Our Pregnancy Story

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Discharge

On the 30th, the day after Oaklee was born, I spent most of my day trapped in my room on the OB Special Care Floor. In the morning, I asked my nurse to remove my IV. I was so excited to finally be rid of my shackle, but the nurse was shocked I had not yet been notified of my pending transfusion.

My hemoglobin was a 6. 12-15 is normal for women (10-14 during pregnancy), but between the pregnancy and the cesarean, I’d lost so much blood. They ordered two units of blood and asked me when I wanted to sit through the transfusion. Not realizing quite how long it was going to take, I suggested we start right away to get it over with. I wanted to be done focusing on my own medical needs so I could focus on my daughter one building away.

Birth Day

Birth Day

Dr. L made it very clear that our baby might not make it. There was nothing more they could do. Her lungs, the ones that had been constricted in her body that’d been shrink-wrapped in my waterless womb, were being put to the ultimate test 12.5 weeks short of the amount of time they needed to properly develop. They just weren’t ready.

Dr. L left us alone. We sat with the news like an elephant on our chests. It was 6:00 am. We hadn’t yet told our families we were going into delivery, let alone, that our baby had been born. We hadn’t even shared her name with a single person. And now we wondered if we were losing her.

Trip 6

Trip 6

Though these contractions were the worst I’d experienced yet, they were nothing a big dose of mag couldn’t take care of. So there I laid, contracting, fire-hot from the mag and doing the math over and over again – I’d last eaten at 6:00 pm on Tuesday. 12 hours turned into 18 turned into 24 and finally turned into 27.5 hours before I was stabilized enough to be allowed to eat dinner. I’d hoped this meant I had survived another L&D visit on contraband fruit snacks and slushies and I would be sent back up to my room in OB Special Care, but they wanted to keep me just a bit longer to confirm things were ok.

My mind at ease, having gotten past contractions, eaten and cooled after the rush of mag, I told my husband we should try to get some sleep. We’d cancelled our baby shower, all we needed to focus on was having a better tomorrow.

Day 83

Day 83

My 83rd day of bedrest (June 27, 2017) was no different than the others but, as we were increasingly suspecting, life would be significantly changing again for us soon. So what did it look like then? What had I been doing for the 33 days I’d been in the hospital? Below, you’ll again find a loose schedule of my days, some notes that may help clarify how we made things work during this time and some tips for approaching people in our situation.

The Baby Shower

The Baby Shower

I’d made it to the day of goal #1 – my baby shower. There was a lot of talk around how baby showers should be handled when the mom-to-be is a hospital patient limited to an hour or so of wheelchair privileges. I’d always imagined my baby shower would be thrown in a house and we’d measure my 8 months pregnant belly with yarn and eat chicken salad sandwiches while trying to get each other to say the word “baby” in order to win some sort of game, but here we were… 6 months pregnant, confined to the hospital and uncertain I’d last much longer.

His Plan Will Prevail

His Plan Will Prevail

Having survived on flavored ice and contraband fruit snacks, contractions and clot loss diminished and by 6:45 pm the next day, I ordered dinner and was sent back to my room on the OB Special Care floor. I’d remained pregnant through yet another visit to L&D – our longest and most disgusting visit, but one that gave me hope for about 24 hours that maybe even a small part of our chaos was going to resolve.

Normal. Please. Normal.

Normal. Please. Normal.

As for those who brought even the smallest piece of normal to me, I don’t think they’ll ever know how much good they did. To have my favorite meal, to try a new donut shop, to sit outside and tell stories and laugh, to go grab a cup of coffee at Starbucks (one of four restaurants I could go to), to have baklava from the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts, to see my dog, to get a stack of books I was genuinely interested in reading… these were the moments that made this time bearable.

The Milestone of Viability

The Milestone of Viability

I cannot express to you the weight that comes off a parent’s shoulders when it is no longer their signature that would keep their struggling child alive despite any complications she might have forever because of that struggle. In Michigan, 24 weeks is deemed the milestone of viability. We hit that milestone on the 3rd, celebrated with a wheelchair ride to Starbucks for frappacinos, and then I woke up the very next morning to severe abdominal pain. This spurred into motion trip 3 to Labor & Delivery.