Last Saturday was a busy one. I should know better than to plan my schedule in such a way now, but live and learn.
We were invited to a friend's 40th birthday party at Dave & Busters. Because I didn't have a car, I didn't get a chance to pick up a card or a gift. The local D&B is at The Great Mall so Dave and I hoped that if we got there early enough we might be able to pick something up there. A little cheesy and embarrassing, but we were a little desperate. Unfortunately, as TGM is mainly a bunch of pseudo-outlets, we didn't see anything, not even a single card. We walked the entire loop of the mall in about 10-15 minutes, which I later learned is about a mile long. Nothing, really, to me if I wasn't pregnant, but by the end of it I felt really light-headed and found it challenging to walk a straight line. I was also getting a lot of strong contractions.
We went to the party and found a nice spot where I could sit and drink water in hopes of reducing the contractions. One thing I'm having difficulty explaining to Dave and anyone else is that sitting does not feel much more restful to me than standing, if I'm sitting upright. The pressure is still there as all my weight is on my hips. Sitting causes a lot of back issues, too. Being semi-reclined is most comfortable. Dave keeps teasing me for setting all the car seats I'm in to this semi-reclined position, even for driving. I look like I'm trying to be so cool and like I should be listening to "boom boom" stuff with the bass really high. You know the type. ;)
The party was nice and it was great to visit with our friend and wish him another 40 good years. There were nice people there and the food was good. At 2pm we had to leave for another commitment. We had been invited to dinner by a couple in Morgan Hill (about a 30-45 minute drive south from where we were).
We got to their house and it was very nice. This was the first time we'd been and they were such gracious hosts. Sadly, I wasn't feeling well, already, by the time we got there. I'd been ill most of the week, not realizing it could be a virus, and then the party had wiped me out already. I hope I didn't expose my friends to whatever bug seems to have me by the stomach. The woman of this couple is a doctor, though, and I did mention it to her and at the time she and I both thought it was food poisoning. I was also having a brief reprieve from the symptoms so I thought I was over it.
They served us lovely appetizers and a wonderful filling dinner. We really enjoyed the conversation and they kept us well entertained until about 9pm, when with the increasing contractions, I was eager to get home and rest. They are also expecting a child, in fact, I met them at the IVF clinic and they are due a week prior to me (though with twins I may go at the same time or even before them). The good doctor we were visiting could tell something was wrong, though, and was almost insisting that I lie down on her bed. I should have, I really should have, but I declined the offer. I feel uncomfortable lying on other people's beds, even my mother's.
We got home at about 10pm and by that time I had so much pain in my lower abdomen, I couldn't stand straight to walk to my door. Dave insisted that I lie on the couch. He propped a bunch of pillows under my knees, just as we were coached to do for frequent strong contractions. I kept having to get up and empty my bladder every 20-30 minutes, though, because I'd been drinking so much water through the day. That, and my bladder is now about the size of a walnut. These weren't walnut-sized pees, though. I didn't think my bladder was capable of holding so much. Dave and I could tell that the frequent contractions were not from dehydration, but the frequent-filling bladder was somewhat contributing. It's a fine line between drinking enough water and keeping my bladder empty. That, combined with this bug, well, I might as well move into the bathroom.
The contractions were not quite at my threshold of 6/hour at first, but they were much stronger than ever and were actually causing pain. I had menstrual-like cramps and lower back pain, along with nausea, and I was getting worried. The pain was what I was told to watch out for so I called the hotline number I was told to call should anything like this happen. I called at about 11pm and they told me to monitor it for an hour and that they would call us at the end of the hour.
They called back at midnight and in that hour I'd had 8 really strong contractions. She said she wanted me to go to Labor and Delivery at the hospital. A bit scary, but Dave and I knew the babies were not arriving that weekend. We were more concerned that the contractions could be causing dilation, which could eventually cause premature labor and/or force me to be on bed rest.
Dave and I were watching Apocalypto and well, it was a good movie. It was almost over so we did wait to see the end of it, but then we high-tailed it over to L&D. We got there at about 1am and they hooked me up to all the monitors. This was a first for me and while I was a bit scared, I was excited about the new equipment and experience. I was excited to hear the baby movement. Every kick I felt was like an exclamation point on the device attached to my belly. They put one device on for each baby, held on by a band. We got to hear heart beats and watch the heart rates on the monitor. We also got to see the contractions as they appeared on the monitor, which looked like waves. I was getting quite a few, some I felt and some I didn't. The really strong ones were interesting to see and by that time I was down to 3-5/hour.
They checked for dilation a few times and did a few swabs as well as took a urine sample (I actually gave them that very willingly). They didn't force a lot of water on me since, by my sample, they could tell I really wasn't dehydrated. By 5 am the contractions were much much better and all the tests came back fine. They were very satisfied about sending me home, but with a lecture about doing so much in one day.
On Monday morning I got my weekly phone call. Every Monday morning I get a phone call from a nurse who asks me for my contraction counts - remember, I spend an hour each morning and an hour each evening just resting and counting contractions. After that, we talked in detail about Saturday's experience. I was on a 15-minute walking restriction. She said, "nope, not 15 minutes anymore, we mean NO WALKING!" She said, "That's all over now" and told me that statistically, I'm now at a much higher risk of going into early labor within the next 4-6 weeks. That really freaked me out. She said that the next big milestone is 28 weeks and she's pretty sure I'll make it past that, but 32 weeks was the next milestone and it might be a challenge. She told me if I end up going beyond my contraction threshold again before 32 weeks, or maybe even 35 weeks, I'll end up on bed rest. We really don't want that, but I'll take it if it will help.
So, I saw Dr. B, my OB, yesterday and I wanted to iron out these new restrictions, just to get a clearer idea of what was and wasn't good. We talked about how much walking is throwing me into this false labor, which also happened in Mexico, btw, from walking too much. She seemed concerned that the call center put me on such extreme restrictions of no walking (though they did say puttering about the house was fine, but no more) and I wanted a more definitive answer as to how much "puttering" I was allowed to do. Dave will be out of town for a couple of international trips over the next two months and I need to be able to be somewhat self-sufficient.
After mulling it over, the limit is set to about 1/2 mile a day, preferably done in short stints. She said I can walk a little around the neighborhood, but no more than about 5-10 minutes. She didn't want to restrict the walking too completely, because I need the exercise. Fortunately, I have the pool, and swimming is unrestricted so long as it doesn't increase contractions.
I was really sore for two days following that experience. All those contractions really worked out my midsection. I have also felt really tired and worn out ever since. I'm feeling much better today, though.
We're supposed to be going to a concert with Tony and Rachel next week. It's Yaz, and I'm so excited about it. Tony and Rachel walk a lot, though, and I'm concerned that it will be hard for me to impress upon them that I'm severely limited. I know they will understand, but I'm just having a hard time, myself, of saying no because I don't like to disappoint. Well, Rachel e-mailed Dave and asked if it would be okay if we took BART to the concert. Dave said we couldn't. Dave then got the idea that we might want to rent a wheelchair for me to use from time to time over the next 3 months. A pretty good idea, but then again my pride is getting in the way. I sort of feel like it's bad luck to use a wheelchair if you don't really need it - and it's tough for me to admit that I probably will need it if I am not to walk or stand more than 5-10 minutes. I don't know if the concert tickets are for general admission or if we have seats. If it's GA, then I either cannot go, or I'll need that wheelchair.
We're winding down to the last stages of this pregnancy, and we need to keep these little guys brewing for at least 9 more weeks!