Monday evening my blood pressure spiked from 120/70 to 145/80. It later dropped into the 130s, but the doctors decided to order a urinalysis just in case. I wasn't too worried. After all they had taken my blood pressure shortly after my Mom and Aunt had come to visit - and we had been laughing and talking. Also, my day nurse had been a little annoying - she kept referring to my baby as her baby, refusing to listen to me when I gave her advice on where to find his heart beat for monitoring, and had told me that I was the one at fault when he went off the monitor. It was only reasonable that my blood pressure be a little high.
Unfortunately the urinalysis came back from the lab showing that I had trace amounts of protein spilling into my urine. The doctors ordered a 24 hour collection to do further testing for Preeclampsia.
Preeclampsia (formly called Toxemia) is a scary issue that affects pregnant women of all shapes and sizes. Doctors call it the disease of theories, because after all these years they still aren't sure what causes it though some suspect it has something to do with the placentia. However, they know that the symptoms are high blood pressure and protein in the urine, and that it can quickly progress into Eclampsia or HELLP syndrome, which is very very dangerous. Sadly there really isn't a way to treat it though, and the only cure is to give birth.
Going through preterm labor was bad enough, but this? I panicked and called my husband sobbing. He quickly came down to spend the night with me. After calming me down and reminding me that we were in the best place possible, he promised that he would spend the following night as well, since there was a chance we would have the diagnosis around midnight.
The following day was stressful. Thankfully I had a really great nurse that day who had had a couple of rough pregnancies herself. She called me mija, was upset on my behalf that they had me in such a large gown and got me a smaller one after I showered (honestly I didn't mind as the larger gown was less restricting and offered more protection from accidentally flashing people), and constantly checked on me to make sure I had enough water and food.
My Mom and Aunt stopped by again and broke up the monotony and stress a little with some much needed laughter and prayer.
Then my husband finally got off of work. He borrowed a wheelchair and got permission to take me outside for some much needed sun therapy - though it was so late that it was actually lunar therapy - and to help take my mind off of things. After being inside for over a week and a half, it was amazing to get some fresh air. The nurses were surprised that we didn't stay outside longer, and my husband and I joked that we should have hopped in the car for a little drive.
Before we knew it, the 24 hour urine collection was over.
We tried to stay up to find out the results, but we both were so tired from the previous night that we passed out around 11pm. The night nurse came in around 3 to take my blood pressure (which had returned to normal by then) and gave me the bad news - protein was still showing up in my urine.
The doctor confirmed her news in the morning. However, she explained that while there was protein present, it was in very small small amounts, meaning that I didn't have preeclampsia yet - I was just borderline for it. They would keep an eye on it, and if it went full blown, they would wait until 34 weeks and then induce labor. If it stayed borderline, then they would let things go as long as they could.
The downside of this was that I was not going to be going home any time soon - I was just too high risk.
Not exactly the news you want to hear two days before your birthday, but such is life. I reminded myself yet again that I was in the best place possible for myself and our baby. That our doctors were amazing and would take care of us.
Thursday the doctors decided that I was overdue for a growth ultrasound since it had been three weeks since my last one. I was allowed to walk down to the fetal diagnostic center, which was just down the hallway from my room, and waited while one of the doctors powered up the ultrasound machine and poured a generous amount of goop on my belly.
Despite everything that had happened, the baby was doing good. He had more than enough amniotic fluid, and even though he didn't have much room to move around in, he was measuring on target for being 29 weeks. Unfortunately, due to the baby's position - head down against my cervix - they couldn't get all the measurements they needed, so another doctor was called in to assist with the ultrasound. His job was to press up, so they could get the all important head measurement.
This is when I realized that while all the doctors at Long Beach Memorial are amazing, people with larger hands should not be OBGYNs! Afterwards I was so sore I needed more Tylenol - thankfully my nurse was more than understanding and happy to get some for me!
As I walked back to my hospital room, the doctor with the large hands confirmed that I was still 4cm along and 70% effaced, I wanted to reply that if I wasn't before, I definitely was now, but I kept my mouth shut and restrained myself from throwing any pillows.
Since it was the day before my birthday, a steady stream of visitors stopped by to say hi. One cousin brought me flowers and a basket of goodies. My other cousin brought cake, and a friend from Faire took several buses so she could stop by to say hi.
My dad also visited with my step mom and niece. I had not seen him since I had been moved to Long Beach, so he was very happy to see that I was more with it and coherent now that I was off the magnesium.
After they left, my husband brought dinner and we attempted to watch a movie before passing out for the night. The high risk ward rooms came with DVD players, but unfortunately the sound was rather low compared to the sound on the normal TV, so we gave up after awhile.
The next day dawned bright and early. First the lab vampires wanted to draw my blood. Then the doctors stopped by to see how I was doing. When they were leaving my husband reminded them that it was my birthday and they quickly rushed back to wish me a Happy Birthday. I may have been a little short with them considering how early it was! After the shift changed, two of my favorite day nurses sang Happy Birthday to me when they delivered my breakfast.
Shortly after that friends and family began to stop by and say hi, and it wasn't long before my tiny room was packed. I was given Starbucks (decaf) more flowers (we soon ran out of room to put flowers on) and cupcakes (which were given to the nurses because there was no way my husband and I could finish them all!). My Mom also stopped by with a bag filled with glow sticks so I could celebrate the Fourth of July.
Unfortunately all the excitement must have gotten to our boy, because when it was time to monitor him, he was all over the place and I had to stay on longer than normal. In addition to that the doctor on shift for the day wanted to do another ultrasound - which the baby quickly passed.
Once the sun set, my husband borrowed a wheelchair again and we headed out front to watch the fireworks that the Queen Mary was going to set off at 930. Unfortunately that portion of Long Beach is confusing, so we couldn't quite figure out what direction it was in, but there was enough illegal fireworks going off in the neighborhood around the hospital that it didn't matter.
Then to top the day off, when we came back from watching fireworks we discovered that my nurse for the night was a fellow Renn Faire playtron. She wasn't someone we knew personally, but she knew many of the same people we did, had the same sense of humor, and was just a good person all around!
Plus she let me sleep through the night instead of waking me up at 4am to check my blood pressure and other vitals! I would have her for the next several nights, and she quickly became one of our favorite nurses. I looked forward to running into her at Faire someday once all of this was over.