Thursday, July 9, 2009

The horizonal pro-star

Today marks one full week of bed rest. Somehow, it seems to be getting easier instead of harder. I'm convinced that this is because for the past two days, I've had a few hours in the morning without contractions. Knowing that this horizontal position is actually helping makes being a lump feel more like an activity in baby-saving. I'm the only one who can protect and help the baby right now and I've accepted that the best way to do that is by doing nothing at all. Took a few days to get my head into this frame of mind, but now that I'm here, I'm feeling better about things.

Adam is doing a fabulous job of keeping the house from falling apart and making sure that Hayden has some active play time every night. He's managed to keep Hayden's schedule similar and thus Hayden doesn't seem overly put out by the other changes. Despite a few rocky moments, we've adjusted pretty well as a family.

I've been constantly surprised and touched by the people in our life who have stepped forward to help out. Whether by watching Hayden, cooking, calling in to check on me, or offering to take me to my multiple appointments, we have an army of awesome friends and family members standing beside us.

Every day I make a short log entry to document my contractions and sensations. With no real concept of time or days, it helps me to see patterns in improvement. I've also taken to checking my cervix once a day to make sure I'm not dilating further. I find that I can do it gently and non-invasively enough that I don't irritate anything. Instead, I give myself peace of mind when I've had a particularly crampy day that it's not necessarily doing anything.

Tomorrow is a big day of Rhogam shots and another ultrasound to check my cervix. If my cervix is still long and closed enough, I may just go on modified bed rest to see how my body handles more vertical time.

Cross your fingers!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Day four

Day four of bed rest looks an awful lot like day three. I watch the sun shining, my neighbours mingling and laughing, and my husband puttering, all from my couch perch. Getting boring for you loyal readers? I know it's looking pretty mundane from here.

Yesterday I woke up to some pretty strong contractions. After a hot bath, they weren't as painful, but they continued pretty frequently throughout the day. Today they seem to have subsided while I'm laying down. But I'm still confined to about five minutes of being upright before they start up again. And today there's a new sensation of downward pressure along with the cramps. This baby is sure keeping mama on her toes....or should I say her butt.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Reality bites

Today I'm home alone. My mum has graciously taken Hayden for the afternoon and overnight and Adam has gone golfing (trust me, he deserves the break). This leaves me with too much time on my hands. And I've been filling it by making myself cry uncontrollably.

As I explained in my last post, I'm someone who likes to know what I'm up against. And the latest in my premature birth research has been watching home videos of 28 week old preemies in the hospital. I only watch ones that have happy endings, but every single one brings me to great sobbing tears.

Watching these little miracles strengthens my resolve to be utterly strict on my bed rest. It also brings up feelings of guilt for putting myself in this situation by pushing my limits. I know that if I had a preemie baby, I would feel responsible for all of the tubes and wires and warmers that would keep my angel alive instead of the safety of my womb. I would beat myself up over any silly decisions I made leading up to this point - from not taking my prenatals daily to carrying around Hayden when he's more than capable of walking.

So, long story short I'm more determined than ever to keep this baby safely in my womb. No sneaking in showers, no unnecessary trips out, no trying to help Adam out. While the guilt of laying here and having someone else do everything weighs heavy on me, the guilt of pushing early labour along would be tenfold.

Bed rest musings

I'm now on day three of bed rest and already my mind whirls. I flit between waves of positive thinking that this is a small speed bump on my pregnancy journey to the reality that I could at any time be pushing a tiny, fragile life into the world.

My family, friends, and coworkers have all been so supportive and kind with their words and actions. Offers of dinners and company have come flooding in and often leave me weepy with the feeling of love I'm surrounded by.

Adam has accepted his new role of "everything man" quite well. While we have some grumbling, he's done an absolutely fabulous job of picking up Hayden's reigns while keeping the house from looking like a disaster zone. He even managed to have a serious talk with Hayden to convince him that he needs to be gentle with mummy. It's like having a different son as he's been so snuggly and cautious around me. Though he's realized I can't chase him around- as evidenced by his manic monster moment the minute Adam left to run errands last night.

With so much time to think, I've been spending a lot of time quelling my fears of a premature birth by researching. While Google can be a dangerous tool with this kind of cautionary situation, just knowing and preparing myself for what may come has eased my worry. I stay away from the scary tales and heartbreaking stories and instead focus on the many miracles that have been born around this age and lived with little to no ill-affect.

One thing I've been struggling to get my head around is the possible change in my labour plans. My intervention- and drug-free birth plans will be tough to accommodate if this little one arrives before 34 weeks. There would be no delayed cord cutting, no holding and nursing my baby for an hour before tests and cleansing takes him away. I'm trying to come to grips with the fact that this baby will probably be whisked from the room after I get a brief glance and then kept in the neo-natal ward for weeks. There will be no relaxed nursing as his sucking reflex will not be strong enough. If I'm lucky, I'll be able to pump and tube feed my little angel. And then there's the reality that the baby will be kept in hospital while I am discharged. Going home without my precious babe would just kill me.

So, while I'm still focusing strongly on getting through this pre-term labour risk and delivering in September, I'm preparing myself for the worst. It's always been my mantra in life: Prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. It's fared me well so far and my mind actually relaxes once I understand what I'm up against. (For me it's like horror movies - once I actually see the threat, it's no longer scary. Movies like the Blair Witch Project where you never see the evil, that's what messes with my mind as I can think up WAY scarier things than reality can produce.)

So keep those positive thoughts and prayers coming. I swear sometimes I can feel the wave of support when someone sends a vibe out there.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Preggie panic on Canada Day

We are officially in pregnancy panic mode. On Wednesday, we had a busy day gardening and then going to the fair for Canada Day. On the way back from the fair I started feeling tight and uncomfortable. By the time we got home, I was having contractions and also sharp, stabbing pains when I was on my feet. I waited a few hours, taking it easy, drinking and laying down, but nothing changed.

A call to the midwives came with the advice to have a nice warm bath, lay down and call them in an hour. Still nothing changed so we met at the hospital. They hooked me up to the monitor and I was having regular contractions every 7-9 minutes. When they checked me, my cervix was 1cm dilated, soft and only 2cm long.

They gave me steroids for the baby's lungs, an IV for antibiotics and fluids, and monitored me all night long. The contractions hadn't changed one way or the other so I managed to convince the OB (they switched care) that I should go home to rest and would come back if anything changed and would be back on that night for an ultrasound, 2nd steroid shot, and additional monitoring.

For now, I'm on strict bed rest and can't return to work. They'll reassess on Monday and I'll have a better idea if the bed rest is permanent or if I can go back on modified hours after a week.

If the contractions get worse or my cervix continues to change I have to be admitted to a Level 3 hospital (with a high risk neo-natal unit) which could be anywhere from Hamilton to Ottawa or even in Buffalo!!

I had a complete panic moment on Wednesday when I realized that if this baby comes early, we don't have any diapers, a place for the baby to sleep, any clothes washed, or even my hospital bag packed. I think Adam might be pretty busy this weekend getting the basics in place just in case. It least it might quiet one part of my stressed brain...

I'll definitely keep you posted as we learn more. At only 28 weeks, we need to keep this baby put for at least another six weeks to avoid major complications. Send all your stay put vibes our way!