Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Room with a View

Never a dull moment with this baby.

Easter Sunday didn't go quite as planned. I woke up early in the morning with severe pain and frequent contractions, which didn't improve with three doses of the medication I had been taking at home to help stop them. After about 3 hours of trying all the tricks I know, we headed back to the hospital for a check. Once I got there, we were relieved to see that Asher was doing just fine, and my cervix was completely closed still. However, no sooner did we feel relief (not relief of my pain, mind you--the contractions were still coming every 3 minutes or so), when I realized that I was bleeding. Given the circumstances, we were very concerned about the possibility of a placental abruption, which is a premature separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus and can be dangerous for both the mother and, especially, the baby. So rather than heading home as I had expected, I was admitted, and I've been here ever since.

The first few days, I was put on a different tocolytic (contraction-stopping) medication called magnesium sulfate. I am pretty sure it was concocted by the devil. After experiencing its side effects, I am truly shocked that so many of my patients say that it doesn't bother them that much. Among the effects, the most unbearable were the total body ache and inability to keep my eyelids open or focus my eyes. However, I agreed to stay on it for about 60 hours because it seemed to help the contractions initially. But by the second night, the contractions were back, and we eventually decided that it working anymore. Getting off that medication and then the next day having my IV taken out and getting to take a shower have been the major highlights of my hospitalization so far.

Fortunately, the bleeding stopped after the first day. Unfortunately, the contractions have persisted on and off since that time. Because of my high blood pressure and another risk factor (an abnormal low level of a protein called PAPP-A, which was discovered during my first trimester Down syndrome screening), the continued contractions make us more worried than usual about the possibility of abruption, which is why I have continued to be monitored in the hospital. I'm happy to say, though, that now the contractions are much more mild and more infrequent, and Asher has continued to look great.

Just like with any pregnancy, our future is somewhat mysterious. We're hoping to plan for delivery at 37 weeks--19 days from now--as long as we continue to be stable. In fact, I might even get to go home (on strict bedrest, of course) if things continue as they have been. For now we're just taking it one day at a time and trying to enjoy the little things, like my view of the magnolia tree outside my room and my daily shower. Meanwhile, I've received great care from my nurses and awesome visits from friends and family.

Room 229 is not exactly where I had planned to spend the last few weeks of this pregnancy, but all in all, I guess I can't complain.

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