I thought something was wrong. I didn’t think I was going into labor, but the literature said if I was contracting more than four times in an hour, I should notify my doctor. Why does this shit always happen in the middle of the night or on a weekend? It can’t happen during regular business hours, can it? "Do you want me to call the doctor?"
"No." Yes. I hate the idea of having to bother my doctor, but I also know they’re used to it, right? Better safe than sorry. It’s my health. "Okay, fine call him. But don’t make me talk." I get shy and embarrassed. I’m experiencing things which seem out of my control, cramps that have me curled, lying on my left side. I’ve emptied my bladder and had water. Dehydration isn’t the culprit of the cramps. Maybe it’s gas or poop pains. I don’t know! I’m new at this, but every three minutes my stomach knots into a tight ball, that feels as hard as my forehead. The balling up is a contraction, right?
So Phil phones the doctor. The service picks up. The doctor on call will call us right back. It’s 11:40 pm. When the phone rings, I can tell it’s not our doctor, but a doctor just the same. Phil doesn’t have the same familiar voice he’d use with someone he knows. "Yes, sounds like I woke you. Sorry, we’re new at all of this. It’s our first pregnancy." Instead of responding, "How can I help?" The on-call doctor murmurs, "It’s late." If I’d been the one to call instead of Phil, I would have hung up and never thought to ever call again. It’s really hard to work up the nerve to call a doctor in the middle of the night. To admit, okay, it’s bad enough now. I need help. I’m 28 weeks pregnant, in my third trimester, but this shouldn’t be happening now. I’m scared.
I explain everything to the doctor, the cramps that keep coming, one on top of the next. I’m not worried that the babies are coming. Nothing is pushing down. My cervix was examined that day and was closed. The doctor says I should try to sleep through them, and if they continue for another hour, I should go to St. David’s and have them monitor my contractions. I thank him. There is no way I’m going to the hospital. I’ll breathe through it at home. I’m sure it’s nothing. But it doesn’t feel like nothing. Braxton Hicks was fucking me up good. They seemed to be coming on stronger and longer. What if it wasn’t Braxton Hicks but was signs of pre-term labor, so common with twins?
Phil brings up his guitar and plays me soothing songs, asking me to envision a calm place. "Go there now," he says as if he’s a meditation tape. "Go there now? Dude, I’m not going anywhere. It fucking hurts!" I whine, knowing he’s doing his best, that I really should be taking deep breaths and trying to relax. "Come on, let’s breathe together." It’s not working. Then he puts on Little Women. This will work. He’s afraid to sleep in the bed with me. "I want you to take up the whole bed and to feel comfortable." He takes a pillow from the bed and lies on the floor with a spare duvet.
But I cannot sleep knowing he’s on the floor. Eventually he comes up to join me, after I yell, "Get in the goddamn bed. I can’t sleep knowing you’re on the floor." I sleep on and off through the night. I’m still contracting, but I’m not worried. I somehow know it’s not painful enough. Maybe it’s gas. But I can’t fart or shit, or get into any position that alleviates any symptoms.
The next day, we go to my OB/GYN, who measures my cervix at 3.8 ("which is excellent," my doctor says). He guarantees that "these babies aren’t coming within the next two weeks. I’m 99% sure." We leave, relieved, and I learn that those tight balls I was feeling were probably just the babies moving. How was I to know, though? It HURT! What didn’t hurt was hearing my doctor’s reassuring voice, and I was reassured that I have a wonderful partner to help me through all of it.