So you know on all the pregnancy websites it tells you to always call the doctor if anything seems weird because it's always important and they won't think you're crazy or neurotic and they always would rather see you and send you home for nothing than not? Funny thing happened a week ago Saturday night (so not this past Saturday night, the one before), I got to test that theory out.
It had been a long week for me. I had been in Miami for the weekend for work and while it was actually very relaxing and fun, getting a family packed and ready for vacation, the whole plane thing, and just not being home really wore me out.
As soon as we got back to Philadelphia I was slammed with a brutal cold. I was coughing so hard my stomach muscles were sore. The doctor prescribed me antibiotics because at this stage my immune system is a total punk and a simple cold can morph into bronchitis or pneumonia quickly. He also prescribed cough syrup with codeine in it so that I could actually get some sleep. Who knew a prego could take codeine? It was all very low dose stuff, not regular strength at all. As soon as we got home from the doctor I took my medicine and went straight to bed. That was Thursday. I stayed in bed all afternoon that day and the entire next day, sleeping mostly and watching television. Did I mention I'm addicted to Birth Day and Deliver Me on the Discovery Channel? There's about 4 hours in the afternoon every day of these shows. Also another one called Bringing Home Baby where they show the first 36 hours home with a newborn. I don't understand the people who sign up to be on these shows. Who wants to be a crying, greasy, breastfeeding mess on television? Not me, but I'll watch you do it.
Saturday I felt a little better and also guilty and pissed off about my weekend being wasted in bed when there were dishes in the sink and my suitcase wasn't unpacked and I felt like a lazy slob. I decided to get up and tackle the dishes first. It seemed like they took a long time but I was probably moving in slow motion. The whole time I stood at the sink I was having contractions but I just chalked them up to Braxton-Hicks and paid no attention. The dishes pretty much wiped me out so I headed back to bed.
Poor Frank had been hiding in the basement all week so as to avoid my disgusting germiness and also to give me space to thrash around and cough my head off. When he came home on Saturday night we actually spent some time together in his man cave in the basement since I wasn't contagious anymore. He fell asleep and I went back to my sick bed to watch some more television. CSI Miami is on for hours and hours on the weekends and it's pure trash and I love it. CSIs don't actually walk around in low cut tops and 5 inch heels. Did you know that? They wear coveralls and are usually big fat guys. They also don't interview suspects or witnesses. They collect all the crime scene grossness and then leave. Frank shares this with me every time the show is on, which is why I only watch it when he's not around.
Around 2am I had some discharge that didn't feel normal but again, paid no attention because Horatio was about to crack the case and get the bad guy and really, the mystery of pregnancy discharge is never ending. About 20 minutes later I got up to go to the bathroom and blood! There was bright red, coming out of me, blood! I ran downstairs to Frank (still in the basement) and woke him up saying we had to go the hospital right now! He said well let's look it up on the internet. He Googled something like 30 week bleeding or whatever and everything that came up said call your doctor right away. So I called the doctor's office, got the answering service who paged the doctor, he called back and said go to the hospital.
We got dressed and headed for the hospital, I tried not to freak out and Frank saw it as a good opportunity to do a test run since the hospital is about 30 minutes away. When we got there I told the nurse at the desk "I'm 30 and a half weeks and I'm bleeding and the doctor said go to the hospital". The doctor on call was standing right there and she said "I'll see you in a minute". They put us in a room and gave me a gown. I got in the hospital bed and they hooked me up to a fetal monitor and a contraction monitor and an IV. The doctor came in and asked me questions about the bleeding and then did a pelvic exam with a speculum. She found and removed a large clot off my cervix.
Ok, I've had hundreds of speculum exams and while they're never pleasant or comfortable, they've never hurt. This hurt like you wouldn't believe. I was actually crying out from how much it hurt. Apparently you're not really supposed to jam stuff like that up there while pregnant. It doesn't feel so good.
The doctor said I wasn't dilated at all but couldn't explain the bleeding. Meanwhile, the contraction monitor showed I was having a contraction A MINUTE. I wasn't even feeling them but there they were on the print out from the monitor, consistent bumps. They called my doctor to tell him what they found and he ordered me admitted, put on magnesium sulfate to stop the contractions, and steroids to mature the baby's lungs in case labor continued to progress. The steroids by the way? Literally a shot in the ass. At that point it was about 5am and I was totally dazed and shocked by all of these developments. I was fully expecting for them to listen to my story, do an exam, and send me home. Instead, they wheeled me into a room on the Labor and Delivery floor hooked up to all kinds of machines (including a catheter because I wasn't allowed out of bed under any circumstances - awesome!) and told me I was there for at least 24 hours.
We both tried to sleep for a while, Frank in a hospital chair. The nurses and residents were in every hour checking the monitors and my reflexes and my breathing so sleeping wasn't really happening. Also, sleeping with a catheter? Right. I did doze for a few hours. The doctor came in around 9, not my doctor but a partner from the practice, and I asked him if this was just a whole lot of precaution and he said "no, you were contracting every minute and would have gone into full blown labor if you didn't come in". Ok then.
The day passed in a blur of nurses and visitors. It was really hard to know what day it even was (Sunday) since my room didn't have a window and we got there in the middle of the night. Lora came to see me bearing all the things a girl should have while spending time in Labor and Delivery, stuff rookies like me don't even think of, like hair clips and chapstick. Frank went home for the night - there's nowhere to sleep in the hospital and our poor dog was home all by herself all day - and I tried to sleep but again, the constant checking and poking and beeping and lights. It's never dark enough. I think I finally got to sleep a little around 1am, only to wake up at 5 with Frank back next to me and the nurse there to give me a second shot of steroids (2 doses in 24 hours is required) before I was even fully conscious.
My own doctor came in around 8 to see how I was doing and I asked him when this whole fun experience was going to be over. He said I had to spend at least one more night so they could monitor what happened after they stopped the magnesium. I waited until he left the room to cry. Thankfully, the nurses came in and took off the magnesium and iv and antibiotics and disconnected the iv completely (they left part of it in my arm in case I had to be hooked up again), and greatest thing ever, they took me off the catheter. I was allowed to get up to go to the bathroom and everything. The first time I got up my legs didn't work. The nurses warned me that it was a side effect of the drugs and to let them know the first time I needed to get up so they could help me and seriously? My legs didn't work. Frank thought it was hilarious and asked me if I was drunk.
Eventually they moved me out of Labor and Delivery and into the Antepartum unit which is full of pregos trying to stay that way and I was finally allowed to eat something. That's right. There's no eating or drinking while on magnesium or anywhere near possible labor. At first I didn't notice because of the iv but as soon as they let me eat I went to town. Hospital food was the best thing I'd ever seen! They also took me off of constant monitoring and instead did it twice a shift. Frank brought me some things from home so I could take a shower - including a towel. Hospital bath towels are small and thin and scratchy and thankfully, I'd read about this already. Seriously, if you're looking at any kind of hospital stay, bring your own towel. The rest of the day (Monday now) passed uneventfully. I watched tv and napped and talked to Frank, who was going home only to feed the dog and shower, and looked forward to Tuesday when I could finally go home.
Tuesday was all about waiting for my doctor to come by and give me the all clear. More tv and napping and talking to Frank. More monitoring that showed a baby that never stops moving and maybe a contraction an hour. Some time in the afternoon I got up to go to the bathroom and...more blood! I didn't even want to tell the nurses but Frank made me. A few minutes later my doctor comes in and said he was on his way over to discharge me but now, not so much. They scheduled me for an ultrasound the next day and I settled in for another night at the damn hospital. At that point, the doctor was concerned that it was a placental abruption and he wanted an ultrasound to see what exactly was going on in there.
More tv, more napping, more hospital food. Halfway decent sleep on Tuesday night and on Wednesday, more of the same. I told Frank to stay home and sleep in and he came around noon bearing gifts of food from the hospital cafeteria, including Doritos. They came to take me for the ultrasound around 1pm and I had to go in a wheelchair. The nice lady wheeled me into the ultrasound waiting area, filled with people in regular clothes and I know I scared all the pregnant ladies and made them feel sorry for me at the same time. Mercifully she didn't leave me in the waiting room, instead wheeling me right into the ultrasound area to wait in the hall.
The technician performed the ultrasound, checking for size and stuff, and then the doctor came in, resident in tow. He was a high risk pregnancy doc and he asked me all sorts of questions about what happened and how I ended up there. He then took a look with the ultrasound and didn't find any evidence of placental abruption, but did find some polyps on my cervix which he said were the culprits for the bleeding. He said it was his opinion that I could go home that day and he would call me doctor and say so.
We got back to my room and waited for what seemed an interminably long time before they officially declared me able to go home. It was probably a couple of hours. Finally, the resident came in and said she talked to my doctor and I was free to go home, after she explained the doctor's orders. I was to be on modified bed rest. Modified in that I could get out of bed to sit on the couch and I could get up from the couch to use the bathroom and that's it. No more going to work, no more anything vertical. They discharged me and the man with the wheelchair came and wheeled me all the way to the car door and we went home. I was never so happy to be home in my whole life.
That was a week ago Wednesday. My mom and mother in law have been here, cleaning and cooking. Frank has been awesome doing everything around here while yelling at me to sit down. I don't sit so good. And I wait for word from the doctor that everything's fine now, go back to your regularly scheduled life.
I'm not holding my breath.