This week we had another nice, monumental step: our first semi-paranoid trip to the hospital. I had been getting some really nagging aches and pains, so I called the doctor about them Wednesday afternoon. I assumed they were normal, muscle-stretching types of pains, but they had been going on for two days straight and were starting to become quite bothersome so I decided to call and just let them know. Good ol' Barb (I knew we'd be friends by the end of this thing) talked to me and was a bit concerned that the pains I was describing might be, or lead to, pre-term labor pains. I told her I was pretty doubtful that that was what they were. She offered to schedule an appointment first thing in the morning, but I told her I would rest and see what would happen.
As the day grew into night the aching got a little more intense and I started to worry that I had made the wrong choice. I was pretty sure it wasn't a pre-term labor thing -- they weren't coming and going and they weren't as intolerable as I imagine contractions to be. So, I sat down to read some of my pregnancy literature to be sure I wasn't being ignorant. The first book emphasized how important it was to just go in and check if you had any abdominal pain at all after 25 weeks -- better safe than sorry. The second book listed the pain I had been feeling in the exact words I had been using for the last two days as a possible sign of pre-term labor, even going as far as saying that many women ignore them for too long because they assume they should be more painful. The third talked about how important it is to get in right away, for the baby's sake, so the labor can be appropriately stopped. The combination of these facts got me a bit more worried.
By now, it was 8 p.m. and the doctor's office had long since closed. I started getting increasingly stressed over the possibility of being wrong. I called Travis and it was obvious to him that I was getting myself far too worked up over the matter, and he convinced me to call the doctor's office's answering service and talk to a doctor again. I called and explained to the doctor that I had called earlier in the day and was pretty confident that nothing was wrong, but was getting a little worried about the possibility of overlooking things and asked if she could give me any other things to look for.
She said, "Sara, just come on it. It will be no big deal at all -- it doesn't take us long at all to check everything and then you'll be able to relax knowing one way or the other."
She told me where to go once I got to the hospital and such and I told her I was going to wait for Travis to get home from work before I went in because the roads were so terrible.
When Travis got home we went in. I was torn between two emotions: the "un-pregnant" side of me was embarrassed to be going in to the hospital so late at night for something I would otherwise ignore without a second thought, being used to similar feelings during my period. The other part was nervous and second-guessing everything I know -- knowing ultimately I wouldn't be able to live with myself if my pride outweighed my desire to do what's best for my baby. So, I let them wheel me down to the baby wing of the hospital.
It turned out to be a slightly bigger deal than the doctor made it seem over the phone -- they performed three different tests to check and make sure the baby was okay (one of which was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced) and hooked us up to the monitors to watch us while we waited for the tests to come back. We watched The Fugivitive almost in its entirety before they had finally concluded that there weren't any signs of pre-term labor.
So, while a part of me remained embarrassed to make such a big ordeal over what amounted to just be regular pains of pregnancy, another part of me knew we did the right thing by going in and checking. If nothing else, it was soothing to listen to the baby's heart beating for the entire duration of our stay -- accompanied by regular hard and steady kicks at the monitor that made both Travis and I and the nurse laugh.
I'm sure the whole ordeal is just the beginning of many moments where we had no idea what to do as parents. I guess the best thing we can do is err on the side of caution until that whole instinctual thing kicks in :).
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