Friday, October 23, 2009

Pre-Term Labor

Wednesdays are not our days apparently.  After the first attempt at going to the parents small group at our church, we've since been unavoidably incapable of attending meetings since. 

This Wednesday was my turn to prevent us from going. 

When you've finally passed the 28 week mark in your pregnancy, you soon stop counting how far along you are.  You soon forget a handful of basic information.  You frequently attempt to place things like milk in the dishwasher.  Or peanut butter in the fridge.  Your mind is so pre-occupied with keeping up some sort of stamina to hold this ever growing bundle that you pretty much just... forget.  Accompanying the typical forgetfulness, your body begins to do things you don't tell it to do.  Like urinating without your consent.  Most of the time this happens when you sneeze, laugh or cough.  Any woman who's had a child knows exactly what I mean.  You lose complete control of nearly every part of your body.  It is, in fact, no longer yours.

As I was doing little things around the house, whether I was standing, sitting or showering, I would notice a periodic trinkling.  There wasn't an alarming gush, but it was not normal.  Once I drove lunch to my husband I text messaged my friend to ask her what she thinks I should do -- call the doctor thinking it's the water breaking or see if it's just me losing bladder control.  When Miles came into the car to have a little chit-chat, I let him know what was going on much to my potential embarrassment.  Even through giggles and grins, we decided it wouldn't hurt to call the doctor's office and claim it as a potential emergency.

So I did.

Immediately the nurse told me to go to the E.R.  Our health insurance takes good care of us monetarily, but the hassle to go to the E.R. (or what I've so far experienced) almost makes you just want to stay home, pray to God there's nothing wrong and wait.  Regardless of, I went to the E.R. where they immediately chucked me via wheelchair ("Is this REALLY necessary?!") to Labor & Delivery where I ended up staying until noon the next day.

After a quick strip test, it was revealed that no amniotic fluid was leaking out of me.  They still hooked me up to a monitoring system to see if I was having any contractions (since I wasn't in any pain and couldn't really tell you if I was having contractions since, for about 2 months, people have told me different things) and to watch Bella's heart rate.  Within five minutes of being set up, I had a strong contraction.  Yes, I felt it.  No, it was not painful at all.  They're just weird.  It's as if she's pushing her little butt or back hard against my stomach.  Within 8.5 minutes I had an even stronger contraction that made the nurse rush out, rush in, inject me with some anti-contraction liquid and promptly said she'd be calling my OB/GYN.  Now I'm sitting there scared crapless.  Bella is not due to come out until the first week in December. NOT NOW.

The nurse came back in after a call with my doctor and checked my cervix.  Yup!  Already 2 cm dilated and 50-60% effaced.  She left again.  (By the way, that was extremely uncomfortable.  To the point of pain... no one warned me of this!)

By this time I've been there for 2 hours already.  By this time we're really just left to wait for any nurse to come in and maybe give us some sort of relief; some news.

The test results came back from the nurse doing 2 swab tests.  One was to see if I had the hormone release yet, which would indicate pre-term labor in the sense that there's no hope in turning back.  The other was to make sure I wasn't leaking any amniotic fluid.  Which would also give us no hope in turning back.  Fortunately both were negative so I wasn't in imminent danger of birthing Bella within the week.  Both tests give me a 95% chance to not have Bella for a minimum of 2 weeks.  Hahahaha... *sigh*

My OB/GYN came in around 5.00 and I was injected with a steroid shot since I'm, according to them, about 33 weeks pregnant.  With Bella having Down syndrome, we can't risk that if she does come early (in 2 weeks or more) that her lungs aren't mature enough.  The nurse apparently was highly unpleased that I decided not to take the shot in my butt as per her suggestion but rather a less humiliating place on my arm.  For this I paid dearly.  She decided to make my first shot in years probably a little more painful than needed to be, leaving me with 24 hours to fret psychotically over the next round. 

The first afternoon/night was no fun, I'll tell you that.  Poor Miles was willing to sleep in a rocking chair in the corner until the night shift nurse found us a bigger and more accomodating room.  She also didn't make me have to ask her for some snacks by the bed and I never had to worry about running out of water.  Which is probably why I had to get up every 15 minutes...

At 6:00 they began giving me a pill to stop the contractions.  This is something I will now take every 6 hours until Bella says, "I've had enough in here!!!"  Dr. Buehner, my OB/GYN, ordered an ultrasound to just make sure she has enough amniotic fluid, check my cervix and measure her again.  Mind you, my last ultrasound was Monday.

After a long and semi-sleepless night, Miles waited with me until Dr. Buehner came back to see how things were doing as was promised.  When he came back, he said I could go home that day after my second dosage of the steroid shot and he'd be ordering my ultrasound for that morning. 

Miles was dressing to leave just as a nurse walked in with a wheelchair (I have learned at this point not to ask if I may walk) to take me to the ultrasound.  We hugged and kissed, bid our good-byes and promised I'd let him know what the ultrasound showed.

Since Monday, little Bella has gained nearly 1lb!  She weighed in at approximately 3 lbs 15 oz, and her thigh grew almost half an inch.  As the technician attempted a head measurement, Bella decided to begin sucking her toes :)

There's plenty of fluid for her.  She was breathing in the ultrasound (which, apparently, babies in utero don't breathe constantly... only when they are getting their fluid) and the technician said Bella's lungs looked remarkably strong.  The only "bad" thing was her AV heart defect. 

By this time I've talked with my nurse and she happily let me know Dr. Buehner said I could get the next shot at noon instead of 5:00 PM, and go home.  I'd have a follow up appointment with him on the 29th, as was already scheduled, and voila. 

So, of course, this means moderate bed-rest.  I'm still learning what the heck this entails.  I'd like to be able to make myself a sandwich.  Or throw in a load of laundry.  Make the bed.  Throw things in the garbage.  It's annoying. 

My mom will be coming into town Monday afternoon and leaving Sunday morning.  She's going to help while Miles is at work - even though he will be coming home during his lunch break.  I'm sure she'll also be helping me with the nursery since things are still scattered all over.  His mom will be coming in as well, but we're not sure when.  She wanted to make sure she didn't come while my mom was here, so that I would receive as much help for as long as possible instead of overlapping.  So basically, I'm taken care of... but it's still oober annoying. 

I think we may have ourselves a Thanksgiving day gift instead of a Christmas gift...


Ria said...

Oooh, is that what happened? Hmmm. I have no idea if its rare or not but I'm glad little Bella's fine. :D

Laaaav. <3

butterbobbin said...

I was going to ask you what the contractions felt like. Now I need not. :-p

Hummm. I really hope things go okay, though, and that Bella will at least stay in a couple more weeks!

Brittany said...

Why would you ask me what contractions feel like? Apparently I didn't know I had them until they hooked me up to the machinery! Haha.

Pre-term labor isn't rare, and it is certainly not rare among children with DS. It's also not rare that, if she were born right this moment, that she'd live. It'd just add to the multitude of health issue probabilities that we really don't want!