Monday, June 15, 2009

A Trip To The Hospital

(Warning: Long saga ahead!)

Our weekend was far from relaxing here! Friday night, between 10:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. I noticed the start of what seemed like a migraine. I get them often (though thankfully not during this pregnancy which has been a blessing!) so I know the signs one is coming. Before we went to bed, I took two generic Tylenol thinking that mostly the sleep would do the trick because that's the best way to get rid of a migraine is to sleep it away. However, I woke up about 2 times to use the bathroom during the night and each time I woke up, the headache was just as strong (if not stronger) than when I had gone to bed. When I couldn't sleep any more, I got up and called the hospital.

My OB office is a sort of "wing" of Saint Mary's Hospital. On weekends, no one is in the office or "on call" like a regular OB office, they just refer us to the hospital directly. So, I decided to skip that step because I'd only get a phone tree anyway. However, the girl who answered the phone in the Labor and Delivery department didn't think anyone would talk to me. When I explained how my OB office worked, she handed me off to a nurse, who refused to talk to me. She told me that I needed to call my OB office because they "always have someone on call" and that she couldn't give out medical information over the phone. So, I hung up, called my OB office and got a number from the phone tree that I should call. I called that number, and the person I spoke to said "I'm transferring you to Labor and Delivery"...I couldn't help but laugh out loud when she said it because it was what I predicted would happen...I've been there, done that before. So, when I got the same girl in L&D again, I explained to her that I had called my OB office, no one was there, the number they referred me to transferred me here...she put me through to the nurse again. This time, the nurse went and got a doctor for me. :( All this while trying to think through a migraine.

The doctor I spoke to was very kind. She told me I had pretty much two options:
  • Come in right away to the Labor & Delivery department and they'd run some tests, take my blood pressure, etc. to make sure they weren't missing something and get me an I.V. with some medication to get rid of the headache.
  • Take two more Tylenol and wait about a half hour to see if it helps. If it doesn't help, come in to get checked out.
When I paused to think about which to do, she asked me "What are you thinking?" I said I was trying to figure out the best thing to do (I didn't want to spend the whole day in the hospital if it was nothing) and she said she really would rather I just came right in. I told her that we had two other kids, so we'd need to have someone watch them. She figured out where my thought train was headed and she finished the thought for me by saying that by the time I could figure out what to do with them, I'd know if the other two Tylenol would work or not. So, we sort of agreed that I would take two Tylenol and find someone to watch the kids and come in if the headache wasn't gone.

I took two Tylenol, had a small bowl of cereal, drank some water & some milk, took a warm shower...nothing helped the headache was still there. So, we called my parents who agreed to come take the kids home with them and keep them overnight if needed.

We got to the hospital just before 1:00 and they had me go right to triage. I was the only one there, so it was quiet, which was perfect for my head! They had me leave a urine sample and then get into a gown. After a while a nurse's aid came and hooked me up to the baby heart-rate monitor and the contraction monitor. She asked me some routine questions and then left. A short while later, she came back with a little cup of Coke and told me that the doctor wanted to try and see if Caffeine would help get rid of the headache and asked me to drink it all.

After a while, my nurse came in and said she was going to start an I.V. with some medication (I forgot it's name). She took a long time inspecting my veins and I was trying not to get worried. It seems whenever a nurse/blood draw person is taking a long time to find a good spot, they nearly always end up butchering my veins. The ones who find a vein right away have no problem getting it in. However, my fear was correct, because she started poking a vein in the back of my hand and it was quite painful. She must not have been getting anything (she needed to take two tubes of my blood first for tests) because she pushed the needle in further...and further...and finally she pushed it so hard and so far that I couldn't help grimace and shudder at the pain and she said "OK, I'm done there." and it felt like she left the needle in while she moved to a spot further over toward the side of my wrist. That wasn't pleasant either, but not as painful as the first spot. I could feel my blood running from the first needle, down my middle finger and onto the floor. I was trying not to look at it, because it always seems worse when you can see them butchering you. Finally, she got the second needle in, but didn't have tape to tape it down, so she left the needle while she went to get tape and told me to sit very still. Thankfully, she had taken the first needle out, which was VERY painful. She tried cleaning the blood off my hand, but she missed most of it (or maybe she got most of it, but there was just so much that it left a lot behind...? Jason said later that he saw the swabs she took away and was shocked by how much blood there was.)

After the nurse finally got the I.V. needle taped in place and most(?) of the blood cleaned up, she hooked up the I.V. with the medicine and started it going. She said that it would probably make me sleepy, which it really did. Before she left, the nurse asked if I wanted another Coke. I'm not super fond of cola, so I asked if there was anything other than Coke but they didn't have any Mountain Dew type caffeine or even Cherry Coke, so I agreed to more Coke since I wasn't about to drink coffee (yuck!). I usually allow myself one caffeinated pop (usually the generic version of Mt. Dew) a day because the caffeine is sort of like a medicine for me (I tried to go off of caffeine before and put up with migraines for over a week before I gave can/glass of caffeine pop a day isn't a whole lot).

I lay in the hospital bed for what seemed like forever. Poor Jason must have been completely bored out of his head, but I love him so much for being there right by my side the whole time! After changing positions about a zillion times and drifting in and out of sleep between things beeping and the doctor and nurses coming in off and on the doctor finally came in and told me that she was going to let the rest of the I.V. go into my system and then she'd let me go home. After what seemed like an eternity longer, the nurse came in and said she was going to take the I.V. off the pump that regulated the amount of meds going into my system and just let it go while she drew up my discharge papers. It didn't take long after that before it was gone. She didn't come back, so I used the nurse page button to let them know that the I.V. was empty. But, no one came. I really needed to use the bathroom, so I unhooked myself from the baby & contraction monitors and was about to wheel my empty I.V. to the bathroom when the doctor came. I was standing between my little curtained off "room" in triage and the bathroom and she was talking to me about keeping me longer.

My heart sank when I heard what she was saying. She said that they were looking over the printouts from the baby heart-rate and contraction monitors and weren't happy with the baby's heart-rate. She said it was good, but not as responsive as they'd like. She didn't go into detail as to what that meant, but she said that they were going to send me up to ultrasound to check for amniotic fluid levels, heart beat, lung ("breathing") movement, and fetal movement. She said if the results of the ultrasound weren't what they would like they'd have to induce. I asked if they had to induce if I'd still need the I.V. because it hurt (and some of my blood had backed up into the tube). She said they could take the I.V. out since it was hurting me and if I ended up needing one, they could put a new one in later.

So, she instructed the nurse to remove the I.V. and then I was wheeled down to ultrasound. I couldn't see the screen very well while the tech was doing the ultrasound, but it was hard to make out what was what since Peter is rather cramped up inside. She pointed out things like his heart and lungs and told us what she was measuring for while she was doing it. After the ultrasound was done, she wheeled me back to triage. I was so exhausted and a little afraid of being induced, I put the hospital bed down flat and just lay there on my left side while we waited.

The doctor came in after a while and told me that everything on the ultrasound looked good so they didn't have to induce. However, the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck (called nuchal cord). She said they all debated whether they should even tell us because it sounds more horrible than it really is. She said it's likely that baby could move and untangle it between now and delivery but even if he didn't, it wasn't really a concern.

I must admit, it's hard not to freak out, thinking about what might happen, even though the chances are pretty slim. I just keep thinking about my first son, who was 10 pounds at birth, whose heart-rate dropped during labor & early stages of delivery so had to be helped out with forceps. What if Peter ended up being rather large? He already exhibits signs of an "unresponsive" heart-rate that his big brother didn't (they did a non-stress test when I was pregnant with Ben because he was over-due).

I found this article, among many others, that is pretty re-assuring: And, of course, I cling to the verses that God gave me early in my pregnancy: Proverbs 3: 5 & 6 "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight."

We got a couple ultrasound images, though they're hard to tell just what is going on in them.

The profile I really can't figure out. It's easier if you've seen the movement of the baby on the ultrasound screen to correlate with the still image, but I couldn't see the screen well enough and Peter was sitting very still (I think the medication must have made him sleepy too...I know it wiped me out).

I think I may have figured out what's going on, at least in part, on this Nose/Lips picture, see my Photoshopped version below...

I've outlined what I think are his little lips in pink and what I think is the cord in orange. It looks to me, if it is the cord, that it is pretty lose and more along his chin than around his neck. This image makes me think of a X-wing pilot with the helmet on and goggles down! He had his hand in front of his face, so it makes it kind of weird for the ultrasound image.

I was also prescribed an anti-biotic because I have a mild bladder infection. We went to Meijer yesterday because the Pharmacy we usually go to isn't open on Sundays. However, I was reading the paperwork that came with it and it says (I've capitalized what they had capitalized):

"FOR WOMEN: THIS MEDICINE SHOULD BE USED ONLY WHEN CLEARLY NEEDED DURING PREGNANCY. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor. Avoid use at or past term (38 to 42 weeks of pregnancy) and during labor and delivery. THIS MEDICINE IS EXCRETED IN BREAST MILK. DO NOT BREAST-FEED while taking this medicine..."

I have several problems with taking this, since I am at term (38 weeks) and could go into labor any moment now...and when he is born I want to breastfeed right away...I don't want to wait until the medication is no longer in my system, because my milk would probably dry up before then. :( I decided that since I'll be seeing my OB doctor Tuesday, I'd just wait to hear what her thoughts on everything were. If it isn't going to hurt Peter to let the bladder infection go, I'll put up with the mild discomfort rather than risk him getting the medicine when he shouldn't.

My appointment is tomorrow (Tuesday) at 1:15, so hopefully, I can get some good answers.


mattswife1990 said...

Mom told me that you had gone to the hospital the other day, and they had the kids. Wow, what a frustrating and scary experience! We'll be praying that everything goes really, really well for the last little bit of your pregnancy.

We love you!
Amy :)

Mieal Deneb said...

Thanks so much for the prayers! I find I'm so exhausted lately that I wonder how I'll find the energy to make it through labor & delivery. But, I keep reminding myself that if I can labor 24+ hours and deliver a 10 pound baby with no pain medicine, I can do whatever comes this time. :) Though I'm hoping Peter's delivery will be more like Anna's was!