This past week was spent with me in the hospital, admitted to the Labor and Delivery ward. My time spent there was long, boring, scary, sad, painful and bordering on terrifying. This past week reminded me that getting pregnant isn't always the hardest part when it comes to trying to bring a new life into this world. Getting pregnant, no matter how hard it might be, may just be the easiest part of the entire process. Sperm meets egg, egg fertilizes, fertilized egg implants and bam your pregnant. In hinds site, not that difficult of a process. Now, keeping that fertilized implanted egg safe for the next 40 to 41 weeks is another story. Things happen, as I have experienced first hand. Bad things CAN and DO happen during pregnancy. Not everything is written in black and white. Not every positive pregnancy test results in a healthy baby. No every pregnancy goes the same and not every day in a pregnancy is the same. Nothing is guaranteed. There are happy days, scary days, days filled with joy and days filled with sorrow.
In April of 2005 I found out I was pregnant for the first time, then on January 18, 2006 I gave birth to the most precious baby boy imaginable and my heart felt a love that it had never before known. For six more years we tried for another baby, another precious miracle to love. Then on December 5, 2011 my world was filled with Joy once again. We finally got a positive pregnancy test and things looked perfect!! Then on January 10, 2012 I said goodbye to a baby that I wold never hold in my arms, but instead forever hold in my heart. Finally, after nearly giving up in June 2012 I found out I was pregnant for the 3rd time. This time I was cautious and in disbelief, but after we approached the six month mark, I though we were in the clear. Then once again things changed and on November 13, 2012 I woke up sick and in a great deal of pain, on November 15, I was admitted to the hospital, November 16, I was told there was a possibility that I would be delivering a 24 week old baby in a matter of hours, November 17, I was told they had no idea what was wrong, November 21, I underwent surgery that brought about no new answers and finally on November 22, I was sent home, still pregnant with medications and weeks of worry ahead.
Let me start by going back to Tuesday, November 13th. I woke up tired and uncomfortable, but chalked it up to being in a car for almost 8 hours the day before. However as the day went on I began to feel more uncomfortable and really nauseated. Finally around supper time I was vomiting and experiencing a great deal of pain in my lower right side. I had my appendix out years earlier so there was no worries with that, but the pain was in the same area. Because the pain at that point was not constant, I thought that I might just be having really painful Braxton Hicks contractions. I tried to time the waves of pain but there was no pattern so I tried not to worry. Finally after a really uncomfortable evening, I took some Tylenol and went to bed. I was able to sleep most of the night so I figured that it was just a strange episode and would resolve on it's own. The next morning I didn't feel too bad, a little sore but nothing that I couldn't handle. I told my husband that I was going to take it easy for the day and hopefully be back on my feet the next morning. Most of the day I was fine, but by late afternoon the pain returned and this time it was worse then before. I spent the day trying ice, warm packs, Tylenol and even a warm bath to relieve the pain. Nothing was helping and the pain was starting to get overwhelming. Finally around 6pm I phoned the emergency on call doctor at my OBGYN's office. She told me that it was probably nothing and to try to rest and take it easy. She told me that if the Tylenol was not working that I could try to take a Vicodin, which she new I had from a previous surgery. She told me to watch for any signs of contractions and to rest as much as possible. After looking up online just to confirm that the Vicodin was safe, I took one and tried to go to bed. The pain did not subside and I could not lay still. I went out to the couch to talk to my husband and the pain became much more intense. I stood up to go back to bed and when I did, I noticed the couch had a wet spot on it. I knew that I had not peed so I panicked that my water had possibly broken. I immediately called the emergency doctor back and she asked me quite a few questions. After I had answered everything, she felt as though it was most likely not my water breaking but just a lot of discharge. She told me to try a second Vicodin when I was able to and to try to get some sleep. She also told to call my doctor first thing in the morning to let him know what was going on, but that everything would probably be better by morning. I took the second Vicodin and went to bed. I laid there for hours in pain before finally falling asleep around 6am. Because I was asleep and thinking that I was finally resting, my husband sent our son off to school then went out for the day. I stayed asleep until almost 11:00 when I woke up in pain once again. This time the pain was very specifically located to one spot in my right side and was unbearable. I was on the floor crying and was really worried that something more was going on. I though that it might be an ovarian cyst so I called my regular OBGYN right away. The nurse got on the phone, took my information and told me the doctor would call me back. In the meantime my husband came back to let me know that our son was spending the night at my parents house and he had gotten us tickets to see the new Twilight movie. I didn't want to spoil is surprise so I told him that if the doctor said everything was fine, we would go. It took hours for the doctor to finally call back. Turns out they had a major flood in their office and thing were a mess there. He told me that he wanted me to go to the hospital in Bangor and go into the Labor and Delivery unit. He would meet me there and run a few tests just to make sure everything was alright. My husband and I got in the car and left for the hour long drive to the hospital. During that time the pain got so bad I could not help but sit there and sob. By the time we arrived at the hospital I was in so much pain that I was once again vomiting. As soon as we got to the nurses station, they jumped into action. They had been waiting for us to arrive and already had a room for me. They brought me in, had me change into a gown and called the doctor to let him know I was there. They did some basic vital signs and got me ready to see the doctor. Instead of my doctor coming in, the midwife that works with him showed up. I had met her before and really liked her, so I was comfortable that it was her there instead of my regular doctor. She took one look at me crying in the bed and told me that I was there for the night. Before I knew it an IV was stared and medication was finally given to relieve the pain. She went over my entire history and possibilities of what could be going on. They ordered an ultrasound for first thing in the morning and worked on controlling my pain that night. Because my husband had to work early the next morning, he didn't stay with me. I was so medicated that him being there wouldn't have done much more then causing him not getting a good nights sleep. So he called my family, said goodbye and headed home. Because of the medication given, I was finally able to get a little bit of rest. That is after loads of blood work and other hands on tests. The next morning the doctor came in to see me and after a quick physical he told me that he suspected anything from a twisted ovary to the possibility of my placenta detaching. Because of my history with a questionable placenta, he immediately ordered steroid shots to be given to try and help develop our daughters lungs so that she may have a chance of serving birth if she were to be delivered in a matter of hours. As soon as I heard those words I started to panic. I was 24 weeks that day and I knew it was way too early for her to be born. I was alone with no family and I was scared. I had no chance of hiding the tears that began to flow down my cheeks and I sat there, fearing the worst. Before I even had a chance to really grasp what was going on, a nurse came in with the first injection of steroid. It was real, this was happening and I was terrified. Thankfully just as that was happening my husband walked into the room. I can not begin to tell you how bad his timing usually is, but this time, it was perfect. He came right over to me and held me and asked what was going on. After explaining everything, I was taken away to ultrasound. That first test showed what my doctor believed to be a twisted ovary, but a normal healthy placenta! Ok so the scariest possibility was negative, Thank GOD!!! However a twisted ovary can still be a big problem. After checking my kidneys, gallbladder, liver, bowel and everything else in that area, I was sent back up to my room. The doctor reviewed that ultrasound and still questioning what he saw, so he ordered a second. This time the ultrasound tech came to me and they did everything right in my room. Knowing how scared I was, she made sure to let me see that our daughter was doing well and everything with her looked perfect with her. It was such a huge weight off my shoulders to know that she was not in immediate danger! So the second ultrasound was reviewed by my doctor and the specialist working on my case in Portland. My doctor said my ovary looked normal but the specialist believed it was twisted, so yet another ultrasound was ordered. This time I went to the big bad machine as they called it. They kept me in bed and wheeled me down to the Maternal Fetal Medicine department for a high tech ultrasound. This third ultrasound for the day showed a normal ovary and normal everything for that matter. Nothing could be seen that would be causing me so much pain. However even with the pain medication being given, the pressure of the ultrasound was too much and the pain was beyond control. I cried throughout most of the scan and despite another look at our precious little girl, I was miserable. After being wheeled back up to my room, my doctor came in to talk to my husband and I. Nothing could be seen on ultrasound but I had every symptom of my ovary twisting on itself. Because of the amount of pain I was still in, he decided I that he wanted me to stay the weekend to be monitored and so my pain could be controlled. He also wanted to make sure that my ovary wouldn't suddenly twist over the weekend and not be near the hospital if I were sent home. Fearing that something could still happen to our baby, I agreed to stay where I was. It was so hard being away from our son, but I knew I was where I needed to be in case something should happen. I stayed for the weekend with no real changes. I was given medication around the clock and still I was in pain. Finally on Monday the doctor returned and told me that I would be going in for an MRI later that day. Later that day turned into later that night and nothing happening at all. It wasn't until about 6:00pm that the nurse came in and told me that the ultrasound tech didn't want to do the MRI and my doctor was fighting with him to get it done. Because of the conflict, nothing would be done that day.
Tuesday, still no MRI and this time the doctor decided that he wanted to just go in to do an exploratory surgery to get to the bottom of things. Because I am on Lovenox, a blood thinner, I had to wait until the following day for surgery to reverse the affects and avoid a bleeding episode. So all of Tuesday I worried about surgery. Because my husband had gone home Monday night and was sick most of the night, I was alone from Monday night until Wednesday afternoon. Tuesday was filled with another ultrasound, my first Bio Physical Profile, to check on our baby's development, size, fluid level and practice breathing ability. This had been scheduled for almost a month prior so they decided to just keep the appointment. I was told that practice breathing doesn't normally start until around the 28th week, but there she was, breathing away. I am sure it had something to do with the two steroid injections she had been given earlier in the week to help develop her lungs for the possibility of delivery, but it was still exciting to see. Everything looked perfect and I was sent back upstairs for blood work and rest.
Finally on Wednesday, bright and early at 5:45am the nurse woke me up to prep me for surgery. I was scared and once again couldn't hide the tears that began to trickle down my cheeks. I hated that I was alone, but I wanted to make sure my husband was healthy before he came around me and the new babies that I shared the floor with. At 6am a man stood at my door with a stretcher to take me to surgery. I climbed onto the stretcher and tried to compose myself on my way downstairs to the OR. I did really well until the nurse in the pre-op room told me not to worry, that it was a simple surgery. Yah, the last time I had a "simple" surgery, it turned into EIGHT! Again I started to cry and she did her best to console me. Before I went into surgery, the doctor wanted our babies heart rate monitored so they called back up the the 7th floor for someone to come down. My favorite nurse that had been taking care of me jumped at the call and even left her patient in labor to be with me. Despite my fear of hospitals and wishing I didn't have to be there, I can honestly say that the nursing staff there made me feel so much better. They were kind, caring and just amazing people. I hope I can find a way to show them how much I appreciate everything they did for me while I was there.
Anyway, she came right down and picked up my babies heartbeat right away. As we were listening to the thumping of her heart, one of the OR nurses came in to talk to me. She kept saying things like "well if something happens nothing will be done to save your baby, she is too little and not viable." Or she would say to someone else in the room "we don't need those medications, nothing is going to be done, the baby isn't viable anyway." At first I wanted to cry because my worst fear was facing me. The idea of going into surgery and having something happen and the doctors NOT working to save my baby. I wanted to get up and run, but something took over and I looked her straight in the face and told her "Look, babies are viable at 22 weeks, my Daughter is already beyond 24 weeks, almost 25 weeks and she is completely viable and everything WILL be done to save her if the need be"! The other nurse in the room agreed that everything would be done to help her if the need arose and my doctor also confirmed that every measure would be taken because she was at the point where she could survive outside of the womb. I will be making a complaint to everyone that will listen about the nurse who I had "differences" with. Nothing should be said like that in front of a mother, I don't care how far along they are. It was uncalled for and it only made the situation a lot more stressful and scary for me.
Thankfully it wasn't too much longer before it was time to bring me back into the operating room. Knowing that the nurse from the labor and delivery unit would be there when I woke up, I asked her to make sure that the first thing I heard when I woke up was my baby's heart beating. She promised she would do everything she could to make sure that was the first sounds I heard and with that I walked away into the OR.
This was not my first surgery, but this was the fist time I had such a bad experience being put under sedation. As soon as they stared giving me the medication to put me under, the IV site in my hand failed. The medication started going everywhere and the nurse told them to stop. She apologised and said that they were unable to wait until I was asleep to start a new IV and would have to do it now. What she didn't realize was that some of the medication had made it's way in and I was only half awake. I was awake just enough to move, but I was unable to talk. I was also unable to breath! The medication had already begun suppressing my respiratory system and I felt like I was being smothed. I was only like this for about 30 seconds before the doctor who was in the room finally noticed and shouted for them to help me. That 30 seconds seemed like so much longer and the panic was not relieved right away. The nurse grabbed the plastic mask and told me to just try and breath, but there was nothing coming out of it. No air, no medication, nothing. I was crying and screaming in my head for someone to just put me out, fearing that I was going to be awake when they put the breathing tube in! Finally I started to slip into nothingness and before I knew it, everything was over.
Waking up was painful and scary. I only remember crying in pain and begging to hear my little girl's heartbeat. When I finally was able to calm down, I could hear her the little thump thump thump of her heart in the background. My wonderful nurse was by my side and doing everything she could to distract me from the pain and have me focus on the amazing sound of her healthy heartbeat. When I finally did calm down, the doctor told me that they did not find anything that would explain the pain that I was in. I was frustrated and upset that I still had no answers, but at the same time I was overcome with pure bliss knowing that my little girl was safe and healthy.
After a great deal of trial and error with the pain medication, I was finally released from recovery and wheeled back upstairs. Because the surgery had "woken up" my uterus, I was put on Magnesium Sulfate for 24 hours. Wow that stuff is no picnic! My arm burned constantly from the Magnesium and weekend all of my muscles. I was unable to walk to the bathroom and had to be forced to use the commode next to my bed. I guess it was better then the bed pan, but I just don't do well using the restroom with people watching! Oh well, when your pregnant you mine as well through modesty out the window. After I finished, I was happy that the nurse was there, because she noticed that I had begun to bleed. Just when I though everything was alright and I could relax, now I am bleeding again! My Mother and son were in the room so I had to hold it together so they wouldn't get scared. Thankfully my little man is a good distraction for any bad situation and before too long, the doctor came in to take a look. It was then that I found out that I had been given a catheter and that is where the bleeding was from. Ok easy enough! It was then that I was also told that during the surgery, the doctor found a very large collection of blood vessels on the side of my uterus. To make sure that I wasn't developing a clot in one of them, I would be sent down to the MRI. Yah, this day just got better and better. At least the Magnesium was shut off for during the test and my poor arm got a rest from the burning. The MRI went really well and after everything I had been through, I was just exhausted and somehow managed to fall asleep during the test. I'm not sure if you have had an MRI before, but they are LOUD, but I guess my exhaustion was louder. After the test was over they showed me a photo of my baby girl. I looked and made the comment that she was so cute sucking her thumb, then the doctor explained that it wasn't her thumb, but instead her toe! Silly little girl.
Thankfully the MRI came out normal and I was able to spend my last 24 hours in the hospital resting as much as possible. The Magnesium weekend my muscles so much that I cold barely move around, even to the commode right next to the bed without help. Thankfully I did not get any of the other side effects that can be associated with the medication and after my 24 hours were up, I was finally sent home. I was so happy to walk through the door and finally lay down in my own bed! My son stayed with my parents for one more night and my husband went out Black Friday shopping. At first I was sad not to have him with me, but after finally being able to get some real sleep, I was thankful.
So I still have no answers as to what caused the pain and the pain is still there. Most days it is very mild and I do not need any medication, but other days it is so bad I am stuck in bed without the strength of desire to do anything. Because of this, this post is coming VERY late. But it is finally done and I will once again do my best to play catch up for everyone. Please don't give up on me just yet. :)