“It’s just false labor,” I thought to myself as I slowly made dinner. “Braxton-Hicks contractions, or whatever they’re called.” Maybe I ate something that was making my stomach upset. It was probably just my overactive imagination at work, but it kinda felt like I was having contractions.
I was 23 weeks along with our second little girl, due May 2. I was so excited that our oldest daughter, 20 month old Evje (pronounced Ehv-ya) would have a little sister so close in age.
I hadn’t been feeling well all day, but I thought that I was probably just catching the small cold that Clayton and Evje had been fighting earlier that week. My throat was a little bit sore, and I’d had a headache for a day or two. I took a nap while Evje napped, hoping that it would help, but I still just wasn’t feeling up to par. I can’t even explain what exactly it was, but something felt off. I thought I was just imagining things, but deep down, I was starting to get a little scared that something was wrong.
As I was fixing dinner that night, I realized that I was having small contractions. I tried to convince myself that I was imagining things, that it was nothing. I didn’t even want to tell Clayton, because I didn’t want to make a big deal out of something that was quite obviously nothing. I just needed to rest and then I would feel better. Luckily, I decided to stop being a baby and just told Clayton while we were eating that it kinda maybe sorta felt like I was having contractions. But probably not. Just maybe. His fork paused in air on the way to his mouth, and a puzzled look came over his face. “Contractions?”
We discussed the situation and how I was feeling, and he suggested that I call my doctor’s office, but it was after 5pm and the office was closed. Feeling foolish and mostly convinced that I was just being silly over nothing, I took the phone into the bathroom where it was quiet and called the women’s center at our hospital. Asking to talk to a nurse, I explained what was going on, and as I finished talking, my voice broke when I admitted, “I’m scared that I might be going into labor.”
The nurse calmly advised that I come get checked out, as I might possibly have a urinary infection or a yeast infection or something else that was causing the contractions. It still seemed to me like I was making a big deal out of nothing, but we loaded Evje up in the car to go hang out with Grandpa Joel at the flower shop for a few hours while we got checked out. We left the dogs inside, and the plates and residue from dinner still on the countertop, because after all, we were going to be home in just a few hours, right? I don’t think we even packed a diaper bag for Evje.
We got all checked into the hospital, and I was hooked up to various monitors. I was indeed having contractions. The nurses asked me lots of questions and called the on-call obstetrician to let her know that she would have to come in to assess the situation. After about 45 minutes, the nurse reached inside me to check to see if I was dilating. A concerned look crossed her face and as she withdrew her hand, she announced that I was dilated to 6 centimeters. More than halfway to the 10 centimeters needed to deliver a baby. “Are you kidding me??” I cried out.