Five years ago today, I was moved to the antepartum unit. I had my own room. Small, but mine. I had windows that looked out at……the other wing of the hospital! The neonatologist came to see us. We were 23 weeks and 5 days, but measuring more in the late 22 range. The guessed the baby’s weight to be about 1 lb 4 ozs. They wanted to get the baby up to at least 2 lbs, holding off as long as we could, if possible. Bigger and longer would of course be optimal. I was given my first steroid shot that morning. They gave the baby a 10% at best shot of survival if we delivered. I still couldn’t believe what was happening. I was still in complete denial. Why are you telling me this? We aren’t going to have this baby yet! It’s not time. I was still bleeding, still on the mag, and on STRICT bedrest. No getting up for anything, at all. On a more comedic note, my father in law walked into the room while I was taking care of some personal business. In my drugged state, I proudly announced that I was going pee! He turned completely red and left the room. I felt so bad afterwards, but blame it on the mag sulfate!! Poor guy….I’ve put him through the ringer.
Michael had put out the calls the night before. My dad was flying in two days later, as well as my mother in law. We had no idea what was going to happen. I had another ultrasound that day. We still did not find out what sex the baby was. For me, it was still admitting defeat. I was supposed to take an insurance test that day. LIfe has a way of working out NOT how you’ve planned.
I had never been in a hospital for myself before. That was the scariest part. My nurses that day were wonderful and so helpful, so full of optimism that we were going to keep that baby in and that I would be sent home on bedrest soon. Little did we know what was ahead. By Friday (I was admitted on a Wednesday night), the bleeding had slowed considerably, but still didn’t stop entirely. The contractions had stopped and the mag was slowed. The peri came in. If the bleeding stopped by the next morning, I would be able to go home. Another steriod shot was administered. Saturday, I woke up and was bleeding heavily again. Up went the mag. My Daddy arrived, my mother in law arrived, and we had visitors galore. We found out there were two other pregnant moms in the antepartum area. One of them was practically standing on her head in the hospital bed trying to keep her twins in. For some weird reason, that made me feel better. As bad as it was, someone else had it worse. That’s awful I know. Sunday came and the bleeding slowed again. I was anxious to go home, even if it meant moving our house around to accomodate me. My mother in law essentially quit her brand new job to stay with me. The emotions started to hit. This was real. My baby was in real danger. The child we had waited for so long for, worked so hard for, could die. I was all over the board, frustrated, angry, in denial, devastated.
Monday morning came. My Dad was going to come spend the morning with me, then my mil would take the afternoon shift. The 7am nurse came in. I didn’t like her immediately. She frightened the crap out of me. First thing she did was put me on a scale. I’d lost 8 pounds in 5 days! I had only gained 14 up to that point of my pregnancy and was down to being 6 up from my starting weight. Bring on the food!!! They fed me morning, mid-morning, noon, mid-afternoon, tea-time, night, and late night!!! The nurses told my husband to bring me whatever I would eat, preferably high fat stuff. HAH! All the milkshakes, ice cream, cheeseburgers and fries I could take. Unfortunately, the mag and laying down all the time took away most of my appetite. That nurse was MEAN!! She brought in preemie birth videos for me to watch, told me my baby was going to come soon and would be severely disabled, etc. I called her the “Water-Nazi” (ie the Soup Nazi of Seinfeld fame) because she literally measured every drop of water I drank and wouldn’t let me go over a certain quota. Okay, lost myself there for a minute. After water nazi weighed me, the perinatologist came on rounds. He walked in, read my chart and told me that because I was still bleeding, had lost so much weight, and because I lived 45 minutes away (without any traffic), I would be staying with them at Summit for the duration, or 32 weeks, whichever came first. I completely LOST IT! I cried more than I thought I could cry. My dad arrived and he just didn’t know what to do for me. After a couple of hours, I settled down. I realized it was for the best of my baby, and there wasn’t really anything I could do to change it. The good news was, they had determined that my water had not broken and since the bleeding had slowed, I was allowed up to go to the bathroom, and could have a QUICK shower once every three days. I called Michael to give him the news of my new residence. He went shopping. That night he brought in my body pillow, a tv/vcr combo with an antenna (the hospital didn’t have cable of any kind and I couldn’t watch my baseball team in their last month of the season! They were on a tear, headed towards the playoffs and I couldn’t miss it), a boom box so I could at least LISTEN to the baseball games I couldn’t see on tv, and my favorite pregnancy gift one of my friends had given me…..the softest stuffed froggie ever (he stayed with me for my hospital stay, then watched over Ryley for his entire NICU stay). We unpacked and settled in for a long stay.