“We all know every pregnancy is different but with this being my fourth time around, I assumed this would be my easiest. I carried twins before this so physically this pregnancy shouldn’t be as painful or as hard. I really thought this would be my calm, peaceful pregnancy.
Around 24 weeks I was standing in my kitchen when immense right side back pain came over me. I also had UTI symptoms along with it. I decided to take a bath and go to bed early to try to sleep off this weird discomfort. But by 10 p.m. everything was so unbearable that I drove myself to the hospital down the street. I avoided going to my hospital with labor and delivery because that extra 15-minute drive seemed impossible in the moment.
Once I arrived, I was throwing up every 15 minutes from the pain. It took three different pain medications to even mask the magnitude of what I was feeling. I remember thinking in this moment there’s absolutely no way I would ever be able to handle a completely natural childbirth when I couldn’t even handle this. The thought of denying an epidural when I do actually have this baby in a few months, was out of the question. No sir. I would never voluntarily go through this amount of agony again.
A few hours later it was determined through tests I had kidney stones. Kidney stones while pregnant should absolutely not be allowed. I’ve been in labor three times before this and now that I knew what this pain was, I’m positive kidney stones are more agonizing. At least with labor you get a cute little baby in the end as a prize. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel when you’re going through contractions. But with kidney stones? Who even knows when that light will show up.
I was released from this hospital with instructions to follow up with my regular OB. The next day was a Sunday so my OB instructed me to come into labor and delivery to be evaluated by her. I arrived under the premise that this would be a quick consultation where we would figure out pain management and off I would go on my way. Shortly after I arrived, she wanted me to stay overnight to consult with the urologist the next day. My excitement of being able to have a night to myself with meals prepared for me quickly turned to worry once I realized my husband at home had to bathe our five kids for the first time by himself, as well as get the kids off to school in the morning.
Then that worry turned to panic pretty instantly when three nurses were rushing in to turn me all around because my baby’s heart rate was dropping and not coming back up. Nurses stayed with me for about an hour, having me change position every time the baby’s heart dropped. Chaos started to happen quickly once it was determined that ‘something’ was wrong, but nobody knew exactly what.
My blood work and urine came back with a kidney infection, pyelonephritis, and along with baby’s heart dropping, it all sent me down a path of ‘preparing for the worst.’ I was given IV antibiotics, magnesium, and a shot to help mature baby’s lungs. I was told by the specialists to ‘cross our fingers we won’t be delivering a 24-weeker via emergency c-section in the next few days.’
I bawled to my husband, ‘I just came in here for kidney stones. Now I’m staying for a week, praying to God we don’t have a micro-preemie in the NICU in California when we’re moving to Colorado in 3 weeks.’ Talk about extreme added stress.
We were both really freaked out. Tim didn’t say much, just listening and taking it all in. Internally I’m sure he was really, really panicking. But I don’t think he wanted to stress me out more. In the midst of all of this, my kidney stones took the back burner. And in all honesty, I didn’t even care. Pain medication would work perfectly fine for regulating that. But this sweet little baby needed all of the attention now.
As the first 24 hours passed, baby still had some extreme dips. I started preparing myself for the reality of having one child in the hospital in one state, while we all lived in another. The logistics seemed impossible and I kept praying things would level out.
While I was in the hospital, my sweet husband was at home taking care of our five kids. He rocked his first solo showering experience, even brushing our four girls’ curly hair for the first time. He didn’t brush it ‘the way mommy does’ as our oldest will admit, but I think she went easy on him. I can’t promise any of their clothes matched, but he still got them dressed.
He got the kids up for school every morning, packed lunches, and made breakfast. That first morning was a little rough as he left pancakes burning on the griddle, walking in to a home filled with smoke. But hey, at least he made the effort for pancakes instead of dry cereal, right?
He juggled his job and the kids like the superstar he is. He was constantly checking in on me, even bringing the kids up to visit when they needed some mommy love. But I think he knew I needed to see them more. Being away was nice for a few hours, but the reality is – I missed the heck out of them.
Eventually everything with baby started to calm down. I was sent home on bed rest, which was a first for me. It was also really bad timing as we were moving to a new state in just a few weeks. But Tim took the challenge head on. He packed up the house by himself and didn’t complain once about it. I think getting me safely to Colorado to deliver was the huge motivation behind it all. We really didn’t want to have this baby in California.
I eventually passed my kidney stones at home, barely even caring about the pain of it. I was so overwhelmed with worry for my baby that the stones were so far off my radar. I spent hours each day during those first weeks of bed rest using my baby doppler to listen to baby’s heartbeat. I was always checking in and making sure I could still find a heart rate when I felt the need.
The whole experience in the hospital was a really humbling one for Tim and me. He gained a new perspective of what I go through day in and day out as a stay at home mom. But I gained a whole lot of respect for him in the way he stepped up. I know he’s their dad and I know he would have been able to handle it regardless. But it’s the way in which he did it. He didn’t ask for help or even once complain. He naturally stepped into that role and hit it out of the park. Everyone should marry and have children with their own version of Tim Schultz.
And yes, thank heavens, we made it Colorado safe and sound, with baby doing just fine.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Molly Schultz of Tried and True Mama. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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