Preterm Labor at 30 Weeks

Well, it didn’t take me long to be back in the care of the open door midwives, less than 24 hours in fact!

Yesterday (saturday) morning, I wiped and saw blood, more like a dark brown discharge. I also was feeling some super mild menstrual type cramping and decided to call the midwives to see if they thouht I should come in. I got a midwife named Judy who was the midwife who was on at Phelps and she told me to come into labor and delivery and she would examine me just to be on the safe side.

What I thought would be a quick in and out visit turned into an 8 hour ordeal.

First they swabbed me for the FFN test (Fetal Fibronectin) which is a test for a specific substance that is found in the placenta.  A negative test means that it can theoretically be ruled out that you will go into labor sometime in the next two weeks (it’s not 100% accurate). A positive test is less predictive, it doesn’t mean you WILL go into labor, but it doesn’t mean you won’t, and obviously at just 30 weeks, you don’t want to see a positive test.

Mine came back positive.

This meant that I had to receive steroid shots to mature Jasper’s little lungs just incase the worst happens and I do go into premature labor he’ll have a better chance of not having to be on a ventilator. 

Then came the all important check of the cervix. This was my first “internal” exam and can I just say OUCH!! It felt like her whole arm was up there twisting around, and then, she’d go a little further. Not pleasant.

The good news is my cervix is still high and closed (thank god) but she did say it felt soft.. the softening could be the cause of the mysterious bleeding, but they can’t say for sure.

After the postive FFN test and first internal exam I was told I would have to stay for two hours and monitored coninuously for contractions.  If, after two hours I wasn’t having contractions there was no change in my cervix, I would be allowed to go home provided I come back in 24 hours for my second dose of steroids.

No sooner was she about to unhook me than I started having consistent contractions for about 20-30 minutes straight. They were very concerned about this new development and decided to hook me up to an IV to see if the extra hydration stopped them.  After the first IV bag was gone, I had a few more contractions so they decided to give me a shot of terbutaline to stop them.

The terbutaline makes your heart race and you feel a little like you can’t breath, or at least I did. At this point though I was so tired of being on my back and hooked up to monitors that I think part of the lack of breath was a mild case of clausterphobia/anxiety.

Judy decided they would wait on the second dose of terbutaline to see if the contractions would stop from the first one.  A few more big ones in a row sealed the deal and I had to get the second shot.

The second one appears to have been the charm, as I only had two really baby contractions after that so they rechecked my cervix (3rd time!) and sent me home with strict orders to call or come back if I started contracting regularly again.

I have to go back today for my second steroid shot, some monitoring, and hopefully the OB on call will be there so that I can get a cervical length sonogram. If she’s not there, I have to come back on Monday for the sono.

At first I wasn’t sure because I’ve been having contractions for a while now, but there defintely was a change in my body yesterday so now I’m convinced the brown discharge means something. It would happen occasionally before, but now, each and every time I get up from the bedrest I’ve been confined to I get a massive contraction followed by a few smaller ones for a few minutes. It’s pretty scary to think that at just 30 weeks I may be confined to bedrest, particularly given that I am SOOOO unfomfortable lying down!

I think the worst part of the experience (aside from the obvious fear for the health of my baby if born at 30 weeks) was not the IV, the internal exams or the shots, but the having to lie in that hospital bed hooked up to monitors for 8 hours straight!

My butt and back were killing me and it was hard to shift positions because everytime I did it would throw off the contraction monitoring and would also sometimes cause Jasper to shift positions and we’d lose his heart beat on the monitor and everyone would come in, and I’d have to be adjusted.. it was just not worth it to change positions too much and I was dying of discomfort. 

On the positive side, I know know what to expect in terms of getting an IV and internal exams, I know some of the nurses and midwives, Jeff knows his way to the hospital and it all seems so much more ‘real’ now.

Please keep your fingers crossed for me that my cervix still has some length, otherwise I’m afraid I’ll be on bedrest for the remaining 10 weeks.. I can’t even imagine how much that will suck, though of course it’s worth it if it keeps our little guy cooking on the inside for longer.

I’ll try to write an update later tonight or definitely tomorrow.

Hope you had a less eventful weekend!

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Rachelle says:

I’m feeling for you now as yesterday went through the same thing with my third pregnancy.. I have constant ctgs booked fir next couple days n finally got sent home from hospital after 30 hours in after a routine in out check off bub.. Had my steroid shots n meds to stop contractions n 48hours late they are still there but no pain are accomadating them so doctors sed it’s a good sign I’m 33 weeks pregnant n due to have a tiny bub about 5lb so I’m hoping she doesn’t come soon as it’s nessasary she stays in to get all the growth in so our lil girl isn’t any smaller than 5lb…I know you posted a while ago but I hope all turned out perfectly for you :)

Alysia says:

I’m currently going through the exact same thing and I have to say that your experience is beautifully written. I’m having the FFN test on Thursday and I wasn’t sure what it was exactly or what happens after that. Thank you for sharing. It oddly put my mind at easy knowing what to expect should the test be positive.

Lolie says:

i know this was posted a long time ago, but i just went through the same exact thing last night for 12 hours. all the tests.. everything. and im 29wks on bed rest taking meds to make sure i wont have any more contractions. and getting my second steroid shot tomorrow. im glad that i am not the only one going through this. thanks for some of the comfort. i hope everything did go well for you. :)

deanna says:

this all just happened to me this wk. it is march 25, 09. i am 30 wk and had to be monitored 8 hrs also. i just went for my 2nd steroid shot. i am 50% effaced, and now on bed rest going crazy!

ariana says:

Karen,
I just posted on your blog, but just wanted to say that I am so glad you didn’t go into full labor and your baby can hang in there a while longer! I’ve never heard of the no amniotic fluid thing and transfusions, sounds so scary but it is amazing what they can do these days isn’t it? Hope you have an uneventful 3 weeks ahead of you!

Karen says:

Hi! Just happened across your site and saw your post on preterm labor. Looks like we shared a similar experience this weekend of bloody show, monitoring and contractions. I’m at 31 weeks, but since my pregnancy is high risk (my son has a lower urinary tract obstruction and he can’t urinate…therefore I have no amniotic fluid unless they put it in)we will be induced at 34 weeks. Only three more weeks of worry!! Hopefully my body cooperates and hangs on. Hope your’s does too! Congrats on your pregnancy!

ariana says:

Dawn, thanks for checking with your sis.. I think we’re out of the woods now, but even if things take a turn for the worst, at least he’s had his steroids.

Stephanie, how scary for you, and after all you went through with your older daughter.. I guess you did a great job on bed rest keeping baby #2 in there PAST term!!

Stephanie says:

Hang in there Ariana. Preterm labor is really scary and bed rest is soooooo boring and uncomfortable, but it’s so worth it if it works.

For what it’s worth, I had a very similar experience last May at 30 weeks and spent about seven weeks on bed rest – I thought I would lose my mind. Both out of boredom and because my older daughter was a preemie who spent weeks in the hospital and since I did nothing but contract for a month and a half, I was convinced baby number 2 was looking at a long hospital stay as well.) But I stayed off my feet and we ended up having a healthy, full-term baby. (Actually she ended up being 12 days late – so you just never know.)

Just take it easy and let Jasper’s daddy do the painting. :-)

Dawn says:

How scary! I’m glad your both ok but what an ordeal! You are in my thoughts and I hope you don’t get too stir crazy trying to take it easy. Please let me know if you need anything. If it makes you feel any better my sister works in the NICU and said that although 30 weeks is not 40 he should do great should he decide he needs to be here right now. Hugs to you!

Chantal says:

What an awful, scary experience! I’ll be thinking about you and Jasper. Try to keep him cooking a bit longer.

tryingin2007 says:

wow ariana! how incredibly scary!! it sounds like little jasper is giving his mom a hard time. I’m sorry he’s eager to meet you so soon. hopefully with some rest and the meds you guys will get back on track. 10 weeks of bedrest sounds really painful (literally.) I’m thinking about you.

Rachel says:

Wow, that sounds very stressful. De-lurking for the moment here to tell you how much I like your website (learning about cool baby decor style elements and the Pregtastic podcasts has been great!), and I’ll be thinking of you and wishing you good luck.

jen says:

ariana, i’m sending lots of prayers and good vibes your way! hang in there, try to take it easy, and tell Jasper he is NOT allowed to come out for another few weeks ;) good luck…sounds like your little boy is ready to meet you.

Joanna says:

What a stressful series of events. Glas all is ok now. I’ll be checking for your updates. Good luck Ariana!

Naomi says:

I’m sending good thoughts your way! I’ve been following your pregnancy as I am 2 weeks behind you with an IVF babe. I have had a high-risk pregnancy and have my cervix measured every 2 weeks, and it is reassuring to know if it’s shortening or not. I believe that more information is a good thing! So I have my fingers crossed that yours is nice and long and showing no signs of doing anything it shouldn’t at 30 weeks. Take it easy, it’s time to catch up on movies and tv series you missed the first time (or watch the oldies for the 10th time). Glad you got good care, it’s harder to come by than I would have thought.
Best wishes!

Farah says:

Girlfriend- How scary. You are in my thoughts. Keep me updated.

Positive thoughts going your way right now Ariana. You keep that little boy of yours cooking as long as you can, you hear? Plenty of rest! =)

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