Friday, August 19, 2005
I haven't blogged for so long for what is a pretty good reason--the little baby that is due in two weeks decided to come six weeks ago.
Eight weeks early is a little too early for comfort. Nowadays, you can really feel at ease at anything over thirty weeks gestation, but there are difficulties and worries and expenses and traumas still. The worst thing is: they tell you at the hospital to plan that your baby will come home on its due date. That means 8 weeks of NICU land. But we were luckier than that, thank god.
Let me back up: On Wednesday morning, July 13th at about 2:00 a.m. I got up to pee. When I came back to bed, I saw what appeared to be quite a bit--a spot the size of my hand-- of water on the bed. I woke Erik up and asked him if he thought this meant my water had broken. He didn't know but thought perhaps we should wait and see. Unbelievably, I fell back asleep. About an hour later, I felt a gush. I woke Erik up again and said we'd better call the midwives.
(The plural "midwives" is semi-important to the story. Instead of having one midwife who followed me throughout my pregnancy, I rotated through seven of them during my prenatal visits since whomever was on call the night I went into labor would deliver me).
The midwife said I should go to the 4th floor (not the emergency room) of the hospital to have it checked out. She said there was no rush, but it was better to be safe than sorry.
When I got there, they tested the water to see if it was amniotic fluid. So it was.
I didn't believe it. Or, rather, I did believe that some water had broken, but that it wasn't enough to be worried about.
Apprarently, any water breakage is worrisome, according to the residents. The primary concern is infection, which sounded more benign to me than having a 32 week baby. I asked them why they didn't give me medicine to stop whatever contractions I was having (to my mind, I wasn't having any) and they said (residents with the attending visiting once) that the risk of infection was worse than having a baby early. They wanted to pump me up with ampicillin and erythromycin and wait in the hospital bed for a week and a half. 34 weekers do the best apparently. But everyone was operating on a "this baby is probably coming now" program. Again, I didn't believe it. I thought, since we live only a few blocks from the hospital, that I could go home and if my water broke further or if contractions started I could just come back. (The stress of being in the hospital wasn't helping anything. Plus, I couldn't like to spend all that money). I'm booked into labor and delivery with a nice view of my house.
But no, they weren't going to let me go. In fact, they weren't even going to let me out of bed except to go to the bathroom. (In fact, the whole experience was centered around the bathroom. Everytime I had to pee, I had to cart my IV full of antibiotics and the cords to the monitors with me. I hated the IV. My veins rolled and they had to restick me a bunch of times. My whole arm was bruised. I kept thinking how bad I would have fared if I'd chosen needle drugs as a sport.) I'm booked into the antenatal wing (which is exactly where the recovery room is). I don't like my view out the window. It's of the next wing of the hospital. I can see the roof's tar paper, the chimney stack and some ugly exterior wall. I cry. Erik asks if we can have a different room. I like the one they move me to. It's exactly like my sister's where she had Lily just ten months before.
On Thursday, lots of good people came to visit. I got no reading done, no thank you cardsfor the shower I'd had just three days ago, just a lot of chatting--which was good and distracting, though perhaps exhausting. Poor Erik slept in a cot beside my bed. I had comparatively, with my foam-pad lined bed and motrin and ambien, a good sleep. (I thought it funny how many drugs they were giving me: steroids in case Zoe was born soon to get her lungs working, antibiotics and motrin and percoset and ambien--all those months of abstinence seemed to go to waste). I'm wheeled out to the ultrasound room--the same one where we learned Zoe was a girl only three short months ago. There, they measure my amniotic fluid. 8--20 centimeters is normal. I had 17. I'm pretty sure I can go home.
That Friday, more visitors. I'm kind of liking this. It reminds me of when I had my hernia out and I was able to order popsicles from the nurses all night long. But I'm kind of stressed and I want to pretend this isn't happening by going home. Apparently, everyone thinks they can go home if their water breaks and no contractions are forthcoming. But only 1% of amniotic sacs re-seal. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be that 1%.
Until, about four o'clock that afternoon. Three people were sitting around my bed just keeping my mind off things when suddenly I just want them to leave. I don't tell them so but I think they can read it in my face because by four thirty, everyone is gone. Erik is back from work and I tell him I feel different. There is some pain now where before there was none. Like little tiny menstrual cramps.
I get wheeled back to labor and delivery so they can monitor me there. This is where the contraptions are they test for contractions and make it difficult to pee. They hook me up to the fetal monitor and the contraction monitor. Fetus is fine. Contractions--minimal. Finally a resident comes to check me. Now here's where things get a little tricky. Besides the fact they won't give me anti-contraction medication, they also won't check my cervix to see how dilated I am with their fingers. Apparently, testing digitally is more accurate and the standard by which they can tell how dilated one is. But again because of the risk of infection, they can only check with a speculum and their eyes. This, apparently, is not very accurate. The resident, Barbara came in to "look." She says I don't look dilated at all. I'm starting to clench my fists every for minutes when there's a cramp but Barbara says they're not contractions because they're not showing up on the machine.
I'm wheeled back to the antenatal room which they've kept for me. I ride my bed back down the hall as Cleopatra riding her boat down the Nile.