This installment of Thursday Thoughts documents my latest (and first) escapade with hospitalization.
Some of my astute readers may have picked up on the fact that I am pregnant. If you haven’t, you’ve been caught as a “skip to recipe” blog reader! 😉 But that’s okay, I forgive you. This post is mostly written as a diary entry for me to remember this experience, and to more easily share with family.
On Tuesday April 29th (wk 31) I went to a standard doctor’s appointment. I was placed on a Non Stress Test (NST) to monitor baby’s heart rate and movement, along with my own uterine activity. It was determined that I had been experiencing contractions every 4 minutes. But this isn’t the first time. About a month ago (wk 26/27) I was having the same 4 minute contractions. But I don’t feel them, and have never been afraid that I was going into labor – I’ve heard labor hurts.
Last time I was sent to Labor & Delivery to be given an IV and some medications to prevent preterm labor. After an hour and a half my contractions stopped and I was released. Other than a strong reaction to one of the medications, it wasn’t too bad a visit. Except for the being poked by multiple needles part.
So, Tuesday I was being returned to L&D. Stuart was on a business trip. Really, I was expecting a repeat of my previous experience. I was mentally prepared for the IV. Unfortunately a test came back positive for a hormone that indicates preterm labor. And my contractions (which I still didn’t feel) weren’t stopping.
I got to the hospital at 445pm. By 8pm I’d been told I’d be there overnight – so my mom threw some things in the car and started driving on up (she stopped halfway to sleep around 1am). One of my best friends from Auburn, who also lives in the area, came by and hung out with me until 11pm. I’m so lucky to have friends who love me enough to drive to the hospital at 8pm just to keep me company.
In the morning I was informed that I needed to be transferred to a hospital with a NICU – just in case. But there was one problem. You may have heard about it on the news. The FL panhandle was hit by a storm that flooded Pensacola and parts of Destin – shutting down bridges and roads. And helicopters were grounded. My doctor was pretty calm when she told me that there was a chance my baby could be coming in the next day or two. I’d been given a steroid to advance lung development. But if my baby were to arrive and I hadn’t been able to be transferred then my newborn would have to be transferred without me! I wasn’t afraid of potential labor, I wasn’t afraid that my child wouldn’t survive, I was afraid that my baby would be lost! Maybe a slightly irrational fear, maybe not, but that’s what was going through my head.
My mom made it, through the weather, by 11am. And Stuart was able to coordinate a flight path back to the panhandle. I couldn’t know where to send him (I had no way of knowing if I could make it out to Pensacola!) but he was put on a flight to Panama City, arriving at 8pm, where he rented a car to get to wherever I might be by that point.
In the early evening I was transferred to another local hospital with a NICU. This was my first time on a stretcher and in an ambulance. The EMT guys were great and I was still all smiles.
And then I was provided the treatment from hell. Magnesium Sulfate. In keeping friends and family posted on my situation, everyone said, “I’m sorry.” And after being hooked up to the “mag”, I know why! I was told I’d be receiving mag through my IV for 24 hours. I was warned that side effects were pretty bad. The side effects were also pretty instant. My poor husband arrived after about 5 hours on the mag, so he did not receive a very happy “welcome home.”
The only benefit (other than the obvious good it was doing to prevent preterm labor) of the side effects was the amount of drowsiness I was experiencing. It’s the only thing that awarded me a little bit of sleep through the night. I had a blood pressure cuff on my right arm, an IV in my left hand, the NST around my abdomen, these strange things on my legs to prevent blood clots, and a catheter. I don’t know how I would have been able to get any sleep with so many tubes and wires if I weren’t so completely weak and drowsy.
The second day on the mag was even worse than the first. The weakness and drowsiness only amplified. By the 20 hour mark I was ready to figure out how to unhook myself! I could barely talk and couldn’t move. I was so weak that I couldn’t even straighten my leg without help from my mom and Stuart. Additionally, the mag makes you very hot. According to my visitors the hospital room was freezing, and I was still trying to throw blankets off of me! (If you know me but at all, you know I’m always cold. That’s enough to tell you I was “off.”) But the worst side effect that I experienced was a change in my vision. I already have horrendous eye sight, but on the mag it was even worse. It was as if I had been given the wrong glasses prescription. I couldn’t focus much on the the TV without serious squinting and concentration. And I couldn’t see my phone up close unless it were practically touching my nose.
Thankfully the medication worked enough that the doctor removed me from the mag an hour and a half early! It was a miracle moment. And within minutes I was able to talk again. Temperature regulation, eye sight, and strength took longer to return. But I was happily removed from all tubes and wires. It was a few hours before I felt strong enough walk to the restroom without help.
So I am now on bed rest and my mother is very generously doing the cooking and cleaning for me.
I created a schedule for May blog posts a couple weeks ago, and with my Mom’s help I’m able to stick to it pretty well. However, the prescription I was given to take daily to prevent contractions has the caveat to not eat or drink grapefruit or grapefruit juice so even though I have a wonderful idea for this month’s Crazy Ingredient Challenge (grapefruit + wasabi), I’ll have to sit it out. The most important dishes (Secret Recipe Club, Cinco de Mayo, and my #BundtBakers cake) are being accomplished though!