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10 Days: Contractions and Coping with Uncertainty

When you read this post, I will hopefully be 32 weeks 4 days pregnant. And the “hopefully” part is what this blog post is all about.

Here I am.

Little Brother is due April 27, so on February 28 at 28 weeks 5 days when I noticed frequent “tightening” in my belly I started to worry. I counted, I laid on my left side, and I consumed as much water as humanly possible. That evening, I called my midwife because, though they weren’t painful, they hadn’t stopped. We discussed signs and symptoms and decided there was no need to go in.  That night I slept, mostly.

Sunday, I continued to have contractions, I continued to count, lie around, and drink unspeakable volumes of water. Around 2 pm, they started to be uncomfortable to painful – and five minutes apart – so we took my son, Isaac, to his friend’s house and went to Labor and Delivery at the hospital. On the monitors, contractions were three to five minutes apart, so a nurse I work with checked my cervix. Fingertip, but closed internally, the same as 24 weeks and normal for a second time mom. The contractions got closer together, and she gave me Terbutaline, which stopped them for 20 minutes…at which time they picked up right where they left off.


I was admitted to the hospital.

A swirl of IV starting, room changing, question asking, and medication starting began. I received a dose of magnesium by IV, shot #1 of steroids, was swabbed for GBS, given Zofran for nausea, and received a catheter (which does not hurt going in, but is insanely uncomfortable after that). I proceeded to become very hot and horrible feeling. Magnesium is not fun. It makes you feel like you have the flu, and honestly I didn’t feel half as bad as I have seen some patients feel. I was lucky.

The mag chilled out the contractions, but I remained in the hospital for the next 10 days, worrying about having a preemie. There I was, sitting in a droll room worrying about my three-year-old,  whose first reaction to this development was “No, Mommy can’t have any ice cream until she’s done at work.” It all rolled around in my head, lounged in my dreams and invaded all my distractions. I asked, “What did I do? Is there something wrong with this little guy?” I made up cockamamie theories on why I was contracting and ran lists of risk factors in my head. I bugged my husband’s neonatologist cousin and was reassured about the baby’s chances. I bought books about preemies. I was ecstatic with the ultrasound showing a healthy fetus about 3lbs, 6oz with plenty of amniotic fluid.

I still found it hard to do any of the activities I might generally do to keep myself busy. I didn’t read, or craft, or do anything productive whatsoever. I felt guilty for sitting. I still feel guilty sitting while my husband picks up the slack. I spent my time figuring out ways to be alone as little as possible, organizing who would stay with Isaac and who would sleep in the hospital with me. I wasted hours on the Internet.

sister-face pedicure.

It wasn’t all bad. My sister-face came and we did pedicures, my mom helped me shower and change, We had egg salad and cheesecake from Manhattan Deli, a PF Chang’s splurge night, movie night with a friend, and Valentine’s complete with filet mignon, gifts, toasting, and most importantly my boys. I like to focus on these bright spots.

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” -Albus Dumbledore

I still premise all plans with, “as long as nothing happens,” and plan each event considering the idea of a baby in ICN.

Finally, the perinatologist suggested 72 hours of indocin and then nifedipine and HOME. I was so thankful the morning I finally left the hospital. Thankful to feel the breeze and the sun against my skin. Thankful to be in my own house, to see my little boy run to me when he got home and snuggle like normal again.

photo-2I am thankful to be pregnant.

My best advice for someone trying to make it through such uncertainty is to be informed. It helps me to know what I might expect if my baby were born today, it helps me to plan for all the possibilities when making simple plans. It also helps to remind myself to accept each day as it comes. I can only trust that everything will be as it should.




What helps you get through uncertainty? 


currently reading The Psychopath Inside, by James Fallon

currently listening Rihanna “Shut-up and Drive.” (from Wreck-it Ralph)


About Jamie Schnell

Jamie Schnell
Jamie Schnell is an RN and full-time mommy to three boys. Her husband, Adam, keeps track of all the stuff that she can never remember where she had it last, and she loves his geeky-wonderfulness. He is definitely the best daddy. Jamie has a BA in English to accompany her BS in Nursing, and recently completed her Master's in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner track. Jamie loves reading, writing, crafting anything and everything, green beans, having little parties to celebrate life, coffee, camping, cooking, spa days, Cheetoes, naps, and just being outside.

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