home sweet home

First of all, thank you so much for your comments on my last post. Every single one of them a ray of light — success stories, miracle babies, helpful recommendations, love, concern and care. I am so grateful. Thank you. I wish I could respond individually to each and every one of you. But I can’t at the moment. The last 36 hours have been, um, interesting.

Let’s just say that after 27 hours in the hospital, I am very grateful to be home.

Just about 12 hours after I hit “publish” on that last post, I discovered I was spotting. Despite my risky condition, I haven’t had bled since week 10, before I even knew I was pregnant. This time there was no real blood, thankfully, but certainly something. Enough to scare me. After being warned to take any signs of preterm labor seriously, I called my nurse and was relieved to reach her. I said there was no bright red blood but a dark tinge, no cramping, no pain, no fluid. She said she would call my doctor and call me right back. A few minutes later she said she hadn’t been able to reach my doc yet, but that I should just come in. To the hospital. To labor and delivery. Just to be checked. Gulp.

I had no idea what to do. I was out for the morning with Jaye and I couldn’t take her to the hospital without help. Mac was at work and all of our emergency contacts were unavailable (heading out of town for the weekend or just not home). Thankfully I remembered Mac had an unusually long afternoon break so I texted him to call me ASAP, choosing not to give the “911” signal we had agreed upon because I didn’t want to freak him out yet. Then I drove straight to his office. He called me back as I pulled in his driveway. He cancelled his afternoon and came with me.

My nurse had alerted the front desk so they were expecting me. I spent nearly 3 hours in triage, with monitors hooked up to my belly to check the baby’s movement, heartbeat and any possible contractions. Nurse after nurse came to check my vitals and do other testing. Each one asked about my history and what was happening. Finally they moved me to an exam room where I had the most painful pelvic exam I’ve had in a long time. They confirmed the presence of blood but I was not bleeding. They verified there was no fluid (a risk from my prior P-PROM), and no contractions. They seemed so pleased that Mac and I were talking about where we would stop for dinner on the way home.

So when a nurse came in and wanted to prep me for a steroid shot and IV, I was bewildered. Apparently the attending resident neglected to explain — until we insisted on speaking with her again — that they decided to admit me for observation for 24 hours just in case any bleeding occurred. As a precautionary measure, they wanted to be prepared in case the spotting was a sign of things to come. The steroid shot would be the first of two to help the baby’s lungs mature, in the event of delivery within the next few days. The IV was because they planned to restrict food and water, in case an emergency procedure was necessary in the middle of the night.

Again, my heart sank. I fought back tears. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Even though I didn’t really believe I was going to deliver then — i.e., there was no real blood, no sign of premature labor, and the baby’s vitals were perfectly fine — it was still unsettling to hear that the doctors were anticipating it, if necessary. All I could think was that I was totally unprepared to stay, that I would be alone and lonely in the hospital, with no link to the outside world as my phone battery was running low, that Mac had to work in the morning and he would have to do some quick maneuvering to rearrange his day to care for Jaye. And of course there was a whole team of medical professionals preparing for a way too early delivery. Just in case. What if Mac wasn’t even there in an emergency?

Mac and Jaye stayed as long as they could. Jaye was a champ, for a kid who barely ate lunch, missed her nap and dislikes doctors offices. Mac was amazing, taking her for walks around the floor, playing without any books or toys. We ordered dinner in, but then they had to get home for Jaye’s bedtime. I realized it was the first night I would ever be without her since she was born. I would be alone.

I only cried a little when they left, a few overwhelming tears. Then they hooked up the IV. Over the course of the evening, several doctors came in to discuss different aspects of my history and prospects — e.g., the anesthesiologist, the attending high risk OBs. The most sobering of them all was the NICU/nursery pediatrician, who came in specifically to describe what a 28 weeker faces. In case delivery was imminent. Deep breaths. Ever the optimist, I asked him to tell me about 34 weekers too. Of course that sounded a hell of a lot better, but still with ICU stay due to potential complications with breathing and feeding.

The nurses were amazing. Most were truly gifted, compassionate, kind, caring. The ones assigned to me knew my history. They asked about our loss 5 years ago. They knew about our adoption and some asked questions. (Many had treated birthing women who planned to place.) They knew about this miracle pregnancy. These (mostly) women see so much every day. And they loved a good story.

I should add that I’m also grateful to be in the best facility for this kind of thing, one of the top in the nation. Literally it’s the hospital where they pioneered some landmark advancements in high risk and prematurity — some of which were used on my cousin when he was born at 29 weeks 42 years ago. In fact, the wife of the OB who delivered him would run into him occasionally at the market and years later still refer to him as “miracle baby.” And I know science has advanced substantially since then.

Still. Something about being confined to your bed except to pee, wearing nothing but a cotton smock that leaves your ass hanging out with gauze panties, it makes you feel helpless, vulnerable, humble, lonely. The rest of the night I spent hooked up to monitors plugged into bright beeping machines, toting an IV to and from the bathroom. Here’s a tip: take off your bra before they hook up the IV (after that it doesn’t work). It was an awful night, stealing an hour of sleep here and there in between beeps and interruptions. The only comfort was listening to the baby’s heartbeat as I’d fall in and out of sleep.

I talked to the baby a lot. It felt like the first time we were ever really alone together. I told this fighter to hang in there. Then I tried to picture being home, in our comfy cozy bed, cuddling Mac’s back. I tried to imagine kissing my little girl goodnight and wishing her sweet happy dreams. Sleep was elusive.

I had no computer, no books, no magazines. TV was lame. Just a fading battery on my phone was my only link to the outside world. The room phone made only local calls. I sent out a few tweets and was overwhelmed by an amazing response from friends near and far. It took my whole battery to read through them all. Once again, I felt incredibly grateful for the unbelievable support of people I’ve met through this community. People I’ve never even met offering to bring us meals when the time comes. Amazing.

The next morning there was a new crew. While the doctors were relieved I had not bled more, they continued to warn me about the severity of my situation. Another incident like this and I go back. If it subsides I’ll be released, but one more after that and I’ll be admitted until delivery. A real bleed is a 911 call and the closest ER. We discussed the possibility of helicopter transport, so if possible I could be treated by their team, given the anticipated complications. They prescribed modified bedrest at home. They want me to rap up work, which is far easier said than done. They said I shouldn’t be lifting Jaye. Um, hello?

I told them all I hoped not to see them for another six weeks and they all agreed.

Mac and Jaye came back to spend the day while I was being monitored. Thankfully there was no more blood. Baby’s signs were all good. I waited for my second steroid shot before I could be discharged. We were there until about 5pm on Saturday before heading home.

I was so relieved to walk out of there. I am so happy to be home.

Now here’s hoping for a most uneventful 5.5 weeks. If all is well, we may be able to push it to 6.5 weeks (which would make 35), if I’m admitted and under observation, but that’s unlikely with any other incidents.

Right now, it’s a day at a time. Moment by moment.

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~ by luna on July 30, 2011.

27 Responses to “home sweet home”

  1. What a hard, sobering experience. So sorry you had to go through that but am so glad it turned out okay. Sending you and your little one strength, love and patience. I hope (s)he’s ready to stay in there for the long haul. Thinking of you and your tonight. Lots of love.

  2. you are so loved. and we’re all pulling for you. xoxo

  3. Many, many hugs. The way you described being the hospital alone…yeah that got me. Vulnerable is so very accurate.

    My guys are 28 weekers. I don’t want that for you and Esperanza.

    I am glad you went in. I am glad you got the steroids. I am more glad you are home. I am hoping this is the last time you see a hospital until you reach that 34 week mark.

    But, just in case, it might be a good idea to keep the cord to your phone charger in your purse. Not that you will need it…

  4. I can’t even begin to imagine how frightened and lonely you must have been, lying in that hospital bed. I am just so relieved to hear that the baby did not appear to be in any distress, and that you are now back at home with Mac and Jaye. I am still holding my breath for you, but confident that you are receiving the best possible care: it sounds as if you are surrounded by a team of experts, who are doing everything they can to ensure a safe delivery.

  5. Oh good gracious. Wish I lived closer to run over a pile of assorted magazine eye candy. Perhaps we’re to consider this the rehearsal? And woot, the staff and J passed the test? Holding my breath with you. Hang tight, wee babe.

  6. How scary. I am so glad to hear things are going well now. I will be thinking of you and fingers crossed that you can make it to 35 weeks.

  7. Welcome home!

    I very much hope that you will not see the hospital again until your planned c-section, but just in case, here is some bossy advice from someone who had several trips to triage and over a month of preterm hospitalization.

    Keep a bag in the car. Phone charger if you have a spare (otherwise keep it in your purse). Books for you and Jaye. Some compact but engrossing toys for Jaye — a few favorites that she won’t miss having at home, and a few new ones. Extra stuff for her like clothes, diapers. Clothes for you — I wore pajama pants and cozy maternity tops the whole time I was in the hospital. Sleep bras (which I wore the whole time I was in the hospital, day and night); I used some sleep bras and some nursing bras which in fact I am still wearing to this day for sleep despite having weaned over a year ago.

    Find out now if your hospital and the nearby hospital have WiFi. If I hadn’t had my laptop and WiFi, I would have gone batty. If they do not, email me and I have some ideas for how to stay connected anyway.

    The nurses will unhook your IV for a minute so that you can change clothes. Just ask. Hell, at worse you can take the bra off and leave it dangling on one arm.

    And, although this did not apply to me I will be bossy about it anyway: you need to find more emergency child care sources. If you need to have a non-scheduled c-section, you don’t want Mac to have to leave you alone to be with Jaye. He wants to be there for the birth of his baby, but you also need him there. During my complicated and risky c-section I was very calm with my husband there. If I’d been alone I would have freaked the F out. Find more people that you can call on to come to your house, to sit with her at the hospital at least during the surgery (even if it is the middle of the night), to take her to their house. People you know but not what you think is well enough to impose like this will be more than happy to do it. I would certainly be happy to do it for you if I were less than 3000 miles away. Find several more people. Put their names into a single email list and into a contacts group on each of your phones.

    I’d also advise finding some more non-emergency child care. A mother’s helper (esp. in August before school starts) would be great to run around with Jaye for a few hours now that you can’t, and is cheap. If you go with a more experienced provider, get someone that is willing to take Jaye grocery shopping, prep meals for everyone, clean up.

    If you don’t belong to a local mothers’ group, join now. You’ll have some meals made for you, at minimum. If you can have a few playdates at your house while you lounge on the couch, maybe you’ll meet another mom that you can add to the emergency contact list.

    And Mac should lay this all out for his boss if he hasn’t already. He may need to disappear at any moment, at some point he will be suddenly gone for a week or two, etc. My husband and I were both doing work on laptops in the NICU, but with Jaye that’s not so easy.

    Feel free to email me for more concrete advice on preparing for and dealing with hospitalization, preemie stuff, etc. Or for anything else.

  8. Oh no. I’m sorry you had to go through that. It’s so horribly familiar that I had a hard time reading it. I’m glad you got those shots, though. I’m also very glad that you are HOME! Babysmiling has some really good advice. I wanted to say that my 5 weeks in the hospital were, in retrospect, not such a bad way to go through a very scary time. It is good to have people there who can jump the second there is a sign that something isn’t right. HOWEVER, you have Jaye! That makes things so much more difficult. And the distance as well. I assume you go to SF? Any chance someone’s mom (yours or Macs) can come and stay with you and Jaye until this baby is born?

    My fingers are crossed for MANY more very boring weeks (with LOTS of help).

  9. Omg, Luna, held my breath for this entire post. So very glad you and miracle baby are okay! Will be sitting with you (virtually) as you navigate the next weeks. Hoping that your close community is able step in and give you the practical help you’ll need. In the meantime, you’re absolutely right… One moment at a time.

  10. I am sorry that this has happened as a reminder of what is really going on for all of you … sorry that some of us were @ Ellens and not available to you when you needed support at your side and for M & J too …

    I still owe you that hug! Please do not hesitate to reach out when you need it ….

  11. Sending you love and light.

    XOXOXO

  12. Thinking of you and sending lots of love and hope that your little one stays nice and snug until 35 weeks. All my best. ♥

  13. I was breathless! So glad you’re home. 🙂

  14. I am crossing my fingers for you!! I’m the mom of 28-week twins who are perfectly healthy and at almost 2 are just where they’re supposed to be except for being a bit small (well, I’m 5’1” so that probably has something to do w/ it, ha!). The 10 weeks in the NICU for feeding/growing/lung maturation was obviously no picnic though. Hope that makes you feel a bit better, however!

  15. you are one strong lady!!

  16. So glad you are back at home. Even a miracle baby isn’t going o be a stressfree one. Seperaton form my child would be a huge problem for me, I had to do it when I first went to be with Benjamin, it was so hard but the conncetion between Joe and Maya was amazing, for the first time he was the one doing everything for her, so for that I’m really thankful it really changed their relationship. HOpe everything stays nice and happy for 6.5 weeks, that would be great. Now go and wrap up your work!

  17. So I’m just checking in after being away from home and my computer for nearly a week. I’m glad that things are still moving along although the hospital stay sounds awful. Hopefully you don’t have to do the hospital bedrest thing.
    I wanted to say something also to the previous post about the pre term delivery. I understand how frightening it is for you and how much it goes against what you want and hope for. After working NICU for close to a year and some time lately with post partum I can say that 34 weekers do great. Yes there is usually some NICU stay (although on rare occasions where I work they do get sent home with mom) but it’s often short. The biggest problem usually is they are slow feeders and it takes them a bit to catch on. Rarely do they have to be on a vent, although occasionally on CPAP. I do hope though that you are able to push it out another week.

  18. wow. i’m away from the computer over the weekend and this happens!
    Rooting for you – glad you found people who are willing to help you out in the hospital.
    Take up people on their offer. This is not the time to be shy. My son H was in the NICU and we couldn’t thank our friends enough to this date for ferrying my mom and in laws back and forth.

  19. Luna, I have been away from blogging for awhile and just finished catching up on you and your growing family. I am so happy for you that you are having this amazing little miracle.
    I know that you are going through a lot of stress and concern right now- as a NICU nurse and an infertile I can only imagine what is going through your head, as I am having things go through my head. That you were able to get the chief MFM doctor is wonderful and she sounds amazing- I loved my MFM’s that I worked with, most of them have the hugest hearts and if they sometimes seem gruff or stand-offish, try not to take it personally- most often when they are like that they are just trying to remain professional all while still being a human being that cares for you and that baby. I know what you have been told is scary- I have been in on the consults with the neonatologist/pediatrician when discussing our early arrivers- sometimes they get a little clinical and seem a little tough- trust me, again this is generally not true- they are going through all the scenarios in their heads, making sure they don’t miss something and making sure that they are ready to take the best care of that baby as they possibly can. My earliest that I have cared for at birth was a 26 weeker and I have had my fair share of 30-36 weekers, each delivery was different just as each baby was different. Like you said so many new advances have been discovered- you have received 2 steroid injects to help that little ones lungs mature faster, most likely your little one will also receive a dose of surfactant at birth- that part is a little scary and sometimes unsettling as the route of administration is via a endotracheal tube- but a lot of times the baby only needs to be intubated for the administration of the med and then the tube is removed and they are breathing on their own.
    One of things that I wanted you to know it sounds like you have gotten lucky enough to discover and I hope it stays this way- L&D nurses, NICU nurses, transport nurses all have one agenda- to take care of Mom, baby and send everyone home together, even it requires a brief layover in the NICU. I have heard many stories about the horrible nurses, that we are so calloused and cold because we ‘deal’ with this all the time- trust me, that is so far from the truth- we care and want the best for you and that amazing little one.
    I have followed your blog for what seems like forever, I consider you a friend. I have shared your joys of bringing Jaye home and it is hard to believe that she is almost 2 and is going to be a big sister. I have sat here in front of my computer for the last few hours getting caught up in what has been happening to you and your family- I have laughed, cried, held my breath and crossed my fingers. I can know say that I know someone who didn’t know- it really does happen. ‘babysmiling’ laid out some really great ideas. I know that everything is now moving a little faster than originally thought, just remember to take a deep breath you are in wonderful hands and just think in 5-6 weeks you, Mac and Jaye will meeting this amazing little miracle that has fought very hard to be with you all. I can’t wait(but I am more than happy to wait 2 more months) to meet this special little person. Love and Hugs to you Luna and your amazing little blessing ❤

  20. Been thinking LOADS about you!

  21. So glad you are okay! Hope the next six weeks are hospital free and happy!

  22. Catching up on some blog posts that have piled up while I was on vacation. Sending you lots of prayers & positive vibes for you & Baby.

  23. […] mean to leave you hanging here. A few kind souls have followed up to check if everything is OK since the incident almost two weeks ago. I’m happy to say that yes, thankfully, so far so […]

  24. […] we were to have made it to 33 weeks, and now 35 weeks (aka 11 days old), after our  own scare at 28 weeks. I knew how lucky we were that our daughter’s little lungs were working just fine. Yet in that […]

  25. […] the hospital — after all, we had done this five weeks ago when I was admitted for spotting at 28 weeks. But now this was the baby’s birth day, and everything changed. He arranged to drop off Jaye at […]

  26. […] and joy. It was a short but eventful pregnancy, high risk with weekly monitoring and not one but two hospital admissions before a team of doctors decided to deliver her at 33 weeks and 3 days, […]

  27. […] news and fielding inappropriate comments and loaded questions. Then after a spotting incident at 28 weeks last July, I was placed on moderate bedrest. All of a sudden, I had to begin to finish up work, […]

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