Sunday, March 25, 2012

"What Does That Mean!?"

Everyone has a unique birth story, all of which deserve to be told. We are no different, so I thought that I would chronicle our unique birth story starting with this post.

First, I thought that I had my Tuesday afternoon and night planned out. Lennie and I left work early so that we could go to my specialist appointment, my weekly OB/pregnancy appointment, and then we were going to be off to our church to help bake cupcakes for a local school and then attend a church group meeting. All of this seemed reasonable, as we had 4-5 weeks left to go in our pregnancy. Life, it seems, had a different plan.

I had been battling rising blood pressure in the last part of my pregnancy, and was put on blood pressure medication the previous Thursday. When I went to the first specialist appointment, I was pleased to hear that my BP had dropped to a low normal range. Between appointments, Lennie and I dropped by the local Babies R Us to pick up a few baby essentials -- like bottles -- to help us get prepared for the baby that we thought we were having 4 to 5 weeks down the line. Then, we went to our regularly scheduled OB appointment. When we got to our OB appointment, we were shocked to hear that my blood pressure was still quite high. After 4 separate readings, my doctor returned to our exam room and said "You're going over to Labor & Delivery tonight." I did a double-take and said "Um, what does that mean?!?" Seems that we were getting the fast pass to be monitored at the Overlake Hospital labor and delivery unit.

It all seems like a blur after that... Lennie and I returned to our car in a daze, and then quickly began making calls to rearrange our plans for the night as well as let my parents know what was happening. I know that I was feeling a little numb, and my head was swimming as I drove us the half a mile to the hospital. Once we arrived at the hospital, I was hooked up to machines for monitoring. The baby monitor made a gentle swooshing noise, which the nurse told us meant that our baby was quite active in the womb. What a reassuring sound as we were taking in all of the latest developments in our pregnancy journey.

After a very short stint in the triage area of the Women's Center, we were checked in for overnight observation at the hospital. Moving through this experience, I kept thinking that we would be let out of the hospital still pregnant and be put on bed rest at home.... seems that our son had other ideas! Tuesday night enabled us to meet the first of many wonderful nurses and caregivers as we settled into what would be our home away from home for nearly a week.

It was snowing as we got into our room overlooking 405 in Bellevue. I'm not sure why this is one of the few things that I remember, but it's worth noting because snow in the Seattle area can be an experience. Lennie couldn't drive, since he was recovering from lasik surgery a few days earlier, so a dear friend picked him up at the hospital and took him back to the house to pack an overnight bag for the two (actually, three) of us. I got treated to IV medications, dinner, and some prime time television. One of the drugs that I was on, magnesium, came with side effects like intense hot flashes and a foggy head, so everything is a little blurry for me after the IV got started. While Lennie was back at the house, a nurse from the NICU came in to brief me on what would happen if and when I delivered our son. The discussion is very blurry to me, but I remember thinking, "Why are we having this conversation? I'm not having a preemie!" How wrong I was!

The next few days both flew by and dragged on for both of us. I was very focused on two goals: 1. not having a Leap Year baby and 2. getting off of the Magnesium, which made me feel yucky. While on hospital mandated bed rest, I feel like I took things minute-by-minute and test by test. The worst part of bed rest was that I was going crazy in the hospital room... other than getting off of the Magnesium, I desperately wanted to take a short walk down the hallway. Seems that neither were options for quite some time!

I'm told that both Lennie and I had very positive, 'go with the flow' attitudes throughout this experience. For the first day and a half, I felt great (other than the side effects of the medication). On Thursday morning, however, I distinctly remember feeling like I had turned the corner and I commented to both Lennie and my nurse that I didn't feel well. Even though my test results started to look better, I generally felt like a piece of chewed gum. It was the first time that I felt okay about being in the hospital. One thing is for sure: there is nothing restful about bed rest, especially when you're in the hospital and nurses and other caregivers are dropping in on you every two hours throughout the day!

Throughout the hospital stay, our son was elusive on the monitors. This was exceptionally true early Friday morning. One dear nurse had to stand over me with her hand on the monitor from 1 a.m. to 2 a.m. just to get accurate readings. God bless her for having such patience, because it was not a very glamorous or exciting moment for any of us!

Next time: the delivery and welcoming baby.

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