Disclaimer: I wrote this last night (1/29/17), so all timing references are from that perspective (i.e. “today” means Sunday).
Whew! I am SO glad to say we’ve reached the end of day 12 and I am still in this hospital room and still pregnant! This was quite a day.
The morning started out quietly enough, and sometime after breakfast the MFM specialist and one of the chief residents came in for rounds as usual. I asked whether there was something significantly different about yesterday’s monitor strips that the residents downstairs kept asking the nurses to keep me on or put me back on the monitor. The chief resident told me it was actually that the nurses up here were concerned about the decelerations they were seeing in the baby’s heart rate, so the residents downstairs were following up by having me monitored more (this still somewhat confuses me because depending on who I’ve asked it’s like a he said/she said situation, but ok). Anyway, he said “We’ll see if your BPP today is reassuring.”
Not long after, I was taken upstairs for the BPP. Since it’s the weekend, there weren’t nurses or techs working up there, so the specialist did the whole test. The whole time it seemed like he wasn’t seeing what he needed to except that he highlighted and measured several fluid pockets. Yay! After a while he said we were all finished and said I got a 6 out of 8 because the fluid was less than a 5 on the Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI. A scale I don’t understand). So much for the signs I thought I was reading. I mentioned the resident’s comment from rounds a little while ago and asked “So was the BPP reassuring?” and he said “Well, we’ll see if for one reason or another you end up delivering this week. We’ll keep an eye on it.” Waahh???
So I got back to my room feeling pretty anxious. I’ve previously been told by this specialist and another that a low AFI reading alone is not an indication to deliver the baby. So the fact that the only points we missed on the BPP were for fluid and then he made that comment really confused me! I got back to my room and texted Nathanael and my mom and cried a little and journaled a lot for the next hour and a half. That morning my mom had texted me from church that I should check out the hymn “Be Still My Soul” because it mentions hope, so I looked up the lyrics for that, copied them into my journal, and spent some time reflecting on the words. (Click here if you’d like to hear the song. This version has an added chorus) What a relief from the fear that was welling up inside me! That hymn came at just the right moment. I was able to use the lyrics to turn my focus back to God and renew my trust that He’s got this whole situation in His hands despite cryptic comments from doctors and worrisome signs on monitoring strips that I don’t understand and can’t control. And as the day went on I only became more grateful that I had that time alone to find my Lord in this again, because otherwise I probably would have been a bit of a wreck with how the evening went!
Around 12:30, my nurse came to put me on the monitor, and there I stayed for the next hour and a half (during which my lunch showed up and sat on a tray across the room from me, taunting me). The resident who sees me the most came up about an hour into the monitoring to let me know they weren’t liking how the baby’s heart rate was looking today. She was having some decelerations, which I thought she’d been having all week, but the dr explained the difference to me. For most of this week Hope’s heart rate sometimes drops, not to a dangerously low rate, but outside of her norms. It always drops quickly and comes right back up, though, so the doctors haven’t been worried about it. That’s a trend they expect to see (they called it something other than a deceleration… A variable?) in a PPROM case because the baby can easily compress her cord when she moves. What they were seeing some yesterday and I think more today was a slightly more gradual drop in heart rate that took a little longer to come back up to her baseline than those sharp drops and recoveries. She said if the variation is less than thirty seconds total, it’s fine. But she was having some that were lasting longer than thirty seconds, and once she even stayed on the lower side of what’s considered normal for a baby’s heart rate for a couple of minutes. It was enough that the dr told me they couldn’t just do nothing about it, so they took me downstairs to Labor and Delivery for continuous monitoring. I guess the reason they needed to do it down there rather than in my room is because L&D nurses are trained to interpret the monitor strips, but the nurses up on my floor aren’t; they just send the printed strips down to the doctors and wait for directions. Also, downstairs their monitors are connected to the computer system so the doctors and nurses can easily view all the patients’ monitoring from their station; it’s easier for them to keep an eye on me from there. I quickly ate my (gross) lunch and a bowl of cereal (to make up for the part of the gross lunch I didn’t finish), packed up some books and things to occupy myself downstairs, and away I went in a wheelchair.
Nathanael arrived at the hospital at about the same time I got down to L&D so that I didn’t have to deal with this unexpected change/somewhat nerve wracking situation alone. For the next 7.5 hours we sat in a delivery room chatting and watching The Man in the High Castle while Hope’s heart rate happily galloped along in the background with only the “normal” kind of variations and no decelerations, at least none that anybody commented on to us. I wasn’t allowed to eat the whole time. Nathanael went and got himself dinner from the cafeteria at one point and, bless him, ate it on his walk back instead of bringing it into the hungry pregnant lady’s room. He’s such a good guy. I love him. Thankfully, Hope behaved herself perfectly and at 9:30pm they decided I could come back upstairs and eat the (lukewarm) dinner I had been permitted to order for later but not eat. Nathanael reheated my food and helped me settle back into my room then had to take off to finally get Ella to bed. Luckily it seemed like Ella was having a grand old time at home with multiple babysitters, plus Grandma arrived at about 9!
I have never been so happy to come back to my hospital room from anywhere. It almost felt like returning home, or at least to a home-ish environment. Almost. Compared to being taken to L&D, anyway, from whence I did not know if I would get to return still pregnant. I guess I’ve gotten comfortable with this place that I’ve spent almost two weeks now.
And so I’m quite relieved to report that we’ve made it through another day, and I’m still pregnant! Thank You, Lord!
Oh, and now that I’ve been back in my room for an hour and a half, it’s 11. Time to go on the monitor! *facepalm*