So now that Andrew's trip is over and done with, I can tell you that he flew out to Utah this week to give a research talk. We didn't tell many people he was heading out there because (a) we knew his schedule would be packed and (b) we didn't want certain people to have to worry for longer than they should. If you're a worrier (Hi, Mom!), I probably mean you!
But no worries!
Before he left Andrew told me not to have the baby while he was gone and in an act of solidarity, Alexander ran up to me, gave my belly a couple of pushes and said, "Shove! Shove!"
He was all about doing his part to keep the baby inside.
We also had our cul-de-sac on "high alert" and my cousin Dylan even postponed her surgery so that she would be available to help out at the last minute, if needed (technically she postponed her surgery so she could have fun with her kids on Halloween, but she also let me know that she had postponed it so that if I needed anything I shouldn't hesitate to let her know and she'd drop everything to come be with the kids).
It's here that I'll admit we had a little bit of a scare a few weeks ago (on Alexander's birthday, of all days, but long after he'd been put to bed) and we ended up here:
Doing this sort of thing:
|Contractions and stuff|
It's fine. I have contractions all the time (have I complained about that lately?) and I usually just ignore them because...what else am I supposed to do?
So I was up working on the evening of October 14, and I was having contractions every five minutes or so, but they were nothing but little squeezes. I was right in the middle of writing an email when I...felt the urge to go to the bathroom...so I hopped up and ran to the toilet and...discovered I was bleeding, which is not great.
Now, I didn't think I was in labour, but I also know that I usually don't recognize early labour (due to I'm constantly having contractions) so after calling up the on-call midwife we decided we'd better head into the hospital, just to make sure. So we woke Rachel up and told her we were headed out and spent the next eight hours—the entire night, folks—at the hospital.
They checked my cervix (not dilated at all), hooked me up to monitors, gave me an IV incase dehydration was causing the contractions, and then watched me have contractions every 5 to 8 minutes the entire night long before checking my cervix again (still not dilated) and telling me that I'd just have to deal with the contractions because evidently they weren't going away but also weren't labour yet so there was nothing they could do and they were going to discharge me.
I was super angry they didn't address the bleeding.
The nurse just shrugged and said, "We're not concerned about that amount of blood."
And I was like, "Well, can I talk to the doctor about it at least?"
And, anyway, the doctor refused to see me so I had to wait for shift change for the next doctor to come and she was like, "Oh, we'll need to do an ultrasound to make sure everything's okay..."
And by that point I was like, "No. I am exhausted. I am not going to wait for who knows how long to get an ultrasound. I have five children waiting for me at home. And I was told I would be discharged without any further action nearly two hours ago but the doctor never came to discharge me. Had that doctor addressed my bleeding hours ago and allowed me to make arrangements for my day so that I could stay to get an ultrasound, I might have considered it. But at this point I just want to go home. My baby and I have been hooked up to machines all night long. There's no sign of fetal distress..."
I was livid. And this poor other doctor was taking the brunt of it (but even when I'm livid I still sound pretty timid and mostly I was just choking back tears). So, they let me go home with the understanding that I'd follow up with my doctor.
Everything's fine. The bleeding appears to just be something random (I continued to bleed for a few days, but I think more of that bleeding was caused by the cervical examinations, which were the most violent examinations I think I've had in my life).
My doctor assures me that we did everything exactly right. With my history I absolutely should have gone in. She also guessed on the first guess who the doctor was that left me sitting in a room for eight hours (and gave a little sigh and an eye-roll when I confirmed it). It helps that she knows the schedule, but...yup...sounds like he might be a difficult doctor to work with.
Anyway, I showed the doctor the timing of all the contractions for each of my labours and told her that I can't wait until my contractions are three minutes apart for an hour. The second doctor was shocked that it was my sixth baby and I was there with false labour. I explained that I wasn't there because I thought I was in labour! I was there because I flat out don't recognize early labour and on the off chance that I happened to be in labour, I wanted them to stop labour before I progressed too far.
She assured me that I would recognize labour—it's my sixth delivery—and to come in when contractions were three minutes apart for an hour, which just about sent me to tears again.
So I showed my doctor my contraction spreadsheet (everyone has one of those, right?) and said, "See? They don't get longer, stronger, or closer together! They stay 7 to 8 minutes apart. And that's manageable for me so I never think I'm in labour because I literally have contractions all the time. And then you see when they do get five minutes apart...the baby was born in less than an hour. So I can't wait until they're three minutes apart. And I certainly can't sit around timing them for an hour before I head to the hospital!"
She agreed that that rule wouldn't work for me. So we made our own rules about when to head to the hospital (because I really want to get there in time to get a full course of antibiotics before the baby is born so that we're not stuck at the hospital longer than we have to be (I'm a strep carrier, typically)).
Anyway, two weeks later and I'm still pregnant, so we're feeling a lot better about keeping this baby in long enough at this point. We could see her practicing her breathing motions on the ultrasound yesterday, which was a very nice thing to see (I'm honestly not sure Benjamin ever got to that point). It made her heartbeat sound all hiccup-y (which is normal).
However, we were all nervous about Andrew heading out of town so soon after our little scare. But I've been taking things really easy (I told Andrew that when he got home the house might be a disaster but I would still be pregnant, by golly!) and we were in good hands. The baby didn't come while he was gone, so there was nothing to worry about (Reid's probably chewing his fingernails now, but I think we can keep her in for a couple more weeks).
Anyway, Andrew had a great time surprising my mom! He had a short break on Monday and ran over to her office, poked his head in the door, and said, "Hey, I'm here to drop off a card from Zoë."
My mom was so flustered! Andrew said she just kept saying, "What? How? Why? What?!"
But, here they are together:
And here's my mom holding up Zoë's card:
It was nice for Andrew to get to jet off to Utah for a brief (very brief) visit, but I think we all agree that we're sure glad he's back.
(On a side note, Andrew hasn't had a business trip in so long (because...pandemic) that the little kids were absolutely flummoxed by his departure. Zoë, for example, was in tears daily and could hardly fall asleep at night. We're just not used to being separated anymore! She was so happy to get to FaceTime with him while he was away and was overjoyed when she woke up in the middle of the night on Wednesday (as she does; she's a terrible sleeper) and it was Daddy who went in to help her get settled again (he'd just arrived home)).