When we last met up, I talked about heading to the hospital for monitoring since the flow to Brady wasn’t looking good all the time. We’re going to call our little man “Brady” from here on out. In the last week or so of my pregnancy, Jeff and I had started calling him Brady, since we knew that’s what we wanted to name him. Friends had cautioned me against this, just in case he didn’t come out looking like the name. What can I say? I don’t like following the rules!
At that fateful appointment on Thursday morning, our perinatologist had assured me that I was going in for monitoring and steroid shots, and that if the flow to Brady improved, I would be released after two days (Saturday). Steroid shots not only help mature baby’s lungs (in case delivery is needed), but they also can improve the flow through the umbilical cord, so they really served a dual purpose for Brady. We weren’t thinking delivery was imminent, but it’s good to have those steroid shots just in case.
When I showed up for monitoring, the nurses assumed that I was there for pre-term labor issues, which was not the case. It was a frustrating half hour or so of me trying to explain why I was there before they were able to pull my chart and see for themselves. There was a couple additional snafus with medication (no one had mentioned I’d need an IV), but within a couple of hours, I had a monitor on my belly, my first dose of steroids, and was hooked up to that magnesium IV. Once they explained that the magnesium was a neuroprotector, I was on board.
Personally, I didn’t think the steroid shots were bad at all. My nurse told me that many women cry and throw fits about how much the injections hurt, but I had no issue with it. She told me that I was going to make a great mom because I was tough. I told her it was probably because I had so much junk in the trunk… to which she replied that I was quite small compared to most of her patients. That gave me a laugh during a stressful and tense time!
My first visitor came later that afternoon. Our fantastic realtor was able to get a closing agent to come out to the hospital so I could pre-sign some closing paperwork. The house purchase would go through after all, and that was a relief! Jeff would still need to attend the final walk-through and closing the next morning, move all of our stuff into the new place, and deal with the stress of me being in the hospital for all of it. Have I told you guys how amazing my husband is? It blows my mind how amazing he is.
I want to take a second to talk about that amazing husband of mine. Jeff came and stayed with me EVERY night that I was in the hospital. As soon as he could get things done enough to call it a day, he was on his way to see me. And that “bed” that they have in the room for spouses is not at all comfortable. He is such a trooper. He said that spending each night with me felt like the one thing that he could control during a time when everything was out of our control.
Now, back to the monitoring. It was going really well! The only thing we had a problem with was keeping Brady on it. Due to his small size, and movement, he kept slipping the monitor. I had to essentially sleep sitting up to make it stay on as good as possible. Since Brady was looking good on the monitor, I eventually got to reduce monitoring time to one hour per shift. It felt so freeing to not have to unhook myself every time I had to pee! And, let’s be real, I had to pee all. the. time.
The remainder of those two days was fairly uneventful. I was basically waiting (a little bit impatiently) for the Doppler they were going to do on Saturday. They would be checking the flow to Brady, and if it was at least stable, I’d get released! I was anxious to get out of there and see our new house, so I was so nervous when Dr. Pates came in to check things out. After checking out the flow in several places of the umbilical cord, I was so relieved to hear that the flow to Brady had actually improved!
Not only did this meeting with the doctor give us reassuring news about the flow to Brady, it also gave us some answers to why he was growth-restricted. Throughout the day on Saturday, my blood pressure had started to rise, a telltale sign of Preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a placental issue, and in some cases, the baby starts showing signs before mom does. They can’t diagnose it until mom starts showing symptoms though. My rising blood pressure and some protein in my urine was enough to get us that diagnosis. Since my blood pressure wasn’t all that high, I was in the “Mild Preeclampsia” range, which wouldn’t affect my anticipated discharge later that day. I felt relief now that I had an answer to why Brady was growth-restricted – it was just a messed up placenta getting in the way of his growth.
With things looking so good for my release later that afternoon, Jeff and I started planning what we wanted for dinner, and started thinking about how nice it would be to sleep in our own bed. Jeff told me that our new house was a total wreck, but he’d made sure to get the bedroom set perfectly, so we’d at least have a place to sleep.
Before my release, they hooked Brady up to the monitor one last time, and his heart rate was totally flat. It was steady and strong, but they like to see it fluctuate a bit and it just wasn’t. They sent the physician’s assistant into my room to explain that I wasn’t going to get released that night, and I just wouldn’t accept it. I was upset that I wouldn’t get to see our new house and I was frustrated with being in the hospital. Jeff and I were ready to go against the advice of the PA and leave for a bit, thinking we’d come back the next morning until Dr. Pates called us on his way home to explain why it was essential for me to stay. I finally accepted that I would be there, at least for another night, but it took a 20 minute conversation with him to get us there. Little did I know, Brady misbehaving during monitoring would save my life the very next day.