Brenden, Tamara, and Caitlin — part 1 — an emergency c-section at 26 weeks after preterm labor and PPROM

All night Sunday night I tried to sleep, but I was woken up every seven minutes by these horrendous contractions. The pain level just kept getting worse and worse. By six o’clock in the morning, I had pretty much had enough. I got my mother to fix me something for breakfast, because they never let me eat when I go into the hospital, and then I called the doctors back. It was after seven by that time, so I didn’t have to deal with the doc on call, I got to talk to my doctor, and he said definitely come back in.

I went to change clothes again before leaving, because I was still having that incredible discharge and I was soaked. It was then that I saw that I was bleeding, rather profusely. Then I got scared. I called the doctor back before we left to let him know I’d seen the bleeding, and he said he’d meet us at the hospital.

So I got to be driven to the hospital, through rush hour traffic, in labor. That was not an experience I’d care to repeat, and I definitely don’t recommend it!

Got to the hospital, got hooked up to the monitors, same old routine. My doctor got there shortly after I was hooked up and took a look a my cervix. Turns out I was dilated to 5 cm and he couldn’t find the cerclage stitches at all. I had completely blown it. At that point, he said we were probably going to have babies within the next week or so, and in fact he’d be really happy to get another 48 hours. Because the babies were so small, they could theoretically be born within my having to dilate any further, and he didn’t want to risk that. So he started me on steroids to help develop their lungs, and started tocolytics to try and stop the contractions so the dilation wouldn’t get worse and the water wouldn’t break.

The reason he really wanted that 48 hours is because that would give us the maximum benefit from the steroids. There is a very important factor in lung development called surfactant. It is a substance that the lungs secrete to coat the passages and keep the sides from sticking together, so that the lungs can actually be inflated. The babies don’t start making this themselves until 32 to 36 weeks. The steroids induce secretion of the surfactant so that the babies can breathe when they’re born. They give me two steroid shots twelve hours apart, and then the treatment goes to once a week, if I last that long.

Monday morning I got a shot of terbutaline in the arm (tocolytic), betamethasone in my butt (steroid), a fluid drip, an antibiotic drip, and a magnesium stearate drip (another tocolytic, the infamous mag drip). Then the waiting began. I got a little sleep that morning because of the mag drip; that thing was not pleasant at all. It makes you feel really really hot. They started the mag drip at a very high concentration, and then maintained it at a lower level. So I got the worst effects immediately; my face felt like it was about to self-combust. My mother was putting cold wet washcloths on my face, and I would heat up the cloth in about 30 seconds. But fortunately the mag also made me feel drowsy, so after about half an hour or so I fell asleep for a couple of hours. The rest of the time on the drip I felt warm, but not nearly as bad.

By the time I woke up that afternoon, the contractions were better, not nearly as strong, and they were starting to become erratic. It still tended to be about seven minutes apart, especially if I was alert. But since they were getting a bit better, my doctor decided I could eat. I was restricted to fluids, though, just in case something happened and they needed to take the babies in a hurry. So I got “full liquid” for lunch. Lunch was orange sherbet, cream of mushroom soup, butterscotch pudding, red Kool-Aid, milk, and a popsicle. That was the best food I ever got out of the hospital!

At dinnertime, though, things started to look worse again. My doctor came by in the middle of dinner, and after hearing the latest and seeing that I was now dilated almost to 6, decided to not even let me finish dinner. So at that point we were wondering if we were going to have babies overnight. I wound up being able to sleep better Monday night, though; the contractions were no longer painful enough to wake me up. So by Tuesday morning I was allowed liquids again.

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About solinox

I am a Wiccan priestess, a libertarian mother of triplets plus three, a wife and homeschooling mom to blind and autistic children, a fiber artist, and a Jane of All Trades, always learning and seeking to help.

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