At least it didn’t mean “committed” but in a way, well, it does.
Dear Husband and I woke at 6 am on Wednesday (22nd of February) in order to be able to leave at 7 to get to the hospital at 8 for registration. We got here at 7:46, registered and had 20 minutes still to get coffee before my ultrasound was scheduled.
As this is a teaching hospital (which is awesome, I love it, because I get to learn along with the students) I had a newbie do my ultrasound. The great thing being at this hospital – Dear Husband got to be IN the room with me for the WHOLE ultrasound, and they had a monitor I COULD WATCH the entire time. I could see what they were measuring, Ken (DH) could ask questions (like, you do all these measurements EVERY TIME?) and the student sonographer was getting explanations on the “newer” machine (it does some things very automatically) and the “teacher” sonographer was AWESOME. They were so reassuring, and so funny, and baby was sort-of-cooperative (until we said that it was nice baby’s head wasn’t on the cervix so they could measure the placenta’s placement from the cervical os – then SHE immediately pushed her little head over the cervix).
Yes. They told us. I think that may just be why I love them so much. I was trying to figure out how many ultrasounds we have endured without knowing – 8? But now we know that very soon we will be welcoming a little girl into our home.
At first we thought we’d be disappointed for our ONLY SON, until we started thinking about how SPECIAL this makes him! Not only did we get to pick “Alexander” as his middle name (he picked “Alex Burrows remember) but Alex means protector, warrior, defender – and he IS that. And now he gets to be the ONLY boy, and gets to have all the special daddy attention that he needs! Joy in that. I don’t think I realized until we were told that this baby was a girl, how hard it might have been on Sean if it had been a boy. And, I have no doubt he’ll be teaching every single one of his sisters how to play hockey. =)
So, Coralee Elisabeth Margaret (the proposed name) should be born in the next few weeks! More Joy! The sonographers estimated that her weight is already six pounds. I know that can’t possibly be true (even if I am significantly bigger than I was with Claire when she was born) although, Cora Beth is certainly strong and active and measuring well – which is all a huge relief to me considering the antigen issues and the morphine.
So thank you for your many prayers on kindness and for us to find out gender AND that baby is doing WELL despite my hardships.
After the ultrasound I went to wait for the Fetal Medicine doctor. I was getting very sore by then. VERY SORE. First the student doctor came in and did all the preparation questions and exams to report to the specialist. Mid-interview I took my hydromorphone, and it didn’t even start to ease my discomfort from being “up” for 4 hours already. There is a reason why I’ve only been able to sit up for 30 minutes, in bed, at a time. Cora Beth fulfilled her “not-liking-the doppler” fight and surprised the student doctor by kicking the doppler over and over again while he was listening to her heart. He said he’d never seen a baby so active (he also stated that he hadn’t done a whole lot). She definitely has an aversion to the doppler!
An hour later, when we finally got to see the specialist, I was in tears because of the pain. I had taken my morphine and tylenol and nothing was easing the pain. I laid down on the hard exam table and had a couple slices of cheese. The specialist admitted me. Immediately. I knew I couldn’t get back into the car. I didn’t know how if we DID get me in the car and home, how on earth I was going to be able to get up the stairs. As it was, I was wheeled into a room in an antenatal ward and treated with great care and concern. The “shelf” lunch was pasta – so Ken got to eat a bit, and they found some salad and cheese for me.
Shortly after the dietitian and her student arrived and spent probably 45 minutes going through my usual diet and going through what the hospital had to offer (way more than the smaller community hospital). We sat down and ordered my meals for the next day (and 3 snacks a day). Although the options are fairly limited, I am eating much better than I expected (although Ken did bring in Cinnamon Chex and some instant GF oatmeal for my breakfasts). The dietitian has come in every day to make sure everything is being covered. I am thinking more and more about furthering my education in that particular field in a few years…
The anesthetist met with me in the early evening and did the prep work for the c-section (checking my teeth, going over allergies, looking at my spine) and then talking about the procedures for the c-section and all the options that will be considered by the anesthesiologist attending my surgery. We talked about everything from the possibility of needing to go under a general or having a hysterectomy because of bleeding – to pain management until the delivery date is decided. There are options for pain relief – but beyond what I am already doing (hydromorphone, tylenol and morphine for breakthrough pain) they could only, maybe, buy me a week with a walking epidural. His preference was to not go to the full 37 weeks.
On Thursday and Friday, I met with the doctor in charge of my care (it changes during the week and on the weekends) and she was a love. Seriously. We talked about all my concerns, and she voiced hers (which, of course, have been mine all along). I asked questions I’d been nervous about asking previously. She answered honestly – and that she doesn’t have much say in what will be going on with me except as a part of the team, as she will not be my doctor NEXT week (a different doctor will be in charge of this ward). I felt she really was on my “side” in understanding my concerns about going home (actually, more concerned than I was) at this stage. Especially because although I had warning with Claire because my waters broke, because of the amount of pain I have been in, and Claire’s “speedy delivery” I might not make it to the hospital in time – and bleeding out is a big issue.
But not as big of an issue as before. Although on Feb 1 the placenta measured 1.4cm from the cervical os, to not be “marginal previa” the placenta has to be 2cm from the os. On the 22nd I measured 7mm. So I am still (even more-so) marginal than before. BUT because we are in a more sophisticated facility, she does think that the best long term plan may be for a vaginal delivery (!?!). Because the pelvis is already so stretched out, the risks of stretching and tearing are kind of not the issue anymore. Bleeding is the issue. AND, one thing I never thought about before – after a C-Section I wouldn’t be able to use the walker. And our house is NOT wheelchair friendly. My recovery would be much quicker if I was able to deliver vaginally, and because Claire’s birth was relatively simple (no stitches, and quick) that they’d be able to manage the delivery with little pushing necessary (which is what my OB had hoped early on).
It is a different realm of thoughts to think about, and a whole other group of prayer requests – for doctors who are as compassionate and understanding as this doctor has been with the team that will be making these decisions next week. Wisdom in any decisions/input that I am able to give to this process. Comfort and peace in whatever decisions are made. Lots of things percolating in our minds right now!
Because I have been on hydromorphone for about three weeks now (and will be until the baby is born) the likely hood of Cora Beth being born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is very high. So it’s not so much, anymore, if she’ll be born early, but what kinds of issues will she face as she goes through the withdrawals from the drugs once she leaves my body. This is really difficult for me to face at this point. I have taken care of a LOT of babies with NAS and it really tears my heart up that I am causing this for her. I have been reassured by a few things: 1)it is better for her to have to deal with short-term withdrawal effects, that are minimal with morphine compared to other drugs/narcotics, than to be born too early and not be developed enough to breathe or eat on her own; 2)she has NOT slowed down in her movements even though she is running out of room (you know babies grow about an ounce a day at this stage?) with the morphine being so constant in my body.
I will meet with the NAS team from the NICU this weekend or early next week. It’s a little hard to be the mom in this circumstance. I’ve always been the foster mom. Now I know what it feels like to be on the other side.
Please pray for my heart during this process. That all the training I have had to help babies with NAS will come back, that I’ll be able to come off the morphine myself quickly so my breast milk will not be affected (since the uterus won’t be pressing down on my pelvis, my pain should lessen significantly), and that she won’t be as affected as I fear (it would be fabulous to not have to spend time in the NICU!
I did see a physiotherapist on Thursday. She worked me hard. Maybe a little too hard for someone who has been on bedrest for a long time and who was recovering from intense soreness from the previous day. The little she worked with me excited my uterus and I had a LOT of braxton-hicks that caused some issues with nausea (along with maybe the change in brand of hydromorphone) and I was so sore on Friday that, along with the contractions, the nurse and doctor kept the physio from me – “next week” they said. I do look forward to being in better shape when I leave than when I came in – and if she can help me have a vaginal child birth I am all for it. I just need to have enough time to recuperate in between, and spread the exercises out a little further.
The nurses are lovely. SO lovely. I adore nurses. Blood, mucus, stool. They do it all. They bring me water (hot for cocoa, cold for sipping) and medications. Sign me up for massages (that I missed because of the physio – maybe that is why I was grouchy towards her) sit down and chat, make me smile. And come quickly when I call. Nurses are just plain awesome. People who do what they do need halos.
One last little bit. There is a lot more I could say on this process, but these are the questions I have been asked the most and repeat the answers to most constantly – so you now have an update on me.
But today I received a note from Sean’s teacher, this is an excerpt of it (I hope you don’t mind me sharing Teresa):
Today was our first auction – the opportunity for the kids to ‘spend’ the C—bucks they earned over the last few weeks. Lots to choose from. And your sweet child bid first on a lovely little stuffie for the new baby. When the others realized why he was bidding on that, they stopped bidding so he could ‘buy’ it. And then as the auction proceeded he continued to bid/buy gift items for his siblings. What a kind heart. This has been a week at school of recognizing random acts of kindness. When someone, a student, a teacher, witnesses a random act of kindness they write the person’s name on a paper heart and it is added to a huge heart in the lobby. So your Sean’s name is on there. He has a very big heart!
My girls are pretty lucky to have a brother looking out for them like that! He wanted to talk to me so bad tonight, that when he did I asked him why he spent his hard earned bucks on his sisters. His sweet little reply was “It was the right thing to do.” He is getting how good it feels to give! I’m very proud of him! Very touched by his love.
Thank you friends for your prayers. For your concern. For your constant love. I don’t know how people go through trials without friends like you.