After my birthday, my husband and I decided not to ask the Doctors any more about the possibility of me going home. It seemed like every time we did, something would happen - first there was the preeclampsia, then our baby's antics on my birthday. We didn't want to risk something else happening.
However, the Doctors kept bringing it up! First Dr B said that if I continued to stay stable, they might consider it at the end of the week. Then another doctor mentioned it. Finally one doctor told us that she had heard from another that I was getting antsy about going home, and restated that that would not be happening any time soon.
That last bit irked me, because neither my husband nor I had mentioned me going home since my birthday - so where had they gotten the idea that I was demanding to go home? Unless maybe one of the nurses had seen one of my bouts of homesickness and mentioned it to the doctors - but I hadn't felt homesick since before my birthday! I had finally accepted that I was here for the long haul and had begun to settle into my room. It also helped that my husband had brought my laptop, and friends had brought in yarn and books, so I had more things to do instead of just watching TV and playing around on my phone.
On Tuesday, one of the doctors mentioned sending a physical therapist up to teach me some exercises that were safe for me to do. Even though I was on bed rest, they didn't want my muscles to atrophy. Plus, I was having back issues from laying down all the time, so they thought that that might help me out.
They also brought up the possibility of pool therapy.
I was intrigued. Wouldn't a pool be a bad idea since I was 4cm dilated? The doctors quickly reassured me that it wouldn't be, since my waters hadn't broken, and it would be so low impact that it shouldn't cause any other issues. Unfortunately I would only be able to use it twice a week - but it would break up the monotony of being stuck in bed all day.
I quickly jumped at the opportunity, telling the doctors that I would love to do pool therapy. Unfortunately there was only one problem - I didn't have a swimsuit.
My husband went out that night and bought a brand new bathing suit for me, and I breathlessly waited day after day for the physical therapist to show up and take me down to this mysterious pool.
However, pool therapy was not to be. On Thursday, after 19 days of being in the hospital, and being told repeatedly that I wouldn't be able to leave until after the baby was born, the doctors changed their minds about sending me home and decided to discharge me. Our baby was still having dips here and there, but they were no where nearly as bad as they were before. Also it had been a week and a half since I had had any contractions. The doctors didn't see the point of keeping me because things were so stable, and they weren't doing anything special for me there that I couldn't do at home.
The only caveat was that I was still on bed rest and only allowed to go to the bathroom, take quick showers, and fix myself something to eat. I would come back to the hospital twice a week for non stress testing, and I would be seeing one of the doctors at least once a week at their clinic down the street. Also because I was 4cm dilated, the doctors explained that I would need to come back at the first sign of any problems. Contractions? Come back. Suspected water breaking? Come back. Baby not moving enough? Come back.
If I could have danced, I would have - by the end of the day I would be at home, with my cats, and my husband, and the rest of our family
Since my husband was at work, my inlaws came down to pick me up. Sadly I had not had time to pack a go bag, and my inlaws forgot to grab clothes for me, so I had to wear a nightgown that was a little on the short side, but it didn't matter - I was finally going home!!!!
After signing all the discharge paperwork, one of our favorite nurses packed me up into a wheelchair, and one of the hospital volunteers helped me move all the stuff I had accumulated during my stay in the hospital out to the car. My father in law drove slowly and carefully, but it wasn't long before we had parked in our driveway.
As soon as I stepped in the door, I picked up my cats and hugged them tightly. Murphy was unimpressed by my presence, but Connor cat began to purr up a storm. Then I retreated to my bedroom where I changed into something more normal and turned on the AC (we were in the middle of a heat wave). When my husband came home from work, we hugged and I cried a little, and then we retreated to the family room to sit in the recliners and talk a little.
We discussed rearranging our bedroom so we (meaning my husband) could set up our son's crib. The doctors had warned that there was still a chance that I would go into preterm labor again, but we were both hopeful that I would be able to make it to full term, so we figured we had time.
Then we retired to our bedroom, and for the first time in far too long we fell asleep in the same bed, holding hands like we normally do.
Day two at home was a little tougher.
I'd had a rough night where I kept waking up every couple of hours in pain. Each time I would lay there wondering if it was a contraction or just the normal aches and pains of pregnancy. It was always nothing, but I began to worry about what would happen if something did go wrong. At the hospital all I had to do was press a button if there was an emergency. At home, I would have to wake up my husband, and then we had at least a 30 minute drive.
In addition to that, after my husband left for work, I felt so lonely. Yes I had my inlaws to talk to, but I didn't want to bother either of them any more than the occasional request for water or food. At the hospital I constantly had nurses, doctors and volunteers walking in and out of my room. Also my friends and family would come and visit me fairly regularly. Now that I was home, who knew when I might see someone other than my husband or my inlaws. We had told them that they were more than welcome to visit, but they were being so quiet. In retrospect, they were probably just giving me time to settle in - but when you're emotional, you're rarely rational.
After my husband came home we talked everything out and I quickly realized I was just being silly - but then I began to bawl because I was being so ridiculous, and even though I knew I was still being ridiculous, I couldn't stop bawling. My husband reminded me that we had been through so much that it was bound to get to me eventually. Also, there were these pesky things called pregnancy hormones that were not helping matters either.
He was right, of course. Everything was fine, I was just stressed from everything that had happened, and the pregnancy hormones weren't really helping matters. My friends weren't ignoring me, they were just busy with their own lives. And I was crazy to think I was a bother to my in laws - they wanted me there and they wanted to help us. Things would get better.
Thankfully I was able to get some more sleep that night. Since the next day was Saturday, my husband was home all day, leaving my side only to get lunch. Instead of laying in bed, I got up and sat in a recliner, which helped my back, and, my cousin and grandma came to visit. They didn't stick around long because they didn't want to tire me out, but it was good to see them.
Since the doctors had said I could go out for short drives, that afternoon my husband and I went over to a friends house whom he was pet sitting for and fed their dogs. My father in law was worried that one of the dogs might jump on me, but our friends dogs had seemed to sense from the very beginning that I was pregnant and had always been very careful around me and protective of me. Besides, they were short dogs, so if they tried to jump on me the highest they could reach was my knees!
Even though I sat down on their couch as soon as we got there, it felt so good to do something so normal after weeks of doing nothing!
The next day my husband and I lounged on the couch all afternoon, only leaving the house to go and feed my friends dogs again. On the way home my husband stopped at Fresh and Easy and picked up dinner. Nothing was on TV so we turned on Netflix and started watching some documentary about one of Henry the VIII's castles.
And then I noticed that I was starting to have cramping again. Cramping that quickly escalated into contractions. They weren't very painful, but after watching the clock for awhile, I decided that since they weren't going away that it was time to go back to the hospital like the doctors had told me to do.
We quickly packed up a bag of necessities and drove down to Long Beach Memorial.
Once there we were escorted into the triage area where I was hooked up to the monitors. One of the doctors confirmed that I was having contractions and that they were more frequent than they cared for. They decided that they would hook me up to the magnesium sulfate once again, and do another round of steroids to help our baby's lungs develop even more.
From triage I was moved into an empty labor and delivery room so the doctors could continue to monitor me. My husband stuck around until 2, and then since he had an appointment early the next morning, he headed home to try and catch a little shut eye.
This time around I handled the magnesium better than the first two times. I still had the hot flashes, but I was more coherent, and I didn't have any hallucinations. However I wasn't able to get much sleep because the vampires had to keep drawing my blood every couple of hours.
The next morning my Mom and Aunt came to visit, as did my Dad. The nurses who remembered me were sad to see that I was back, and cracked jokes about how I must have missed the hospital food. I replied that I knew they missed how my husband fixed coffee, so I had brought him back for them. They laughed and agreed that they had missed that, and while they were sad to see I was back, they were glad that he would be making coffee for them once more.
Once my husband was done with his appointment, he came down to the hospital and quickly passed out on the pull out chair. We had planned for him to spend the night, but around 10 that night a nurse came in and told us that they would be moving me to a different room. Apparently they had had a sudden rush of pregnant women in labor and they needed the room I was in. The high risk ward was also full, but post partum had some open beds, so they were moving the more stable high risk patients over there for the night.
Unfortunately since the rooms in the post partum ward were shared rooms, my husband wouldn't be able to spend the night with me like we had planned. He followed me over and helped me get set up, and then went home to pass out.
If only I could have done the same.
Sadly my new bed, while more comfortable than a labor and delivery bed, was possessed. First the bed under my feet would inflate, then decrease. Then the section under my hips. Then my butt. Then my body, Then my head. It would buzz and vibrate as it did this, driving even my new roommate nuts.
I asked the nurses what was going on and they explained that the bed I was on was a bed designed to prevent bedsores on patients who were going to be stuck in bed for awhile. Sadly there was no way to turn it off, so they told me to just pretend that it was a massage bed.
Between that and the nurses coming in to check on myself and my roommate every couple of hours, sleep was impossible. By the time the doctors came to check in on me in the morning, I was begging to be moved to another mattress. Sadly there still was no room in the high risk ward, but they were hopeful that they might be able to discharge some patients by that afternoon. If not, then they would try to move us back over to labor and delivery since they didn't like us being so far away if something happened.
At around 9 am, the nurse came in and took me off the magnesium - which was quite a shock because the doctors had told me that they would be keeping me on it until midnight. Apparently I was doing so well that they felt they could take me off it sooner, and by noon, they told me that they would be sending me home since I was stable again.
I had been expecting that they would keep me for longer again - in fact, a part of me had been hoping they would - but after a night in that stupid bed, I was glad to get as far away from it as possible.
I was discharged around 3, and my mother in law, who had come to visit me, drove me home.
But just like before, I wouldn't be at home for very long...