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Preterm labor and what to do about it?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I have been having a little scare recently and wanted to know your thoughts.  I hope you don't mind, I just have a lot on my mind and don't know how to talk to the people around me about it yet.  


So I am really worried lately about going into labor prematurely.  I have been really tired, baby has already dropped now, and I feel lots of twinges in my cervix / lower uterus.  Not to mention that I have had some contractions that have been downright painful, and haven't stopped for 15-20 minutes at a time.  You guys may remember that I posted a while back about once when the baby engaged and I was having contractions while in bed?  Well, that is happening a lot more often.  I talked to my midwife about it and she thinks that all the stress I have been having at work is probably contributing to it a lot, and that I need to take some time off and rest and possibly consider going to part time instead of full time for the remainder of the pregnancy.  It sounds so tempting, and I definitely don't want to have the baby early, but I am so very torn.


Perhaps I should add that my mother was born at 32 weeks, too.  I was born by c-section at 36 weeks because of my mother's lupus.  I am currently 30 weeks along.


Anyway, I am so, so busy at work, and am extremely stressed.  I just finished a really big project, but have three grants going out in June, one going out at the end of May, and several grant progress reports / closeouts to get done in May / June.  And I do Executive Assistant duties on top of all that.  I have no idea how I am going to try to take off or go to part time with all this, and I don't even know if my employer will let me.  On top of this is the added thought that any time I take now will be time that I don't get to spend with the baby once he or she is born (12 weeks of FMLA includes time spent on bedrest and whatnot).  I haven't decided if I will return to work for sure or not after baby arrives, but since I have about 2 months left (assuming I don't give birth early), I'd only have about 4 weeks to spend with baby if I went out now.  :(


I just really feel like I don't know what to do at this point.  I don't want to work so hard that I have the baby prematurely, but I don't know if I am allowed to take off to rest.  And if I am, what about the fact that it's cutting into my time once baby is here?  I have one week of vacation and one week of sick time saved up, but if I use that, it is considered part of my FMLA leave.  I don't know what to do and I feel so guilty for possibly hurting my baby by being so stressed.  :(  I will have to decide something, and soon.


Any thoughts or advice are appreciated!  Thanks for being here, guys.  

post #2 of 22

Hugs, mama.  That does sound super stressful!

I am right there with you in the worries department.  I was up all night last night with uber painful contractions that were less than five mins apart and lasting over a minute each; I really thought it might be labor starting.  And I have been having these contractions intermittently for the last month. It's scary!


With your work situation, that sounds tough!  Have you talked to your boss(es) at all?  Maybe they can help come up with something to help you.  Is there any way you can take some of your work home and do it from the bed?  Or maybe they could just take some of your responsibilities off of you.  Or maybe they will say, go home, we can manage without you.  It sounds like you need to do SOMETHING, whether it is quitting early or just working less days or less hours or SOMEHOW getting your stress level wrt work at a more manageable level.  I think you should talk to your bosses and let them honestly know what is going on, and I bet they will help you.  Good luck!

post #3 of 22

And one other thing I should say, in case it will help with your worries.  Both of my boys engaged and dropped REALLY early.  With both of them, the doctor (different doctors) was REALLY expecting them to be early.  They would tell me I was at "zero station" completely effaced and 3 cm dilated and that baby would come very soon, for sure.  I can't remember exactly, but this was happening in the early 30s for weeks.  But with both of mine, I walked around like that for weeks and both babies were induced around 39 weeks because my blood pressure went up...so engaging early and even reaching total effacement and starting to dilate doesn't necessarily mean baby's birth is imminent. ;)

post #4 of 22

@Goofy...what a tough spot to be in at work!


FMLA is "guaranteed" job protection depending on your employer's size and other qualifications. Since it is unpaid anyway, you might be able to find out whether they would be willing to extend your leave time (as in not permanently replace you if you were to stay out longer).


Also, just because it wasn't explicitly mentioned, I was going to add to make sure to keep up your hydration and see if that helps stave off contratctions.

post #5 of 22

Yes, make sure you are getting plenty of water. Also, find a good protein source as well. My favorite lately is Cholbani Greek yogurt. It has a  23 grams of protein per serving. I get the fat free plain stuff and add some maple syrup. Yum ( but I am sure I will be sick of it before this pregnancy is over).


My husband and I had to have a discussion last night because I was feeling like if things didn't change I would go into preterm labor myself. We are moving in three weeks and we have a lot of work that needs to be done in our current home. I have my two other children who need my attention and I homeschool as well. There are a couple of other more personal and heartbreaking things going on in my life as well. In the past week or so I have been feeling the culmination of all the past six months stress start to pile up. I'm not having regular contractions but the baby does feel low and any little twinge sets me off.


It is very very hard for me to hand over duties to my husband. He works so hard as it is and I hate adding to his stress. Also, I am a bit controlling and nit-picky so I like to just do things myself. However, I am growing a baby and he isn't. As tired and stressed as he is I know that I am much more so. So, last night I handed all of the house stuff to my husband. I will pack. I will clean. I will homeschool. I will cook. That is all.


If your midwife is telling you that you should cut back at work I really think you should do it. Unless, all of your co-workers are pregnant they are in a better position to take on more responsibilities.  Can you take some time off? Can you go part-time? It is so very important that your baby go full term. If you have the baby now it will be spending it's time in intensive care not at home with you. :(


Good Luck! I hope you are able to cut back at work. I know how hard it is to that...

post #6 of 22

Being low in magnesium can also be an issue... you might try supplementing and/or increasing your dietary intake and see if it helps. Dark, leafy greens, molasses, beans, and seeds are all good sources. Floradix also makes a liquid food-based cal-mag supplement.

post #7 of 22

I am so sorry you are going through this. I don't know if the work stress actually has anything to do with the preterm labor in your particular case, but it can't be helping your overall well-being and I'm sorry things are so crazy.


I am inclined to agree with the others... I would probably take the route of asking your employer if you can go part-time for now. I would see if this can be made a regular formalized work arrangement rather than some situation where you are still considered "full-time" but are taking FMLA leave for the remainder of the full-time work week (if that is even allowed). That way the arrangement will not cut into your FMLA. Of course, they would also have to agree to offload some of your work to others, not expect you to just somehow get everything done in half the time. I got a little bit of a bad vibe about your employer from your previous posts (and forgive me if I misinterpreted this)... it sounded almost like they were heaping work on you before maternity leave partially to "punish" you for daring to take time off. If that is the case then I can understand why you would be hesitant to approach them about accommodations. But honestly this is not your fault, and I would like to hope they would be reasonable? After all, you are not asking for full-time pay for part-time work or something. I know you probably feel bad that your workload would get pushed onto your coworkers, but honestly that is more your employer's problem than yours IMO. I don't blame you for worrying what their reaction will be or about possibly losing your job, but I do think you have zero reason to feel guilty about anything if that is a factor.


If you think they will be receptive (and again I understand this is a balancing act) and if you can afford it, I also don't think it's a bad alternative to just see if you can take time off without pay without it being a formal FMLA arrangement, whether that be now or if you need to extend maternity leave after the baby arrives.


Again I am not sure if your stress can be directly related to the chance of the baby arriving early, but Sojourner makes a good point about the timing of maternity leave possibly not being ideal either way. My brother and sister-in-law's baby needed surgery, and although they are of course very worried and quite busy going back and forth to the hospital to visit him, they are not involved with his care full-time the way they would be if he were at home. I feel really bad for my SIL that she doesn't get to see him as much now as she would probably like, and then she will probably have to turn around and go back to work shortly after he comes home, all while not making money at a time when they could probably use it for the medical bills. (Not sure what my brother's time off is like but I guess the pathetic-to-nonexistent "paternity leave" in this country is another topic.) Sometimes these situations just don't work out ideally no matter what you do.


Hugs... I hope you get this sorted out and are able to reduce your stress level somehow. hug2.gif

post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks so much to everyone...  I really appreciate the comments, and I already feel a little better just getting to tell you ladies what's going on.  It is hard to keep it to myself for now (well, except for hubby, of course).


Ms.Shell - aren't the painful contractions scary???  I mean, I would expect pain in real labor, but when real labor is NOT what you want, it's very frightening!  I keep thinking when I get them, "I hope these stop soon, I hope that's the last one..."  Eep.  Hugs...  We will get through this, and luckily, now we're in the time where our babies have a good chance of doing well even if they do come early.  But I sure hope that they won't anyway!!!  Thanks for the words of encouragement about your boys, too.  orngbiggrin.gif


lbkw - Thank you.  I generally drink a lot of water, but maybe things are worse at night because I try to taper off so I can sleep!  LOL  I will try drinking more tonight to see if it helps.  It is strange to me that these things tend to wait until I am in the bed to start.  I can be doing stuff all day and I'm fine, but when I go to bed...  There they are.  Quit it, uterus!


Sojourner - thanks for the Chobani recommendation, I eat it pretty much every day myself!  :)  I have been doing pretty good about the Brewer Diet and eat about 75 - 100 grams of protein a day.  But I don't always do as well with the veggies as I should.  Hugs...  Your situation sounds really stressful as well, but I am glad that you are going to let your husband pick up some more duties.  Even with what he is taking on, you still sound really busy!  And you are right, I know I should cut back at work.  The logistics are still up in the air, but I am going to try.  Fingers crossed.


Fruitfulmomma- thank you for the recommendations.  I just ran out of my calcium magnesium supplement a week ago, so I am going to buy more today.  I wonder if there's any correlation?


scowgirl- Big hugs!  hug2.gifI don't know if preterm labor just runs in my genes or what, but I can't help but feel that I am making it worse by doing too much.  I think I am going to see if the problems persist for the rest of this week, and then try to use some time over the weekend to rest and make a plan for how to talk to my bosses.  I have 4, lol, so I will probably need to talk to all of them.  And I definitely don't expect this to be a popular idea.  But everyone is right, I need to take care of myself and baby as best I can...  When I read back through my post, it kind of sounds ridiculous to me how much I am worrying about this.  It seems simple, right?  Baby needs to come first.  That is definitely easier said than done, but my employer has to have some flexibility when it's something this important.  If they won't, then I guess it was time for me to leave anyway.  Finances would be super tight, but everyone makes sacrifices for family.  We'll figure it out.


Hugs again to all...  I really appreciate all the support.  You guys are super awesome.  :)

post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

I just thought I'd give you all an update about what's going on with my situation at work.  I wound up taking Thursday and Friday off to rest, which was really great.  I had some more painful contractions, but they seemed to taper off as the weekend progressed.  I went back to work today and found that they had sent in a lady from another area for me to train on the Executive Assistant duties I handle while I'm out, so I was trying to train her while trying to catch up all morning.  At one point I had 4 people literally lined up outside my office waiting for me to get off a phone call.  duh.gif  It was crazy.  


I also found out that my department head turned in some paperwork about FMLA for me, so any future time I take off is definitely going to count towards FMLA.  I don't think Thursday or Friday will count, because she dated the form with today's date.  But they will for sure be trying to make sure I don't take a day more than 12 weeks.  Which is their right in this country, I understand.  But I haven't taken official bed rest or anything yet, and it kind of shocked me.  I only took two days, for crying out loud, and one of those I took a floating holiday.  It seemed extreme to do that without even asking me what my plans are or notifying me beforehand in any way.  Also, I thought I had to complete the paperwork, not them.  But whatever.


One of my bosses told me in the morning that he had spoken with the same department head about having another person in the department with grant experience take over some of the grants I've been trying to handle that are due in mid-June.  He said that she had agreed to pass them to someone else so that I wouldn't have so much on my plate right now.  I was so happy!  That took so much stress off my shoulders!  Unfortunately, when miss department head saw that I was back today, she wrote the lady an email and said that I was back so never mind.  Sigh.  So now I'm back to square one stress wise.  I actually went into the bathroom and cried about it for a few minutes, and then felt stupid for crying.  These hormones are difficult sometimes!


Anyway, I still don't really know what I am going to do, and things seem a bit more complicated now.  I have had a few more of these painful contractions already this evening.  Maybe I will take a bath to try to get things to simmer down.  We have a midwife appointment on Thursday, so I am going to try to ride things out until then and ask her for a note to give to my employer about my stress level.  I don't know if that will actually make them DO anything, but it can't hurt to try.

post #10 of 22

UGH... I am so sorry that the contractions are continuing and that your employer is being such a pain.


Honestly I don't have any thoughts on the legality of any of this (I'm pretty clueless about that stuff), but I am pretty mad at that department head on your behalf. I think she is being somewhat hostile and definitely unsympathetic to your situation. She seems to be treating you like you are trying to get away with something, which is insulting. At best it is certainly not the best or most productive way to handle the situation. I would have cried too. I also agree that I had no idea they were allowed to submit the paperwork on your behalf. That seems sketchy.


Is there any way you can assert to your boss that you really do need the extra help that would come from the extra grant writer whom he had talked to you about? Unfortunately it seems clear that if it is left to the department head, nothing is going to improve, so he may need to advocate for you with her. Maybe that would be something to bring up with him when you show him the note from your midwife.


Also, do you think a part-time schedule is truly out of the question? That would give them the opportunity to bring on the temporary staff that will cover for you while you're on leave, and you wouldn't be making as much, so it seems like it would really be a win-win. They don't seem to be thinking in those terms though.


Again I am so sorry. I have been wondering how you're doing and I wish you weren't under so much stress. hug2.gif

post #11 of 22
Just wanted to give lots of hugs & good vibes for what sounds like a pretty shitty situation... I gave birth at 34 weeks with DS1 but it was very sudden (contrax came hard and fast after DTD) but I know how hard it can be.

Also, it sounds like your work is being extremely insensitive about these very serious things. Hopefully word from your MW will help. Also, I would actually look into the legality of them doing FMLA without your consent or knowledge.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I just wanted to give another update.  I have only been able to pop onto Mothering for short periods of time lately since things have been really busy, but I have been thinking about you all and hoping that everyone is doing really well.  Can you believe we already have our first baby?  Congrats again, Freegirl23cat...  Hope you and your little one are still doing awesomely!  energy.gif


Anyway, about the work situation...  To make a longish story shorter, I went back and forth about things for a couple weeks.  Then last week, I talked to my immediate boss about the FMLA situation...  I had already racked up about 40 hours in leave from having to go part time, and even then, I was STRESSED because the department head wouldn't let anyone else in the department help me with my full time plus workload.  She had people lined up for if I had to go on complete bedrest, but didn't want to let them help me until I was actually out.  Ha.  So even though I was supposed to be resting, I was getting calls at home and having to answer emails all afternoon anyway, just not getting paid for it.  So, I talked to my immediate supervisor for a long time about how stressed I was and how I wasn't going to want to come back so soon after baby was born because my FMLA had kicked in so early.  She understood, and actually went to bat for me in HR, which was really nice.  She was able to get them to give some of my leave back so that it wasn't all classified as FMLA leave (from over 40 hours to about 20), and even negotiated that I would be able to take an additional 30 days off after baby is born to care for him/her.  That was awesome.  So I felt pretty good for a few days.


But, then, I still had (have) two grants to finish up before I can go on maternity leave, and they had already racked up several more really big grants that would be due in September and October, and so it became evident that even though my immediate supervisor was behind me, the rest of the people I work for (I have 4 bosses) really don't give a crap.  Well, I mean, I'm sure they want the baby to be healthy, but they want me there to get everything done for them no matter what.  I was even more stressed out about the prospect of actually having to try to fight for the leave from all those other people.  And frankly, I am tired!  So hubby and I talked things out, and I put in my two weeks notice yesterday.  I decided I just can't handle this anymore.  The lack of money will be difficult, but I am sure that I can find another job when the time is right. And this way, I will get more time with my baby- HOORAY!  :)


Thank you all so much for all the support on this.  I really have appreciated it big time, more than you guys can know.  grouphug.gif  Big, big hugs all around.  You are all super duper awesome!


OH - and one other thing - I did find out that now, it is legal for an employer to start FMLA and submit paperwork for you.  Apparently this change happened sometime in the last 4-5 years.  They cannot submit medical documents on your behalf, but they can fill out some forms from the US government and use that to start FMLA.  You can fight it, however, if you didn't turn in a doctor's note right away (that is how I got those 20 hours waived - they had no substantiating documents from the beginning, and only had it thereafter because I asked my midwife for a note to give them about working part time because they wouldn't leave me alone about it!).

post #13 of 22

Congratulations, GoofyInOK!! It sounds like this is absolutely the right choice for you and your family. I am so sorry that your employers basically forced your hand by being crappy, but I am really glad that you will not have to be dealing with this stress anymore. It sounds like you are right, it was only going to get worse with all the workload coming up in the next several months, and with the rest of your bosses being so unpleasant and unwilling to work with you. Congrats again!! orngbiggrin.gif hug2.gif

post #14 of 22

Oh, Good!  I am so glad to hear this!  Now don't stress, mama; I know everything will work out in the best possible way wrt you going back to (another) work later (or not)!  I hope your 2 weeks will go by quickly and smoothly, too!

post #15 of 22

I don't feel like I'm having preterm labor or anything, but this seemed like the most appropriate thread...I keep feeling twinges...maybe at my cervix? Not from the baby, but from the bottom. It makes me wonder if my cervix is already getting ready, but I don't want anyone to check it. I am 33w3d and I just keep having this weird feeling that the baby will come early. On one hand, it makes me nervous because I definitely want a full term baby and I'm so not ready!!! On the other hand I worry that I'll just be all disappointed when I hit my due date and have not had the baby, yet.


When I was pregnant with DS, I was sure I was going to go late since EDD was based on LMP and cycles were longer + he was my first. He ended up coming before my EDD by a couple of days. With DD, when she was breech, I figured I'd never go into labor since nothing was presenting and I never did since we scheduled her birth as a c-section at 39w2d.


Anyone else have hunches or twinges? I have no pain and no blood so I don't really think it's much to report to midwife at appt tomorrow.

post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 

I have LOTS of twinges.  LOTS!  And night before last, I (TMI, sorry) lost part of my mucus plug.  :(  It feels like baby has his / her head pressing down on my cervix sometimes, but other times, the twinges are just by themselves.  It is the WEIRDEST feeling, isn't it?  I haven't ever felt anything like it up until these preterm labor things started.

post #17 of 22

I have just started getting stronger more painful Braxton Hicks lately, enough that they are fairly uncomfortable.. All 5 of our kids were born at or just before 37 weeks and big for 37 weeks (between 7 and 8.3 lbs) .. So I am counting down till 37 weeks.. I will be very surprised if baby #6 goes beyond 37 weeks and one day :)

post #18 of 22

Hi mamas! 


I've been trying to catch up with threads after not being around for awhile. (Been obsessively tracking my cloth diaper boards! LOL.)  GoofyinOK -- I'm glad you were able to make a decision that will let you rest and enjoy your baby longer!!


I spent the weekend on self-imposed bedrest because my B-H contractions were uncomfortable and every 15 minutes, and a few felt like they had to be doing something.  Also, I was having some pinkish discharge, possibly bloody show.  I'm 35w1d now, so just less than 2 weeks to go before I can relax and have my homebirth still.  My first babes were all 40wks and later, so I had not anticipated feeling like this one could come early, but I do.  LBKW -- I know what you mean about "hunches"!


We're supposed to be going camping at the beach next weekend, and I've had some days where I can hardly get out of bed.  There's a hospital 20 minutes from camp, but that is really not my preference!!  My MW thinks I can make it to 37 weeks, and we don't even have our home birth kit yet.  I see my OB on Tuesday, for GBS test, and I'll probably let her check me just to know where I am, even though I know I could stay slightly dilated for weeks.


Would you go camping 2.5 hours from home at 36 weeks?  After going to 41w4d last time, I really wasn't planning for the possibility of an early baby!



post #19 of 22


Would you go camping 2.5 hours from home at 36 weeks?

Absolutely! We leave tomorrow morning for a 9 day camping trip 6 hours away! I have my file and birth plan just in case, but really I would just toss everyone in the van and drive drive drive. That said, what's right for me might not be what's right for you, so listen to your gut. A momma knows.


good luck!

post #20 of 22
Originally Posted by onemomma View Post

Absolutely! We leave tomorrow morning for a 9 day camping trip 6 hours away! I have my file and birth plan just in case, but really I would just toss everyone in the van and drive drive drive. That said, what's right for me might not be what's right for you, so listen to your gut. A momma knows.


good luck!

Wow! You ladies are brave. I guess I can't really weigh in because I don't have any interest in camping. In fact, I have imposed a moratorium on camping until we are out of diapers. (DH can go with bigger kids, but I won't go.)

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