also wanted to be sure that nothing had changed internally. I also wanted to know what I could do to ease the frequency and the intensity of some of these nasty contractions. I knew that I had to hold out at least another two weeks before I could have a home birth, let along a non-premature baby. I couldn't keep having nights like Friday night. I never slept at all. I wanted to be somewhat fit for the birth and the initial weeks of turbulent hormones, night feedings etc.
I sipped laborade over ice and prayed. I hung out on my bed and tried to keep my mind off the situation. I called the midwife and we agreed to meet. By this time, my contractions were not significant in number or intensity. I couldn't figure out why, but my wise husband had a theory.
At the clinic, we found no change in the cervix. Yeah!!! and I did the group B strep test. My husband shared his theory with the midwife. We have had intense temperature for the past week. This is not normal for our area. We also rarely get any humidity, but it has been very humid. I have drank more water than I can ever remember drinking and this is the catch. I was drinking water and so much so that I was likely flushing all of the good salts out of my body. My urine test from Friday night indicated that I was dehydrated. This threw us off at first, but Sascha thinks I drink too much water and not enough other stuff. The Emergen-C is like an electrolyte soltion and replenishes your body of deprived vitamin C and many other minerals. The laborade also has salt in it. These drinks must have aided in bringing my body's salt household back into balance. The results being less contractions.
The midwife was impressed with his theory and agrees. She know that the heat can bring on a lot of contractions. She told me to drink Emergen-C everyday in addition to lots of other fluids.
I went to bed at 7:00pm last night. Sascha brought the kids to bed for me. He is such an awesome husband and daddy. I was sleeping by 7:30pm and didn't wake up until about 20 minutes ago. I never woke up once to go pee. That is a miracle of its own. I woke up to another miracle. My rather chubby pregnant feet are almost back to their pre-pregnant size and I lost 3 lbs.
So ladies, I could have saved myself, my husband and family a ton of trouble by making sure that my salt levels were in balance. Who knew? You would think that this is my first pregnancy. I was still put on light household duty, no lifting and told to get plenty of rest. But now I know that simple solutions (pardon the pun) could have saved me a whole bunch of stress.
I also account the number of prayers and the intercession of Our Lady, St. Gerard, St. Gianna, St. Anne and St. Margaret of Antioch to have helped as well. I believe that it is no coincidence that my midwife team's name is the "Morning Star" group.
God Bless friends,