Friday, December 16, 2011

BlogFrog's Million Mom Challenge, It's Long, Sorry!

I read through some of the blogs on BlogFrog's Million Mom Challenge and realized, that wow, I really had some awful pregnancies. We lost our 1st at 12 weeks. Three of the four started out as twins, losing one early on in my pregnancy each time.  Pre-e, HELLP, a seizure while I was 27 weeks pregnant - with an extend hospital stay, having my OB's partner stand there with her arms crossed while I delivered B alone, feeling myself rip, only to have her stitch my tear up with NO anesthetic and, and, and, a nutshell...being pregnant SUCKED!  I hated being pregnant. 

When D was a girl (verified at delivery), I breathed a sigh of relief (as my bp dropped to 60/20 from loss of blood), my hubby got his girl.  I was done.  With O, I cried when I found out I was pregnant.  I did not plan to be pregnant, I ALWAYS planned when I would be pregnant.  I took 8 tests and didn't believe a single one.  I went into to my OB's office and cried.  She knew I hated being pg. She even clarified with D that we were done now that we had our girl - in the delivery room, while trying to get my uterus to contract so I wouldn't bleed out and leave my husband with a 6 year-old, a 3 year-old and a newborn to raise alone.  When I went back in with this unplanned pregnancy, she thought the tests were wrong, seeing as I had just had an ultra-sound 5 weeks earlier.  She would have seen if I was pregnant.  So we did the blood test and she confirmed it, I was pregnant.  I cried again.  It had only been 13 months since I had D.  I wasn't ready.

I wasn't ready for Zofran to be my life source. I wasn't ready for the IV fluids because I couldn't eat or drink anything without puking it right back up.  I wasn't ready for bedrest.  I just wasn't ready.  I COULD NOT be pregnant.

Then the funniest thing happened, I bonded with this baby I wasn't ready for.  I was in for ultrasounds twice a month and loved watching her develop right before my eyes.  I panicked when I didn't feel her move that scary Monday.  She was stubborn, but after lots of Apple Juice, we got her going again.  The next day I came in for my regular appointment, all looked well.  However, she wanted me to lay low and take it easy - I got an early Thanksgiving break. The NEXT day (the Wednesday before Thanksgiving), after TWO appointments in TWO days, I got up and went to the bathroom.  There was blood on the toilet paper - just enough to make it pink.  I panicked again.  J, kinda blew it off, told me to come back to bed.  I called the doc.  She had me come in right before her 1st appointment of the day, even though she was certain it was nothing.  I made J come with me - which I never did.  When we got in (with an antsy D),  we waited in the exam room for a bit.  She came in, smiled and said, "Let's take a look and get you home." I got into the stirrups and she said, "Holy $h!t!"  and quickly ordered my husband to put the seat all the way back in the car and rush me straight to the ER.  I was 21 weeks and had an incompetent cervix.  (THANKS!  It brought 3 lives into the world and now you call it incompetent!!??)  I was going to lose the baby.  I would have given ANYTHING to stay pregnant, just a little longer, ANYTHING.  ANYTHING to keep this unplanned baby cooking.

We made our way to the ER, made our way up to the ante-partum unit and met with a lovely British perinatologist, mine was off for the day. He explained our options.  Do nothing and let nature take its course. Spend the remainder of my pregnancy in the Trendelenburg Position.  Finally, our last option, a cerclage.  Essentially we would stitch my cervix closed and hope it holds. (They never told me that really don't like to do a cerclage after 14 weeks and they never expect them to work after 18.  Thank God!) We opted for the cerclage.  I spent Thanksgiving in the hospital, feeling terror at every turn.  After a prescription for the most painful and viscous shot in the arse twice a week (only made by a single apothecary in the city), I went home and hoped to God that everything would be okay.

Christmas Day, was a long dram filled day and I fell asleep on the couch.  I woke up at 11:15pm and HAD TO GO!  You know how it is when you are pregnant.  When you gotta go, you gotta go.  I got up and thought I had leaked down my leg.  (Sorry, gross, I know.)  Swore the whole way to the bathroom. Once I got there, I did not like what I saw - blood. NO, NO, NO!!  We made quick arrangements for the three stooges and off we went to the hospital.  J and the nurse ran out to the car with a wheel chair, off we went to L&D.  Once we made it through paper work, it was a parade of doctor's.  I had a few ultrasounds, they kept me hooked up to the fetal monitor.  Finally an answer, a placental abruption, although it was mild.

Two more weeks come and go and I find myself doing a cyber happy dance - I made it to 27 weeks.  That was my magic number. We made it.  Now the worst of it was over and I envisioned myself making it to 35 weeks and having another good sized 6 pounder.

I had my two-a-week appointments with my OB, my bi-weekly with my peri and life seemed to be going well. One Saturday morning in January, I woke up with blood on the TP, again.  This time, I was ready.  I didn't panic, I already had a bag packed for me, as well as one for the three stooges.  I figured I would be home later that day, or maybe the next.  We get in, I figure I've done this before, no worries.  The same story, we think it is the abruption, but we can't find where it is.  That is not the bad part.  The bad part is where the contractions start. And they get stronger. Bring on the fluids. My OB comes in and says, "Sorry sweetie, we need to get these contractions to stop."  My heart dropped, that can only mean one thing - Mag sulfate.  

I am an old hat at the Mag, I have the temp dropped in the room, they bring in towels and ice water, some ice chips.  My doc and hubby work with me on my self-hypnosis.  I have been here and done this.  I can make it through another round. I am almost all the way through the bolus and I have not gotten sick.  I am pretty proud of myself at this point.  Then I cough and a wave of nausea comes over me and it is all over.  I knew this would happen.  No amount of cool water and breathing could stop this and I am sicker than a dog.

While I am getting sick, I feel the rush that sends me into a panic.  My water broke.  NO WAY.  THIS CAN'T BE HAPPENING!  I tell the nurse and she blows me off, tells me I just wet myself.  I tell my doc and she looks at me, certainly seeing the look on my face and  knowing I don't panic easily and orders a pH strip so we know for sure.  Yup, my water broke.  Dr. I then tells the nurses to get an u/s in here and we check on my baby girl.  At this point I am fretting spending the next 2 months in the hospital, trying to stay pregnant.  But that is not to be worried about.  

My baby girl has floated back up and is now on top of her cord, head down.  Not good.  So, off we go for an emergency c-section.

My b/p dropped so quickly that I had a hard time keeping conscious during the surgery.  I have flashes of my husband's eyes lighting up when he sees my uterus on my stomach, the anesthesiologist commenting on how big her cord was (full term size at 29 weeks - saved her brain, a miracle), Dr. Irland offering the stapler to the med student or resident and him sounding like she had just given him a million dollar check, the sight of her isolette being whisked away in a sea of scrubs, my only actual image of her- from my camera.  The rest becomes a blur until I am waiting to get my legs back in recovery, making my husband move them for me so I can get feeling back.  From there I made the phone calls to family, letting them know O made her debut ahead of schedule.  

From there it was 49 days in the NICU.  Every week, thinking that THIS was the week she would be able to come home.  Lectures from nurses when I called about her in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. (I am her MOM, if I cannot walk into her room and check on her, I will most certainly call if I want!) Two days when I could not get into the NICU because of the snows that year - 100+ inches - and the guilt and tears that went with missing those two days. 

I think about all I went through to get her here and how grateful I am she is a trooper.   I find myself envious of big bellies and jealous when babies come home right away. I scold myself every time, but it seems to happen every time. I did not plan her, but I would not trade O for all the money in the world.  I look forward to watching Diane Sawyer's special this evening and I continue to pray for medicine to keep these little ones and their mommies safe - before and after they enter our world.  Thanks to God, St. Joe's NICU, Dr. Glaspey and the March of Dimes.  They are why my tough girl is here today.
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