Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Odyssey of an Emergency Induction

After several weeks of escalating complications, non-stress tests every three days to check on baby, and multiple trips to LDS Hospital's Labor & Delivery for monitoring in case I needed to be induced, by Sunday July 17th I was feeling really tired and sick. I had had a worsening headache (the worst of my pregnancy) for four days and couldn't kick the waves of dizziness. My blood pressure also seemed to be getting higher each time we checked it and I was really feeling like a balloon with all the swelling that was happening. Because I was being a bit stubborn, I didn't want to go to the hospital on a Sunday night, but Bryan and his mom talked me into getting an appointment to be seen first thing in the morning.

The earliest appointment I could get on Monday was at three in the afternoon, and as soon as we had arrived and they had taken my blood pressure they sent us back to the hospital -- to Labor & Delivery to be monitored. Most of these visits lasted for four to six hours. But this time we were only there for an hour and a half. The baby looked great and they felt I was stable enough to go back home. We did have one home work assignment, however. I was supposed to do a 24-hour urine sample to check for protein in my of the symptoms of pre-eclampsia. They had gotten several readings where my protein was +2 (above the limit for determining pre-eclampsia) but I had also had several where it was within normal limits. So the 24-hour was supposed to be much more accurate in determining what was really going on. It was a simple but somewhat disgusting process of saving & refrigerating everything I peed over a 24-hour time period. YUCK. Not to mention that at 35 weeks pregnant YOU PEE A LOT!! The test would start at 5pm Monday night and we would drop the sample off to the lab at 5:30pm Tuesday night. Let the fun begin!

On Tuesday, I went with my wonderful mother-in-law (who had accompanied me on most of my hospital visits, too) to my regularly scheduled appointment with my midwife Gretchen, who was very reassuring and seemed to think that everything was going great. At one point she even mentioned that perhaps we could make 38 weeks. For the last several weeks we had known that the baby would probably need to come before 40 weeks, so our goal had been to make 37 weeks, considered full term, but minus the last few weeks where baby has time to put on a few pounds and really finish maturing. Obviously, every day makes a difference and I wanted our baby to have as much time as possible to be as healthy as possible. But feeling the way I had been feeling was starting to take a toll, and the thought of being pregnant two more weeks made me want to start crying right then and there. Ok, I'm willing to concede that the hormones may have had something to do with it as well. I had one glimmer of hope as we were leaving the appointment and Gretchen told us to be prepared that this baby may come in the next couple of days...but because of the earlier  discussion about making 38 weeks, I didn't really think anything of it. So we went home and later that day we dropped off my urine sample to the lab.

We were really looking forward to Wednesday, (July 20th) because it was the first day in several weeks that I didn't have any appointments or tests scheduled. We had planned a leisurely day and even had steaks marinating for Bryan to grill up that evening. I had slept in and was feeling spoiled as Bryan's mom fixed me an omelette for breakfast in bed. Technically, I didn't have any other option as I was on strict bedrest, but any way you cut it, breakfast in bed is pretty I waited for breakfast, I got a phone call from Gretchen around 10:30 which was short, sweet and to the point. After saying hello, she simply said, "Well, come on in. You're going to have a baby today." I asked if there had been protein in the sample and she said it was really high. So we got off the phone and I started to get things ready to go. We already had most things packed, but I wanted to shower and grab some last minute stuff. I called Bryan at work to tell him what was going on, and then I started to feel really nervous as I got ready to go. It was a combination of nervous excitement in the pit of my stomach really.

We arrived at the hospital at about 12:30pm, and got settled into our room for the duration. I knew that inductions could take awhile, a very long while, so I had told Bryan to just stay at work and I would keep him posted throughout the afternoon. The expectation was that we would be having a baby sometime the following day, so I figured we had plenty of time. The induction started with something called cytotec, a small white pill that dissolves between your lower lip and gum that helps to soften the cervix. I was supposed to have three doses each three hours apart to help get things started. I was happy that they didn't want to start me out on pitocin until everything was good and ready. I had heard some horror stories about it, and so I wasn't really happy to have to use it at all. As I was explaining the process to Bryan over the phone, he wanted to know why they weren't just giving me the pitocin right off, and said I should ask for it...I guess he was anxious for the baby to get here! Before he left work around 5pm, he called to ask if I needed him to pick anything up for me. He also asked if I wanted him to get the car come to the hospital. I guess maybe he was a bit more nervous than I had given him credit for. :)

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