Happy 2016!

100415_1432NICUI’m a little late to the New Year Celebration party but I have a very good excuse… several actually.

Full story below but short version if you just want the summary at the end of August I started having high blood pressure it culminated in preclampsia and leading me to be hospitalized from end of week 33 to baby’s birth at week 35.
(After week 35, it is more dangerous to stay pregnant than the benefits for the baby to reach term).

Long version:

My pregnancy was beyond normal for the first half or so. No morning
sickness and I only felt sick a few times, which quickly passed. In
August, I went home to see my family for 2 weeks when I got back my
blood pressure was elevated, which was concerning because I had been
consistently at 120/80 throughout my pregnancy to that point. My
midwife set me up for blood pressure checks and non-stress test
monitoring twice a week. (You basically sit hooked to a heart rate
monitor for 30 minutes while they look for the baby’s heart rate to
accelerate and return to baseline a set number of times based on the
gestational age.)

Everything was fine with him and I felt fine. On Sept 19, I had
another one that afternoon and eventually passed although it took
longer than the usually 30 minutes. I picked up DH that night at
Bart, we had dinner out and stopped at Babies R Us to get a car seat.
No rush I wasn’t due until November 17. At the store, I started
bleeding -something that never happened before so needless to say I
was freaking out that I might be miscarrying. We called Labor and
Delivery and were told to come for a check up. The doc on called said
that Part of the placenta had broken off causing the bleeding which
thankfully stopped an hour or so after we arrived. They were more
concerned that my BP was board lining with preeclampsia. I put it to
freaking out over baby. So I wasn’t too concerned at first.

I was admitted for meds to mature B’s lungs and told I might be
discharged after the 48 hour period for doses to take affect.
Unfortunately my BP spiked again and that Monday the specialist told
me I was in until delivery at 35 weeks.
4 days later, I was stable enough to be moved to the Mother/Baby unit
where I would be monitored twice a day instead of continually. Nice
change. I got more sleep! There’s only so many beds in the labor unit
that allow for all-day monitoring so they move you as soon as you pass
with a stable BP for 12 hours.

I was still having daily non-stress tests followed by BBPs ultrasounds
because he wasn’t passing the other test. On Friday October 2 he
barely passed the BBP and doctor suggested moving up the induction
(which was scheduled for Saturday night). She said that if I had been
earlier in my pregnancy she’d schedule an afternoon BBP before making
any suggestions considering he had until that point been passing the
BBPs within 2 minutes of them starting the ultrasound. (They look for
various movements within 30 minutes and until Friday morning he scored
8/8 every time). 6/8 wasn’t too alarming but since we were scheduled
to start the induction Saturday night she figured it wasn’t worth the
risk of waiting another day.

So Friday night they started me on the pitocin to see if B could
handle a vaginal birth. Basically, he had to have a normal BP through
3 contractions in a 10-minute period. Fun times. So he passed.

Saturday noon, they start the induction and I’m barely .5 dilated and
not effaced at all so it’s going to be a loooooooong day. 12 hours
later, I’m only 2 cm dilated and still not effaced so they break my
water and hope that that picks things up but nope. I start on the
pitocin to bring on more contractions (Lucky me!) to move me along.

Long story short, the induction failed. When they started me on
pitocin for round two, I immediately started having continuous
contractions. No breaks at all. Not what anyone wants. Turning the
meds down didn’t help.  I ended up getting emergency meds to stop the
contractions. Worse of all, every contraction caused B’s heart
rate to drop. It was so horrible watching his BP drop and struggle to
climb back up before dropping again. So I had to have a c-section due
to “fetal distress”. Lucky for me it wasn’t considered an emergency so
Todd could be in the OR with me and I was awake but he had to wait in
the hall during the prep. It was terrifying.

I only saw B for a few seconds while the NICU team ran him to his
corner and stabilized him. After they had him prepped, they took him
to the NICU but he was breathing ok and again it wasn’t an emergency
situation so DH could go with them while they finished my c-section
and I went to recovery. DH would have had to wait in the hall if
Benji had needed more services. (A NICU nurse had given us a tour of
the NICU and explained everything a few days before my induction so
that we would have an idea of what to expect, covered NICU procedures
and know what was allowed in the OR. It was a bit scary but definitely
helped us ask questions and be a bit more comfortable with

After recovery, basically the epidural had to wear off and I had to be
able to stand (even though I wasn’t allowed out of bed for the next 24
hours…) DH came in to see me with pictures of B and would go
back to check in with the doctors to give me updates.

Throughout my hospitalization, everyone told me that most people
immediately recover their BP after giving birth and definitely should
be normal within 48 hours. Ha! A lucky few don’t follow that pattern.
Guess which spot I am? My BP climbed higher than when I was pregnant
so I spent the next week being monitored and visiting B in the
NICU. I think it actually helped my c-section recovery because I
didn’t have to care for B and I had lots of rest and help in the
early days. Most people get discharged after a c-section in 3 days.

Kaiser offers free boarding rooms to breastfeeding women who have
babies in the NICU when they have space available. There are no
services (no food or meds or anything). I got discharged to boarder
status a week after he was born and he was discharged the next week.
All in all I spent 31 days in the hospital.

We’re so happy that he’s healthy and home. He’s doing really well. His
doctor says B is way ahead of schedule on weight gain (for a
preemie) and no long term issues. They add another 6 weeks or so to
his ranges for skills like sitting up and rolling over and stuff
because he was 6 weeks behind at birth.

I like I said things were nuts. He’s doing really well now and is over
2X his birth weight, probably closer to  3x. He looks like a newborn
instead of a skinny old man (like he did at birth). Basically he was a
bundle of sticks with a head attached. No fat at all. Apparently,
babies don’t start plumping up until the last few weeks before birth.
He missed out on that. He was born at 3:34 am and weighed 4 lbs 4.4
ozs and was just under 18 inches long.

He’s sleeping pretty well now. DH usually feeds him between 10:30 pm
and 11:30 so he sleeps until around 6 am when I wake him up to change
his diaper and feed him again and then he usually naps for another 3
or 4 hours depending on his mood. We learned that letting him sleep
more than 7 or so hours at a time means he’s just going to puke it all
up. If it wasn’t for the pumping, I’d be getting a good chunk of
sleep. I’m hoping to keep it up for another 3 months but it really
eats up the hours. I spend about 3.5-4 hours every day pumping and
setting up/cleaning up after every session every 3 to 4 hours. So much
fun. but it’s worth it in the end.

The end.



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