As of last night we have successfully avoided being part of the average I was told when I was first admitted: “Most women with PPROM/PROM deliver within the first 7-10 days.” Woohoo!!
Yesterday was a good day and a hard day all at once. The hard part was just that I was by myself all evening because all of the action of my day was packed into the morning and afternoon. And my evenings are much longer than they used to be at home because I have to stay up until midnight every night for monitoring. But the earlier part of the day was great!
A friend of mine picked up Ella in the morning and took her to a community playroom we have a membership to. Ella had a blast! This mama was sooooo happy knowing my little girl was off having a great time with other kids all morning. Thank you, Brittany!!
And then I got to see Ella for lunch!! They’re letting me go downstairs in a wheelchair once a day now, so I can have lunch or dinner in the cafeteria with Ella and Nathanael if it works out for their schedule too. Yaaaaay!!!! I failed to take pictures. Ella loved riding in the wheelchair on my lap after lunch. And luckily she was very excited about riding the elevator when it was time for me to go back to my room, so that preoccupied her and she didn’t have a meltdown when I had to leave. I’ll take pictures next time!
My friend Kandace came to see me yesterday, too, which I really appreciated because she and her husband are moving out of state today, and she still had lots of packing to do. Thanks for taking time to come see me one more time before you go! Those two will be sorely missed :o(
And yesterday afternoon the main resident who has been seeing me since getting here came and talked with me for an hour or so and answered lots of questions about induction and what I can expect of the labor and birth experience at different weeks’ gestation, depending on when it happens. That conversation was SO helpful! I’m not going to include every detail of our conversation because I doubt most people are as interested in the long version as I am, but I’ll try to sort out what people who are curious and who are praying for us may find relevant for their knowledge. My new more pressing goal is to reach 32 weeks gestation. Obviously to get all the way to 34 (when they would induce regardless of how well we’re doing) would be better, but I’m really hoping to at least get to 32 weeks without developing an infection or going into labor spontaneously. The reason is that before 32 weeks the baby is still at risk for bleeding in the brain; to counter that risk, they would give me magnesium during labor as “neuroprotection” for her. Between the scariness of brain bleeding and the effects of magnesium, I really hope we don’t have to deal with that! Magnesium “slows everything down,” as the doctor said, so I would have to stay in bed because my muscles would be too weak for them to feel comfortable allowing me to walk around. I would probably need significant physical assistance to get into and maintain any positions besides sitting or lying, and remaining physically static during labor is counterproductive to laboring well. Also (I still have to ask about this), another obstetrical use of magnesium is to delay or stop preterm labor. So I don’t understand how they can use that and try to induce labor at the same time and have very realistic hopes of success… A failed induction is one of the few things causing me anxiety at this point. That would mean we’re having a c-section, and I sincerely hope to avoid that.
If I get past 32 weeks, the resident I was talking to sounded pretty confident that they should be able to work well with me regarding freedoms I’d like to have during labor. I’ll have to be monitored continuously because it’s still going to be so early, so I asked if I can please have the wireless monitors so I can still walk around and labor in the shower. She explained what the typical rate of increasing Pitocin is and said I always have the right to delay or deny increasing it (although that may not be the best medical choice depending on the circumstances. I just wanted to know once they’ve started the process I can have some say in how quickly the gas pedal is pressed down). She told me about my pain med options if the Pit should become too much for me to handle because I don’t want an epidural (again, trying to avoid being bed bound), and she explained the possible side effects of those medications on the baby. A big surprise and cool thing to learn is that I actually could request someone from massage therapy to attend my labor and work on me during the process! She was like “If that therapist offered, then yeah, it wouldn’t hurt to find out if she or someone is available at the time.” And another favorite piece of information is that she told me which L&D nurses she think would really match my personality so that I can request to be on their caseload at the time.
Other than getting questions answered, I think one of my goals of that conversation with her was to express my confidence in my body’s ability to labor well without needing total medicalized control of the process if they can just get me into labor (assuming I don’t go into labor on my own for some reason). I was super happy that I didn’t even have to say that. She told me that! She said the fact that I’ve had a baby before and that it went quickly and was uncomplicated is a really good sign for this whole induction process going well. It was so reassuring to have confidence expressed in me and my body’s ability instead of having to try to convince anybody that I can do it. I hope she’s on call whenever I do deliver this baby. We’ve gotten to understand each other pretty well :o)
Today has been highly uneventful. I’m about to have some visitors for dinner which will be a welcome relief from the quiet of this Saturday. On the weekends since my sonograms happen in my room I don’t even have a little field trip up to Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM in future posts) to look forward to. Today the quiet MFM specialist was my (second or third) wake-up call and he completed our BPP in record time. There went almost my only “social engagement” of the day and it wasn’t even 8:30! The only other “excitement” today was that I have spent about five times as long being monitored as usual because most of the residents are out of the building for an exam today, so when my nurse calls downstairs to give them the report of how my monitoring is going it takes a really long time to get approval to take me off. Not a big deal though, I didn’t have much else going on!
I’m reading a book right now about “Kangaroo Care,” which is the practice of putting premature babies on their parents’ chests in skin-to-skin contact in order to help them bond and help the babies learn to regulate their temperature, breathing, heart rate, they gain weight faster, and lots of other good things. When Kangaroo Care was stumbled upon in Colombia in the 1980s, the country had had a 70% mortality rate in their premature babies due to insufficient medical equipment, unreliable electricity, and abandonment. In a somewhat desperate act, the doctors started placing the babies on their mothers’ chests in an attempt to get mothers to attach to their babies and not abandon them, and then they realized the fantastic benefits I listed above. The premie infant mortality rate dropped to 30%! The NICU here promotes Kangaroo Care. I’m so glad.
This photo popped up on my Facebook “memories” today, and I realized that my lack of preggo pics from this entire pregnancy is at an all time low now that I’m in the hospital in pajamas every day. I was two months from my due date in the picture on the left, and on the right is my little baby bump today. What a different experience compared to two years ago! I’m actually really sad that I won’t have the chance to get hugely pregnant this time… But it’s for the best.
We’re just about to the end of Day 11, and hopefully I’ll still be writing these updates in a pregnant state for quite a while! My mom arrives tomorrow night. I can’t wait to see her! Thanks everyone for all your love and support and continued prayers.