Lilly's birth story, Part I.
On the morning of Thursdsay, Dec. 18th I had my regular NST appointment, followed by lab work, and then an appointment to "get things started naturally" at my weekly appointment. Matt was so sure that this would be the big day, that he took off both Thursday and Friday from work. I was a little hesitant about him doing this as he NEVER misses work and I had no idea if the procedure would actually kickstart labor or not. At our NST, we joked with our favorite nurse, Mindy, that today WOULD be the day. She just laughed and said "maybe you'll have a Christmas baby afterall". I don't think she expected to see us walking back through the doors a few hours later.
At my 9:30 appointment Dr. S checked me and I was 3-4 cm dilated, 80% effaced. She also told me that she was waiting on lab results from my bloodwork and my 24 hour urine protein, which I'd been doing once a week for the previous couple weeks. It was the one factor missing from diagnosing Pre-ecclampsia, despite the swelling, high blood pressure, headaches and seeing spots. She told me that the week before it had been 210 and if it was over 300 this time, we would need to induce. I figured it would come in around the same as last time.
Matt and I came home and I gathered some of my things together, just in case. Thankfully I did a little cleaning, but the swelling had reached its peak and I was barely able to walk without pain and major discomfort so the cleaning didn't last long. I made a phone call to the hospital to ask about a bill from our child birth class and as I was on the phone with them, I got a text from my doctor that said "PLEASE CALL". I quickly got off the phone and as I was dialing her office, my phone rang and it was her telling us to get to the hospital right away as my level was over 500 and my platelets were low.
I looked at Matt from the bedroom and gave him a huge-eyed "OH MY GOSH" look, hung up the phone and suddenly had no idea what to do! I started cleaning the kitchen counter tops, straightening pillows, and making sure nothing embarrassing was lying around (you know, like a breast pump on the kitchen table?!), Matt jumped in the shower, I had a heart-to-heart with Midas... ALL very important things to take care of, right?! Within a half hour we were on our way.
We registered and were greeted by all the registration ladies who had taken care of me over the last several weeks. They were so excited to know that today was finally the big day! I received one last hospital bracelet (or so I thought) and we were on our way to the Family Birth Center. We walked into the birth center and got lots of laughs from the nursing staff since we had totally called it. After seeing these women several times a week and having been taken such good care of by them, it was like having part of our family with us right away.
Instead of being sent to Rm. 202 (one of the observation rooms) where I always went for NSTs, and where I spent the evening doped up on narcotics and tranquilizers... and actually where it all started with my pre-term labor madness, we were sent to Room 204... a REAL L&D room!
Unfortunately lots of lab work was required before getting anything started. Waiting on the results took THREE long hours, during which I was told I probably would not be able to have an epidural because of my low platelets. I think they told us anything under 1000 is too low and I was about 1500 so the anesthesiologist was leaning towards "No". I wasn't too terribly upset as I was completely open to whatever kind of labor would bring a healthy baby into the world, whether that be with the use of a narcotic, an epidural or nothing at all (ha, yeah right).
Just as we were cleared to start the pitocin and the bag was being hung on the IV pole, everything came to a halt. The "higher up" from a couple weeks ago who my doctor consulted with (and who we found out is our neighbor) about my BP, was on the phone wanting an ultrasound of my leg veins. He was concerned about Deep Venous Thrombosis as my swelling had become pretty severe. I could barely bend at the knee (and yet I had to do so in order to get this child out!) and my skin was so tight and hard that it was shiny.
Within minutes, the lights in the room were turned off and 2 sonographers rolled their machine into the room to do a scan of both my legs, starting at the groin and then moving along each vein, down to my ankles. The first sonographer took the wand and started to press it into my right groin then stopped and said "I'm not comfortable going any further." She looked at the second sonographer and they both shook their heads, pointed to the monitor (which I couldn't see) and whispered. Matt and I were suddenly sick with fear. Before I knew it, I was counting 10 people surrounding my bed. There was lots of whispering, more head shakes, and several staff members "stepping out of the room for a moment". Matt overheard one nurse mention transporting. He asked one of the sonographers what all of this meant, but of course she couldn't tell us anything. She just said that it would need to be treated right away and would require hospitaliztion. OK, great. And what about my baby??? And these platelets? And the protein? I couldn't possibly push out a baby with a blood clot in my groin, nor could I undergo a c-section with one. This is when I suddenly felt like it could all be over. I'm sure that was an overreaction on my part, but I swear to God, once you suffer a loss, the fear never goes away.
While waiting for word from my doctor, the sonographer tried to do the rest of my leg, but it was so hard that she had to stand and lean into my leg, her whole upper body shaking. She was able to get good flow from my knee down, as well as all throughout my left leg. That was good! After saying a couple more times that she was scared to press on my right groin and that they weren't used to doing OB patients, she had me lean a little to the right and then she went for it. Talk about a scary moment. I was prepared to see a white light at the end of a long tunnel. OK, dramatic, yeah. But I really was scared-- and MAD! Matt and I kept looking at each other with eyes that screamed "lawsuit!" After all those weeks of telling my doctor that something was wrong and being told "it's normal" here we were going through this. Turned out, a little repositioning was all it took to get the blood flowing enough to rule out DVT. Praise God and get the pitocin going!!
Coming tomorrow...Part II, things start to get gory!!