Monday, November 22, 2010

The Woman Who Fell

This might be the longest post ever and you'll probably only want to read it if you are actually related to me.

OK fair warning....

As I have mentioned we have been remodeling our house since we moved in around July. Also, we have a baby due in December.

Our house remodel is going the way these things generally go. Way more more work, time and money being spent than originally imagined. But we are getting things sort of wrapped up to a point where we can at least unpack and move upstairs. We had kind of set Thanksgiving as the deadline to be up there and settled, as the baby really could come anytime after that. So that was the plan. But there are still lots of projects that need to be finished in the next week, but with Trav having some time home from work we figured we'd be fine.

So there is that.

I had bough tickets to the Lower Lights Concert on Saturday a few weeks ago. Avery loves it and since it was in a small venue, and they are very family friendly folks young children were allowed (and even free) so we thought it would be a nice little evening for our family.

Then Saturday rolled around and we had not gotten nearly as much accomplished that day as we'd hoped. We were all a little tired and I was kind of tempted to just bag it and not go to the concert. Our house was a mess. Our upstairs was covered with sawdust--especially the laundry room, which meant no laundry had been done in quite some time, and I wasn't really excited about the trek downtown. But we decided to go anyway, because I really was excited about it and Avery was too.

I mustered my strength and made an attempt at getting as cute as I could given the fact that almost nothing fits my giant belly anymore. And then I slipped my ugly blue Crocs on my feet, because when it comes right down to it, my feet are sore and I am really not that vain. Plus I figure people will really forgive a pregnant women a lot of fashion faux pas. Plus Avery looked cute enough for both us in her new velveteen coat.

When we left our house, it was dry outside. As we drove, it started raining hard, and then turned to snow. We chit-chatted and asked Avery if she was excited to go to the concert? Her response,

"Momma, we need to go to the doctor and see baby brother".

"Right now?"


We laughed and marveled at how articulate and talkative she is becoming, and were glad that she seems excited to meet her baby brother (She has been to several ultrasounds and all my appointments and often draws wavy lines and tells me they are "heartfeets") and then explained that we weren't going to the doctor right now...we were going to the concert.

By the time we got there it was a blizzard and there was no close parking. We pulled up to the darling old building (I believe its an old converted church), the snow was softly falling and folks were gathered outside waiting to go in. I was glad we'd come. Trav let me and Avery out so we wouldn't have to walk in the snow. I snatched her out of the car seat, and as soon as Trav pulled away and I stepped up on the sidewalk my legs slipped out from under me and we fell flat on the (very wet) pavement.

Stupid Crocs.

(um...I should mention before you read any further, we are all perfectly safe and fine!)

About a half dozen of the nicest people I have ever met quickly rushed to our aid and helped us in, asked if we needed an ambulance, help calling my husband, or the coat off their back (literally). Since I had been holding Avery when I fell I sort of instinctively held her up to shield her from the force of the fall...which meant that the entire force of the fall went directly onto my belly. Not great. So by this point I am crying hysterically not because I am hurt really, but because I am pregnant and hormonal and soaking wet with a scared two-year-old and lots of people asking me if I am OK, and I have realized that a direct hard fall on pavement right on top of my stomach had the potential to not be very good.

Trav came back, I was covered up and dried off, and after calming down we decided it was best just to stay and see how I felt. We were much closer to the hospital there then if we'd gone home and the concert was only about an hour and Avery was REALLY excited to be there. I wasn't bleeding or having any cramping or any signs that things weren't OK. Aside from a really ugly cry face and the fact that I was wearing an assortment of over sized men's sweaters and coats, I figured the indecent was minor and the evening could continue as planned. I was a little bit embarrassed but I figured most people probably had not even noticed me and really the whole thing wasn't a big deal.

And then the lights went down and all the musician took the stage. Paul Jacobsen took the mic, welcomed everyone...said a few things (I don't remember exactly how this whole thing went) and then, "Also, there was a women who fell outside. We saw you fall and feel really bad, so come find me afterward and we want to give you all of our CD's". (And then he made a joke about Mindy Gledhill not wanting to give me one... just kidding... and everyone laughed and they started the show.

So much for not being noticed.

The show could not have been more lovely. We danced and clapped. Snow fell softly outside the windows. Avery found another little girl to play ring-around-the rosy with. My clothes even dried off.

Baby boy kicked like crazy as I sat there (or followed Avery in and out, in and out) and I felt again like things would be fine. I also decided that I would not go find them after the show and claim my free CD's. Although I'd love to own each of the amazing musicians individual music, especially after seeing them preform, I felt way too silly and embarrassed to take them up on the (very sweet and kind) offer.

"Hi...I am the woman who fell down...I'd like my CD's"

No way.

After the show was over we quietly slipped out. Trav went to get the car, and I waited by the door. Most of the folks lingered and chatted with each other and the musicians. There seemed to be a lot of camaraderie happening that night. It was nice.

I stepped outside when I saw the car pull up-- and there was Paul Jacobsen... in his suit... shoveling the walkway.

He insisted that I wait while he went to get the CD's. And while he ran inside a whole bunch of people started asking me if I was OK, and let me know that everyone had been talking about the whole incident and proceeded to tell me what they heard had happened-- "I heard your water broke--you went into labor" that sort of thing-- and then several people shared similar stories of when they had fallen when they were pregnant. It actually made me feel a lot better about the whole thing. And grateful for really nice people.

Paul came back, I sheepishly accepted the CD's and thanked him profusely, and walked down the steps to the car with Trav holding my hand and a dozen sweet folks wishing me well.

And oh how I wash that were the end of this story.

I still felt fine. I was having some contractions, but nothing out of the ordinary--I'd been having them for weeks. But I had this little inkling in the back of my mind that I should probably call my midwives...just to be sure...and mostly hoping they'd reassure me that I was fine just going home.

What the midwife who called me back said was, " I have to recommend that you go to the hospital...I can't make you go-- obviously its up to you...but I have to tell you to come in."

Not what I was hoping to hear, but not entirely unexpected. She said they would just monitor the baby for 4 hours and send me home if everything looked OK.

So we called my brother and he just happened to be driving up to Salt Lake at that very moment, and would be passing the hospital and that he and Emily, his fiance who he was driving home due to the bad weather (by the way...Ryan is engaged! we couldn't be more excited) were available to take Avery and watch her as long as we needed.

Since we didn't have to worry about Avery, we decided better safe than sorry and went to the hospital to get checked out.

As soon as I got checked in, changed and hooked up to the monitor I felt completely stupid. It was getting late, I really missed Avery, we were both tired, and I thought I was probably being overly dramatic and worried and that we should have just gone home.

And then things changed.

The really sweet nurse reassured me that the baby looked great...his heartbeat was fine. She also told me that I was having a lot of contractions which I was surprised by because I wasn't really noticing them. They were every four or five minutes and getting closer. I looked at the tracings on the monitor, and sure enough...there they clockwork. And then I started feeling them. Still not painful but definitely noticeable.

So time is elapsing, contractions still happening. The midwife and resident came in and chatted. We watched and waited. They decided to check my cervix to see if the contractions were causing any dilation and if I was possibly progressing towards labor.


After a fairly uncomfortable check of my cervix, I was informed that I was 3 1/2-4 cms dilated.


Keep in mind that I am about 35 1/2 weeks pregnant. So being a bit dilated is not unheard of, but 4 cms is a lot for this point in pregnancy.

Still I didn't think it was too big a deal. As long as I didn't dilate more, it didn't necessarily mean anything.

And then my contractions started happening every 2 minutes and were painful. Not horrible, but painful and continued this way for a few hours.

And then focus shifted from making sure the baby was OK and that I didn't have a placental abruption (he was looking great and responding perfectly though all this labor stuff), to the likelihood that I would be delivering him this very night. I was started on antibiotics since I hadn't had the standard group B strep test yet and so I had to be treated prophylactically in case I happened to be positive. I was informed that because I wasn't yet 36 weeks the NICU team would be at the delivery and what delivering at this point could mean for my baby and that someone would come talk to me more about how things would go down if it looked like birth was going to be immanent... which was kind of surreal since I used to be a NICU nurse.

And then we waited some more. I tried to rest and wrap my head around the idea of having our baby that night. I couldn't really do either. Trav was sound asleep on the couch. They told me they'd have to recheck my cervix but that they'd try to hold off as long as possibly since it was very likely that checking it was what bumped up the intensity of my contractions in the first place.

I browsed though a book on birth that a friend had loaned me but that I had not had time to read yet. Luckily I had tucked in into my purse hoping to look through it in the car. I thought about I hated that I didn't have any of my stuff. I wasn't prepared--no camera, no clothes, no carseat, no relaxation CD's or music...

and then I remembered the CD's I'd been given. And was so grateful that at least I had those to listen to if I really was going into labor and if our baby really was born that night, and that I'd have to make sure and email all the Lower Lights folks and let them know how things had turned out.

But...the baby was not born that night. It would have been just fine if he was. But he wasn't and I am grateful. 35 1/2 weeks isn't terribly early for a baby to be born and he'd have likely been just fine, but I am glad he has a little more time in my tummy, and that we have a little more time to prepare.

My contractions continued through the next afternoon but got gradually less painful and frequent. And I talked them into not checking my cervix again because they stopped altogether eventually and I really wanted to go home. So I was released Sunday night to go home. And who knows how dilated I am at this point. I have a feeling that when I actually do go into labor for real it will happen pretty quickly, but we'll see.

We picked up Avery who I thought would have been a little traumatized by spending her first night away from us and being gone from us the whole day. She wasn't. In fact she couldn't have been having a better time. My brother had brought her over to his girlfriend's house and all her roommates had made a huge dinner and Avery was being lavished with snacks and attention. She barely noticed me when we got there.

So we made it home safe and sound and were glad to crawl into our own bed and finally get some sleep.

And I really wish that were the end of the story.

About 4 am Avery woke up and threw up and had a pretty bad fever. Today we spent most of the day on the couch snuggling but when she started saying her "froat" hurt, right around the same time they issued a winter blizzard warning for the next few days I decided I better take her in to the doctor and have her checked...just in case she maybe had strep.

She did have strep.

And that is where the story ends for now.

Here is what I am feeling super grateful for:
Grateful for our family here able to help us. Grateful for modern medicine and that the baby is OK and that all the nurses, residents, perinatalogist and midwife who cared for me never once made me feel silly or stupid for coming in, or like I was wasting their time. They were all so nice. Grateful that we caught Avery's strep and that we have such easy access to things like antibiotics. And grateful that I the baby didn't come early and we had a chance to at least put a dent in the laundry and pack a bag for the hospital for the next time around.

Here is what I am praying for:
That Trav doesn't also get strep throat. (Coincidentally, because I got penicillin in the hospital in case of group B strep I am probably covered against getting it.)
That I don't go into labor in the next three days while the blizzard is supposed to hit and driving is being highly discouraged due to probable white-out conditions.
That when I do go into labor it doesn't happen so fast that I deliver in the car.
And any combination of the above.

We'll keep you posted.


  1. Oh my gosh, Danielle! I'm so sorry you had to go through all that! (as I was reading this, I kept thinking, "Wait...she didn't have the baby though right? HOW DID I NOT KNOW THIS?!" ha ha). Sending good wishes for baby boy to stay cozy in you safe and sound (and protected from the weather) for a few more weeks. Also, tell Avery I hope she gets well soon. I can't wait to see you guys at Christmastime. Annnd CONGRATS to Ryan!! How exciting!

  2. I kept thinking the same as Jane...I even scrolled to the end and read the last paragraph first! I am so glad you are ok and everything worked out, except Avery's strep throat. We'll be keeping you guys in our prayers. Definitely a story to remember!

  3. wow! what a story! SO glad that baby stayed put!

  4. oh man, of course she has strep. a sick toddler on top of all this! so sorry. i'm glad you can't get it at least. i'm glad you are feeling better and baby brother is fattening up in there.

    it might be worth giving the bathtub a once over in case you have an emergency blizzard home birth... just saying. we're saying prayers for you. love you.

  5. Wow, that's quite a weekend. And yeah, if you are 4 cm dilated right now, I'd say go to the hospital at the first sign of labor, second babies seem to come fast. (I was 4 cm for 2 1/2 weeks, and then Isaac came in less than 2 hours) and let me know if I can do anything--aren't you delivering right by my house? Feel free to bring Avery here if needed. I'd at least love to come visit you in the hospital

  6. Oh my goodness, I kept thinking, "did she have the baby???" And I thought some parts of the story were funny too. Glad he's still in there!

    And let me know if when he does come if you need me to meet you to get Avery because I'd love to take her (and then if you want Ryan to come get her), or if you need help getting to the hospital, or both! Seriously! I really can leave at the drop of a hat because my neighbor can take my kiddos.

    But mostly I hope you have plenty of time to get everything covered the way you want all while getting to hospital calmly! Can't wait to meet the little Mr!

  7. Boy oh boy, that made me so nervous and sick to my stomach to read that.
    I am so grateful everything is ok. I am praying the baby doesn't come now either. Is it too late to go to a hotel by the hospital?
    Keep me posted honey. You have been through a lot. Love, Mom

  8. Holy heck! I have a lump in my throat and if it weren't so late I would be on the phone to you. I was like Katie - had to scroll to the bottom to see how it turned out before I could continue reading. I'm so thankful you are OK. I want you to stay on the sofa with your feet up from now until it is really time for the baby. Seriously. I'm not kidding.

    And are one lucky man.

  9. So happy that you are still pregnant! And I really hope that Avery's strep throat doesn't spread...

    Isn't it funny how these things always compound? I almost--but not quite--found myself laughing when my car battery died yesterday when I was on the way to the hospital.

  10. That was a fantastic story and I'm not even family.

    Glad your baby boy is still cozied up and waiting. You can tell he's smart already.

    I had Pearl in the car in an ice storm. Don't do it that way. :)

  11. oh, danielle! what an experience! i really hope you'll get your wishes and that your family will be healthy very soon. happy thanksgiving, and thank you for your constant inspiring words!


  12. oh my gosh you poor little darling! i can't believe how many times 'that was not the end of the story!'

    i wish i were there to snuggle next to you on the couch and talk about something trivial and giggle and make delicious snacks and watch a christmasy movie.

    i'm so glad all is well and that people are so nice.


  13. I wasn't worried that the baby came because I figured we would have heard about it before a "post" if he had. Poor Avery. Jane was born in a blizzard. Our family has paid our blizzard baby dues!!!

  14. I feel so happy that I stumbled... okay, Kim told me to go here to find a bib pattern... upon your blog today. I'm crying now because I think how happy I am that motherhood fits you so well, with all it's ups an downs. You are a cute momma. Best wishes with that little guy! (Oh, and tell Ryan congrats.) Lovey, Love, Luv, Carrie Eagar Burton

  15. So the funny thing was I called your cell and asked how things were going while you were still in the hospital and you said "fine". Took some cross examination to ferret out the truth.

    A big low-pressure front is on the way. Good luck!

    Love, Dad

  16. What a story! I want you to know that I will take Avery any time- seeing as I am on the way to the freeway- any time you need!

  17. I kept waiting for you to have your baby!! I guess it's a good thing you didn't, though. I had an incident like that with Halle when I was really pregnant...I fell off my bathroom counter backwards as I was doing my makeup. Halle turned out just fine...actually WAY better than fine!

  18. oh, heavens! so glad you and baby boy are okay. keep us posted on his arrival, won't you?

    love you. Happy thanksgiving.

  19. Oh heavens, Danielle. I am so glad everything turned out okay and that the little guy is still inside. Hope you are all feeling better by now and that you had a good Thanksgiving. Here's hoping all goes well when the baby does come!

  20. So I totally slipped down a flight of stairs when I was pregnant with our oldest, but my rear end took most of the beating so I didn't go get checked out. Mostly I was so embarassed that I didn't want anyone to know that I fell just walking down the stairs. Glad you and baby are OK.

  21. Oh my gosh!! Behind on blogs . . . SO scary but so glad things have turned out okay (except for you still being crazy busy and Avery sick). Yes, I have a feeling you are going to go fast, but it will work out! I just kept my birth stuff in the car toward the end just in case. Please call me if there is anything I can do at all. Wishing I lived closer. At least now you know that Avery will be just fine on the real day!


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