“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is a Yiddish term that means, “Man plans, and God laughs.”
I’ve spent the last thirty-three weeks treating pregnancy like the bar exam. I’ve researched and I’ve read and I’ve planned. For better or worse, I’ve attempted to be as prepared as possible. I’ve known that I wanted as natural and unmedicated a birth as is possible for someone who has already been labeled “high risk.” I enrolled in prenatal yoga, listened to meditations, and studied Hypnobirthing. My nesting has turned me into a Grade A List-Maker. In the next three weeks, we have house painters, carpet cleaners, and a housekeeper coming in. I still have trips to Goodwill to make.
And all of that is okay because I have time. I mean, I’m only thirty-three weeks.
And then God laughed.
I spent about seven hours yesterday at the hospital, after noticing I started bleeding. I also felt some intense pressure in the lower part of my belly and my pelvis. Dale was wonderful — if he panicked, he didn’t let on. We got in the car, and he leaned back my seat and turned on my warmer, and he told me to put my hands on my belly and focus on Dilly’s movements. Which, of course, I couldn’t feel any longer, because when you take your car to the mechanic for making the crunching noise, it refuses to make the crunching noise when you’re looking for it.
We were funneled quickly through the emergency room up to Labor and Delivery, where I was hooked up to a fetal monitor and blood pressure monitor. I was overwhelmed when I heard Dilly’s heartbeat and I cried. When we were in the car, I had trouble feeling him/her move. I’m not sure if it was because Dilly wasn’t moving much or because I was distracted by the situation. Whatever it was, that strong thump-thump-thump was the best sound I’ve heard in a long time. My sister came up and met us around this time.
The hospitalist came in and checked my cervix, and thank God, I wasn’t dilated at all. It wasn’t for lack to searching, though; that man did not romance me, and he had giant Hamburger Helper hands. He then ordered a test swabbing for fibronectin. If positive, it is an indicator of preterm labor in the next seven days.
Naturally, it was positive. This is where some panic set in. I had been so happy to hear the heartbeat that I hadn’t even fathomed that the test would be positive. It’s the Enneagram 7 in me … the optimist. Of course it wouldn’t be positive. But it was.
I then got an ultrasound to check the length of my cervix, as well as another swab to check if I was leaking amniotic fluid. When it’s close to baby time, your cervix shortens. Mine was still over three centimeters, so I passed that one, and the ultrasound showed that my fluids were okay. I was originally told that the nurse would be around to take off my monitors and I could go home.
We jumped up and down (well, them more than me, I don’t jump so easily anymore) and celebrated. We dodged a bullet! Casey left to go home, Dale helped me unstrap the monitors and change back into my street clothes, and I sat on the bed and waited for the discharging nurse.
not so fast!
A nurse pushed a bed outside my open door and asked if I was Tyler. I said yes and started to stand up, getting ready to head out the door.
She then told me that I had actually ruptured, my water had broken, and I was being admitted to have a baby. They’d try to hold me off until at least 34 weeks, but I would be inpatient until the baby came, which could be anywhere from hours to weeks (!!).
Then I cried a lot. A real lot. Big Alice flooding Wonderland tears. I’m not ready. The house isn’t ready. The baby isn’t ready. I didn’t give Louie enough hugs before I left. I didn’t schedule Louie’s procedure to have his lump removed. I haven’t confirmed the painting crew. The car seat isn’t installed. Dilly’s lungs aren’t ready yet. I won’t get to take him/her home.
Reluctantly, over we went to our new room. A delivery room. The same room we saw Monday when we toured the hospital. I got back into my hospital gown, hooked back up to monitors and I waited, stunned. I was speechless for a while. And then the doctor came in and said, “Eh, well, maybe you aren’t in labor and maybe your water hasn’t broken,” and while I can appreciate being totally sure, the entire ordeal felt like a joke.
It was an emotional roller coaster. I was afraid for the worst in the very beginning, then I heard the heartbeat and felt relief. I was still spotting and tested fibronectin positive, but I wasn’t dilated. My water had broken, but perhaps it hadn’t.
They did another test, one that I only remember being described as the “fern test,” and the doctor said I wasn’t in labor and my waters were all intact and I could go home. Since then, I’ve gotten two steroid shots to help Dilly’s lungs develop — one yesterday and one this afternoon. I’m still at an increased risk of delivering early, in the next 7-14 days, and we need to be as prepared as possible for all of the just-in-cases.
So now we wait! Hopefully little Dilly decides to stay put for at least another three weeks. If he/she doesn’t, though, we’ve now packed our hospital bags. So we got that going for us!