It’s false labor. You are free to go home. Those words, spoken by my OB-GYN will forever be ingrained in my head. They say every parent knows what is best for their child. They say always trust your gut. They said I wasn’t in labor.
I hadn’t felt ‘right’ all day. I was home with my three year old. He wanted to go to the park. I convinced him that Mommy and the baby needed to rest, that we would have a movie day on the couch. I was 36 weeks pregnant, in the height of a Florida summer. I chalked not feeling right to the heat and the fact the end of my pregnancy was not far off…
Every parent knows what is best for their child.
Around 3:00 in the afternoon, I called my doctor’s office and said I hadn’t felt right all day, that I would like to be seen. The not so friendly, I’ve heard this a million times before, office staff on the other end of the line told me to go to the hospital; the on call doctor would examine me. Being prepared, I told my three year old to grab his backpack he had packed with toys and books and off the two of us drove to the hospital. My husband worked an hour away. I hadn’t called him. I didn’t want to be that woman, the one who was freaking out over nothing.
The hospital exam was brief.
Obviously I was not the first pregnant women to walk into a hospital, claiming something wasn’t feeling right. The doctor came into the labor and delivery room, acting like I had distracted him from whatever it was he was doing. He examined me, told me I wasn’t dilated and wasn’t having any kind of contractions. I was sent home and told to rest. Are you sure? I asked. Yes. Go home and relax…
I should have trusted my gut.
As I drove home, now at the height of rush hour traffic, I still wasn’t feeling right. I was home for one hour before it happened. Hey buddy? You know how we practice 9-1-1 on the telephone for emergencies? I need you to call that number for Mommy. Tell the person who answers that Mommy needs help and she is pregnant.
I was on the toilet. I wasn’t in pain but I felt like I was about to have the worst case of diarrhea…EVER. I got on the phone with the 911 operator who told me I had to get off the toilet and lay down somewhere comfortable. I said I couldn’t. She said I had to. So, with my three year old’s help, I moved from the toilet to my bedroom floor. My little guy grabbed towels like the lady on the phone was telling him to do. Not once did he panic.
As the fire rescue trucks arrived, my baby literally fell out of me, still in his water, me freaking out and my body going into shock. The EMT guys got to me just in time to catch my little baby before he hit the floor. They broke his water. They rushed us back to the same hospital I had just left. The on call doctor from earlier avoided us at all costs. He knew he had made a huge mistake. Luckily, my baby and I were in good health.
So, at 36 weeks, my false labor turned into a preterm birth. One with no labor pain, no real warning, just a gut feeling that I should have listened to, a great story to share and a three year old son who amazed me with his strength and calmness.