Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Preggo Diaries #6

The room at Long Beach Memorial was a bit older, but much much larger than my room at Orange Coast Memorial. Both my family, and my husband's family could fit inside, with more than enough room for doctors and nurses to move around. Also, the bathroom was large enough that I could take my IV stand inside with me and close the door.

My husband was also happy, because at least their pull out bed was longer, wider, and had a little more padding to it.

The new nurses took a little getting used to. Within an hour of being there, baby boy already had a couple of more decels (though none were nearly as bad as he had earlier in the day) making one nurse exclaim that she was glad she was off at midnight - which isn't exactly something you want to hear when you're a patient. (We later found out this nurse was in the process of transferring to the day shift, and she was actually a really cool nurse when she wasn't exhausted)

The new doctors were also a bit strange. The first time the perinatologist came into the room, he seemed a bit rushed and acted as if what we were going through was no big deal. He quickly changed his story once he saw our chart from the previous hospital though! The other doctors were nicer, but liked to do their rounds early in the morning - like at 6 am - which made it hard to remember any questions we might have for them.

I won't deny that I began to question if we had made the right choice in being transferred.

Around noon on Tuesday, the contractions hit again, and this time Indocin wasn't enough to stop them.

They were intense, quickly reaching an 7 or 8 (depending on the contraction) on my pain scale. I immediately thought of the nurse we had had at the previous hospital who had told me I had a high pain tolerance and could probably handle child birth naturally if I wanted to - if only she could see me gasping in pain now!

A nurse (who would quickly become one of our favorites during our stay) asked if anyone had checked me. I explained that they had done a fetal fibronectin that had come back inconclusive, but that an ultrasound had shown that my cervix was fine. They decided to check and quickly discovered that I was 2 cm dilated and 60% effaced. Baby boy had also dropped down and his head was pressing against my cervix.

The next thing I knew I was being put on oxygen again since every time a contraction hit, the baby would decel, and Magnesium Sulfate was being added to my IV.

Magnesium sulfate is both a wonder drug and a horrible drug. It's wonderful in that it can be used to treat so many things. It can protect a preemie from getting brain bleeds during birth, and it can also stop contractions. In addition to that, in women who have preeclampsia, it helps prevent seizures. However on the other side of the coin, when they first give it to you, they have to give a large dose rather quickly, so you get really bad hot flashes. Even though our room at the hospital (which my husband called the cave) was very cold, I couldn't stand having more than a sheet over me, and the nurses put damp washcloths on my forehead and neck to keep you cool. Also, the Magnesium makes you feel very out of it. When our family and friends came to visit later, I had a hard time focusing on their conversations - so I spent a lot of time just smiling and nodding and staring off into space.

This would be the second time my Mom got teary eyed when she came to see me. As she later told me it was hard to see her baby girl hooked up to so many IVs and wires and not be able to do anything. At least when I was five she had been able to pick me up and hold me. Now all she could do was squeeze my hand, brush my hair, and pray some more.

It took forever for the contractions to fade. In the beginning, my husband and my cousin took turns holding my hand and watching the monitors. They would let me know when the numbers on the toco (the sensor that picks up on contractions) would begin to rise, and would let me know when they began to drop. They timed them - how long they lasted, how far apart they were - and reminded me to breathe and try to relax during the contractions.

Slowly the contractions began to fade, and by night time they were gone. My husband had to go back to work the next day so my cousin offered to stay the night and keep me company. We had planned to watch Orange is the New Black, but I quickly passed out around 10. Despite the nurses coming in to check on me and move the monitors, and the lab techs (whom my husband dubbed vampires) coming to take my blood I was able to get some sleep.

By Wednesday afternoon it seemed like we were finally in the clear. Baby boy was doing better - he was still having decelerations here and there, but they were no where nearly as bad as before. Also, my uterus had calmed down - I was no longer having contractions, and there were no signs of irratibility. The doctors decided to take me off the magnesium sulfate and I was finally allowed to eat again. At first I was only allowed clear liquids, but by that evening I was allowed to have a sandwich and water. There was even talk of moving me out of labor and delivery triage and into a room in the ward for women with high risk pregnancies who were expected to be staying at the hospital for awhile. The nurses promised me that those rooms were much much nicer with 'spa like' bathrooms.

Then around ten at night, the contractions started again.

The doctors decided to check my cervix once more to see if I had progressed any - I had. Now I was 4cm dilated, and 80% effaced, and the doctors and nurses could really feel my baby's head pressing against my cervix.

The doctors warned me that they may not be able to stop the labor this time, and that I might give birth to the baby that night. I watched, panicking, as the nurses hurried around the room and quickly prepped it - cleaning off the baby bed and turning the warmer on, making sure other surfaces were clear, and calling the NICU to let them know that they might have a baby incoming and would need transport.

My husband, who had been planning on spending the night at home, quickly drove back down to the hospital, as did his parents. Once more he sat and held my hand through each contraction, reminding me to breathe and relax.

I was put on oxygen again - but at least this time instead of a mask I just had a little nose piece. They also put me back on the Magnesium Sulfate - which is when I learned that it had another side affect that no one had told me about.

Sometimes, when you're one Magnesium Sulfate, you may hallucinate.

At one point I thought my cats were in the room with me. Another time, in that place between being awake and asleep, I saw pictures of cheeseburgers on flash cards (Keep in mind, I had eaten much in the past 72 hours). Finally, I thought I saw an older man dressed in a gray suit sitting and keeping watch next to my bed.

By this point it was almost two in the morning. The contractions were finally beginning to ease again, and I was exhausted. My mother in law told my husband to get some sleep, and took up his post by my bed. The last thing I remember was her working on the baby blanket she was making for our son... and then I was out for the count.

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