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.


S said...

I am so glad to hear you are hanging in there. When you hadn't posted for a while, I'd wondered if your baby had arrived.

I can only imagine how hard this must be for you. You and your baby boy continue to be in my thoughts.

Lindsey said...

I'm so glad the little guy is doing well but I'm also so sorry this continues to be so hard on you. I like your doctor's idea of counting down the days to 34 weeks. how incredible is it that you may make it so far when they never dreamed you could! I'm thinking of you alot and sending all kinds of happy thoughts your way.

PS don't feel like you need to entertain your guests, they're coming to visit a friend going through a very difficult time, not going to see a movie!

Endo_Life said...

Do not worry about updating us, even though we all care and worry we also understand why you may not post right now.

Thinking of you and counting down the days x

Elphaba said...

I've been thinking about you and wondering what was happening. Glad to hear baby is still hanging on the inside, but I can't imagine how exhausted you must be. Sending you strength and hugs.

Kristen said...

I'm glad you have a goal to work towards. You are so brave and strong...I can't imagine going through what you are going through. Hang in there!

China Doll said...

Just want to say, don't feel guilty about anything... whether it's being quiet and/or complaining when guests visit, not posting updates, taking pain meds, sometimes wishing baby boy arrives sooner rather than later - you're doing so well to hang on in there that you should just be proud of yourself. I hope you get to go home soon with baby boy staying put for a while. Thinking of you everyday xx

beccasfamilyof5 said...

I'm also glad all is going well. Good to hear you may get to go home for a short time soon but even better to hear that 34 weeks is approaching SO fast now. You are doing so well. x

wherefromhere said...

I have not read your whole story, I am fairly new to this community, not to infertility though. BUT if your infertile, you've been through a lot already so I know you can get through this. Sending you all my good vibes! Good Luck!