On Sunday, I was feeling really tired. Not sleepy so much, but like I was moving around in tar. I couldn't stand up for very long and I had no energy to move around, or chase after my kids, or walk up the stairs. Lucky for me, it was Mother's Day, so I could just lie around and not feel guilty about bossing everyone around. I thought maybe I was dehydrated, so I tried to drink and drink and drink.
Monday morning, I was going about the business of getting ready and I walked up the stairs. When I got to the top, I felt a little dizzy and short of breath and I thought, "man, it feels like my heart is beating really fast." It was: 120 bpm. "That seems like kind of high for just walking up the stairs," I said to myself, so I did something entirely uncharacteristic of me: I called the doctor.
I never call the doctor because I know what they are going to say. They always say the same thing, the thing they said to me yesterday, "COME IN RIGHT AWAY! RIGHT THIS SECOND!" So I did. My friend (personal saint/super hero) Emily watched my kids and I headed up to the hospital.
By the time I got there, my heart rate had come down to 87, and I felt fine. They hooked me up to the monitor, did an EKG, and drew blood. The EKG looked fine and while they were waiting for the lab results to come back, they noticed I was contracting regularly, something I told them, on arrival, has been happening to me for at least a month, maybe more. I was in the triage room behind a curtain and I could hear them calling the doctor about me, "Mrs. Ball is preterm and is contracting regularly... yes... I see... fFN... OK." Bah! The fFN test takes like 2 hours for the results!
The nurse came in wheeling her little cart and I tried to explain to her that I've been having regular contractions for a month, like I said before, and I'm not in labor and I don't really need a fetal fibronectin test and if they would just call MY doctor, she would tell them all this. Maybe they don't believe me when I tell them that I am a nurse and that I know what I'm talking about, but my nurse was not to be deterred. I rolled my eyes and said, "OK."
Then they wanted to check me every hour to make sure my labor wasn't progressing, but the baby was laying funny, or something and made it very difficult to tell. So, my nurse called in another nurse. Then an hour later, they both came back to check, but they couldn't be sure. So, they wanted the doctor to come in, but she was off doing her doctor stuff, so I had to wait some more. "Wow, you're baby is laying funny and I can't really tell... here... maybe if I jam down as hard as I can on your belly. No... no.. maybe if you sit up a little bit. Um... can you roll over a little?" It was like getting your school picture taken, except 5,000 times more painful and awkward.
The whole time, they kept coming back and asking me about my heart, but I told them it only happened when I was walking up the stairs, and for the last 5 hours, I have been in bed, so no, I feel fine.
When they f i n a l l y let me go, the nurse gave me her discharge instructions: come back if you feel any contractions. Yeah. Right.