Today I packed my hospital bag. I sure hope it's not needed for another 3 months. But history has proven that I may be making a few trips to the hospital for labor checks and/or injections to stop contractions and labor. I'm 27 weeks tomorrow and preterm labor is still progressing. I now have weekly visits with Dr. B - and have been for the past 5 weeks. On Friday at my appointment with Dr. B, I was informed that I will be seeing him every week until this baby arrives. I sort of figured that out.
The Baby 4 update has become more like "my cervix update." It's all about the cervix at this point. BJ says he will miss the day when the word cervix is not used in our regular conversation. He's kidding, of course! And since we are on that topic, my cervix has thinned a slight bit more since my last measurement. It went from 2.4 cm to 2.3 cm. I think Dr. B's biggest concern though is the number of contractions I'm having every day and every hour, and that my cervix is funneling. That simply means that my cervix is beginning to dilate from the uterine side, which is where dilation first occurs. Funneling is detected by ultrasound. Dr. B thinks we'll be having a 2010 baby. I'm hoping to pray this baby into 2011.
I was also informed during my appointment on Friday that there's a possibility that I'll be admitted into the hospital for 24-48 hours if the medication that I'm currently taking does not stop or slow down contractions. In the hospital, Dr. B would give me IV meds. He wants to know when I have 4 or more contractions an hour. Unfortunately, I've had plenty of times when I've had 4 or more an hour but after an hour or two my medication and rest have slowed them down to more like 1-2 an hour. I'm trying to stay out of the hospital as long as possible if I can do things at home to control the contractions. But, each week the medication seems to be less effective. Dr. B warned me of that as my body becomes used to the medication.
On a good note, Baby 4 is doing great! She's active and has a good strong heartbeat. I've received steroid injections to speed up her lung development in the event that she is born early. Every day she stays in the oven the better off she will be.
During this experience with preterm labor, I have received a ton of questions so I thought I'd include this link to a reliable source, which comes from the same source that my doctor has given to me within a book about pregnancy and childbirth. The two most common questions I've received are: Are you having Braxton-Hicks contractions? Are you having preterm labor because this is your fourth baby? The answer to both of these question is "no." There is a list of risk factors for preterm labor, and surprisingly the number of subsequent pregnancies is not one of them. And, contractions can be labeled Braxton-Hicks if they are not coming at a rate of 4 or more an hour and if they are not changing your cervix. At that point, the diagnosis is preterm labor or labor if you are full-term.
I ask for your prayers for Baby 4 and for our family as we try to manage our household and do all the things necessary to keep a healthy pregnancy going to full-term. We trust God with Baby 4 and we know that He has only the best plans in store for her.
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