Monday, November 14, 2011

Still Waiting

We’re still hanging in there.  I’m tired, scared and a little frustrated, but trying very hard to be grateful that the baby and I are beating the odds every day.

Saturday night, after my last post, (and my waves of meltdowns), I became really exhausted.  Even though I had taken a sleep aid again, I woke up at 2 a.m. with terrible back contractions and pelvic pressure.  The fetal monitor showed that my contractions were fairly regular, but far apart.  Although the doctors have been trying to avoid internal exams, so as not to accidently break my bulging membranes, they checked me that night.  I was so certain that we were gearing up for the big event, but it was yet another false alarm.  I was still only dilated 5 cm, 100% effaced.  I cried.  I think the combination of stress, exhaustion and pain was just too much for me.  Dr. C came into the room to talk to me and explained that I wasn’t doing myself or the baby any favors by trying to be a hero.  He said that he understood my feelings about pain medication and he would respect my wishes, but he really felt that if my goal was to hold off labor progression for as long as possible, I needed to consider pain relief.  I talked about my options and ended up getting Stadol, a narcotic medication, in my IV.  Stadol is relatively short acting and the only side effect on the baby would be temporary sleepiness.  I felt like I was failing, getting the medication, but after it kicked in, I was so glad I took it.

Once the Stadol had taken the edge off the pain (it doesn’t get rid of it completely…it just helps the pain seem more bearable), I could clearly feel what was going on in my body.  The pressure which I couldn’t pinpoint earlier in the night was actually being caused by the bulging membranes.  The bulging makes me feel like I have a big piece of a tampon stuck high in my vagina.  I try to wiggle and move around to get the “stuffed” feeling to subside but, like when you are wearing a tampon, there really isn’t much you can do to relieve the sensation.  After the Stadol, I figured out that the baby happened to be pushing his head down and punching low that night, and each movement was just irritating the already “full” sensation down there.  Somehow, just knowing “why” was enough to make coping with that sensation bearable.  As for the back pain, once the contractions subsided, the back pain got better.  I still felt (and sometimes still feel) an intense pressure low in my back, but for now I can take it.

When Dr. C came to check on me yesterday morning (I swear…the man lives at this hospital.  I see him every 6 hours or so), he told me that I had already passed his expectations as far as holding off labor.  He said that every day the baby stays inside is a day the baby isn’t in the NICU.  However, he further said that I need to be realistic about my expectations.  The baby is not going to stay in me for another six weeks, and the only way we might avoid a NICU stay is if the baby manages to make it that long.  He said it isn’t healthy emotionally to set that kind of goal.  I need to just focus on each day, and dealing with what comes up that day.  I asked him to revise his estimate of when the baby will be born and, in typical Dr. C laid-back fashion, he said “Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe four days from now, maybe a week from now.  Not a couple of weeks from now… I don’t think.”  Dr. C said that the steroids we gave the baby to mature his lungs have had the full amount of time to work and everything looks good.  So, I was taken off constant monitoring, I was taken off of the IV, and I was even allowed to take a shower.

The Prince brought me all of my shower and hygiene stuff and, even though the shower here is literally the worst shower I’ve ever been in, I enjoyed every second of being able to stand up and get clean.  My body seems to think that even showering is overdoing it, as the showering triggered contractions and cramping for most of the rest of the day.  But it was worth the cramping.  I smell my hair every few minutes and smile because it smells like my own shampoo, and not like sweat.  Small victories.

Dr. C also allowed me to start eating.  The horrible shower here is rivaled only by the horrible food (it doesn’t help that I am on a diabetic diet and I HATE “diet” anything).  Still, I try to remember how hungry I was two days ago, when I wasn’t being allowed to eat or drink anything.  Usually I can tell myself that being allowed to eat anything is better than that starving feeling.  The Prince smuggled me some cookies and has offered to get me “real food,” but so far I’ve been a good girl and held off.  If this hospital stay goes on too much longer, I may take him up on the contraband action, and just try to be responsible about what I have him bring me (trying to match sugar content and calorie count to what the hospital provides).  For now, I try to keep saying “This is just temporary.  You can eat real food after the baby comes.”  It isn’t really helping, but I’m trying to be Positive Polly.

Once I was switched to “floor care” (no longer the constant monitoring and one-on-one nurse in my room), I stopped seeing the nurses.  I get really frustrated because I have to keep calling the nurse into my room to take my blood sugar reading and to give me my meds and insulin, so I can eat.  My trays of food sit for 30 minutes sometimes before anyone responds to the bell.  Yesterday, my “hat” (a little pan-type thing that sits in the front of the toilet bowl to catch urine, for the nurses to measure fluid output) was not emptied the entire day.  It overflowed before I finally got testy with the night nurse and said I thought it wasn’t very hygienic to let things continue that way.  I’m trying to stay patient, as I know this is a very busy hospital.  But the care I am getting now is so different from what I was receiving, it is tough to not compare and get disappointed.  At least I know there are good nurses available and that, when things actually really move towards the baby coming out, I will have those nurses taking care of me.

Another milestone yesterday was that I had visitors.  The Prince’s family came to visit me.  No one asked me if I wanted them here, they just came.  At first I was a little annoyed because…well…I guess I’m annoyed about everything.  But, they brought my three month old niece and it is hard to be grumpy with a smiling, giggling baby in the room.  It is nice to know that I have their utmost support, but it is hard to see the fear and anxiety that they try to hide from me, but which shines through their eyes.  No one asks any questions, even though they are anxious for the information when I volunteer it.  It is kind of like people (including The Prince) feel like they are walking on egg shells around me, trying not to upset me at all (it doesn’t help that Dr. C told The Prince I need to maintain as little stress as possible, as stress will exacerbate the labor).  I appreciate their efforts, but being that person who has to be treated with kid gloves is not fun.  Knowing that I am causing so many people so much stress is not fun.  I feel like I need to be positive and upbeat for them, to reassure them, but I just don’t have it in me.  I think that is part of the reason I was avoiding visitors.  I don’t want to feel guilty about not entertaining them or reassuring them…and I will feel guilty, even if I know I shouldn’t.

I’ve been too tired and too overwhelmed to write emails or even update Facebook.  I wouldn’t be writing this post but for the fact that I can’t ever seem to sleep after my 4 a.m. vitals check, and there is NOTHING to do at 4 a.m.  I figure I should use this time to work through my thoughts and feelings about the day before, so I can head into the next day without carrying so much baggage with me.  I don’t want family and friends to worry about me or feel like they are being ignored, so I really am going to try to get up the energy to write to people today.  It is just hard.  I’m drained.  I want to have something to tell people – “It won’t be long,” or “We’ve stopped the labor…Yeah!”  But I don’t have any answers about what is going on.  I don’t know what to say other than “Thank you for the support.”  Maybe that’s enough.   

I can’t really express why I am so frustrated by all of this.  All we want is for the baby to be happy and healthy, and the best chance of that is if he stays in me as long as possible.  But the constant on again-off again labor is really draining me.  I wish my body would pick a strategy and stick to it…are we getting this baby out, or are we going to hunker down and keep him in?  If my body wants to keep the labor at bay, then it should stop having random contractions and constant pain.  Yesterday, I lost what was left of my mucus plug…that got my hopes up, again, that the end was near.  But no.  I’ve had zero spotting since then.


Anonymous said...

I was so happy to read that the baby has stayed put for one more day. I know how uncomfortable you are but just keep reminding yourself that every minute he is inside is a gift, and every hour is an hour closer to his lungs being ready. Don't try to be strong for everybody else, its their job to help keep you strong, and sometimes its better to just let everything out rather than hold it in. Either way is stressful, but if you can let go of it for a short time its worth it. I've been following your blog for a few months, and find so much encouragement from you, even though our paths are very different. You will make it through this.

beccasfamilyof5 said...

I know I don't "know you" in the conventional sense but I have been wondering about you alot over the past few days.

As awful as hospitals can be you and your little boy are in the right place. I agree that one day longer in you = 1 day less in ICU but this can't go on too long for you either. You sound exhausted and stressed out which isn't good for either of you.

Continue to hold on as best you can but please have every faith in your body, your baby (they can be as strong and tough as diamonds) and the medics taking care of you both.

Good luck with the impending delivery.x

Dawn said...

Still sending lots of love. Speaking of contraband food there is a Panara right by the hospital.....just saying.... ;)

Lindsey said...

Seeing this post made me happy. I've been on eggshells waiting for an update... I'm so so glad your little guy is still in there and had time for his steroids to work. You are so strong and i'm so impressed at your determination to keep him safe inside you and take it day by day! I'm praying for you constantly!

Ciccolata said...

I don't know you, but I've been following your blog.We have a lot of similarities beyond the endo and the POF. I know you're probably tired of hearing that. At any rate, I wanted to send you and your baby good thoughts and wishes. I'm cheering you guys on.