Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What We Know

Not much. The only thing that seems to be sort of certain (as good as we can get here) is that the fact that my body failed to progress during labor with Katie and that, even after 24 hours of drugs and active labor I only achieved 3cm dilation, may be the very thing that is saving Jellybean. It appears that I was in active labor for a minimum of two full days (not counting however many times prior to going into the hospital I was having contractions), but I managed to remain fully closed and non-effaced in terms of my cervix. The doctor is amazed, but thrilled, by this.

It mostly started on Friday when I noticed that my pad was wet - exactly what happened with Katie when my water broke. I also noticed that I was "dripping" - not leaking, exactly, but not normal. After agonizing for hours over whether to call the doctor (I had just been in to the office at 3pm for another NST and was cleared), the pain and leaking convinced me to call. Dr. told me to head to labor and delivery and we'd figure it out from there.

Major lesson to be learned from all of this: I have GOT to stop assuming any hospital visit is brief and must make it a general rule to always shower and shave before leaving my house. This would be my one greatest regret in a day or so.

Showed up to the packed ER and was taken up to a labor room where they had me get all hooked up to the monitors and started checking for amniotic fluid. I had assumed this was a "yes/no" sort of question, but apparently it's not. They use a test strip and if it turns navy blue - almost black, the nurse said - your water broke. Well, it turned dark blue. But the nurse was unsure. So we did it again - darker blue. Still unsure. I was petrified at this time as they were talking about transferring me to Peoria so I could deliver by Children's Hospital and their neonatal intensive care unit. They did another test on my urine and it was blue but not as blue. I have literally NO idea what's going on at this point and I'm so scared I'm shaking.

Thankfully, my doctor was on call and after the nurse reported these tests, she came in to check it all out. She did an exam to see I was closed but contracting. She swabbed for fluid and looked at it under a microscope and said she didn't see the clear feathering pattern that amniotic fluid makes, but that there was clearly some. We also did a FFT and it was negative - which is very assuring in that your cervix should not have the chemicals needed to dilate for at least two weeks. So, we knew delivery was probably not going to happen unless there was fetal or mommy distress.

At this point, they started all the meds. From Friday night until Monday morning, I was on a continuous drip of magnesium sulfate (to stop preterm labor), antibiotics for baby and mommy just in case, and standard IV fluids. I had this hooked to my wrist all weekend and am now quite sore. Over the course of the weekend, I got to have two injections of steroids to help develop Jellybean's lungs, just in case. Of course, I was hooked up to the standard blood pressure cuff that goes off and strangles your arm every half an hour or so. To counteract the horrid mattress in the delivery room, I also got to have an air mattress added to the stellar comfort of the labor/delivery mattress and some air compression dealies stuck to my legs for a day or so to keep blood clots from forming (no please - no other complications!).

In the morning, after a long and sleepless night, we did an ultrasound to check on fluid levels and the baby. JB was looking good and had plenty of fluid, so we knew things were going well. Her heartbeat on the monitor stayed consistently good throughout most of the weekend, but I was still contracting quite regularly. During all of this fun, you're not allowed out of bed, so I got to hang out with a bedpan all weekend. This was, by far, the most horrible aspect. Having to call someone every time you have to pee and have them stand there while you do so - and it's all just disgusting. I hope never to experience that again.

Saturday night was the worst. The contractions were huge and would not calm down. I was in full-blown labor and crying from the pain. I remember getting very upset with Brian because all of the other women in the other rooms could have their pain meds or whatever because they were delivering, but I had to suck it up and deal. Not cool. I'm not a natural childbirth person, so I was very upset. It was also very hard to know that everyone around us was going to meet their baby, but that we really didn't want to yet (we did, but not - you know.) It was a big night in labor and delivery as they had 3 c-sections in 2 hours (according to my nurse) and so we were very low on the priority list. Thankfully, my doctor was able to run in between surgeries, make sure there was no progress on my labor, and then knock me out with some drugs to hopefully stop contractions and the pain. That's all I remember from that night, and I'm ok with that.

Sunday was long. A long long day of waiting and hoping things would settle down. They did, a bit, but not enough.

Yesterday, we thought for sure it would be a good day and we'd head home. I was taken off the magnesium and antibiotics in the morning and started on Procardia (which I now take every six hours) to see if that would keep the labor away. It would take six hours to know, so we knew it would be afternoon at the earliest. Unfortunately, after doing wonderfully all weekend, JB started to slide. Her heart was not responding as it should and she was not reacting like the good little buddy she usual is. Terrified again, we were told we had to have another ultrasound to check her biophysical profile. Whatever the reason she wasn't well, she did fine on the ultrasound check-up (but it took the Tech FOREVER to wake her up - she was not interested). She was cleared enough and I was cleared enough that we were allowed to go home yesterday evening. That was a major blessing for us. I think in the three nights and four days we were there, I slept for a total of ten hours, so I was utterly exhausted and emotionally worn out. It was so very wonderful to be home.

So, we are at home and resting. I'm on strict bed rest which means I can sit in a recliner, be in bed, or be on a couch. I can come downstairs in the morning and go upstairs at night. I can go to the bathroom. That's it. I found out that I have to use my FMLA leave for work, so I'm going to end up with 2-4 weeks of unpaid leave, which will be difficult. I'm trying not to think about or stress about that or my classes and the subs who are being thrown into this situation. I'm trying not to worry about the dozens on emails I'm getting from students who are confused and concerned because they don't know what's going on. I know it should all settle down in a few days and that will help a lot, but right now I just wait to hear from HR or students or whoever and wonder what the next problem will be and how bad it might be.

We are doing ok, I just have to find a new normal for a while. I will be on strict bed rest at least until 34 weeks. At that point, the doctor may lift some of my restrictions (like, maybe I could walk around the house) if all appears to be well, but the plan is to still try to make it to 38 weeks. We'll see. I'll be heading back to the doctor tomorrow for a follow-up, and I'll let you know any news as it happens.


  1. This is what I'm afraid will happen to me :( although I have no reason to worry since all looks good right now. Peeing in a bedpan? And all that pain with no meds? Baby not looking good? I just... ugh. I'm glad you're back home now <3

  2. Thank you so much :) I'm very happy to be home as well. I was afraid that even though things had been looking good, all those miscarriages and then the MTHFR and lovenox would cause a situation like this. Well, we'll figure it out and focus on the baby :)

  3. oh my... poor you, having to go through all of this!
    I am very happy that all is well and they managed to reverse it. Hopefully JB will stay put for AT LEAST one more month...

  4. Thank you - I sure hope so too! I just keeping thinking about how far we've come and we're just so darn close....