It's 3:00 AM, Monday, December 16th and I'm awake. This is not uncommon because at 33 weeks pregnant, I wake up a lot during the night to go to the bathroom or lament that I am stuck laying on my side wishing I were laying on my back. But this time, I'm awake, and I'm in pain.
They were too painful and coming too quickly to just be practice contractions, but I was also in denial that they were the real deal. Half an hour later after trying what I could to make the pain subside, I called the nurse advice line. This denial led me to describe my situation to the nurse as such, "Hi, I'm 33 weeks pregnant, and I woke up with severe abdominal pain. The pain comes in waves about every 5 minutes." Yes, I'm pretty sure I gave her the text book definition of a contraction, but I still refused to use the word.
Even though I was planning to deliver at a hospital close to us, she told me she wanted us to go up to St Joseph's Hospital in Denver (because they have a level 3 NICU, though she didn't tell me this). I asked, "Do you want me to go now?" She responded, "Yes, go now, and if you feel the baby coming, pull over and call 911." ....Umm, what?
At this point, I woke Jason up and told him we needed to go to the hospital. The drive there was painful. I told Jason to drive fast. We sped past not one but two cop cars on our way there and luckily neither one of them pulled us over. The whole way to the hospital, I kept thinking that the worst thing that could happen was that I'd be put on bedrest. We were supposed to be flying out to California on the 20th to spend Christmas with my family, so I was naively hoping that it was still a possibility.
When we finally got to the hospital, they brought me to an observation room. An ultrasound showed that my cervix was very thin. Then the resident checked and announced that I was dilated to a 6 and 90% effaced. ....Umm, what!? I knew enough to know that those numbers meant I wasn't going home for Christmas. The resident looked at Jason and I and told us it was likely that the baby was coming today. As this shocking news started to sink in, Jason needed some clarification, "So.. what are the chances that this baby is coming today?" Clearly, those numbers made a little less sense to him. The resident explained that there was nothing they could do to stop this baby's arrival. He was coming today. While we were slightly nervous, we were mostly excited. Actually, I was slightly nervous about his early arrival, but Jason was not at all. He was all excitement.
Once they got me into a labor and delivery room, I was dilated to an 8. It was 10 AM. Then, everything stopped. We waited and waited and waited. And since we came to the hospital unprepared to stay, we waited with very little entertainment and comfort. They finally broke my water at 4. I started pushing a bit later. (For the record, I got the worst heartburn in my throat while pushing...which was awful. Ice chips did a whole lot of nothing.)
By 6:18 PM our sweet baby boy was crying, announcing his arrival to the world.
At 33 weeks he was a whopping 4 lbs 15.8 oz and 18 1/4 inches long.
We named him Seth Douglas Hammond.