16 Days Deep

There are so many different ways to count the time that has passed and that is remaining of this hospital stay (in terms of best case scenario, which is that I stay until I’m 34 weeks and then have a baby). I’m 16 days in. There are 27 days left until 34 weeks. I’ve been here more than two weeks; if I can do that amount twice more we’ll be done! One more set of two weeks means no magnesium sulfate for neuroprotection for Hope. A major milestone. Another two weeks means we’ve made it to the long term goal! Or, I’m only 5 days away from being halfway to the 34 week goal. No matter how you count the days, we’ve made great progress and every day is another great step.

I haven’t been updating every day this week because, thankfully, things have become so routine that there isn’t always much to update about. No more heart rate scares or trips to L&D, no scary conversations with doctors, no new medical information. Hope’s NST strips have looked good for a PPROM baby the past few days as far as anyone has told me (and as far as I can tell based on what I’ve learned so far). Today she has done especially well in those monitoring sessions so far. We have one more to go before bed. She had a few good accelerations today which I don’t think she’s done this week as often as she did last week. That was encouraging to see. Our BPPs have been good the past two days. Today Hope was being a stinker; she was asleep up until the very end when she finally showed off some good movement, but right before that she kept kicking whenever the tech was looking at photos she’d already taken, and then she would stop when the tech went back to the live view. She did it twice in a row, lol. The fluid has been high enough that they’ve been able to find a 2×2 pocket the past two days. All good things!

I think I forgot to report that they checked her growth again last Friday and she is an estimated 2 lbs 10 oz. That’s up 6 oz from when we arrived. Yay weight gain! I’m not sure what is average or expected or hoped for at this stage, but I also somewhat don’t care…? I’m just glad to hear that she’s growing. In one of my very few Googling moments I read that low amniotic fluid can cause intrauterine growth restriction. No one here has mentioned that to me, so I haven’t thought about it much; if it was something the doctors were concerned about I think they would bring it up. But knowing she has grown is a comfort to me. Every ounce she gains now is in her favor when she’s born. The bigger she can get before we meet her, the better, and hopefully the shorter her NICU stay.

So many friends have brought me delicious food this week. Thank you!! Week three of hospital food is a real drag, and thankfully I’ve hardly had to eat any of it so far! You all are the best.

Ella got to go to the community playroom with my mom yesterday. From what I heard, she had a blast! And she wore herself out quite thoroughly 😛 She also got to see (and even dared to pet?) the lizard that the director brings to this location.

People who are squeamish about the details of birth and female anatomy, just skip this paragraph. Filtering isn’t my thing. I was fascintated to learn during a conversation yesterday with one of the MFM specialists that there are a couple of doctors here who will actually deliver a breech baby vaginally if the circumstances are just right. I thought that was an automatic c-section in U.S. hospitals these days. In most cases I think it is, but that was pretty cool to learn. Hope has been head down since arriving, so chances are we won’t have to address that issue, but it was still a relief to hear that if she should decide to flip at the last minute there’s still a chance we could have a normal birth. What the doctor told me about why they would or wouldn’t do it makes so much sense. With a premie it can be especially dangerous because the head to body size ratio is so disproportionate. I’ve often heard doctors comment that you don’t want the biggest part of the baby coming out last because it may not fit through the pelvis, but she explained that with a premie it’s actually the cervix that causes the problem. The body is so small that it can slip right through a cervix that isn’t fully dilated, and then the head is stuck and hasn’t even begun to descend through the birth canal. That’s not only dangerous to the baby but I imagine it could cause serious injury to the mother. She said as long as the baby is in a Frank breech or complete breech position (butt down, rather than feet), is more than 4 lbs (at which point the head and body are more proportional), the labor is progressing quickly, and mom and baby both seem to be doing fine, she and a couple of her colleagues know how to handle that delivery. I had no idea anybody still did that. How cool. She was talking specifically about babies who are premature but not too premature. I imagine the case would be quite different with a full term baby when the head is bigger. Anyway, I found the conversation really interesting!

The residents had a wellness day yesterday, and when I was seen on rounds this morning for the first time since they’ve been back the resident who typically sees me said she had a dream last night that I delivered. She texted the resident who was here overnight to check and was relieved that I hadn’t. It was a random and funny thing, but it made me feel cared for that she was all in a panic that I might have delivered while she was gone. It will be weird to not see these people every day (at 6am, no less) once this is all over! It’s funny how quickly something so abnormal (like living in the hospital) can become your new normal.

Ella keeps asking/insisting that I help her with things through the phone on FaceTime that are just physically impossible. She’ll refuse to let Grandma put her diaper or jammies on and hold them up to the phone saying “Mommy on.” :o( It’s heartbreaking when she does that. I wish I could be home for those things, and I wish I could help her understand the impossibility of reaching through the phone to get her dressed. And I’m grateful that she wants me to help her with little things like that. Sometimes I worry that she won’t want or need me to help her with her day to day routines once I’m home again.

Nathanael has been able to go back to the office to work a full business day the past three days. I asked tonight if that’s a strange feeling or a relief after two weeks of juggling so much while trying to work from home. He said both 😛 Thankfully he’s able to be home or at the hospital in the evenings instead of working late like he normally would at this time of year. Last night he went straight home to take care of Ella so that my mom could come visit me. That was nice :o) I’m glad I get to see both of them. And I got to have lunch in the cafeteria with Ella today! She spilled her eggs on the floor and said “doc-ah!” every time someone with a white coat walked by and happily rode in the wheelchair and up and down the elevator when it was time to go 😛 How funny that things like that have become part of her “normal” already, too. She’s handling all of this so well. I’m constantly impressed and grateful. What a champ.

Thanks for all your prayers and support! One more day in the books, still pregnant.

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