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.


beccasfamilyof5 said...

Phew, this is far from an easy pregnancy hey??

It's just a fabulous job that those doctors and nurses are doing for you both. Some places just aren't as on the ball as what they are with you and you are lucky in that respect (though I would much rather see things going smoother for you than a long hospital stay).

Part of me wishes for this baby to be born for you soon but he's in the right place for now and getting stronger by the day.

Hang in there and I hope all continues to go well in the coming days.

Endo_Life said...

I am glad you are still hanging on in there. Although it would be much better to read that you were having an easier time of it and with hot decent meals! I am glad your dh saw sense and got to the hospital within 20 minutes.

Happy Thanksgiving for tomorrow x

My New Normal said...

The whole thing is scary but I'm glad to read that you're still hanging in there. Sounds like you are in good hands at your hospital. Sending you positive thoughts.

Kristen said...

You're so brave, all you're going through.
Thinking of you and your little one...

Jennifer said...

Wow, I can't imagine how stressful that must have been. I'm glad you're still hanging in there.

S said...

Yikes, I would consider that more than a little scare. So glad to hear that your baby boy stayed put, though.

Happy Thanksgiving to you. I'll be thinking of you and hoping for the best.

China Doll said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope little one is staying put until after the holiday. You're doing so well, coping with all these challenges that are being thrown at you - you're a wonder woman! Thanks so much for your comment on my blog xxx