Sunday, December 2, 2007

The beginning of the end of it all

With the exception of a two night hospital stay in early January for hyperemesis and dehydration, likely due to something I picked up while DH and I were on our last child-free vacation, the pregnancy progressed smoothly until 27 weeks 6 days exactly. That morning, a Tuesday, I woke up to some vaginal bleeding. I was relatively unconcerned, given all the bleeding I'd had previously in the pregnancy. I knew it warranted a call to the doctor, but I decided to wait until I got to work so I could actually speak to someone I knew as opposed to the answering service. As soon as I knew thw office was open, I called. They didn't seem terribly alarmed wither, but said I would need to come in and be checked, just in case. My appointment was mid-morning, and I bid my little first-graders good-bye with the promise that I'd return later that day.
I arrived at the doctor's office and was seen by the other doctor in the practice, as mine was there, but busy. After a check by the doc, I was summoned to her office and told that the bleeding had apparently been my mucous plug, and I appeared to have some cervical changes, and I should proceed directly to the hospital to be monitored. They would be waiting for me. I should not attempt to go home first. It was straight to the hospital. I realized at this point that everything might not be fine and I was shaking and fighting back tears as I dialed the receptionist's phone to let DH know what was going on. He didn't sense the urgency and I had to ask him twice to leave work and meet me.
I arrived at the hospital, where I had been for countless ultrasounds and endless blood work. I had envisioned showing up here to have my baby. I hadn't envisioned being here at not quite 28 weeks and telling the receptionist that I was to report to Labor and Delivery. I had never even seen Labor and Delivery. I was too early to have scheduled a hospital tour and our childbirth classes were two weeks away from commencing. I took the elevator downstairs and reported to the nurse, who led me in to a nicely appointed labor and delivery suite. She left me with a gown and instructions to change my clothes. . I looked around and caught sight of a plastic bassinet. The kind they wheel the babies back and forth to the nursery in, and the real panic set in. It was way too early for this. What exactly was I doing here? I remember changing my clothes, but I don't recall the arrival of my husband, or my doctor, who had left the office to come over when he'd gotten the other doctor's report. I remember an ultrasound machine being wheeled in (and I was relieved to see Jeannie manning it again.) My doctor performed my second pelvic exam of the day and reported that my cervix was 2-3 cm, dilated and 80% effaced. I knew that wasn't good. They hooked me up to a monitor to determine if I was having contractions. A short time later, the nurse reported that I was contracting every 3-5 minutes. I was asked how long I had been having contractions, and I didn't know. I had been uncomfortable on and off, but never felt any pain like what I imagined a contraction would bring. We waited, and the doctor said "Right now, you're having a contraction. How long have you been feeling like this?' "Since Sunday, maybe." (It was Tuesday.) I was informed I was being transferred to another hospital equipped to handle a baby born three months early. The ambulance was on its way. My doctor also informed me they would be giving me magnesium sulfate to stop the contractions. A loader dose would be given now, and a drip would be administered after that. He said the loader dose might make me a little hot and possibly a little nauseous. That was an understatement. Within a fairly short time after receiving the loader dose, I began expecting my head to spontaneously combust. I was baffled when I was bundled up before being put in the ambulance. I had forgotten that it was March and cold outside, a stark contrast to the intense heat I was feeling. I embarked on my first ambulance ride, and DH promised to meet me at my destination.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Skip It

Rather than try to force myself to write about a chunk of time I have no motivation to write about, I've decided to skip it. If I fast forward to when things got moving again, then maybe I can keep this blog on track.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Wall

I seem to have hit a wall when it comes to this blog. I was frustrated about it, and discussing it with my friend Stacey. I told her that I'd hit the point in my story where pregnancy was normal for 6 weeks or so. She suggested that maybe I'm playing this out in real time, and maybe when six weeks or so pass, I'll have more to say. I hope that's true. There is so much more of my story about my girls that I want to share. And so many tings that may become clear to me as I write, since that's usually what happens. Or maybe even just my admission of this will clear out my head and let me write again. I hope you'll stick aorund and check back in every once in while.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


The following week I had another ultrasound to check on both the heart beat and the hematoma. The heart beat was higher, healthy and strong. The hematoma was the same. It would have been better for it to have been smaller, but at least it wasn't bigger. The bleeding continued on and off for the next 6 or 7 weeks, until the first trimester ended. At that point, the hematoma appeared to heal. The baby continued to grow appropriately, and I began to relax just a little, though I was still sure something else was going to go wrong. I bought a home doppler off ebay for about $150, so I could find the baby' heartbeat anytime I wanted. Seemed a small price t0 pay for peace of mind. I wonder if I'd have been so paranoid if I hadn't had a loss the first time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I was relieved to be greeted by Jeannie, the ultrasound tech I trusted most at the hospital. She began the scan, and worked for what seemed a long time. She could find the sac, but its location was making it difficult to finds what she was looking for. She called in the reinforcements. Two radiologists arrived and began their own exam. I had been subjected to many trans-vaginal ultrasounds in the past, but none were as invasive and painful as what the to radiologists put me through. the inserted the probe and began pushing, twisting and otherwise jarringly manipulating it around what was an accommodating, but not altogether large space. I half-expected the probe to come exploding through the top of my skull. But the pain was not for naught. The doctors fund what they were looking for. The first thing they discovered was the cause of my bleeding. There was a small hematoma in he gestational sac. Basically, it is a pocket if blood that, in my case, was leaking for whatever reason. But they also found the gestational ac, the yolk sac, and, amazingly, my little baby, looking like no more than a blob, but with a tiny heart beating away. I cried, just a little. I went home feeling a little better, but concerned about the hematoma. I knew mine was small, but I also discovered, through endless googling, that it could grow, and it could endanger my pregnancy and possibly, if things got to a certain point, my life. But, I was encouraged when my doctor informed me that the pregnancy was not ectopic, so one worry had been eliminated. He did tell me that the heartbeat was not as high as he would have liked, but that it was still early and we would check again in a week or two. Another to add to the worry column.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Deja Vu

At approximately week 5 and a half, the spotting began. Honestly, I don't remember how much it was. This was four years ago. But I do remember clearly the terror. A check by the doctor revealed that it was nothing, and an ultrasound showed a gestational sac and a yolk sac. Fine for now, but what I really wanted to see was a heartbeat. It was too early for that. My anxiety level had vaulted itself to new heights, despite my doctor's reassurance that all was fine and it was likely a side effect of the progesterone. A week later, it got worse. I felt a dampness, made a hasty retreat to the bathroom (thank God it was recess at school and someone could keep an eye on my students) only to discover I was no longer spotting. This was full out bleeding. A gush of bright red blood. Shaking, I made my way to the office and informed the principal (she knew I was again pregnant...I told her just for this reason, in case something were to happen). My doctor had me come in right away. The nurse ushered me into the exam room and inquired "You had a miscarriage last time too, right?" My heart sank as I heard the words I dreaded, but was sure were true. I silently wiped the tears from my eyes and tried to keep my composure as I waited for my doctor. The examination showed my cervix was closed and the active bleeding had slowed. His attempts to comfort me were met with my declarations, through tears, that I was not optimistic, as this is what happened last time. He understood my fear and urged me not to give up hope, and he scheduled me for an ultrasound. the second ultrasound revealed that all was well, but still no heartbeat. I knew, at six weeks, this was not abnormal, but I was still frightened. I would simply need to wait for another ultrasound in two weeks or so, when a heartbeat would be visible in a viable pregnancy (or even, in the case of my previous pregnancy, a non-viable one). The next day, I was summoned to the office to take a phone call. It was my doctor, informing me that the radiologist had a concern about my ultrasound. The sac was implanted so high up in my uterus that they feared it was ectopic. I knew this wasn't good, but my doctor reassured me by telling me that he felt it wasn't the case, but because of the danger of ectopic pregnancies, I needed to go for an emergency ultrasound. Again, I left school. I was grateful for the student teacher I had taken on that semester. While he couldn't be left solely responsible for the classroom, he could assure that routine was disrupted as little as possible when the sub was there, and it was one less thing to worry me.