After 24 long days (and even longer, lonelier nights), I am ready to resume this bedrest back at home surrounded by family. Later today we will do a physical exam and ultrasounds to see if I am in an okay position to do so. This Sunday will mark the big milestone we have been waiting for since I was admitted...week 28! Fingers crossed I get discharged and get to go home at some point this weekend.
Physically, I have been feeling pretty great despite a little scare on Wednesday night. I had been enjoying dinner with a friend visiting when I felt a low kick followed by instantaneous pain and pressure. Not wanting to make a big deal about it, after my friend left I went to the ladies' room (with a pessary, having a full bladder can be quite painful) and hopped into a hot shower. The pain subsided a bit, but an hour later I was still feeling enormous pressure and heaviness-- like a bowling ball was trying to fall out of my insides- even when lying flat on my back. I alerted my nurse who had me hooked up the monitors in under 5 minutes where we tracked that I was having contractions- but nothing too severe. Maybe it was just pains because my belly had grown? (and everyone in the past 72 hours has pointed out how huge I am...ugh)
Being my second pregnancy and feeling intune with my body, I was emphatic that it wasn't my upper uterus contracting that was of concern, rather a very very low, constant pressure. Dr. Sandberg was on-call and we discussed performing a manual exam as he agreed it was likely something with the pessary. (Note: Be your own patient advocate!) On one hand, we wanted to know what was going on and alleviate the pressure, but as I am dilated with my bag of waters bulging, any exam comes with the huge risk of my water breaking and/or infection causing me to go into labor. We decided to move forward with the manual exam, and I was glad we did, it seems the baby had moved the pessary up and back behind my cervix. Adjusting the pessary forward, instantly the discomfort was far more manageable as now the weight of the baby was not pushing through my dilated cervix but being held by the pessary again. Whew!
Turning 28 weeks on Sunday means we will have officially made it to milestone #1! 28 weeks is a big big deal in terms of viability (90% chance of survival!) and decreasing the risk of cerebral palsy and other permanent disabilities. All of that said, 28 weeks is a milestone, not a finish line. My doctor would like to keep me here until week 32, but as we live just a few miles from two of the best hospitals and NICUs in the country, they can have me on a magnesium drip within 15 minutes should I begin to go into labor or have any serious changes...
37 weeks is considered term (40 being full term). Educating ourselves on NICU stays with our neonatologist, if baby were to be born this week, we would still be looking at about three months in the NICU. Having never experienced a pre-term baby in a NICU, my friends who have shared their stories tell emotionally excrutiating stories of both fear and hope. While yes a NICU (level III or IV) in the best place for them to grow, many preemies suffer from an increased risk of pneumonia and other serious infection (especially this time of year)- so we are still toying with a real risk of morbidity. Per hospital policy, any child born before 35 weeks is automatically sent to the NICU, with most staying until their due date (ours is February 1, 2016)- at which point they are expected to be able to control their own temperature, breath without a ventilator, and eat from a bottle/breastfeed as opposed to a feeding tube. After 28 comes, we will be focusing on making it to 32 and then 35 in hopes that we can give our baby girl the very best odds for a great start to life.
While I have had a few days of "pity party" here in my hospital room, I keep being asked how I am handling the strict bedrest and I have to be honest- it is not so bad. The hardest part is being away from Grace, but when you are asked to do something for someone else- your own unborn child- giving up freedoms like walking/sleeping in your own bed/and undergoing constant monitoring is nothing. I would do this again x10. In my short lesson with Grace so far, I have learned that this is what motherhood is- you "give up" everything, but in return receive a bounty unimaginable. Every day in this bed is a push closer to having my family together in our new home. What more do I need than that for motivation? I am lucky to have a chance to do something for this little bean, even if I hadn't anticipated this journey when we first found out we were pregnant. That said, I couldn't have done it without the strength and support of each of you-- thank you!
Stay tuned, will keep you updated on if I am going home!!!