What do you do when you’re having contractions at 29 weeks pregnant? This weekend gave us a bit of shock when I discovered my contractions has started 11 weeks before my due date.
I had an uncomfortable night on Friday night, I just couldn’t sleep as my belly was hurting a LOT! Saturday I felt better during the day, but come evening I was in pain again. Craig had gone out with the boys and Alfie was in bed, so I was watching tv on the sofa but the pains were getting worse and worse. I decided to go up to bed about 10pm and that’s when it really kicked off. Before I’d just been uncomfortable which isn’t unusual at 6 months pregnant with a huge belly! But I couldn’t lie on my side without being in pain and then when I tried to roll over it was virtually impossible. I managed to drop off but got woken up when Craig came home and then couldn’t get back to sleep. No matter how I laid, I was in pain. With no paracetamol in the house, I was on all fours on the landing at 3am rocking backwards and forwards to try and ease the pain. That helped a bit but I was just so tired! My husband was being slightly unsympathetic as he wasn’t feeling great, but did keep telling me I should call the hospital if I was that bad.
It sounds silly now as I was in so much pain, but I was reluctant to call triage as I hate wasting people’s time and would have felt bad if it turned out to be nothing. Even after the night I had, Craig had to basically force me to call the hospital and go in and get checked out. It was then a rush to get someone to have Alfie, give him breakfast and pack a bag for him as we had no idea how long we’d be out for. Of course we ended up waiting for Craig who had to have a shower and iron his shirt before we could leave!!!
The fact I couldn’t even bend down enough to get dressed/undressed and put my shoes on should have been the indicator that something was wrong. The second is the unbearable drive to the hospital – I was induced with Alfie so never had the experience before, so even though these were not excruciating pains, it was bloody uncomfortable sitting in that car for almost an hour! On the drive over, I felt the pains become more regular so I started roughly timing them and found they were coming every 2 minutes. It was strange because they were totally different to my contractions to Alfie, which were basically constant from the moment they started – I never really got “waves” of pain, so it was really different actually feeling pains like this. We eventually arrived at the hospital and after a looooong walk from the car park as I couldn’t walk faster than a snail, we were shown to the waiting room at 9.50 and told someone would be with us shortly. Shortly turned out to be over an hour later because they were so busy! With only four beds on the day assessment unit, I can completely understand the wait and how frustrating it must be for the midwives to juggle everyone. The midwife came in and asked me some questions and said from my urine sample it looked like I had a urine tract infection which could be causing the pains. She took my temperature which was a little high, but would also indicate a UTI. She asked if she could feel my belly and started to lower the bed so I was in a better position. WOW – the pain racked up 100-fold and I couldn’t breathe until I was sat up a bit. I don’t think I’m a wuss when it comes to pain – I did over 30 hours of contractions with Alfie on just paracetamol – but this was awful.
The midwife eventually managed to strap me up to the machine to monitor the baby’s heartbeat, movements and any tightenings I might be having. The heartbeat was good, but a little high – the midwife explained that this would be because the baby was small so it was nothing to worry about. The baby was moving about a lot, but I couldn’t always feel the same movements the monitor was picking up, which I put down to either the position of the baby or the pain I was feeling. The machine clearly showed I was having contractions, which on the one hand was nice to see I wasn’t going mad and imagining things, but on the other hand having contractions at 29 weeks can never be a good thing! I was on the monitor for just over 30 minutes I think, then the midwife took me off and asked me to do another urine sample. I did this and then sent Craig to get me some food as I hadn’t had breakfast and was starving! Typically as we finished eating the food lady came round and offered me a sandwich! After I’d done my second urine sample, I had to go back on the machine. My contractions has slowed down a lot, although they were still there. I’d taken some paracetomol and this really helped the pain.
Once I’d finished on the machine, we had to sit around and wait for the doctor to come and see us. Being a very busy ward and a Sunday, this obviously took a while. When he was free, we were taken to a private room so I could have an internal examination – fun! Craig had to help me undress as I still couldn’t bend down to undress myself and then we waited a further 40 minutes for the doctor arrive – not fun when you’re half naked! He came in and explained what he was going to do. The gist of it was to insert a speculum to see if the neck of my womb was open. Thankfully it was closed, so a swab was then taken in order to conduct a test to see if I was likely to go into preterm labour. The doctor explained the risks – if the test came back negative, then all would be fine and I’d be discharged. If it came back positive, there was a 50/50 chance of me going into preterm labour. If this happened, I would be admitted overnight and given steroid injections to strengthen the baby’s lungs. They would then keep an eye on me to see if I went in to labour naturally. He spoke about having to find a cot in the special care baby unit, and even looking at other hospitals if this one was full. It was quite a shock to listen to, but I understand it was better for him to explain it before we had the results in case it wasn’t good news.
Thankfully, after a 10 minute wait, the results came back negative. It was confirmed I had a UTI, which is what was causing my contractions, but I was given antibiotics and was told this should clear up the infection and stop the contractions. I was advised if they hadn’t stopped in 4-5 days to go back to hospital.
It’s crazy to think all of this was caused by a UTI – I never knew how dangerous they could be to pregnant women – this link explains it in a little more detail. If you have one, it’s really important to take antibiotics to clear up the infection. I’ve spent the day resting today and the pains have slowed down a lot, so I’m hoping once the antibiotics take effect and I learn to actually rest, they’ll stop completely and this baby will stay put for a few weeks yet.
In typical timing, this all happened on the day that we were meant to be going to our annual Christmas dinner with our friends – we’d had it booked for months but because we were at hospital for so long, we missed it completely which is such a shame (and completely messed up the secret santa too as we weren’t there to pass on our gifts – sorry guys!)
This has really panicked me as I realise how little I have done to prepare for this baby – and when I say little, I mean NOTHING! I have done absolutely nothing yet. I haven’t thought about packing my hospital bag, I haven’t built his crib, we’re currently sleeping in the nursery because we need to build our bedroom furniture and all the baby clothes are still in the loft. So there is a LOT to do, and with Christmas coming up, I’m not sure exactly when we will fit it all in. I was very relaxed about it all, but maybe this is the kick up the bum I needed to organise myself a little more.
Now, please stay put little man, I don’t need an extra Christmas present this year and we need you to stay cooking for as long as possible!