Friday, October 3, 2008

Trip #2 to the hospital

As I mentioned in my last post, the fear and anxiety have been creeping back in. Overall, I’m feeling very positive about this pregnancy, though.

On Tuesday evening, I was sitting at home watching TV. Around 5:30, my left field of vision got blurry. I wrote it of at first, since Glenn had turned on the hallway light to my left. About 20 minutes after it started, we got up to go to the drug store and I realized that it wasn’t the light, it was my eyes. We quickly went to the store and it got worse, to the point where it was so blurry in my left eye, that it was making it difficult to focus in my right eye. I said to Glenn, “You’re going to have to help me when we get upstairs. I want to check my book & see if I should call my OB, but I don’t think I’ll be able to read it.” Sure enough, we checked and it said to call immediately. I called (at this point, it was just after 6pm) and about 5 minutes after I hung up the phone, my vision cleared just as suddenly as it had blurred. Of course, then I felt like a jack ass for calling the doctor after office hours.

We settled in and ate dinner. Just before 7, the on call doctor called me back. I told him what had happened and he asked if I had been having any other pain. I let him know that my upper right side, which had been bothering me on & off for a week or two had been consistently hurting with varying intensity since Sunday. He then asked if I’d been getting headaches, which I have on & off throughout the last maybe 2 months, but I hadn’t had one that day. He told me to head up to labor & delivery for monitoring. He thought it was probably fine, but given my history, wanted to be extra cautious.

We got to the hospital around 8:15pm and were in a triage room just before 9pm. They hooked me up to the fetal monitor and couldn’t find the definitive heartbeat for about 5 minutes (although it seemed like hours today). She kept saying that she could hear fetal movement & the heartbeat in the background, but since the baby was moving, she couldn’t get a read. Nevertheless, my heart was in my throat until I heard that glorious clip clop for myself.

They also hooked me up to monitor my blood pressure & pulse and drew blood.
At first, my blood pressure was high for me, although still normal – about 121/82. However, as I lay there, it slowly started to creep up. At the highest reading, it was 158/109. The cut off for severe hypertension is 160/110, so they were concerned.

By this time it was around 1am and they had decided to admit me. They were concerned that I might have preeclampsia. The doctor said they wanted to start me on betamethasone, a steroid to help the baby’s lungs mature, in case they had to deliver me. I was in shock and nervous, but strangely calm at the same time. I just know I’m in good hands and, most importantly, the baby is alive and doing fine.

I sent Glenn home to get some rest. I told him to just go to work the next day. After all, what would he have done here, except sit at home & worry? They debated whether to keep me in the high risk section of labor & delivery or to send me to the antepartum unit. Since my blood pressure started to come down a little – more in the 140/90 range, I was sent to antepartum.

By the time I got to my room, it was 2:30am and I was given the betamethasone shot at 2:35am. I was also asked to start collecting my urine for 24 hours.

I tried to sleep, but my roommate was watching Spanish TV until about 3:30am. I finally fell asleep until 5:30am when I was awakened to have my vitals taken. Then, a seemingly endless parade of doctors came to see me, all asking the same questions. Finally at 8:30, I got to eat breakfast. I was starving by that point.

At 9:00am, they took my food away and I was told I could have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours, as they were going to do an abdominal ultrasound to rule out gallstones.

Around 11am, I started having a headache and the pain in my right side was getting worse. They moved me up to the high risk labor & delivery unit and put me on a magnesium drip to stave off the possibility of seizure. By the time the magnesium was started, it was around 2pm. From that point on, I was not allowed to get out of bed. I was given the option of a catheter or a bedpan for urine collection. God bless my nurse, she was fine with my choice of bedpan. I wouldn’t mind a catheter if I couldn’t feel it, but I knew it would really bother me.

I was hooked up to the fetal monitor and my blood pressure was being taken every 15 minutes. It was not as high as the peak the night before, but it was still clearly elevated.

Glenn came back that evening with 2 of our good friends. It was a nice distraction to be able to chat with them. I sent Glenn home at 9pm. He was exhausted from the night before and I wanted him to be able to get some sleep. Plus, someone needed to give our dog, Lucy, some attention.

I slept relatively well that night, except for the fact that I couldn’t lay on my side. Every time I did, the baby would disappear off of the monitor. I was very uncomfortable, but exhausted enough to sleep hard.

At 4:35am, they got the results of the 24 hour urine collection. It determined that, although I was close, I did not meet the criteria for preeclampsia. Brief sigh of relief…. At 5:30am, I was moved back to my antepartum room.

From 5:30 on, I couldn’t really sleep, since that’s when the doctor parade started. I finally gave up on sleep by 6:45 & just woke up.

Around 10am, Dr G’s colleague came in to see me & let me know that my protein level in my urine was 280. (The criteria for preeclampsia is 300) So, although I was ok for now, they were concerned that it could develop into it later. At the very least, I was diagnosed with gestational hypertension and I was informed that I would be here until at least Monday morning, so they could continue to monitor me. In a way, that was a relief to hear. As much as I’d like to go home, I feel very comfortable being here. I know I’m in the best place for me and my baby.

An opthamologist came in to examine my eyes. The day before, they had mentioned possibly doing a cat scan or an mri to see what may have been causing the disturbances. Thankfully, we just did the eye exam & everything looked fine. We decided to hold off on anything else unless the blurriness returned.

I asked about getting a private room and I was told that they were reserved for patients who had babies or who were here for 6 months or more. I completely understood & prepared to settle in for days of Spanish cartoons that my roommate was watching.

Around 1pm, I was told that I’d be moved to another room – a private room. What a difference! Just as I was moving, my friend Taifa showed up. She helped me move and God love her, she had brought me a sandwich from Subway – real food!!! She stayed & chatted until about 3:30pm. It was really wonderful to have the company.

I started having mild visual disturbances around 4:30 & let the nurse know. One of the doctors came in and said, “Are we going to have to kick you out of this room now & send you back to l & d?” They let me stay, since the symptoms were minor and went away on their own.
My friend Senta came by last night armed with a cookie and bread! Again – real food!!! Glenn arrived shortly thereafter with the supplies I had requested – my laptop, my robe, flip flops (so I could shower) and he went to the trouble of buying me some vanilla shampoo, conditioner, aromatherapy stick and pillow & sheet mist!

Around 8pm, Senta left and I took a shower. That did wonders for me. I was even able to wear my own pjs last night. Glenn stayed to watch a few minutes of the VP debate & went home. I was joking with my nurse asking her not to take my blood pressure during the debate!

I was asked to keep track of my intake and output of fluids all night. I slept well – for the 5 hours I slept. Once again, the doctor parade began at 5:30am. I’m actually enjoying getting to know them here and it’s nice to finally recognize some faces and names.

Dr. G’s colleague came back & let me know that, although my blood pressure went down overnight, my liver enzymes were creeping up, which was cause for concern. She also let me know that Dr G would be calling me to check in at some point.

They gave the baby a non stress test at 10:30 & once again, that heartbeat is there & strong with lots of kicks!

Now, I’m feeling really sleepy, but very relieved to be here. I have a really strong sense that everything is going to be fine. In fact, I told the doctors that if they want to keep me here for a year, it’s fine, as long as I bring a healthy baby home with me!

Now that I have my laptop, I’ll keep posting updates. Please keep your fingers crossed that this munchkin makes an appearance much closer to December 1 than now!

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