Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Roommate Number 3

Fair warning- This is an ultra-witchy post (and a long one at that).  I’m being the equivalent of a mean girl in high school…I know it…and I don’t care.  I need to vent.

The nurses and I have built a lot of good will over the last couple of weeks.  So, when one of them “accidentally” took the second bed out of my room a few days ago, I knew that it was a favor to me.  My instinct was confirmed when I found out from the charge nurse that night that there were only three empty spots in the antepartum area, two admissions were coming in, and because my room had no extra bed in it…I would be the last person on this ward without a roommate.  I also knew that my blissful no-roommate situation could not last forever.  And sure enough, a couple of nights ago, a new bed was wheeled into my room, with a new roommate following about an hour later.

For those of you keeping track, this is Roommate Number 3 for me.  My first roommate was very nice but very religious, and it was difficult for me to transition from having my own room in labor and delivery to sharing a room with someone with constant visitors.  (FYI- Roommate number 1 gave birth, via emergency cesarean, to a healthy baby girl on Monday…at 34 weeks!  I couldn’t be happier for her).  Roommate Number 2 was the Nightmare Roommate who smoked, drank alcohol and refused to listen to doctors’ orders while she was here.  She checked herself out against doctors’ orders a week and a half ago, after her amniocentesis showed that she needed to stay in the hospital because she and/or the baby would likely not survive labor without extreme assistance.  I’m not sure what has happened with Roommate Number 2.  I just pray that, despite her stupidity and pig-headedness, everything works out okay for her and her baby.

Roommate Number 3 is just as entertaining/upsetting/ridiculous as Roommate Number 2, just in a completely different way.  When she and her husband came in, they rushed in like a loud, belching whirlwind.  Yes…they both belch…all the time.  Belching is one of my biggest pet peeves.  Every time I hear a belch, I feel a little bit of throw-up in my throat.  After belch number 6 or so, I started clearing my throat each time…hoping they would get the message.  As I am typing this, three days later, my roommate is letting out belch 600 or so…apparently they did not get the message. 

In addition to being a belcher, Roommate Number 3 (hereinafter #3) is a very loud woman, both in her demeanor and the volume of her voice.  She is 37 years-old, but she reminds me very much of a child…a child that was never taught about using her “inside voice.”  I’ve tried earplugs and ear buds/headphones, and I can hear her conversations through both. 

#3 has been admitted to this hospital four times now.  She doesn’t check herself out (like Roommate 2 used to), but she keeps being discharged after one or two days because she doesn’t really have anything wrong with her…at least not objectively.  She comes in because she says her blood pressure is 200/150 (or there about) and that she can’t feel her feet or legs or arms, etc.  Reports like that have to be taken very seriously.  But, when she gets to the hospital, her blood pressure is always in normal range and her symptoms don’t match up with any problems she could have.  It is very curious watching #3 and her husband.  They clearly want something to be wrong.  They keep suggesting to the doctors that the baby should be taken out, even though #3 is only 31 weeks pregnant, to “prevent” any problems.  They truly seem to believe that there is something serious going on, and yet, when they are told that tests are coming back normal or that they will likely get to go home soon, they both start offering excuses as to why the tests are reading “false normal.”  Once the doctors eliminate one problem, she develops new symptoms that they have to check out.  And the whole time, in spite of the doctors assuring them that everything is fine, they keep telling their family on the phone that she won’t be let out until she has the baby.

They put #3 on the same blood pressure medication that they prescribed for me to stop my contractions.  The medicine didn’t work on my contractions and it made my blood pressure a little too low, but it is really a benign medicine compared to the others I’ve been on here.  #3’s next blood pressure reading, after taking that medicine, was in the low-normal range.  Instead of being thrilled, her husband immediately looked online to see what the side effects of the medication are.  She had just gotten done telling the nurse that she felt good, but as soon as he read the side effects, she had all of them.  Now they are asking the doctor to take her off that medication.  It’s strange to me…and frustrating.  I WISH I could go home right now, and #3 seems determined to do what she can to NOT go home.

#3 is also a “symptom-stealer.”  I think most of us who have been through IF know what I am talking about.  You talk to a friend or acquaintance about some health issue/symptom you are experiencing and, the next thing you know, they are telling you and everyone else that they have the same thing.  I don’t think most people do this on purpose…I think they just become aware of health issues they weren’t previously thinking about and they start molding their own previously unnoticed symptoms into the new health issue.  Still, if you’ve been through this…it’s a bit annoying.  (My mother once told me, when I was complaining about fainting during my first trimester, that she and my brother were having the same exact problem.  REALLY?!?  Pregnancy?!?).  Anyways, #3 is a symptom-stealer.  When the doctor decided I should spend some time in the whirlpool yesterday, as my contractions were holding steady at 3 minutes apart for a few hours and then increased to 2 minutes apart, #3 asked if she could go in too.  The doctor explained that they don’t allow antepartum patients to use the whirlpool, that it is just for women in labor, but that I was a bit of an exception because I technically was in labor for the last 2 ½ weeks.  The next time the nurse came in the room to check #3’s vitals, #3 told the nurse that she was having contractions and was pretty sure she was in labor.  Unfortunately for #3, a non-stress test quickly dispelled that possibility, as you can’t really “fake” labor.  Again, I feel like I should be sympathetic with #3, feeling bad that she has some psychological issue that causes her to do these things.  But instead, I’m just annoyed (I’m blaming it on the hormones and contractions…but I might just be mean).

Speaking of psychological issues, #3 is currently talking to a visitor about her teenage daughter’s “cutting” and threats of suicide.  #3 is going on and on about how the issue is just that the daughter likes attention and always has to try to be the center of attention no matter what.  Pot…meet kettle.  She also is hypothesizing that her daughter may have a slight case of possession by Satan.  I can’t even get started on this…or I am going to end up with #3’s high blood pressure.

Another strange thing about #3 and her family dynamic is the “story of their miracle baby.”  #3’s husband was told seven years ago that he is not able to get anyone pregnant.  They went through testing for infertility treatments and were told they would have to use donor sperm because #3’s husband had no live sperm and never would.  They decided not to go forward with infertility treatments, as #3 already had two teenage children from a prior marriage.  #3’s husband is in the military and is out of the country for long periods of time, only getting one to two week breaks now and then.  #3 explained to me that they were very surprised when she became pregnant while her husband was away.  She said that they must have gotten pregnant while he was on a break, although the doctor disagrees with the due date.  The due date the doctor is using requires that the baby was conceived when #3’s sterile husband was overseas.  But, #3 and her husband agree that this baby must have been a miracle conception and that the doctors are just wrong about the due date.  I suppose it is possible.  I don’t know when he was on leave and miracles happen all the time.  I shouldn’t be so cynical…but I am.  I think I’ve watched too many Maury shows over the last couple of weeks.

Finally (and then I will stop my Roommate #3 rant), #3 refuses to turn off her cellphone ringer…EVER!  I am getting no sleep at night because of #3’s snoring and the cellphone going off every couple of hours (and, to be fair, the stupid contractions).  #3 always picks up the phone and starts a conversation…even at 3 a.m.!  I hear the same conversation over, and over, and over…all day long.  That is annoying enough…add to it that a good portion of the conversation is lies or exaggerations, and I’ve about had it.  At first, the ridiculousness of #3’s ringtones made it bearable.  Her ringtones are various elevator music versions of gangster rap songs.  But, I have all the ringtones memorized now and they no longer make me want to break into a ridiculous spoof of club dancing…now I just want to jam that phone where the sun doesn’t shine and see if it makes #3 want to dance.  The best is when #3 is snoring really loudly for an hour or two, then the stupid phone rings, and she answers it and says “I was just resting my eyes.  I can’t really sleep here.”  UGH!!!

So, I finish this post with an interesting tidbit of information that the nurse just gave me, while I was typing this.  I have tried really hard not to ask for my own room or for a different roommate.  I’ve told myself that they won’t keep #3 here very long and, even if they do, I might get out late next week or earlier if the baby comes earlier.  I can survive anything for a finite amount of time.  The Prince has been begging me to ask for a private room, as he’s not a huge #3 fan either.  But I didn’t do it.  I didn’t want to be “that” patient.  So…imagine my surprise (and delight) when the nurse just informed me that #3 asked to be moved to a different room…not because she has a problem with me, but because she wants a bed next to a window and would prefer a private room so she can “get more sleep.”  I laughed out loud when the nurse told me that.  I couldn’t hold it in…I just laughed and laughed.  I told the nurse I thought it was a great idea for them to move #3 and that if they needed more of a reason to accommodate her request, I would certainly be willing to share my own concerns.  I can only hope it doesn’t come to that, because if this post is any indication…I am going to come off as a serious B-word if I’m asked about my opinion on the matter. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sorry For The Silence

I apologize for my silence over the last few days.  I know people who read my blog worry about my situation and I don’t want to add to anyone’s concern.  I thought about that every day…I was just too tired and too frustrated to do anything about it.

I am on day 5 of non-stop (or at least, almost non-stop) contractions.  They’ve been holding steady at 3 to 5 minutes apart and, while they aren’t the kind of contractions to bring me to my knees in pain, they really suck.  My abs and sides feel like someone has used me as a punching bag and then forced me to do 5,000 sit-ups.  The muscles in the front, side and in my low back are so tired they shake during each contraction, which basically means they are always shaking.  The whole thing is taking so much out of me physically, there just isn’t any energy left to help me deal with things emotionally.  And still…I remain 5 to 6 cm dilated…just as I have been for 2 weeks and 4 days.

I am really grateful the baby is still inside.  As the doctor told me this morning, during 6:30 a.m. rounds, my baby is so much better off now that we’ve made it to 32 weeks and if I can just hold on until 34 weeks, the doctors won’t be even a little worried about our baby…he’ll be fine.  That’s not to say he won’t have to spend some time in the NICU, or will be exactly like a baby born at term.  But, on a scale of “okay,” the baby will be a far cry from where he was at when I was admitted at 30 weeks pregnant.  The doctor suggested I start counting down the days to 34 weeks, now that we are only 10 days away.  Another doctor, the partner of Dr. C, told me that they might consider letting me go home at 34 or 35 weeks, to continue bed rest there, since we live so close to the hospital.  That IS something to look forward to.  I miss my dogs.  I miss my bed.  I miss sleeping without being woken every hour on the hour to have my vitals taken.  In some ways, there is a light at the end of the tunnel now.  I have something to look forward to.  Unfortunately…I frequently can’t see that light through the veil of pain caused by the contractions – a veil that seems to cloak me from head to toe right now.

I’ve broken down a few times and taken pain medication.  The doctors offer it far more often than I take it.  They aren’t stopping the contractions because the medication used to stop contractions lowers my blood pressure, and my blood pressure is already so low that they sometimes have to wait to give me my regular medications until we can get the blood pressure back into a low-normal range.  Plus, the risks to the baby, associated with chronic use of the “stop-contractions medication,” outweigh the benefits to the baby of not being born right now.  So, all we can do is try to help me live through the contractions.  Some days I feel so sorry for myself, I begin to think I can’t live through it.  I find myself saying “You just aren’t strong enough for this.”  Or, I catch myself praying to God to help this baby come out now…then I immediately feel overcome with guilt about being so selfish and I cry about being so weak.  When I get to those moments, that is usually when I accept the pain medication.

Generally, the doctors give me Percocet.  It is a narcotic pain medication but, on the scale of narcotics, it is fairly mild.  It does not make the pain/pressure go away completely, but it does take the edge off enough that I can focus on something else…like TV or knitting (you should see my mad knitting skills…lol).  A couple of times, they’ve had to inject morphine into the muscles in my back, to ease the contraction pain so I could get some sleep.  Obviously, morphine is a much more substantial narcotic, but taking it intramuscularly cuts down on the amount of the drug passing through the placenta, to the baby.  The doctors have explained to me (and The Prince, who was initially quite upset that I would agree to expose our baby to drugs) that the use of these medications would be a problem if I was using them chronically or even daily.  But I’m not.  I hold out until I can’t take anymore, and my blood pressure spiking is a pretty good indicator of my body getting really distressed about the pain.  I say no to the meds sometimes when the doctors would prefer I take them.  The doctor explained to The Prince that occasional use of pain medication, in my case, is better for the baby than not taking the medication, because the baby’s exposure to constant stress and my spiking and then plummeting blood pressure is much worse for the baby than medication side effects.  I try to use that explanation to ease my guilt about turning to medication.  Sometimes it works.  Sometimes I’m just too worn out to care about the guilt.  At this point, The Prince has seen how exhausted and miserable I am and I think that even he is in favor of me taking Percocet once in awhile.

All of the pain and frustration over the last couple of days has made me worry about my mental health a little.  I feel depressed.  I’ve felt it before.  I know that old friend well and it feels like he’s creeping into my bed.  But…depression’s tell-tale symptoms (for me at least) are the same symptoms I think a person would expect to feel in the circumstances I am in.  I feel tired all of the time, sore all over, grumpy towards everyone and everything, and really overwhelmed.  I’ve asked friends not to visit me these last few days, and I feel like I’m balancing on that line between giving myself space because of how crappy I feel (I don’t want anyone to visit me and walk away feeling like I was unappreciative of their sacrifice because I can’t even muster a smile) and isolating myself because I am depressed.  I can’t think clearly enough to see exactly where that line is, but I know I’m close to it…so I’m going to try to do better.  The Prince’s mother came to visit me yesterday, without asking permission, and I felt like it did not go well.  I complained A LOT…A LOT more than normal even.  She took it well, but I could tell she was not having much fun.

Ultimately, I just need to remember to be grateful.  If I can just stay focused on that, I can make it through 10 days.  I realize this may not all end at 10 days, but at least the scenery might change and…well…I need to believe in an end point of some sort, even if it’s a fake end point.  If I am quiet over the next few days, I apologize to all of you ahead of time.  It doesn’t mean the baby has come.  It just means I’m too tired and worn out to bring myself to type.  Thank you again for all of the kind comments and a special thanks to those who have chosen to share your own, similar stories with me after my previous posts.  I’ve said it many times over the last couple of weeks…if it weren’t for this experience, I would never know how amazing my friends are and how wonderful people can truly be.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Letter To Baby

Dear Baby,

Today is Thanksgiving Day, something you don’t know about yet.  In school someday you will learn about Native Americans and pilgrims and will make painted turkeys to celebrate this holiday.  But at home, you will learn that Thanksgiving Day is a special day each year because the day gives us a chance to remember to be grateful for what a wonderful life we have... something that is easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.  In our house, it is also about eating massive quantities of yummy food (wait until you taste daddy’s family’s cooking), but that just helps make us even more grateful for what we have.  I just wanted to give you a sneak peek at the wonderful things waiting for you out here…things you will soon be adding to your “gratitude list.”

You have an amazing family.  I’m not talking about me and daddy (although he will likely tell you many times how awesome he is).  I’m talking about your extended family.  Daddy and I have fought so hard to have you and, as much as we love you and consider you the missing piece that made our family complete, you should know that our family doesn’t stop with the three of us.  You have a whole huge family of men and women, related and un-related to you, who have been waiting for your arrival.  You will soon learn that “family” isn’t just about who you are related to…it’s about who loves you.  And you are so loved, Baby.   It is sad that not every child can say that.  Hopefully you will learn to pay forward all of the love you are shown and to be generous to those children who don’t have the same blessings you do.  You have some great examples to show you the way in that area, as your extended family is generous and kind…attributes I hope you will learn from them.

Another thing you have to be thankful for is that there was an amazing woman who, not quite a year ago, agreed to give your mommy and daddy the most amazing gift anyone could give.  We tried so hard to bring you into the world, but we were having trouble doing it on our own…and even with the help of doctors things just weren’t working for us.  But then, an amazing woman agreed to donate some of her eggs to us, so we could use them to make a baby…and that baby is you.  I like to think that she knew how much your daddy and I would love you, and that she cared about all of us enough to help us make our family whole.  You will always be my baby, but we will never forget or stop being grateful for the gift that extraordinary woman gave us.

Someday, you will hear the story about how you tried to make your appearance into this world a little early…about 10 weeks early!  Perhaps you inherited your patience, or lack thereof, from your mommy and daddy.  Or, perhaps you just had such a fun time at your baby shower that you decided you wanted to come out and play with all of the neat gifts you received.  Either way, although your daddy and I have had a very hard time waiting for your arrival, we are willing to wait a little longer to see your smile.  We don’t want you to come see us too soon, as that would mean you could have some health problems that we don’t want to see you have to go through.  As I write this, you are officially at 32 weeks gestation, a big milestone and one that the doctors and nurses didn’t think you and I were capable of.  But we are an awesome team, and you are so strong, I think we are going to keep beating the odds for awhile.  We’ve done it once already, right?  Still, we couldn’t have done it without the superior healthcare and attention we’ve received.  When you get a little older, I’ll tell you about everything that happened and we can talk about how grateful we are that you – our little turkey (I can already hear the “Oh Mom” groan) – decided to stay in my belly and keep on cooking for awhile longer.  We can also talk about how important it is to have good healthcare and kind and compassionate care providers.  We can be grateful that people chose to spend their Thanksgiving 2011 working in a hospital, taking care of you and me, instead of home eating Thanksgiving feasts with their families.  And whenever you decide to make your appearance, I have complete faith that you are going to be a healthy and happy baby…and we can talk about how grateful I was/am for that. 

Most of all, Baby, I want you to know how thankful I am for you…that you chose to come bless us with your presence.  Daddy is thankful too…he just doesn’t express his feelings in words as often as I do.  You are a miracle in so many ways, and I love you so much (even when you are kicking me in the ribs).  Out of all of the blessings I have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, you are by far the greatest.  I can’t wait (well…just for a little longer I can wait) to have you in my arms, to start showing you the love this world holds for you.  You will get to learn all of the blessings you have in the coming years, but mommy and daddy already know how blessed they are.

Love you so much,
Your Mommy

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Another Little Scare

Last night we had another little scare.  After two relatively quiet days, I started having regular contractions again yesterday afternoon.  I assumed they were the same old contractions that I get just about every day, so I decided not to let myself get excited/anxious about them.  I calmly asked for a second dose of the oral medication I had been taking to stop the contractions and took a hot shower.  Two hours later, I was having to breathe through the contractions and I realized they were getting really close together (I’m TERRIBLE at timing them…they all run together).  When I finally called my nurse in at 4:00 p.m.’ish, I was getting concerned but trying not to show it.  I explained that the contractions weren’t painful, just really intense.  The nurses (a second one came in to help) could feel the contractions and couldn’t push their hands into my belly at all…indicating severe intensity. 

They set up the fetal heart rate/contraction monitor and struggled to find the baby’s heartbeat.  My contractions were registering as one minute apart with little “break” time.  I could still feel the baby moving, so I was less concerned than the nurses were.  But I had to roll into four different positions before we picked up a faint heartbeat.  The baby’s heart rate was stuck between 100 and 115.  The two nurses had taken care of me enough to know that my little guy sleeps in the 120-130 range and is usually in the 140-160 range when he is kicking.  At that point, things moved very quickly.  One nurse started pushing on the baby, trying to get him to push back and to get his heart rate to rise, while the other nurse ran (literally ran) from the room to get the doctor.  I continued to try to tell myself that everything was fine…he was still moving and my contractions weren’t that bad.  It was hard to stay calm when the nurse (and a couple of minutes later, the doctor) kept saying over and over to me that things were probably okay but we needed to move me to labor and delivery immediately and make sure the baby was safe.  “Safe” is not a word you want to hear in that context.

I took a wheelchair ride down the hall, and arrived back in a labor and delivery room, similar to the one where I started my hospital stay.  They turned on the incubator for the baby in a small room attached to my room.  That’s when I felt considerably more urgency about the situation and called The Prince.  He said “Is this an emergency?  I’m in the middle of a work thing.”  How do you answer that?  I realized chances were good that these contractions would stop and the baby would be fine, but this was the “biggest event” that had occurred in over a week…what if?  Ultimately, I responded “Not an emergency.  I’ve been moved to a labor and delivery room.  It would be good if you call me back as soon as you can.”  He hung up but was back on the phone with me two minutes later and was at the hospital 20 minutes after that. 

In the meantime, anesthesiology had to be called in to start an IV.  Three tries later, the anesthesiologist apologized as the best he could do was a needle that is a little too small for what we need during delivery being inserted into the vein in the underside of my wrist…not a great spot.  The other, better veins, had infiltrated and the IV’s he tried to place there had to be removed.  My veins are just too small and too deep for IV’s.  The plan was to plump me up with IV fluids and try again if we got a chance.  While the anesthesiologist was working on my veins, Dr. C came in and said “Well, we knew it was only matter of time.  You are still at 5 c.m., 100% effaced, bulging membranes, but I’ll be surprised if those membranes are bulging for much longer.  I think they’re on their way.  On the other hand, you’ve become quite the celebrity case as no one thought you would hold out this long.”  He also asked if he had explained to me that I would need a “rescue” course of steroids to help mature the baby’s lungs.  He explained that the first course of steroids I took, two weeks ago, when we first arrived, would lose maximum efficacy after one week.  Dr. C said he likely didn’t tell me about that because no one thought we were going to make it a week.  But, I made it almost two weeks, so we now needed to try to get a second, two-shot course of steroids in.  That steroid course should last until delivery, regardless of how long that takes.   Dr. C said “Do you think you and your little guy can hold out until Thanksgiving? give the second steroid shot a chance to work?  I promise to come deliver that baby if he will wait that long.”  I told him I would do my best and that, hopefully, the baby would hold off past Thanksgiving and Dr. C could enjoy a meal with his family.

I was given two injections of “terb,” the blood pressure medication I mentioned in earlier posts.  It, as usual, made me have tachycardia and violent tremors.  But, over the course of a couple of hours, it completely eradicated the contractions.  I was given the first of the two steroid injections and, after a couple of hours of being stable, was allowed to go back to my antepartum room…and to eat my four hour old tray of hospital food.  YUM! 

The baby’s heart rate had improved shortly after we went to Labor and Delivery, and while Dr. C said it could truly be a matter of the baby being very sleepy, we now have to keep a more careful eye on the guy’s heart rate.  He has seemed completely unaffected by everything going on with me, and his heart rate rarely dives with contractions.  If the contractions were having a major effect on him, we might not be able to continue our “watch and wait” course of treatment.  As long as we don’t have more episodes like last night, where it seems like the contractions are doing something to him, we should be able to avoid more interventions.  But if he starts having too many “sleepy periods,” we will have to reevaluate our plan.

This morning I feel grateful and much better, physically, than I did last night.  Our little man woke up at 6:00 a.m., when they took my first set of morning vitals, and he has stayed up.  Feeling his morning workout makes me very happy…even if he is getting a bit big for the yoga stretches he’s trying to pull off.  I’m contraction free this morning (knock on wood), and feeling cautiously optimistic that last evening’s events were just another fluke….and that the baby and I are going to make it way past Thanksgiving before he comes out.  And if I’m wrong, at least I know that all of this “practice” has gotten me to a much more calm and logical place going into a possible emergency situation.  There was no crying, feeling sorry for myself, or panicking last night.  Just a whole lot of positive thinking.  Small victories.

For those of you who are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow and will not be checking your blogs, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!  For those of you who will not be celebrating that holiday, HAPPY THURSDAY…and eat something yummy for me anyways.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Enough Is Enough

This is not going to be a very cheery post…just to give you some fair warning. I’ve tried to hold off on writing, waiting for my dreary mood to lift.  But, if I wait for that to happen, I may not get to write for a LONG time.

To start the post on a high note, the baby is doing great.  Our little Thanksgiving turkey is still cookin’, and he still seems oblivious to what is going on with me.  He has frequent bouts of hiccups, but other than that, he is exactly the same as he was before all of this started. 

Another happy thought is that I have been having visitors and that is, I think, what has kept me going.  People have sent flowers, sat with me while I cried, and one friend even brought me a book of inspirational quotes about joy…to read when things get really rough.  I know I’ve said it before, but my friends are amazing and I only hope I get to return their support when all of this has passed. 

I’ve tried to find activities for myself, things I would enjoy doing or which are similar to the things I would be doing if I wasn’t stuck in the hospital on bed rest.  But the truth is, it is only the anticipation of visits from friends, showers, time in the whirlpool bath, and clean sheets that keep me going.  Everything else seems forced.  I broke down and took a narcotic pain medication last night, as my blood pressure had spiked from the pain of the contractions and they couldn’t’ get it down.  Even Percocet didn’t ease my nasty mood (or the pain).

I don’t think I will have a roommate for much longer.  She had an amniocentesis this morning because they found pockets of excess fluid around the baby a couple of days ago.  It turns out, she miscalculated her due date.  She is only 34 weeks along and the baby’s lungs aren’t even close to mature.  The doctor came in to explain to her that she needs to stay in the hospital until the lungs mature, as the baby would likely die if she had it anywhere but at this hospital.  Because she already has a tear in her placenta/placental abruption, and a low blood count, there is even a chance she won’t make it through a delivery.  She told the doctor to shove it up her ass…she’s leaving.  She’s packed up her stuff, all the while complaining to me about how stupid the doctors are and how she needs to go home where she can do what she needs to do.  I’m not sure what she “needs to do,” but if her activities in the hospital are any indication, that baby is in real trouble.  The woman who cleans our room has found two empty vodka bottles in our room (in case I need to say it…they aren’t mine).  The roomie told the nurse who was lecturing her about the dangers of smoking during pregnancy yesterday that they should be happy she has cut down to 14 cigarettes a day, as she was smoking twice that much when she came in.  It just breaks my heart.  I HATE being here right now, but wild horses couldn’t drag me an hour or two away from this hospital (that’s how far away this woman lives).  This is where my baby needs to be when he decides to come see us.  How can the roomie not get that?  How can she take something so precious for granted?  It’s hard to watch.

On another topic (because if I focus on that one anymore, I’m not going to make it through this post), I am officially leaking milk.  Gross.  I know.  I had been leaking milk a little before, but now I get big wet spots on my shirt during the day and I actually squirt milk if I lean against my breast at all.  My breasts are enormous!  They don’t fit into a 3x sports bra, and I’m not sure where I can really go from there.  For right now, the ladies are just having to squeeze into what I’ve got.  Not wearing a bra is no longer an option. The hospital gave me nursing pads.  They remind me a lot of circular maxi pads.  NOT COMFORTABLE against my nipples.  But my boss is coming to see me today, to do my biannual evaluation and to take my work laptop away (I’m out on leave now, as we can’t get my work laptop to work at the hospital), and I don’t want to take any chances of having an awkward moment while he’s here.  It is really odd to see my breast actually produce milk.  I mean, I knew it was coming and I know it is natural.  But it still seems strange.  There is part of me that wants to smile about it, as it makes the fact that I am going to be a mommy even more real.  But there is a part of me that freaks out about it a little bit, like I am losing part of my identity as a woman outside of motherhood.  I’m sure that makes no sense, but it is how I feel…sometimes. 

My body feels like it is not my own…like it is betraying me again.  My cervix is still at 5 cm and seems happy to stay there.  My uterus has apparently not gotten the memo from my cervix, and it won’t stop contracting.  Day after day after day…it just wears me down.  Today, the doctor (one of Dr. C’s partners) told me that every day I am not having this baby is a miracle, and I should celebrate it as such.  She said she knows it is hard for me, but no one expected me to make it this long and now everyone is excited to see how long I can hold out.  I needed to hear that.  I needed to hear things put in those terms…like people are proud of me and what I am doing is a major accomplishment.  Too often people say to me “You’re doing good.  This is good for the baby.”  That’s a nice thing to say, but it isn’t the same as telling me that what I’m doing is amazing and special.  I know it is super selfish, but that’s what I need right now.  To be told that what I am doing is superhuman…even if it isn’t.  I’ll keep taking care of the baby, doing everything I can to keep him safe inside of me.  But I need someone to take care of me.  I feel like I’m getting lost in all of this.  I know…welcome to motherhood.  I just have to believe these feelings would be a little easier to bear if I was holding my baby in my arms, instead of waiting for him to arrive.  We’ll find out I guess…though hopefully not too soon.  

On another high note, today’s doctor (the one who gave the great inspirational speech) has given me permission to take a wheelchair ride.  If the weather warms up a little, and my husband comes to visit when I am not having contractions and everything is stable, he can wheel me outside the front door of the hospital, so I can get a little fresh air before the bad weather sets in.  The Prince didn’t seem thrilled about that prospect when I told him over the phone this a.m.  He is really bored with the whole hospital visit thing.  He even volunteered to work at his parents’ restaurant on Thanksgiving, and told me he didn’t think he would get a chance to come see me after he was done.  How can he not understand how devastating it is to me that he would think it is okay to leave me alone on Thanksgiving?  I think his Mom is putting a stop to his plans…and will make him bring me some real food from the restaurant for dinner.  But I hate that he has to be forced to do that.  It is hard for me to feel like he sees spending time with me as such a burden.  I get it…I just wish he could empathize with how hard this is for me.  I felt like he really got it last week.  He was sweet and here as much as he could be, rubbing my shoulders and back during contractions.  Now, I have to force him to give me a hug and peck on the cheek when he leaves.  If I had to guess, I would think that this may be some kind of whacky male coping mechanism.  Maybe the stress is wearing him down too, and his way of dealing with the helpless feeling is to avoid being around the situation.  Oh well.  It sucks, but he’s wheeling me outside whether he wants to our not.  I’ve got a serious case of cabin fever and I literally cried when the doctor said I could go outside.  Small victories.

Well, it is almost lunch time (the food might be part of what is wearing me down too…it doesn’t get any better).  So, I better go.  I’ll try to suck it up and write more often.  Not writing my thoughts down isn’t helping.  I just hate to be Debbie Downer all of the time.  I think it gives people a skewed idea of who I am.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better.