Reflections – Antipartum, part I

…Continued from “Reflections – Going to the Hospital”


24 hours.  That’s what I kept telling myself.  I’ll just be here for 24 hours for monitoring, then they’ll tell me that my BP has gone down and I can go home and continue my bed rest in my own bed.  If only I knew.

Christian arrived at the hospital as soon as he could after work, bringing me many comforts of home: a suitcase with several changes of clothing, my computer (seriously, in this day and age, how can one live without it??? It’s how I stayed in contact with everyone and gave them up to the minute details on what was going on), a stack of the Statesman crossword puzzles that Lori had given me, and the awesome smelling stress reliever aromatherapy lotions he had gotten me a few days prior while I was on bed rest at home.  The only thing he forgot was my copy of Atlas Shrugged, which I had vowed to finish before the babies were born, but seriously, who can concentrate on that heavy stuff with pregnancy brain, let alone stressed out pregnancy brain???  I do pride myself, however, in correctly choosing Angelina Jolie for the role of Dagney Taggart, that is if the darned movie ever gets made, in which case I will have to finish the book.  Rambling anyone?

Anyways, back to the experience.  The nurse would come in every hour to check on my vitals and my contractions print out.  She would ask me, “Are you feeling these contractions?” I was, but they weren’t really bothering me.  I had been feeling contractions for days, but just chalked them up to Braxton Hicks.  When she asked me to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10, I gave it maybe a 2.  

After Christian and Mom left to go home, around 9 or 10, the contractions started to worsen. My new nurse, who I liked much better than the first one, decided to check things out in the nether regions, and came back with staggering results.  I was dilated 3-4 centimeters, and my water bag was bulging.  I was in preterm labor!  My OB disagrees, but I honestly think it was all the stress of going to the hospital in the first place that put me into labor.  But she may be right. I was feeling contractions all week, just not painful ones.  She’s the doctor, not me, right?

So here came the meds.  They had already inserted an IV needle in my arm upon admittance, which was not awesome at all, seeing as I have veins that like to jump away from needles, and now they were hooking me up to magnesium sulfate (fondly referred to as “the mag”) and an antibiotic in case I ended up delivering.  

The mag is EVIL!!!!  It serves two wonderful purposes: it can control blood pressure, and it can also stop preterm labor.  But that’s where it’s goodness ends.  It also make you very very hot, so that you need to keep your room like a meat locker in order not to sweat; it makes you retain fluid like a water balloon so that your legs puff up so much that you can hardly bend your knees; it makes you extremely lethargic so that you can hardly move (I literally could not cross my ankles – my legs felt like dead weights); and it makes you super loopy – think 3 glasses of wine loopy.  My only saving grace was the pampering I received from Christian.  On the mag, getting out of bed was on an absolute need basis, like only going to the bathroom, which he helped me do countless times, dragging my IV stand and fetal monitor cords with me.  So he helped me brush my teeth, helped the nurse bathe me, and frequently washed my feet to get the hospital ick off of them (note to self – and everyone else – hospitals are dirty!!! Yes, the instruments are clean and so are the beds and sheets, but the floors are dirty!!!) and gave me foot massages with my aromatherapy lotion.  To this day whenever I smell that lotion I feel like I am laying in that room again.

Dr. Berry, my perinatologist, came to visit me on Tuesday, where he did a sonogram and estimated the babies’ weights at 3 lbs 6 oz and 2 lbs 12 oz.  He gave me two weeks, but said he would honestly be surprised if I was still pregnant when he got back on Monday. Thanks for the vote of confidence, Doc!  But after hearing the weights, Christian and I decided to go ahead and name our girls and start referring to them individually.  In our hearts, it made sense for Rachel to be the big one, and Claire to be the little fighter.  From then on, we always referred to them by name.  It really helped us connect with them pre-birth, as if we were already getting to know them.

I was on the mag until 5 PM on Wednesday.  It was almost 2 whole days of lethargy, incoherentness, inability to really eat anything, and torture.  I felt like I was dead, but awake.  It finally wore off, and I started feeling better.  The labor had been stopped, and now we were playing the waiting game.  If I went into labor again, they were not going to stop it.  Thursday morning I was moved from my nice, big L & D room to a room in the antipartum wing – the wing where women were on bed rest, just waiting to have babies. Being wheeled down the hall, I looked up to see dozens of ceiling tiles that had been painted by patients who obviously had spent a great deal of time on this wing.  My reality was starting to hit me.

…to be continued…

Note the sexy neck pillow and box of Tiff’s Treats cookies…all to myself.  Oh yeah.

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