Baby Roo’s Birth Story: Part Two


Two hours later we got word that there were no signs of infection. However, one test came back borderline and so I would be monitored very closely. We would need to settle in for the long haul as I would not be leaving the hospital until the baby arrived.

The high risk OB came back and told us their goals:

1. Get through the next 24 hours without me having a baby or showing signs of an infection, if those developed I would be induced immediately or they would take me for a “crash” c-secrion
2. Get through one week without having a baby
3. Reach 34 weeks and then decide a course of action

Our primary goal for the day was to make it through that first 24 hours without going into active labor or showing any further signs of infection.

I sent MH to work for a couple of hours and to get his computer. He also went home and brought back a bag of things for me. While he was gone, the head of neonatology came by my room and walked me through the various stats based on my current gestational age of 31 weeks and 5 days. The survival stats were hopeful and very positive at nearly 100%! He explained what would happen at delivery, what the different possible procedures could happen at the birth depending in the baby’s vital signs and what to expect once she was in the NICU, where he said for us not to expect her to leave until around her estimated due date, August 4. He warned that it could be a long journey for us but he was confident that given her age that she would do just fine.

And so we held our breath that night and every night the next seven days. I was monitored continuously each day three times a day or more as needed. I had multiple ultrasounds to make sure her head continued to face down and to measure the remaining amniotic fluid, which fluctuated throughout my stay until the last u/s that I had which showed me closer to zero than ever before.

During the time I was in the hospital the staff was amazing. My doctors were super nice and would stop by even if I wasn’t on their rotation just to see how I was doing. The nurses with the exception of one were terrific!

Even though we moved to Seattle not that long ago, the few friends that we have here were amazing – stopping by to bring snacks and magazines and to keep me company. One friend even had a baby while I was there and I got wheel chair privileges to visit them!

Overall, after the exciting and scary start to my hospital stay, the time was uneventful and really boring. Well, boring for the time being…

To be continued…

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Baby Roo’s Birth Story: Part One


Early on Thursday, June 7, I woke up and thought that I had wet the bed. I went to the toilet and crawled back into bed to go back to sleep but quickly realized that I was still “peeing” myself. Duh! I wasn’t peeing myself. I phoned the doctor on call who said to put on a pad and if I soaked through it within one hour to meet her at the hospital.

I put on a pad and lay down on the sofa. Within 10 minutes it was soaked through the pad, my underwear and my nightgown. I called my brother, the doctor, and told him what was happening. He said that I should wake up MH and go to the hospital right away.

I woke MH, who was dead asleep, and told him what had happened and he went straight into business mode. He packed himself a bag so he could go to work that morning and we got into the car. I remember talking with him about this being a good practice run for the real deal and that we were lucky that we didn’t have to deal with traffic as it was so early!

Once we arrived at the hospital, I had MH park the car while I asked the front desk where we should go. For some reason, I declined the wheel chair ride to the maternity ward. Looking back, I should have accepted it but I was in denial and walked the long walk.

As soon as we got to maternity, we checked in and they were waiting for us. They took us to a birthing suite and asked me to change into a gown. I had to use the restroom and in doing so I realized that I was also bleeding. As soon as I told the nurse, she said something like “oh your water definitely broke” and I promptly burst into tears.

As soon as I climbed into the bed, they did some sort of litmus test to confirm the fluid exiting my body was amniotic fluid, which it was. Almost immediately, I was asked to sign a number of papers, told we would need to transfer to the hospital that handled high risk pregnancies and had the level 3 NICU and that they were going to do several procedures to me.

The first procedure was to give me an ultrasound to check the position of the baby – she was head down. The second was to hook me up to an IV, where I would be given magnesium sulfate, which would slow any labor down as well as provide the baby with a boost to her brain if I were to deliver her early. The third was to give me a sterile forcep check, which confirmed that I was leaking amniotic fluid (again) and that I was potentially 1 cm dilated. And the fourth and final step was to give me the first of two steroid shots to help the baby’s lungs mature rapidly.

There is a side effect of magnesium sulfate that gives one hot flashes and makes you feel a little loopy in the head. I was given a push of four bags of magnesium, which means they rapidly pushed the four bags through the IV. I felt and acted a little drunk while this was happening, again, I was in denial and was dealing by being silly.

As soon as the IV push was finished, the ambulance arrived to transport me to the hospital. The nurses wished me good luck and off I went with MH left to fend for himself to find his way to this other hospital.

Once we arrived at the other hospital, I was taken immediately to labor and delivery. Some of the same exams and tests were taken there. A very nice doctor examined me and confirmed that I was one cm dilated and that by all sounds, I could potentially deliver that day. I was hooked up to a machine that I came to know intimately by the time I left. The machine monitored both Roo’s heart rate as well as any contractions that I might be having. At the time, I was contracting every 3-5 minutes but I wasn’t feeling any of them.

The doctor told me that I needed to have an amniocentesis test done immediately to determine if I had an infection. As soon as she said those words, I got scared. She told me though that the risks for the amnio that hold true at 20 weeks also hold true for them except the largest risk is that the needle accidentally breaks the bag of waters, which causes death at 20 weeks, but since my water had already broken on its own that risk was already removed. I consented to the exam and held onto MH’s hand tight. Within three minutes of me consenting to the exam, it was over. I didn’t want to see the needle going in so I have no idea how large or small it was and in fact the “pain” that I felt from the steroid shot was worse than the amnio needle going in.

We were told it would take 2 hours for the results to come back and in the meantime we should eat breakfast and try to relax. Right?! If the results found I had an infection they would induce me immediately and if not then we would talk about what options were relevant. My head was spinning. I was terrified and confused.

I might be having a baby that day? I was 31 weeks and 5 days pregnant. I wasn’t ready emotionally, physically or literally! We had just moved into our new house.

To be continued…

Day 13 Bed Rest in Hospital: Things Always Get Better


Thankfully, no matter how down one feels the next day is always (almost) a better day!  Today was a much better day for me.  I got a really good night’s sleep and my morning monitoring was fine.  Roo’s heart rate was behaving, my contractions were non-existent or very minimal.  I took a shower, the nurse put fresh sheets on my bed.  It was a good morning!

A friend, Sandy, came to visit with her little daughter.  It was a highlight of my day.  They brought me a pasta salad that MH and I will have for dinner, a super cute onesie for Roo to wear when she gets a little bigger and best of all some rice crispy treats – my favorite 🙂  I loved having them visit.

This morning one of the 10 perinatologists came to visit me and said it is time for MH and I to start thinking about our delivery plan.  He said that the standard of care is to deliver PROM patients between 34 and 36 weeks.  He said many hospitals deliver automatically at 34 weeks and some allow their patients to wait until 36 weeks but this hospital prefers to go middle of the road at 35 weeks.  I told him that we were aiming for 35 weeks and wanted to stick with it.  He then asked which day we would like to induce labor as my turnover day to 35 weeks falls on a Saturday – we could choose Friday or Monday.  We just need to tell him before next Monday.  MH and I will talk about it tonight but I have my preference based on a conversation I had with my brother and sister-in-law who are physicians.  I’ll share with you which we choose once the decision is made.  Whatever the decision is…Roo will NOT be a spring baby!  She is going to be a summer baby with summer officially here!

I spent the last two days shopping online and buying everything that we need that I can think of that I’m missing.  My poor credit card is probably wondering what is going on but we need these things!  It’s kind of exciting.  I purchased:

Crib mattress: one of the Naturepedic Organic mattresses (the lightweight one)
Changing pad: Naturepedic organic with the organic changing pad cover
Crib Sheet savers (3 sets)
Ultimate Crib Sheets (3 sets)
Dust Ruffle for Roo’s crib
UppaBaby Cruz Infant Insert
Ergo carrier – I realize that I might not be able to use it for a while but I want to be ready
Luna Lullaby Nursing Pillow
Nursing stool
Car seat protector – something that sits between our leather seats and the car seat preserving the leather seats
Night light
Nipple cream
Nursing pads (some washable cotton ones that a friend recommended) – I also have a box of disposable Medela ones
Diaper rash cream that is cloth diaper friendly so when I switch from preemie diapers to the newborn cloth diapers I can keep using it (if necessary) – Weleda
Maxi pads for post-partum bleeding
I found a super cute one piece preemie outfit online that I think would be cute for her take-home outfit; I decided to buy one that we can keep since I’ll need to return the majority of the ones that people are loaning us (THANK YOU!)

I’m overwhelmed thinking about these things but at least I got a lot of it using my completion discount (I went in and changed the due date from August to June).  A friend was telling me how much it costs for a three-day stay here out-of-pocket and I was astonished at how much it is – $35,000 for the three days with a vaginal delivery.  I’ve been avoiding thinking about what our bills will be.  Thank goodness we have good insurance.  We have a high deductible but at least once we got through that the rest should be covered – I’m sure we blew through our deductible the first two days that we were here along with the ambulance ride!

The best news from today – other than Sandy and her baby girl visiting – is that MH gets to take me outside for a 30 minute wheelchair ride!!  I can’t wait!  It is sunny and as it is the summer solstice today it should be sunny out for a long time!!!

So, yes!  Things always get better.  I know that there may be some more dark days ahead but at least I can find comfort in your support as well as the knowledge that the next day is more than likely going be better!

Happy summer solstice!!

xo,

Michelle

Day 12 Bed Rest In Hospital: Inevitable Melt Down


Today is the day that I melted down.  I guess I knew it was coming.  I’ve been trying to keep it together but today I just can’t keep it in.

It started out rocky.  My morning monitoring session was full of Baby Roo heart accelerations, which they tell me is good, but to see my little baby girl’s heart rate jump so high….it frightens me.  Then, I was contracting like crazy though I still don’t feel it.  My day nurse, who I also had yesterday, I just don’t like.  I’m sure she’s a fine person but I don’t feel like she is competent.  I don’t like her.  When I voice my concerns, she ignores/dismisses me.

I get an ultrasound twice a week – once on Tuesdays and once on Fridays.  The past two times, I’ve gotten to go down to the 4th floor for them.  A little field trip, which is fun for me.  However, today, they came to me.  I was so disappointed.  The u/s results showed that Roo is fine except that my amniotic fluid level is really low: a 3.4.  It was a 4 last Tuesday and a 6 on Friday.  Again, the doctor said that it’s fine and not to worry.

I’m just feeling low today.  I can’t seem to stop the tears from falling.  I don’t know what to do.  I am trying to relax but I can’t today for some reason.  I can’t distract myself.

I just want MH to come “home” from work and hold me.  I want to go home.  I want to be a “normal” pregnant woman who delivers a healthy baby at 40 weeks.  I don’t want Roo to go to the NICU.

I want to enjoy this time but I’m sad and I’m scared.  I’m scared.  I’m scared.  I’m scared.

Going to go watch a movie and try to distract myself.  Thanks for listening!

xo,

Michelle

33 week bumpdate


I wasn’t able to get my maternity shoot in before we ended up in hospital.  So, my beautiful and talented friend came for a visit yesterday and brought me lunch.  She surprised me by pulling her camera out after we ate and took some photos of my 33 week belly!  She made me look gorgeous – I almost wish this blog weren’t anonymous so you could see them all!  I cried when she pulled out her camera!

Everything is going well.  Quiet is good.  I’m feeling much better.  I’m starting to “nest” from my bed and am figuring out last-minute things I need to order online and have delivered to our house.  My mom will be arriving to a huge number of boxes to open and organize!  We are finalizing paint colors – my hospital room faces the same direction Roo’s nursery does so we think the light is close enough.

If you don’t get daily updates, it’s because everything is going well and I’m just trying to stay quiet and relaxed!

We’re at 13 days or less and we’ll hold our baby girl in our arms!

Thanks for your ongoing support and encouragement!

xo,

Michelle

Middle of the night fears


I haven’t had insomnia since I came to the hospital. I think mainly because I’ve been so emotionally exhausted and because I’ve pushed through it with MH sleeping in the bed next to me. At home, I’d just go to a different room. I have no choice here though I’m tempted to go hang out with the nurses.

Being up in the middle of the night almost always awakens all of my fears. I start to think about things and then I overanalyze and then my mind turns and turns.

Right now, I’m scared of pretty much everything. I realized that I tend to go to the negative when I’m in my own head. I create scary scenarios. I won’t go into them but an example might be that MH is taking longer to walk to the hospital after work and so I start to worry that he is getting robbed or got hit by a car or something wacky that could happen but is highly unlikely. I don’t know why I do it to myself.

It really only happens during stressful times like this. I think it is because my anxiety level is so high right now. I’m also a type A control freak and for the moment, I have NO control at all! I have no control over my body – I can’t even stop the fluid from leaking 24/7. I can’t control whether or not I feel Roo move. I can’t control the contractions. I have no control.

It’s very hard for me. But it might be a lesson for me as I suspect motherhood is very much not having control in the sense that I want it!! This is my first lesson in motherhood patience.

Here is what I’m scared of right now:
Labor

Tearing

Losing Roo…

Epidural (my original plan had been to go without drugs all the way but I think I’ve been through enough and don’t need to prove anything to anyone, so I’m giving myself permission to ask for the epidural if I change my mind)

Not knowing how to care for Roo

Being afraid of her preemie body and how delicate she might be or at least how I perceive her to be

Post-partum depression – I will not be eating or encapsulating Roo’s placenta but I will take medication if I need to help depression 🙂 no judgement!

Breast feeding

….I won’t go on…

I’m just overwhelmed. I can’t even think of reading the books to help me. I don’t know why. It would be the perfect way to spend my time here but I can’t. I avoid it. I’m reading “beach” book, which is fun but so far from a new parent book! I might be in denial…or I’m just scared and avoiding it!

I honestly feel like a good cry right now but I know it would be the ugly cry (lol) and I don’t want to wake MH!

Having our baby this early isn’t part of my plan! I want more time to emotionally and literally get ready for her! Maybe this is a sign that I’m too selfish for a baby? This isn’t about me right now, right? This is about doing what is best for Roo and her health. But it makes me mad. It frustrates me. It saddens me.

I’ll wait until its daylight when things aren’t as scary and dark. I know it will be ok. I’m going to be a great mama and MH is going to be a wonderful daddy! I will just try to imagine MH holding Roo close to his chest and let that carry me back into sleep. It will all be more than ok. It is going to be amazing!!

I’m going to be a mommy in 15 days or less!!! This is a dream that will come true for me. One that I’ve had since I was a little girl pretending to be a mommy! I had better get excited…!

Good night again, friends! Thanks for letting me journal and get my thoughts out!

Xo,
Michelle

Day 7 Hospital Bed Rest: One Week!


Our first goal was to make it 24 hours.  Check!  Our second goal was to make it to one week!  Today, I have officially been in the hospital on bed rest for seven days.  One. Whole. Week.  I didn’t think we’d make it this far but we have and I’m so happy!

It’s been emotional and it will continue to be but I’m trying to keep it together by reminding myself that there is no better place to be than here.  We are receiving amazing care.  The doctors and nurses are all outstanding.  Seriously, if someone needed a recommendation for high risk pregnancy, I’d send them here without hesitation.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the antepartum mom group.  It was anticlimactic.  There was only one other mom there and I totally couldn’t relate to her – I tried but she and I came from such different backgrounds and it was just very clear.  Plus, she dominated the conversation even when the moderator tried to steer the conversation to a group topic…it was hard.  However, the good that came out of the group is that the moderator also takes moms on the NICU tour.  So, I got to see the NICU, where Roo is very likely to end up during her first days/weeks of life.

The tour helped me feel so much better.  I think I was imaging a scary place and it was in fact the opposite.  It is on the floor above the one I’m currently on and has these big windows so each of the five nurseries (up to 30 babies at one time) is bright and light.  Not scary at all.  There were many isolettes/incubators and many tiny, tiny sweet babies!  The environment was a calm, peaceful and happy place.  Not scary, dark and sick as I imagined.  I was surprised to not see very many parents there.  Most of the babies were being tended to by nurses.  The one nurse that stuck out was this huge (cute) guy nurse.  The idea of him taking care of my sweet Roo brought tears to my eyes.  I love that a big, burly guy is one of the staff!

Along one wall was a board covered with photos and letters from families whose babies had been in the NICU.  EVERY single photo showed a baby or a child who I never would have known was a premature baby.  They all seem to be thriving and one would never know.  It lightens my heart and eases my mind.  Our little Roo will be just fine!  I also am comforted by the fact that many of these babies were born weeks earlier than Roo will be born and they are happy and healthy little girls and boys!!

Today has been calm.  I’m tired so I’ll stop now, plus writing on my computer is awkward.  I just wanted to share an update and get some of this off my chest and onto “paper.”

Tomorrow morning I’m getting a pre-natal massage in my room!  I’m so excited.

Thank you for your positive wishes, prayers and overall support!

xo,

Michelle