(Please read my previous blog post before checking this one out, thank you!)
My third trimester of pregnancy was everything I expected. Terrible. Itchy. Long. Driving to the clinic twice a week to get biophysical profiles. Having the staff know me on sight even with my mask always on. Making plans and having them disrupted because I started bleeding for no apparent reasons in my female parts. Drowning in medications and forgetting to set timers to take the next round of medications. Not knowing what to eat and losing weight as a result (a strange side effect of having both gestational diabetes and intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy). Getting steroid shots in both my butt cheeks in an attempt to provide my daughter’s lungs with enough surfactant to survive outside of the womb. And the constant worry. Worry that all of this would amount to nothing. Especially when driving to an appointment after a snowstorm and wondering if I’m going to die on Kellogg because my four wheel drive failed on me.
Braxton Hicks contractions were my enemy. I had gone to see my OB on a Thursday afternoon and she informed me that I was 2 cm dilated and that I was having mild contractions. Great. A misinterpreted phone call landed me and my husband in the labor and delivery department for a Friday morning spent staring at a non stress test due to these Braxton Hicks. It amounted to a diagnosis that I couldn’t even get the medication for in time since my pharmacy didn’t have it in stock. Luckily, the false contractions went away and I was able to attend a bridal shower the next day that I had been preparing for months in advance. I gave gifts to my medical staff the following Monday, relieved that my planned induction would be happening in six days and that I would only be seeing them for one more biophysical profile…or so I thought...
I had a (somewhat) surprise baby shower that same Monday evening hosted by my lovely bible study, complete with a delicious red velvet cake I could only eat a bite of because of my GD. I spent the next day loving on my toddler, doing preschool lessons and going to a nature center with him since I knew I would have less quality time with him when his sister came. That same morning I had woken up to a feeling of some strange liquids coming from my female parts but thought little of it. That same evening I experienced more of that sensation but thought everything was fine.
Everything was not fine.
When I started feeling contractions that night again my immediate thought was that those annoying Braxton Hicks were back. I told my husband but he was more sleepy than concerned. I put my toddler to bed then started writing down the timing of these contractions. It was getting mildly concerning. I googled everything from “how do you know if it’s amniotic fluid” to “how to get rid of Braxton Hicks” to the emergency number for my OB’s office. My female parts squirted more of that stuff and it was getting more concerning hour by hour. I finally caved in and called my OB’s office, not wanting to “cry wolf” but wanting to make sure that everything was normal. The contractions kept getting stronger and closer together and no amount of walking, drinking water, going to the bathroom, rocking on the rocking chair, or laying on the floor wrapped against my pregnancy pillow worked to will them away. I got a call back and the nurse informed me to head to the ER stat. I woke up my husband at 1 AM on Wednesday morning. We got ourselves together along with our hospital bags - which were already packed due to Friday’s mishap - and he called his mom to come stay with our son. My contractions were to the point that I was in agony every 2 to 3 minutes. I kissed my son goodbye, not knowing just how much my life would be upended for almost the next month…
I got admitted to the hospital at 2 AM. They whisked me up to labor & delivery and all the while I was crushing my husband’s hand with each contraction. The nurses took a sample of liquid from my lady parts and confirmed within 5 minutes that yes, that is indeed amniotic fluid and yes, this baby is coming out today. I was 35 weeks and 3 days with my induction scheduled for 36 weeks. So much for schedules…
They whisked me away again to the birthing suites and I’m still contracting and they’re sticking my arms everywhere because they can’t find a good vein to insert an extremely unnecessary IV. They ask if I want an epidural and I say yes but by the time the anesthesiologist asks me the intake questions I’m wanting to push my baby out. Once the docs give me to go ahead (and hey, one of them is my MFM specialist!) it takes me only three big pushes for my daughter (and lots and lots of liquids) to come out. The official birth time? 3:04 AM.
After she gets checked out by a neonatologist and my freakin’ placenta comes out (goodbye, diabetes and itching!) I get to hold my beautiful girl. With all the hullabaloo dying away we get wheeled to the mother-baby suites and I feed her for the first time. She latches on like a champ. The whole rest of the day is a blur of feedings, diaper changes, nurses coming in to *** my poor girl’s foot (and to do other medical things I suppose), her pediatrician making an appearance (I’m like how are you already here?), random residents pushing on my belly and giving me pain medications, and failed attempts at napping. We supplement my daughter with formula through an SNS system while she’s breastfeeding (my husband having to figure out how to use the syringes) and she passes all of her tests.
Her pediatrician wanted to keep her at the hospital for a few nights to ensure nothing crazy was going on and we complied. My husband ordered me room service and got his first COVID shot. My dear friend supplied me with a Starbucks Venti Strawberry Frappuccino dealio and it was delicious. We texted family and friends and my daughter’s godmother even set us up a meal train for when we would be home next week...how unknowing we all were…
I attempted to lead my bible study via Zoom in our hospital room (it didn’t quite work out but that’s okay) and overall everyone was doing great. That night we only had one more hurdle to overcome - the car seat test. My daughter would be hooked up to a monitor and she would have to be in her car seat for 1.5 hours before we could go home. Sounds good, right?
The first attempt was not ideal. The nurse told us that she fit poorly in her car seat and would give us the opportunity to adjust it before they tried it again. The next attempt went horribly awry. The nurses told us that her blood oxygen level desaturated all the way to 80% - the goal is to have her SP02 levels stay in the 90s. Hmm, I thought. They would try the test again, but this time in a car bed. Those things are expensive, let me tell you, but we got one through our hospital’s generosity. Well, that rolls around and she fails again! Hmm, how can you fail a test when all you’re supposed to do is lay down and sleep? To be fair, she was strapped in but something was seeming a bit off. Of course, our lovely pediatrician had told the nurses not to call him unless she failed the car seat test and lo and behold…he ordered for her SPO2 levels to be checked in additional to all the other stuff the nurses routinely did.
Sunday morning, the day she was supposed to be induced, I was changing her diaper and who should be knocking but the hospital’s chaplain, asking if I want to receive the Eucharist. Umm, yes please! Both my husband and I received the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist. It had been almost an entire year since I could partake in the Eucharist due to being extremely paranoid about going to mass in the time of COVID. But what a wonderful way to start my day! I’m so blessed this happened because it gave me the strength to face the challenges ahead...A kind nurse comes in a bit later to take all my daughter’s stats. She fails the SP02 one just as she is laying in her bassinet. This alarms her pediatrician and not one hour later I’m being informed that my daughter has to go to the NICU.
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