Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Still Pregnant

I'm still in the hospital and the baby's still cooking. The contractions keep coming back, though. I've been on terbutaline and toradol. The terb shots seem to work better than the terb pills; the toradol doesn't seen to do much.

I'm getting a steroid shot today and tomorrow to help mature the baby's lungs. She's at 23.5 weeks. I'm getting the feeling that the docs don't expect me to make it all that much farther.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ready, Set, Triage

It seems I spoke too soon.

On Sunday night, I went to the bathroom and noticed a small amount of unusual fluid on the TP. Placed a call to my OB answering service, and they told me to report to the hospital.

I've been there ever since, and it's going to be a while.

In triage the doctors found that I was having actual contractions (vs. Braxton Hicks) and I was admitted overnight until an appointment Monday morning with the transvaginal ultrasound, aka the hootchiecam. They found that my cervix was 1.6 cm, well below the danger threshold of 2.0 cm. Less than a week earlier my cervix had been holding steady at 3.4 cm.

So here I am. The first few days were really hard. At first I thought I might be able to go home at some point, and I felt devastated with each sign to the contrary. I could not remotely wrap my head around my fate -- I would lie here in my hospital bed thinking, "I cannot believe this is happening." Steve has been really supportive but it took a while for him to realize that I wasn't coming home, and I felt terrible to be leaving him on his own.

I kept trying to look for a silver lining, and I couldn't come up with one.

I'm feeling a little better about the situation now... I know this is the best place for me. This hospital is a great one with lots of experience in high-risk pregnancies and preemies. Whenever the contractions get too hard and fast, I get a shot of terbutaline and that calms them down for a while. The doctors will move up to a new drug regimen as each one stops working -- apparently most people desensitize to the drugs over time.

A lot of my friends have been really great, asking to come visit and bring food (thank god) but I'm not ready to see anyone yet except family. I'm hoping to get a private room in a week or so and that should make things a bit better. I'm still sad sometimes and scared about how this will all turn out. I wish I knew what was going to happen. I also selfishly wonder how long it will be before I get to go outside again.

If you know of stories like mine that turned out to have a happy ending, I'd love to hear about them -- it helps me to hear about the successes.

In the meantime I'll be here in my medical prison, trying not to worry myself sick. The first goal is viability -- that's 24 weeks, officially next Saturday. After that, every day is a victory and increases the chances of us having an ultimately healthy little girl.

Eventually, I did come up with a silver lining, feeble as it is. You know the show "Locked Up Abroad"? It tells the story of people who get arrested in third-world countries for smuggling drugs or money or whatnot. Those people typically end up living in squalor in a Mexican prison for like 4 years.

That would be much worse than this.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

22 Weeks and All Is Well

As of today, the little girl sitting on my bladder is 22 weeks along. I continue to be shocked and thankful each time the doctor reports that things are looking fine. She continues to jump around so much that we haven't gotten any good ultrasound pictures. I have high hopes for the next visit, the day before Thanksgiving -- when she'll be about 24 weeks, the first reasonable point of viability.

I'm getting pretty tired of Gatorade, but I dutifully chug 20 ounces of the sport drink first thing every morning to calm down my irritable uterus. It does seem to be working -- the contractions are much less intense as long as I've had Gatorade or salty food (which makes me retain water). I'm still working but trying to take it easy. My job can be pretty intense, so taking it easy is a challenge, but I do what I can and I'm lucky that my boss is supportive on those days I need to work from home.

We still haven't bought anything for the baby. That's probably not normal, I know. But this still doesn't seem like a sure thing. We did finally start looking into daycare, which was a big step for me. When people congratulate me on my pregnancy, I try really hard to just smile and say thank you. And when they ask me when I'm due, I try to just say "March 20" instead of adding that I will probably not make it that far.

It would be a great irony if, after all this worrying, I actually made it to full term.

Please take some time to hop over and congratulate my UU compatriot Sara, who made it to 35 weeks with lots of complications before giving birth to the 4-pound baby Brynn on Nov. 8.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Who Does Number 2 Work For?

Pregnancy has a lot of unpleasant symptoms. I've experienced a wide array of the normal ones, and a few of the abnormal ones. The normal ones were your standard nausea, exhaustion, aversions to certain food, assorted back pains, etc.

One of the more disconcerting side effects is perhaps best illustrated by this Austin Powers clip, "Who does number 2 work for?" I think of it regularly. Actually, not as regularly as I'd like. More like every other day. If I'm lucky.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What Are the Chances?

En route to our 20-week ultrasound last week, I was nearly overwhelmed with nerves. I've mentioned before that I have tended to approach each appointment with a stoic attitude, prepared for the worst. My biggest concern this time would be that the ultrasound would show no kidneys, or some similar malformation that is not consistent with life outside the mother.

I tried to calm myself down, thinking "what are the chances of something like that happening, especially when I've already had such unlikely things happen to me?" But for anyone who's repeatedly been on the wrong side of the stats, this is less than compelling. I had two miscarriages in a row (there's a 1 in 20 chance of this happening) and then found out I had a rare uterine malformation (there's an estimated 1 in 6000 chance of this happening). I'm no stranger to the short end of the statistics.

Steve came with me to this appointment. We had to wait longer than usual in the waiting room, and I tried to remain calm while the clock ticked on. After what seemed like a long time, we were called back. The ultrasound tech started doing her thing. Once again, the little bugger was deemed "very active" and it took her a while to check all her details. Finally, she announced that everything looked normal, and I was finally able to relax.

I did confirm from the doctor that I am already having contractions. He said I have an "irritable uterus" and told me that's pretty normal for a woman with a unicornuate uterus. He told me to stay hydrated and lie down when the contractions come, and he gave me the signs to watch for that would indicate I should hightail it to the hospital. I've been chugging Gatorade ever since.

We also found the baby's sex. I'd had a strong feeling that it's a boy. Of course, I had a 50-50 chance of being right. I was shocked to find out for sure: it's a girl!