Last Monday (May 1st) started like any regular day. I had a doctor appointment at 8:30am which included an ultrasound followed by getting my weight and blood pressure checked, then talking to my doctor. However, that day when she checked my stomach growth with a measuring tape as she had done the past few appointments before, she said I was measuring smaller. The amount of inches is supposed to be close to the amount of weeks I am: 31 and 1 day then. (I'm 32 weeks pregnant today.) So she had the sonogram tech do another ultrasound. Emma's heartbeat was 161 BPM then, compared to 141 BPM fifteen minutes prior, and I joked about her being nervous. My doctor came back and explained that Emma was measuring about a month behind, so I had to go to the hospital to get some more detailed ultrasounds done. I called Michael asking if he could leave work, then I drove to VAMP (where I couldn't help but cry thinking about a lot of bad things happening to our baby), then he drove me to the hospital while assuring me that everything would be fine.
We got to the hospital around 10:45am after parking and picking up a late breakfast for me. I ate some Cheerios before my appointment, but my doctor suggested I get more food incase they told me I wasn't allowed to eat once I got there. (They didn't say that.) We went through security and then Michael had to get his picture taken for his visitor sticker. They asked for my ID and insurance card, along with who my doctor was. I said her name, but apparently she is a midwife (?) so I gave the name of the main doctor at her office. His name was on my wristband later. We kept getting switched between waiting rooms. In one I got my weight, blood pressure, and temperature checked again. Then we watched "Dr. Phil" for 30 minutes in the area with 20 other people. He didn't seem to resolve anything for that bickering trio.. I heard talk about how someone's water broke since other people kept telling new people walking in, "Oh don't sit there!" But it must have happened earlier in the morning. I got called back from the 2nd waiting room at 12:05 and was asked why they sent me. "My baby is measuring too small." Then went back to first waiting room where a nurse asked if I had any bleeding, leaking or pain - nope. I was called in to a small patient room for my ultrasound at 12:40, waited ten minutes then had the ultrasound/ anatomy scan for 30 minutes, by a girl named Jen who looks a bit like my cousin Melanie. The main nurse Danette had me change into a baggy hospital gown, asked me to give another urine sample, then set up the NST to monitor for at least 3 hours, waiting to see accelerations. (NST = Non Stress Test shown below. One monitor with gel on it was to track Emma's heartrate and the other was to pick up any contractions, but I never had any all week.)
Michael was gone from 2:10-3:10 to get his stuff from VAMP. During that time I had to electronically sign papers about agreeing to pay the bills and I met Dr. Gennette who explained emergency procedures like C-Section and asked if I would accept a blood transfusion if I needed one. I said yes. I got blood drawn and steroid shot in the top of my right leg to help develop Emma's lungs in case she has to be born early, which is very likely. I stayed in Triage Room 12 until a Tower 5 room opened, then was taken to my "hotel" via wheelchair (room B5-210) around 5:45pm. Nurse Shana asked more questions, I updated everyone on good news, including how Emma's BPP was 8/8. BPP = Biological Physical Profile and each category gets two points: her amniotic fluid, her movement, muscle tone, and her heart rate. The less good news was that she was measuring to be only 26 weeks and 3 days, and 913 grams (2.013 pounds) so the whole point of my stay was to find out why she is so small.
Michael was gone for an hour to take Sasha out. I met my Monday night nurse Cecily, ordered dinner (the menu was really good -I got chicken parmesan the first night- and I got Michael a guest tray for $5), called Mia, then our food arrived at 8:15. Did the NST test again for 30 minutes at 9:30pm. Met Dr. Greaves who said everything looked good, but wanted to figure out why Emma is so small. Stayed up watching "Tosh.0" til 11pm. Nursing Assistant came in at 11:30pm and 4am to take my blood pressure and temperature again (they did that about every four hours all of the days). I checked a blood pressure chart online and mine was normal every time. Michael slept in the Murphy bed since he couldn't get comfortable in the recliner.
Tuesday 5/2: We woke up at 7am, met Tuesday nurse Marti, ordered breakfast (I got a ham, cheese, and spinach omelet most mornings), Michael left to take Sasha out. My regular doctor/ midwife came in and told me to ask MFM (Maternal Fetal Medicine) doctors about staying on bedrest and not working. And if Emma isn't growing enough I might have to have a C-section in 3 weeks if she's still breeched! NST at 9:30 after breakfast. More blood drawn at 10am. Ordered lunch, got second steroid shot at 3:20 (in my butt). That shot made me sore both times for about 30 minutes and they said it's because they are having to push liquid into a muscle that doesn't have a hole for it. Dr. Greaves and Dr. Gennette came in at 4pm, they said they wanted me to stay until Thursday for more blood tests. I called my supervisor at work about missing work those days. They told me that if Emma doesn't grow by 2 weeks from now she might have to be delivered around May 15th! Met my Tuesday night nurse Tammy who checked my heartbeat. I ordered dinner for us at 8pm when Michael came back from getting me stuff to stay occupied, since he had to go back to work on Wednesday and Thursday. We watched "Passengers" on the TV movie channel. NST at 9:30. Michael left around 10:10pm.
Wednesday 5/3: Michael came and snuggled on the hospital bed with me from 6:30-7:15am before work. Had to have Emma on NST all day (starting at 10am) because she kept moving so the monitor couldn't detect her heartbeat. Got food at 10:30am, doctors came in at 11:10. I neatly wrote their notes down in my journal. Alana visited from 12:30 to 4:10pm. Glorious shower at 5pm (and I pooped! since they also asked that often to make sure their patients were staying "regular"), hooked back up to NST at 5:45. Michael here from 7 to 10pm. The thing in my arm had to be flushed daily with a half syringe of saline. They asked if I could taste it. No, but I could smell it.
Thursday 5/4: At 5am Emma's heart rate dropped too much and 4 nurses came in. One said, "Get me some gauze." And I immediately asked, "Am I bleeding?" (Even though I wasn't when I had gone to the bathroom about 30 minutes before.) But she said no. Phew! I had an oxygen mask & an IV hooked in my arm from 5:15-5:45am. I was later told the gauze was for the IV? I talked to the geneticist and my MFM doctors again, who said they will do an ultrasound tomorrow and an amniocentesis if needed. Michael and his dad said it would be the best for Emma now, although I was super against doing an amnioscentisis around 12 weeks in December, due to the risk of miscarriage. But at this point it could give the doctors (and us) the answers we are looking for and help her after delivery if they know what is "wrong". They had to schedule the procedure for the next day since after the 5am "scare", they wanted to make sure Emma's heart rate doesn't have any more "dips" for 24 hours. Still wore NST all day and napped when I could. Michael was there from 6:30-9:30pm, then I took another shower. Emma did good this night, but was moving a lot (which is also good) so that night nurse Debra had to adjust the monitors on my stomach every two hours.
Friday 5/5: Michael got here at 7am (he was able to take this day off too which I was really happy about), ordered breakfast, watched "Legend of Tarzan", he napped. Emma moving around a lot. Two girls who were hosting a baby shower event at the Science Center that night brought us a big bag of goodies. Dr. Greaves came in at 11:45 and said we will get the ultrasound and amnio done "this afternoon". I was not allowed to eat or drink until after that, but I pooped again at Noon! Antibodies blood test at 12:50, talking with nurse Mariann for 20 mins. She said she really liked our relationship and pointed to Michael and I saying "This is good!" because of how much I was laughing while being stuck in the hospital. She said I look like someone who doesn't get upset about things. Then Michael and I both laughed, but I said he's great about keeping me positive. Ultrasound & BPP started at 3:15 (20 mins) and Emma got an 8/8 again.
The amniocentesis started at 4pm. I was nervous and praying the whole time, asking God for this to be the right decision and for our baby to not move at all once the needle was in to extract some of the amniotic fluid. I had to sign a waiver before hand that mentioned the risks including miscarriage, and preterm labor. I prayed hard that none of that would happen and Michael held my hand the whole time. Although after the procedure (and everything was fine!) Michael said he really thought he was going to throw up or pass out, but he didn't stop holding my hand until Dr. Greaves took the needle out. It was pokey, and he had to slowly "shake" the needle to get it past fat and muscle. I could definitely feel the long needle (thinner than one used to draw blood) going through my stomach. I say it didn't hurt too much because my eyes didnt water, plus I always imagine it being worse than it is. They told me that a side effect can be cramping, but I didn't feel that. For 30 minutes after it kind of felt like the needle was still sitting in me. Dr. Greaves took three viles of fluid. He showed me after and said, "Thats your baby's pee". She must stay nicely hydrated since it was almost clear. Michael left to get some air and brought me back nuggets and a milkshake from Chick Fil A! The nurse Mariann was able to take Emma off the NST monitors at 7pm bc she was doing so well! Michael back from 7:30-10pm, brought me flowers. We ordered dinner (I ordered the chicken quesadilla with bacon and sour cream twice, as well as the flatbread pizza two nights) and watched Modern Family. At one point I joked that we were just there for the good food!
Saturday 5/6: Nurse Mariann put me back on the NST monitors at 8:45am, Michael got there at 9:30am. Got off the monitors at 11:30, started my discharge procedures (put my regular clothes back on) and got the IV taken out of my arm at 12:05 while my release papers were being printed. I was officially "free" at 1:20. Woohoo! I told Michael he needed to take a picture of me kissing the ground outside. Ha! I checked my weight when I got home and it was still 127, like it has been for the past three weeks. I'm using a week of FMLA and staying on bedrest until after my next ultrasounds. At that point I will go back to work or Emma will have to be delivered, then stay in the NICU until July. Stay tuned, and keep praying!