On Monday, Feb. 1, I woke up to get ready for work and noticed what I thought was part of mucus plug (pregnancy makes you an ‘oversharer’… sorry). I went to work and noticed more pieces throughout the day. I called my doc who told me that he wanted to see me the next day at 1pm. He wasn’t concerned because I wasn’t having any pain or contractions. There’s not much you can do, but he wanted to check me to be sure. Later that evening, I noticed the remaining part of the plug. I took a warm bath and went to sleep.
Around 11:30 pm, I woke up to this horrible cramping feeling in my lower back. It was radiating around to my lower tummy. As I was laying there waiting for the pain to subside to go back to sleep, there was a huge gush of water ‘down below’. Part of me knew my water had broken, part of me refused to believe it. I stood up leaking fluid all over the carpet on the way to the bathroom. Thinking that maybe I had just pottied myself, I went to the bathroom. I was able to actually potty then, ruling out lack of bladder control as the reason for the flood. I yelled to Alex that my water broke. He didn’t believe it at first (heck, I didn’t believe it either…) He immediately got out of bed and started getting ready to leave. He helped me get ready and we were in the car within a few minutes. We would have been on our way quicker, but I kept turning circles in our room. It was such a surreal moment. I couldn’t believe that it was actually happening. I kept saying, “It’s too early for her to come. We aren’t ready.” I am 32 weeks, 5 days. I was supposed to cook this baby for a little over 7 more weeks. My mind was racing trying to remember things to grab. I only managed to throw on some clothes (didn’t remember socks), put on deoderant (forgot to brush my teeth), and grabbed my cell phone (forgot the charger). We were off. I called my doctor to let him know. He sounded concerned – rightly so. We also called the rents to let them know. At least Alex didn’t get pulled over on this trip to the hospital! We were both actually really calm, maybe we were both still in shock…
We made it to the hospital a little after midnight on Tuesday (the 2nd). After checking in on the labor and delivery floor, I was taken to a triage room to determine if my water did indeed break. It did. They did an ultrasound and saw that the fluid level was low. The doc also commented on how much hair she has!! Anna is head down, which is how they wanted her. She’s kind of plugging up the leak, if you will. If she would have been breech (feet down) or transverse (sideways) they would have immediately delivered. There is too much risk of the umbilical cord being prolapsed or crushed causing her oxygen supply to shut off. She was REALLY active during the ultrasound so they were having a hard time getting measurements. The doctor estimates that she weighs around 4 pounds and 8 ounces, which is fabulous. That’s about a week bigger than she should be. They did a visual internal exam and found that I am not dilated or effaced – even more excellent news! They took a sample of the fluid for testing and did my strep B test. I was having contractions every 4-5 minutes at that point, but they were able to stop them with IV fluids.
I was admitted to the hospital and moved to an antepartum room. I was given the first of a series of 4 steroid shots. (I get one every 12 hours over the next 2 days). The shot is to speed up Anna’s lung development. I was also put on IV antibiotics every 8 hours and oral antibiotics once a day. It was around 2:30 or 3 am when my mom, dad, and sister showed up! They left from Cape almost immediately after I called them on the way to the hospital. Everything had settled down, so we were left to get some rest … yeah right. I slept all of 30 minutes that night. I was too worked up and still think “This really isn’t happening!”
Later that morning I concluded that it is actually happening and some of the shock started to wear off. My OB, Dr. David Weinstein, came in around 7 am. He felt terrible. I made him stop blaming himself. He knew something was off, but all the complications I was having just didn’t add up. I assured him that this could not have been seen and that he’s providing me with excellent care. We talked for a while and he answered about 77 million questions that I had. I’m in the hospital on strict bed rest until I deliver. I am only allowed to walk to the potty and back. I’m not even allowed to shower at this point. (Can we say BARF??) Anna and I are being continuously monitored with a fetal monitor and I’m on constant IV fluids. Basically, if I go into labor within the next 48 hours, they will stop the contractions in order to allow the steroids to take effect. After that, they will let me deliver if I go into labor on my own. Labor can be a sign that something is not right in the womb and that the baby needs to come out. If I don’t go into labor, I am going to be laying here until the risk of infection out-weighs the risk of Anna being born early. Dr. Weinstein consulted with a high-risk specialist who agrees with his treatment plan. I trust Dr. Weinstein completely. I am told there is no way I will be making it to 37 weeks (considered full term). They think I will be delivering somewhere between 34 and 36 weeks. My goal is to make it to 35 weeks. As long as Anna keeps looking healthy, no infection sneaks up, and I don’t go into labor we will be able to make it. I will be 35 weeks on February 17th.
Here’s the kicker – My doc is leaving for Hawaii and won’t be back until Sunday (2/7). He was asked to speak at a conference there. He told me that he wants to see me pregnant when he returns. I told him to bring me a souvenir and I just might hold out that long… hehe.
Later on Tuesday, we spoke with a pediatrician from the Special Care Nursery. He was very optimistic about Anna’s outcome but wanted to run over the possibilities of medical intervention. The biggest things to worry about with a preemie is lung development, temperature regulation, jaundice, and their lack of a ‘suck/swallow’ reflex. If Anna’s lungs will not inflate on her own after birth, they will have to intubate her to help her breath. There’s a chance she would have to be put on a ventilator. She will most likely have to stay in an incubator until she can regulate her own body temperature. If she has jaundice, she will have to sit under the billirubin lights to get rid of that. If she doesn’t know how to suck and swallow in a way to eat, they will most likely have to put a feeding tube in her. I will begin pumping immediately to help with my milk supply. They will feed her my milk and supplement formula to get her weight up. When she is born, there’s a chance that I would not get to hold her right away. It all depends on her needs at the time of birth. I understand completely, but it makes me a little sad. I can’t even imagine how that’s going to feel if I’m laying there helpless while my daughter requires immediate care. Trying to not think about it. Also, I would most likely be discharged and sent home before she is allowed to come home. That breaks my heart. The rough estimate is that she would have to be in the Special Care Nursery until her original due date (3/24/10). However, it could all be worse. Because she’s about 33 weeks and not 27 or 28 weeks, her risk of brain bleeds and heart murmurs is greatly reduced. The longer she stays baking, the less risks and less time she will have to stay in the Special Care Nursery. I feel very confident in the staff here. I think my little girl is in great hands! I keep telling myself that everything is going to be alright. I’m trying to be mindful of the ‘what-ifs’ but not consumed by them.
Other than the constant flow of doctors and nurses, Tuesday was medically uneventful. I got my second steroid shot and a ton of antibiotics. Let me just say that steroids sting a bit going in … even with all the extra padding I have in my rump… Anna’s heart rate looks wonderful and is steady. She hates the monitor. She hides from it or punches it all day long. She’s keeping the nurses on their toes – that’s for sure. I haven’t had any regular contractions, which is what we want. I’ve been pumped full of so much fluid that my toes look like little sausages. I was told there is nothing I can do about the swelling right now. I’m just supposed to lay here and swell up and eat. I’m sure I’m developing a kicking case of secretary ass…
My family has been a God-send through everything. My dad drove up to see me and then immediately turned around and headed back to Cape. He had to take care of some things on Tuesday, but wanted to see me. I just love my Daddy!! (Somehow I think Anna Banana will feel the same about her Daddy!!) My mom stayed the night with me in the hospital and hasn’t left since. Neither of us slept well and we got a bit slap-happy around 5 am… Every time I would laugh at her, I would leak some more fluid… gross, I know. But it made us laugh even harder. Mom’s been a major help to me. I really appreciate it. We sent Alex home to rest because of his bad back and take care of Lucy. The last thing we need is for him to throw is back out. My sister went to my house to sleep and then packed up everything we needed. See, we were going to pack the hospital bags next weekend, so we were completely unprepared. She was a ROCK STAR for doing this! She brought me all my bathroom stuff (let me tell you how nice it felt to wash my face), and stuff to do. She washed a bunch of Anna’s smallest clothes and packed them and put away a ton of stuff in the nursery. She had to leave Tuesday evening, but she was MAJOR help to us. Alex didn’t go to work on Tuesday because he wanted to make sure everything was alright at the hospital. He has been a big trooper. He’s so concerned with me and the baby that jumps up every time I say I need to go potty or anything. He’ll unplug me from all the machines and pull me out of bed. He wheels my IV pump into the bathroom and helps be back into bed. Then he meticulously plugs be back in and makes sure everything is just right. He tightens the compression stockings on my legs and fluffs my pillows. He is constantly refilling my water jug and just out right pampering me. He’s such a good guy!! I know this is hard on him. I can’t imagine what he’s going through right now.
Tuesday afternoon I had my first non-family guests! Ryan and Cheri LaRose were in town and they stopped by. We had a good visit with them! They got the cutest stuff for Miss Anna including these little socks that look like ballet slippers. And, this bib that says “My Mom is Hotter Than Your Mom”! What a true statement!!! It was really great to see them and catch up a bit!
I wanted to thank everyone who’s been helping us, thinking about us, and praying for my family. We are so blessed to have so many loving and caring people in our life. We wouldn’t be the people we are today without your love and care. Thank you again. Your support means more than you will ever know!
Ok, so if you are still reading I should give you a prize of some sort. I know this was a long one, but I feel like quite a bit happened to warrant this size of a post. (That and I just like to talk a lot…) Thanks for hanging in there!! Check back for updates!!