Thursday, August 01, 2013

36 Weeks...Let's Get This Party Started!

At this risk of jinxing marks 36 weeks...a FANTASTIC point to have made it to!  Given how incredibly difficult the last months have been (especially the past two weeks, it seems!), I'm excited that this is the point where all systems are go...I hope.

So today I'm doing all of that nesting crap.  Did two loads of laundry (after finding one of the things I want to have at the hospital after delivery!).  Picked up a few odds and ends from our bedroom.  Mike stripped the carseat cover and washed it last night, and I cleaned the outside and washed the straps.  Took a trip to Target for food and things.

Now that I've completely worn myself out walking, I'm sitting here chugging water, feeling the contractions come on.  I'm not running to the hospital right now, but if they keep coming...I hope it's the REAL showtime!  By the end of the day, Mike might be cursing me under his breath (or out loud!).

Happy 36 weeks, regardless!!!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

End of July! Things Rattling in My Brain...

It's the end of July!  As long as I don't give birth in the next 2 1/2 hours, I'll get that August baby that I ordered (in theory...provided she doesn't go the other way and come late and have a September birthday!).

Anyway, today was a pretty good day.  We went to meet with Daniel's teachers at school today (his new kindergarten teacher!).  He was pretty excited walking into the classroom, but he was a bit disappointed that it wasn't his old preschool teacher, Ms. Bonnie's, room.  I think he thought that we were going to see Ms. Bonnie...and was kind of down when we left to drop him off at daycare without finding her.  We assured him that he would see Ms. Bonnie again sometime.

After that, I had a doctor's appointment at 10:45.  I don't particularly care for that time for an appointment, simply because they tend to run behind by that time of day.  In any case, I had another group B strep test (joy), and cervix is still same ol, same ol (6cm, bulging, etc).  Doctor didn't mention how effaced or how low the baby was (other than she's just low).  The NST/AFI (amniotic fluid check) will continue until next week, then there's really no need, if I make it that long.  Doing them right now is definitely for peace of mind.

Which brings me to the next subject...when this baby is going to come.  I think every pregnant woman reaches a point where she is just done.  Usually it's earlier than is really rational to have a baby come out.  So having said that, yes, I know pregnancy is supposed to last an average of 40 weeks.  I am quite familiar.  Telling a pregnant woman that they haven't hit their due date yet, so what's the rush is a very foolish thing to do...mostly because don't you think they KNOW this?  Everyone wants a healthy baby, and they know rushing things can compromise that...but having that drilled into your brain over and over by saying "why rush it, you want a healthy baby don't you" does't help.

OK, so that last part was pretty abrasive and confrontational sounding.  But there's also something that adds to the stress of waiting to pop out a kid...everyone telling you to be patient, but just as many either asking you when the baby is going to come (is it here yet?!), or insisting that it's going to be "soon".

So here I sit, waiting.  I'll be 36 weeks tomorrow, and yes, I know it's still 4 weeks ahead of the baby's due date.  I have been counting days and weeks so very closely, especially since 27w6d, the day we were first hospitalized for pre-term labor.  Almost every day in antepartum, they put the age up on the marker board, so that I knew too.  I have each week marked on the calendar.  I've had the major developmental milestones highlighted (first was 32 weeks...then 36...).

But as much as I want the baby to be healthy (and I know in my heart she will be just fine!), I am having a really hard time dealing with everything that has gone on.  I really wanted to "enjoy" this pregnancy, in much the same way as I did with Daniel and Jared.  I mean, yeah, there were hard times and bumps in the road with those, but for all intents and purposes, I looked forward to each stage in anticipation of getting closer and closer to the due date.  With this one, I've felt like a real ticking time bomb (especially in the past 2 weeks), where if I get up and walk for a few minutes it sends me into contractions.  The thought of it going on for four more weeks (or 5!) is a bit scary.

The emotional toll on me is huge as well.  The 34-36 week "limbo" period has been the most stressful of all.  At the check-up the day before I hit 34 weeks, I was a bit rattled to learn that doctor's would't stop labor.  That scared and shocked me, and I was so very nervous coming out of that appointment.  Two days later, I landed in the hospital in labor...and they did try to stop it.  That night was the most at peace I've been with having a pre-term baby.  I was a still nervous, but I convinced myself that I was ready.  So when everything stopped, and no baby was born, it was a huge shock, but one that I was still OK with since I still had weeks to go (and more time baking is better, right?).

Not long after, I launched into labor again, was in a delivery room for over 24 hours and nothing came of it either.  The labor and delivery nurse that I had during the day was really pushing to have a doctor just break my water and let things happen that way.  But, being in that limbo period meant that I could labor if I was going to, but they wouldn't help things along.  This happened again a few days later (although I was in a delivery room for a much shorter period of time).  I've been deluded into thinking that every time I start having frequent contractions that it isn't going to be the real thing.  I've lost sight of the fact that there's a real baby in there, and she's eventually going to come out.

Through all of this, I've had many episodes of being anxious and depressed.  The crazy pregnancy hormones don't help my situation.  I'm tired of the expectation that the baby should be here already (and yes, I know, it's still early!).  I'm tired of all of the false starts.  I'm tired of not knowing what's going to happen next.  I'm tired of hearing that "it's going to be soon!".  I'm tired of hearing "don't try to rush it". Even I try to convince myself that I'll be regretting the time I missed out on staying pregnant.

All of this goes back to the planner and control freak in me.  If someone could guarantee that the baby would arrive on such-n-such a day, and told me in advance how it was going to go down...I might feel better.  I'm almost envious of those who have had planned c-sections or scheduled inductions.  I, myself, had a scheduled induction set for Daniel (but he had other plans and decided to show up on his own!).  And I tell ya, knowing that I was going home and that I was going to have a baby the very next day was put me at ease.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Hey...a Pretty Boring Day...Hooray!

I actually titled this post last night (as yesterday was pretty low-key), and today is pretty much the same.  Hooray for (relative) normalcy!

Anyway, Sunday night I slept the best that I've slept in probably a week.  Baby was going a little nuts, and I didn't fall asleep right away, but slept well and straight through nonetheless.  During the day, I lounged on the couch a little, lounged in bed a little while, worked on some cross-stitch and had a pretty good day.  Contractions were sporadic (still), but nothing alarming (no eruptions, just rumblings).  It was feeling a bit odd in the evening with the baby pushing down...puts me a little on edge that she's going to bust right out of her amniotic sac, but I know it doesn't really work that way.

Today was a little more exciting, if only for getting out of the house to go have an NST.  I actually MADE it to this one (vs last time where I was stuck in the hospital from the night before).  We took a trip up to the other office (not the one near our house) where they can do monitoring.  I'd never had an NST done outside of the hospital, so it was a little different.  Little room, recliner and they made sure I was propped up on my side. They had a computer that was hooked in, but also a machine that kind of looked like a fax machine that spewed out a paper version too.  The other thing that was different was a little buzzer that I had to push every time I felt the baby move.  Of course, she wasn't moving all that much (and when the person left to go get the results signed off on, she started wobbling all over!).  She reported contractions about every 6 minutes apart (status quo, I suppose!).  The whole thing was about 20 minutes (give or take).

Tomorrow will be a regular appointment, and hopefully that all goes well...especially since Thursday is the 36 week mark!!!  I'm reallllllly hoping that if I show up with contractions again that they'll help things along (even just something to push me over the edge!!!  Membrane stripping?  water breaking?  little bit of pitocin???).  Otherwise it might be to the 37 week mark...sigh.

And boring days...I'm hoping that I'll have another day or two at least to rest up before anything happens!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

On Stress, Home, and Catching Up...

Once again, I'm losing track of days (but I'm sure I'm not the only one!).  When I just looked, I realized that I hadn't posted anything since Thursday, and today is Sunday.  Oops!  Time seems to sort of blur together, especially when you aren't exactly in the best mental and physical states.

Continuing where we left off on Thursday, I was back in antepartum again, and luckily that's where I stayed.  Friday Mike came by during the day, and hung out in the afternoon.  It was around this time that I was starting to feel like I was festering away in the hospital, and had first inclinations towards going home vs. staying (before I was leaning towards staying, for reasons of it being a little more secure).  Dr. Erickson came by and chatted for a bit in the afternoon, and between me and Mike, we always grill the doctor on all of the possible delivery scenarios, and so on.  After that was done, we decided it might be good to bring the boys up to the hospital in the evening to visit too!  In the early evening, while waiting for them, Heather and Cathie came for a visit (I hadn't seen Cathie since I was there at 28 weeks!).  It was good to have a chat and catch up with all of the goings-on (and fill in all of the pieces of the "summer" thus far).  Mike and the boys came and visited with them too before it was time for them to turn into pumpkins and go home (they left around 8:30).

It's really quite sad that I can't remember what sort of monitoring went on Friday night.  Contractions do kick up in the evening (this is tending to be a pattern), but they weren't hurting again, and they peter out after a while.  Kind of a boring way to end a day, I guess.

Saturday started out to be kind of even keeled too.  I was able to doze a little bit throughout the morning between doctors, nurses and food.  Mike and the boys came by and hung out.  Once again, Mike and I were having the conversations about going home (weighing pros and cons), and when Dr. Erickson came by again, we kind of reiterated the same thing.  The other thing that was starting to annoy us a bit is being given the run-around with starting Zoloft again.  As most people might gather from reading all of this, it's really taking a toll on my mental state.  A lot of times I'll cry for no reason, and I get stressed out even more with thoughts of what's going on or not going on.  So she said she'd get the order and get started on that.  Let's just say that got very, very lost.

Mike and the kids left about 2:30 or 3, and there were just a smattering of things going on.  A nurse came to change out my IV (I'd had this one since Monday night).  I'm almost running out of places to have an IV (I had one close to my wrist that was removed last Sunday night, then Monday they put the new one a little further up on the same vein).  So the new one was on my left.  It was sort of funny with the nurse doing it.  There were two nurses working together, one had been a supervisor and behind a desk for several years, and thought it would be good to get back into patient stuff again so she was following my nurse.  She came in to do the IV, and I didn't think anything of it.  After it was in, she called the other one to do a little cleanup (there was some blood that got stuck in a screw valve and some that had dripped on the under side of my arm).  It was then that she told me that she hadn't started an IV in about 7 years (ha!).  Honestly, it doesn't bother me in the slightest...she did a good job :).  After that, I got set up so I could shower, and she actually got me a new pair of PJ pants because some blood had gotten on mine (which was no biggie to me I guess!).

In the evening, contractions started right back up again.  I'm starting to get a little bit anxious when i happens, just because I don't want to get my hopes up that it could turn into something even remotely resembling full labor.  Around 8pm, I asked to get put back on the monitors, and sure enough, contractions ahoy!  The nurse came back pretty quickly (I'd say less than the standard 20 minute wait) and started some fluids (I was still drinking a lot of water leading up to this too).  These contractions were getting more painful than they had before (I mentioned this to the nurse), but there was still no cervical change so she offered stadol again.  I was at least looking forward to an hour or two of sleep there, and really glad I wasn't sent to L&D if there was no progression.

The stadol was pretty much the start of my troubles, even though it sort of seemed like a good idea at the time.  As it got pushed into my IV, the same thing as before happened with the instant marshmallow gooeyness feeling all over.  I was caught a little off guard with how fast she'd brought it, so the TV was still on, my phone by my side and laptop screen still up on the tray.  But, honestly, I didn't care.  The nurse let me rest, kept the monitors on, and told me that I needed to NOT get up, but be sure to call if I had to use the bathroom.  My oxygen stats were starting to go down again, so I got hooked up to some oxygen as well.  After an hour, my contractions were starting to decrease (not totally knocked out), and baby was looking good so the nurse shut down the contraction and fetal monitors.  I still had the pulse ox on and oxygen.  She reminded me again to call when I had to pee so I could be escorted to the bathroom.

During that time, Mike called (which I was too dopey to answer still), and I dozed again until around 11.  After two hours, the stadol had pretty much worn off, and I figured it was time to use the bathroom and bed down for the night.  I texted Mike really quickly, turned off the TV, put my phone on the charger and put down the laptop screen before hitting the call button. Still a little wobbly on my feet.  Instead of my regular nurse, the nursing assistant came in (which I didn't think too much about) and I told her I needed to go to the bathroom.  At that point, she just took off my pulse ox and oxygen, and walked quickly out of the room telling me to call when I got back so she could turn everything back on again.  I'll note that at this point no one "walked" me to the bathroom (I walked myself)...I got the impression that she didn't really know what I was on at the time.

I got to the bathroom, my head spinning a little, and sat down to do my thing.  I was zoning a little bit, and just sat staring at the walls.  After that, I remember getting up, pulling up my pants, and turning to flush the toilet.  At which point everything started going gray and black, and I held on to the bar by the toilet and just thought it was better to get down so I didn't fall down.  Anytime before I've passed out, I get that feeling of "oh the floor looks so nice and cool", and I start sweating PROFUSELY.  And I went out.  Cold.  Everything went black and I came to and sort of made sure I could get up without going right back out again.

A bit panicked, I went back into the room, and went for the first place I could lay down...there was a cot right next to the bathroom door so I laid there for a bit.  I don't know what I was figuring in my head...that eventually someone would come in after they realized that I wasn't on the monitors, perhaps?  Maybe they completely forgot?  In any case, I rested for a few on the cot, and got my strength up a bit to go back to my own bed and hit the call light.

After I hit the call light, another nurse (again, not my own, and not the nursing assistant either) came in.  I was not breathing well, shaking, panicked and my heart racing.  I told her in broken breaths (can't speak all that well when I'm shaken up and still recovering from passing out) that I passed out.  I got laid back on the bed and just closed my eyes and sobbed while they rushed to hook me back up to everything (including contraction/baby monitor).  My main nurse finally came in and asked what happened, still all I could squeak out was "passed out"...she asked why I didn't call for someone to help me to the bathroom and I told her that I DID.  I told her that the other lady came, took the pulse ox and said to call when I got back.  This is where things got a little more frustrating, and the crazy stories started.

At some point, they asked the nursing assistant what happened, and the she said that she answered the call light, walked me to the bathroom and walked me back to bed.  She added that I must have gotten up a second time after that and didn't ring the call light to go to the bathroom.  The nurse relayed this to me, and I lost it even more.  I had NO recollection of having her even remotely walk me to the bathroom...and I had no recollection of going to the bathroom twice in a short period of time?  This tale was getting a little out of control...and it didn't help that I was getting so worked up that I couldn't explain what happened to me.  My heart rate was 150+ and the pulse ox was going nuts when I'd dip below a certain level.  They kept monitoring me all through the night, and I got little to no sleep (even after I asked for tylenol and something to sleep...I got benedryl finally...) just due to being so stressed out.

I was grateful that I did finally get about 3 hours of sleep before the resident came by.  The day nurse came in too (same as the day nurse from yesterday) and I was still upset, and trying to relay my anger at what had happened last night.  She had been filled in on the story, but hadn't heard my take on things.  My main thing was that I was CERTAIN that even though I had called for help, the assistant did NOT help me to the bathroom like she claimed, and certainly did not help me back.  When my doctor came in, I mentioned the same thing...and he told me he believed me (which made me feel better too...I tried to keep as simple as possible without losing it).

As the morning went on, I made SURE to get help to the bathroom.  Mike was there at that point (after I filled him in on the story) and he grilled the day nurse on things.  I think we both idly sort of wondered if there was any way they could check a monitor record or if they had any type of log of call lights and visits to the room.  Mike checked...and they did.  Even more disturbing (to me) was that I didn't really realize how long the whole incident was (from me ringing the call button/being taken off monitors to getting back to bed)...apparently 36 minutes!

In any case, the log that they had for the call lights (not sure if it's electronic or what, or just a paper log they keep) was that I rang the call light to get up, and there's no record of me being helped back to bed, just the second call light 36 minutes later.  On the monitors, there's a gap in the monitoring of the same amount of time.  So at best, the assistant didn't write down that she helped me back to bed at all and totally forgot to put me on pulse ox again (both).  She can't claim that she put me on pulse ox monitors and that I must have gotten up a second time to use the bathroom (because that would show up if I'd taken myself off). So her basic story is falling apart.

I'm angry, scared and confused as to why this happened at all.  In all of my stays thus far, and through all of the gnarly drugs that they've given me, the nurses have always been diligent about making sure I made it to the bathroom and back.  They don't want to risk it...and rightly so.  This type of thing (passing out) could have happened at any time, and if it had, there would have been a nurse to see it quickly and respond.  I probably would have been just as shaken up, but not as anxious and angry if it was dealt with swiftly and I didn't have someone trying to lie their way out of something that they should have been careful with.

So with all of that, it sort of solidified it in my mind that I would be happier and less stressed at home.  Mike also asked the nurse about the status of the Zoloft request, and had Dr. Jackson paged to come by after he was out of surgery.  It was a really good conversation that we had, and it achieved 1.  getting started on the Zoloft (which I started barking about almost a week ago) 2.  me going home, 3.  setting up monitoring to make me feel more at ease again, and 4. getting a lot of questions answered in general.  Also got a bonus cervix check (har har har), and still at the 6cm point, effacement still about the same (he said maybe 90%...even though it could be in the 70-90 range the way it's figured) at +1 (she likes to migrate), and amniotic sac still bulging (oddly, that hasn't changed!).

Well, I'm home now...still cooking away.  Lots to look forward to, including being 36 weeks on Thursday, monitoring appointments (sad that I look forward to something like that, right?) and keeping busy to keep me from having way too much time on my hands to think about stuff.