I called Jennifer and expressed my concern. She said that at 23 weeks, the baby is likely making movements that I just can't feel, but if I was worried, I could come in for a non-stress test at 5:45. I stopped at home first to let Mico outside and ate a chocolate-covered greens bar (as in green leafy vegetables- but all covered in chocolate!), the most sugary thing I had in the house. When I got to my appointment, Jennifer hooked me up to a monitor (I had straps holding cords to my belly) to record the baby's movements and heart rate and any patterns between the two. The greens bar kicked in (who am I kidding, it was the chocolate) and baby started moving a little bit, the first movements I had felt all day. It was such a relief! That is, until Jennifer looked at the recording and told me I was having contractions (a lightbulb went off in my head- THAT's what some of those feelings were! I wasn't feeling all of them, but I knew exactly when I had had at least a few that day). Jennifer called Rush Hospital's Labor & Delivery to tell them I'd be coming in and sent me to the ER.
I debated but decided I should really call Tyler, who was out of town, and tell him what was happening, so I did- and of course, he was extremely upset. He called Tiana and then called me and said, "If I can't be there with you, the least you can do for me is let Tiana go in my place so I know that you are being taken care of and that you're okay." (Is he not the best ever? If that line was in a movie, it would make me cry. I love him!!!) So I picked up Tiana and she drove me the rest of the way to the hospital. Having her there was great- she helped me keep laughing through the whole process of signing in and being taken up to OB in a wheelchair and laying in bed while they monitored me. Without her, it would have been much scarier. Thank you so much, Tina!
At the hospital, my contractions stopped on their own. They ran a few tests, did an exam to be sure I wasn't dilated (I wasn't), did and ultrasound that showed that the baby was big and healthy, and then monitored me for several hours (Baby Girl was 1 pound 6 ounces!!! That's really big for her gestational age! At least we know she's well nourished!). Very late that night, I was released and Tiana and I went home. There wasn't really a final diagnosis, even though that is what everyone in the family really wants- an answer to "So what was wrong?" They were real contractions, but they stopped, and as long as I'm not dilated and they don't continue, I'm okay. In the future, if I feel 4 contractions in an hour, I'm supposed lay down and drink a quart of water over the next hour. If that doesn't end the contractions, then I go to the hospital. If I have another day in which Baby Girl isn't moving, I should contact Jennifer, have her check me out again, and go to the hospital if necessary.
I called Mom and Dad while I was being monitored, and they decided to come stay with me that night since Tyler wasn't home. It was really good to see them and it felt great to have them taking care of me. I stayed home Wednesday to rest and catch up on sleep after being in the hospital half the night, and I'm so glad I did. Since then, I've been really trying hard to take it easy. I've had a few contractions here and there, but never four in an hour, much less 8 in two hours. It's not unusual to have Braxton-Hicks contractions even this early on, so that may be what I'm experiencing.
Baby Girl has been kicking since then, though, which is more reassuring than words can explain. I always liked feeling her kick, but now every single little movement feels great and I appreciate every one. Last night when Tyler got home, we ate dinner and sat in front of the tv watching this week's Top Chef: Masters with his hand on my belly, feeling the kicks. Today, she's been back to her super active self, kicking away to the point that my shirt is moving. I've been giving her pep talks all week: You are staying in there until November, Baby Girl! You are not ready to come out yet! Once we get to November, then you can come out! The first born is supposed to be naturally obedient, right?
Hopefully this will be the last post mentioning the hospital until November. Did you hear that, Baby Girl?