Story Share: Finn’s Story – Pt 1.

This is our first Story Share and I can’t think of a better way to kick things off… You’ll be seeing a Part 1 and Part 2 because this whole story is just too good to trim down. I love that Mama K. shares so much of how her mind and body worked together (and sometimes against eachother) in this experience. I hope you enjoy every bit of this story as much as I have.


April 22, 2019 was a completely normal Monday. At almost eight months pregnant I went to work, came home, then taught my violin lessons. My back had been bothering me more than usual for the past couple of days, but this was no red flag to me; my back had been out since week 10 of the pregnancy.

That night I couldn’t get comfortable in bed and ended up moving to the couch to try to get some more rest. I woke up Tuesday morning, 35 weeks pregnant, and nothing felt any different than the day before. At about 6:15 I got up to use the bathroom and was met with a substantial amount of blood and inevitable panic. My mind raced to worst case scenarios. Suddenly I wasn’t sure if I had felt the baby moving yet that morning. Shaking and holding back tears, I woke my husband Tyler up. Being the more level-headed one, he reassured me that everything was fine and that it was probably nothing to worry about, especially since I had no pain or other symptoms. Before he left for his 24 hour shift at the fire station that morning, we decided I would call the Women’s Health Center when it opened at 7. The doctor on call didn’t seem to think the bleeding was an extremely urgent or even abnormal event, but told me that my OB would be able to check me out at 9:00 to make sure everything was ok. “Especially since you were born a month early! It will give you peace of mind to rule out early labor” she said. Her unconcerned tone further calmed my nerves. After debating for another half hour or so, I finally decided to check on baby’s heartbeat with our at-home fetal Doppler and was relieved to find it just as strong as ever. I wasn’t going to call our family yet because I didn’t want them to worry for nothing, but when I let my boss know why I wouldn’t be able to open at work that day, she insisted I at least call my mom. On the way to the appointment I called and let her know what was going on, but told her it was probably nothing, which I truly believed at that point. I felt nothing.

By 9:00 the bleeding had subsided, and I assumed the doctor would check me, reassure me that everything was fine, and then I’d be able to go on with my day and go to work. I checked into triage where a nurse hooked me up to a belly monitor and I was instructed to press a button every time I felt the baby move. This went on for about 15 minutes and I counted well over 20 movements, so I was again relieved. Soon Dr. Medley came in. She was happy with the monitoring and said she would check my cervix just to rule out pre-term labor. Her light-hearted demeanor was comforting. But while checking me, her tone instantly changed. She said, “well, you are actually about 2 and a half centimeters dilated, which means you are in pre-term labor. You’ve lost your mucus plug and what you’re seeing is referred to as ‘bloody show’.” I was numb. “It’s too soon for your baby to come, so we’ll give you a steroid shot to help develop his lungs in case he does decide today’s the day. I’m going to send you to the hospital and see if we can get this labor to stop.” She said this all so matter-of-factly.

I felt tingling shock sweep over me. I was NOT ready. My bag wasn’t packed, the nursery wasn’t done, and the unfinished projects around the house started coming to mind. I was supposed to have five more weeks to prepare for this moment! I listened as Dr. Medley called the birth center and informed them I would be on my way shortly. While on the phone, she was watching the monitor and told the person on the other end she could see that I was actively having contractions now. I didn’t feel them at all. I texted my mom and Tyler from the table and hastily tried to explain what was going on and that I would call as soon as I could. I knew Tyler was just as shocked as I was. He was in turn relaying info to my mother-in-law. The nurse came in and gave me the steroid shot in the butt and offered me a pad; nothing like labor to get rid of any modesty you’re clinging to. I declined her offer because I wasn’t aware the bleeding had started up again, and quickly changed my mind as I was getting dressed. Medley came back behind the curtain and said she was sending me over to ultrasound to get an idea of the baby’s size. Still in a daze, I asked if I could go home to gather some things for the hospital afterward, and was again surprised when she didn’t like my proposition. She wanted to send me directly to the hospital. After assuring her I was only a short drive away, she agreed that I could go and grab my things if I was quick. It was at that point that I thought the baby might actually be coming… but I was still in complete denial. I didn’t feel any contractions or pain; it all just didn’t feel real.

Walking down the hall, an ultrasound tech met me and said “congratulations, sounds like you’re having a baby today!” I could only muster the words, “uh, yeah, maybe!” The ultrasound showed the baby was head down and over 5 lbs, and by the end of the scan my mom had arrived, ditching her Floor Duty at the real estate office. We drove to my house and I called Tyler and my mother-in-law on the way, filling them in. We decided that Ty should stay put at the fire station half an hour away until I checked into the hospital and knew more. I frantically threw some necessities in the duffle bag that he had conveniently given to me the day before as an early birthday gift, and my mom drove us back to the hospital where we met up with my mother-in-law.
After checking in I was instantly hooked back up to a monitor, got an IV, and the nurses started going over their plan to try to get labor to stop. I was so thankful my mom and mother-in-law were there to support me. It was decided to try ProCardia, a pill designed for high blood pressure, but that is also known to stop contractions. The nurse would often check on me and ask, “are you feeling anything?” I always said “no, my back just feels a little achey”. She was incredulous because the monitor clearly showed contractions happening every few minutes. Over the next day, I continued having contractions off and on, and especially when the ProCardia started to wear off. I was never aware of any of them and just felt an overarching sense of being slightly uncomfortable. I was given a new dose every 4 hours and then received a shot of a different medication that helped slow things even more. I ended up staying the night, with nurses coming in to check on me every hour or so. It was important to try to keep the baby in until at least week 36. If I delivered one day before that date, it would require that I be transported via ambulance to another hospital with a NICU half an hour away. This was one of the reasons we decided Tyler should stay put; he worked near that hospital and would be able to meet me there if things kept progressing.

The next morning Tyler came straight from work and Dr. Medley met with us. She checked me and was happy to see that my dilation had not progressed past 2.5cm. Since I was still having contractions, she wanted me to stay another day. I was given a second shot of the steroid for baby’s lung development at the 24 hour mark, and was instructed to rest until further notice. We all felt relief that if he did come, the steroids would have had enough time to do their job. Day 2 was similar to Day 1. The contractions slowed down, and the meds seemed to keep them at bay. By the next morning, Medley felt comfortable sending me home with the instructions to come right back if I felt contractions intensifying at all. She didn’t want to check me again because the last check had caused more bleeding and contractions. We were skeptical that the contractions would stay away without the meds, but I was really relieved to be going home where I could actually get some sleep. Tyler had to go back to work, so my mom and mother-in-law came home with me and helped me get the house cleaned and ready in case the baby came. They were absolute angels. I packed my hospital bag more thoroughly and felt so much more prepared.


To be continued… Check back in next week for Part 2. Finn’s arrival!

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