Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne
Feb 9, 2017 (Thursday) – Day 1.
I had a few painful contractions yesterday which I ignored thinking they were simply textbook Braxton Hicks (BH). This morning however upon seeing bloody show of 3cm, my level of panic and worry increased exponentially, needless to say. So in between tears, I told my husband that it might be worth talking to the midwives. I immediately phoned them and they wanted me to come for monitoring and assessment right away. So we went in to find out my cervix was soft and I could be 2 to 3 cm dilated and I was having painful labor-like contractions. I could tell the difference between BH and those easily. Did I say I am only 30 weeks pregnant?
At the birthing suite of the Geelong Hospital, I went in to be monitored by the Maternal Day Assessment Unit (MDAU). I had forgotten that I went there when I was having my first son four years ago but as soon as the kind midwife put on the baby heartbeat monitor as well the TOCO for contraction, the familiarity of it dawned on me.
The machine and my body agreed that contractions were happening within 5-10 minutes. Dr Maddie, whom husband and I met Monday, saw me and performed a few tests. I had to then take steroids as well as nifedipine tablets to try and stop contractions. They were concerned enough to label what I was going through as “threatened pre-term labour.” Unfortunately, the Geelong Hospital is not happy for me to deliver there at 30 weeks, their cut-off being 31 weeks gestation, which I am annoyingly only a few days shy of. But rules are rules. Between crying and worrying about my toddler and my husband, it’s easy to get more stressed as gadgets and gizmos are attached to me.
Meanwhile, while waiting for Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval or PIPER to respond, Midwife Mary kindly offered me some cheese and crackers. These small details I have to start writing down in case I forget again.
People’s kindness need to be memorialised.
A first of firsts, I experienced being in an ambulance for the first time ever. Husband and son turned up to say goodbye at that stage. I was beside myself to say the least. Surrounded by the unfamiliar walls of the ambulance, I was calmed down by the kind paramedic, Selina. Her offering me a box of tissue was a sign that she must understand where the tears are coming from. I kept messaging David simply wanting to keep that connection going at a time when I just didn’t want to be anywhere but his and my son’s side.
Selina checked on my contractions, feeling the tightness. She asked me if I was okay and if husband would be okay.
“Oh he’s clueless! He’s used to making big financial decisions when he was with National Australia Bank but the other day while cleaning, he was confounded by what course of actions to take in relation to our son’s ….sticky dinosaurs.
I was only kidding about him being clueless because I know that he loves our son with all of him and that is the minimum of what he’ll give our son, his all. Having said that, I worry about him because he might not look after himself enough in the process.
Meanwhile, the ambulance made good time despite it being a rush hour. Soon enough, we were at the Royal Women’s Hospital. The transfer was smooth as my doctor in Geelong had already made phonecalls before and whilst in transit.
Young midwife Elle attended to me first, taking me to a room, putting the monitoring device around my tummy and doing the observation basics (temp, blood pressure, etc).
Shortly after, two female doctors came in to see how baby was positioned via ultrasound. They were happy to know that baby had turned around from being Frank breech to cephalic or head down, which was more ideal for if and when I was to give birth then. The doctor reassured me that she would do everything for me to NOT have a baby, and this made all the difference to me. Simple statements like that offer a level of reassurance that hifalutin, technical statements don’t.
She performed another speculum test on me. As she pulled out the gadget, I saw a bit of blood so I braced myself for some bad news. Surprisingly, she said she could not see that the cervix was even dilated but I did have a “show” which is the mucus plug that blocks my cervix. She also said that bub is high up in the tummy which tells her that it’s not trying to make its way out.
I asked if I still need to fast because I was told this at the Geelong Hospital and was relieved to find out that I don’t have to. Midwife Elle had arranged for a hot meal for me and it wasn’t long before a pleasant smelling tray of food arrived. I didn’t think I could like hospital food that much. With some privacy now and despite the fact that I was naked from the waist down under the blanket, I had my lunch/dinner. In between bites, I was chatting on viber with my sister. As expected she was shocked and concerned over the very same things that I was shocked and concerned about. I begged her not to tell our mother just yet because I know she’ll panic and might end up having high blood pressure and in hospital herself. So she promised she wouldn’t say a thing.
Soon enough, I heard another knock on the door, Husband and Son were with me again. I feel my muscles relaxing heaps and a smile was back on my face. Pretty soon, I was singing Old McDonald to my son who seemed happy. Husband said he did enjoy the ride to Melbourne as I was sure he did. I was more than glad to see my rock although I did mean it when I said they should just hang back and visit with me in the morning. I understand his stubbornness though. He wanted to be here and deep inside, I needed him more than ever. As the shock of this was slowly creeping on us, I then only had smiles to give my two boys, my heart about to explode with joy. But I knew that they had to leave soon, and so they did with a promise of tomorrow morning’s return.
A few short minutes after they left, another midwife assisted me to the ward in Level 5. Maybe it was the happy hormones from my family’s visit or perhaps the pills, but my contraction had calmed down a lot.
My bed was beside the window, giving me a beautiful view of Melbourne’s cityscape at night. It’s as if I’m on a holiday hotel, except there’s constant worry that I’m not fully out of the clear.
>>>more side stories coming up from this timeline<<<<