I should have started a list of things I never once imagined I would have to say in my life. Somewhere near the top of that list would be the phrase I uttered at least four times on August 9th.
“Can someone please bring me some more ice for my pee?”
Instead of sending me home to gross out my kids by keeping 24 hours worth of urine in my refrigerator, my lovely obstetrician decided the “safest” place for me to complete the 24 hour urine test was at the hospital. I think this was mainly because I stupidly informed him we live on the third floor. For some reason, living in the penthouse isn’t as impressive if there isn’t an elevator. I was taken into a labor and delivery room approximately the size of a large closet, and informed that I was on bed rest, but I had wheelchair privileges. And by “privileges” they meant I was allowed to move from the bed to the wheelchair, and wheel myself the six feet to the bathroom. I could then move from the bathroom back to bed.
On Friday, the doctor informed me that I would be staying at the hospital until one of two things happened. I was not leaving unless my blood pressure came down or I had given birth. And they had no intention of inducing labor before 38 weeks. I was going to have to just wait and see. Under normal circumstances this would be terrible news. The entire scenario of circumstances was that, once again, I hadn’t been able to call my husband yet to tell him where I was. This time, however, he called the OB clinic, and they transferred him to L&D, where I was able to give him a brief run down on what had been happening. Needless to say, he was slightly worried, and a bit annoyed with me that I hadn’t called him. (In my defense, I never expected to be admitted, and figured I would just call him on my way home.)
At 8 pm on Friday night, a nurse came in to give me a shot in my hip. It was the first of two steroid shots I was to receive in order to help Z3’s lungs grow a little faster. A sort of safety net if you will. We were told that unless my blood pressure took a major change for the worse, nothing would happen for another 48 hours. A few hours before I was given the second steroid shot on Saturday night, they got back the results of my urine test. I most certainly had severe preeclampsia. They started me on IV magnesium in an effort to lower my blood pressure long enough to give the steroids an additional 24 hours to work.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing IV magnesium, consider yourself incredibly blessed. My entire body felt hot. It supposedly relaxes you, but I really think all it does is make you too hot and tired to move. The other bad thing is that you must measure your intake and outtake and are not allowed to drink anything, and they have to limit your consumption of ice chips. As someone who lives in a perpetual state of dehydration, this was torture. I had to count the number of spoonfuls I was ingesting, but really, I was being fed the ice chips by my husband and one of my fantastic sister wives. All I wanted was a giant glass of water, and that is beyond out of character for me. I’m not a fan of drinking water.
The medical staff then began to prepare for a scenario that they hoped would not happen, but was highly likely. I applaud them for being proactive. I want to choke them for not explaining to me BEFOREHAND that they were wrapping blankets around the rails of my bed “just in case” I were to have a seizure. I’m not scared of a lot of medical things. I can stay fairly laid back about many hospital type things. The first time I watched someone give an IV, I was 6. (It was also one of the very last times I opted to watch any procedure involving a needle.) Seizures? For lack of a better phrase, seizures freak the crap out of me. I witnessed my mom have more grand maul seizures than I care to think about. I know what they look like. I know what happens to you. I would have preferred to remain clueless.
That was one of the only times I cried while in the hospital. I could handle staying at Landstuhl for weeks on end. I could handle delivering a baby before 32 weeks gestation. I could handle a c-section if it became medically necessary. I don’t do seizures. It was, by far, the scariest part of the whole shebang, prior to Zander being born.
It got slightly worse, and a lot more frustrating though.
Up until this point, I had had very few symptoms of blood pressure in the range of “holy crap, she’s going to stroke out”. Twice I saw floating spots, for less than 10 seconds each time. Neither of these incidents had occurred while I was in the hospital. I cannot tell you the number of vitals checks where I had to verify that I had no other vision changes and no headache. Until about 7:30 on that Saturday night. My head was killing me. There was a ring of hot pain that stretched around my head and in my eyes. The area that hurt was the area where you would wear a blindfold while playing pin the tail on the donkey. I told my nurse. She told the other nurse. That nurse told the doctor, and the doctor instructed them to give me some Mapap. (Acetaminophen) After that, I was moved from the L&D ward in anticipation of not having to be taken into the delivery room any time soon. While switching my care from L&D to the Mother/Baby unit, I mentioned again that my head was still hurt despite the Mapap. One of the nurses left the room immediately after hearing this, and came back just a couple of minutes later with a wheelchair to take me back down to L&D.
Once I got back upstairs, I noticed that I had a stalker. It seems that since the mother/baby nurses had already gone to the trouble of wrapping the bed rails in blankets, there was no sense in putting me back into the uncomfortable bed upstairs that had been making my back hurt for three days and would need to be wrapped back up. They followed us up stairs, and then switched out the beds while I was in the bathroom. They told me it was my birthday present, because by the time this had all happened, it was indeed after midnight on August 12th. My 30th birthday.
The doctor came in and apologized, saying that if she had known that my head was hurting, she wouldn’t have moved me downstairs.
It was then that the call was made to start inducing labor that evening, as soon as the second steroid shot had been given 24 hours to work.
To Be Continued......