“All I want to do is make it to the end of this. Each day is a gift. Apparently some of them are going to be really difficult gifts to bare.”
On Wednesdays, typically my husband and I hang out with our small group in the evening. We’re really blessed to have a great group of friends not only journeying with us through difficult times like this, but through everyday life as well. When things started going awry, they quickly stepped in, putting together a meal sign up, stopping by with little things to brighten up our day and, most notably, visiting/hanging out with us in a way that made us feel normal.
On Wednesday, May 31, my husband came to the hospital, like he did every day after work, ate dinner and headed out for a night with the small group guys. The girls came to the hospital to spend an evening with me. One had arranged to pick up my favorite dinner. Another had arranged for us all to decorate onesies together for baby girl.
As we decorated the onesies, I began to feel off. I couldn’t decide if I’d gobbled up my favorite dinner too quickly or if I was truly feeling something botched pregnancy related. There was pressure in my lower abdomen. After the girls left and I was alone, the pressure escalated into clear contractions.
I called my nurse in, Nurse B, and she put me on the monitor for my third time that day. Not only was I contracting, but our baby’s heart rate was tachy, coming in around 180 beats per minute, about 20 beats per minute too high. Nurse B calmly and quickly got me changed and on my way back to the Labor & Delivery floor. I realized somewhere in this sequence of events that I’d crossed into a new, dignity-less dimension. When Nurse B held up the hospital gown to give me privacy, I didn’t care that I was stripping naked whilst sitting on the toilet in front of my new friend.
I climbed onto the stretcher and made the midnight call to my husband – come back, we might be having our baby.
Again, our car sat in the emergency room parking lot. Again, I was denied food in case we went into surgery. Again, I was hooked up to a magnesium drip, convinced my skin might be on fire and my blood was lava flowing through me. Again, I cried instead of sleeping.
And again, I had an IV start. I had to keep an IV in at all times, whether it was hooked up to anything or not. When it was not hooked up to anything, the nurses would regularly flush it to guarantee it would work should I be rushed into surgery. For every IV start I had, it can be assumed it took at least two pokes to get it right.
What you should know about me is that I hate all things medical. (I’m breaking into a sweat just thinking about IV starts.) The nurses were given the ok to prolong my IVs if they flushed well because pokes make me panicky. This particular IV start may have been the worst. I needed a new one anyway, I was going on day 7 which was the limit, but I had been told I was going back on mag, and then in came the nurse with a needle just shy of the size of a Capri Sun straw. (I might be exaggerating, but I did need a larger needle because it was assumed I would need blood after the cesarean, and possibly quickly.)
Poke #1 – I’m hot, and we haven’t even started the mag.
Poke #2 – I’m blacking out.
The nurse left and came back with a nurse friend. She gave me some lidocaine to numb the area and poked again. I survived IV start number two.
Contractions, bedpan, IV start, magnesium, sleep deprivation, food deprivation, fear, anger… I survived trip two to L&D as well. At 10:30am on the first, they sent me back up to the fourth floor where our unofficial welcome committee of nurses cheered as I was wheeled back into my room still pregnant.
In the stats:
Gestational Age: 23 weeks 5 days
Days of blood: 36
Days of bedrest: 57
Pre-Hospital Stay Doctor’s Appointments: 8
Days in the hospital: 7
IV starts: 2
Magnesium drips: 2
Trips to Labor & Delivery: 2
Sets of visitors: 13