We knew this was a possibility. Just didn’t think it would actually happen so dang fast. (But to put it in perspective, Dr. Schwartz expected to see symptoms of pre-eclampsia in me by 28 weeks or so. It usually shows up in non-hypertensive, non-diabetic, non-obese, non-thyroid-challenged women between 32-37 weeks. So the fact that I got to nearly 34 weeks with my medical history is astounding.)
Fetal Monitoring appointment today went well. Baby was head down (again) and cooperating with holding still for the monitor. It wasn’t strapped so tightly to me this time, so he wasn’t kicking at it. I actually fell asleep for a little bit while being monitored.
But when they took my blood pressure, things got a little scary. 157/110, up from 138/83 two weeks ago. (It was ~150/97 last week) And that’s with hella medication. The results of my 24-hour urine test came back in the mid 300’s, which indicates mild/moderate (as opposed to severe) pre-eclampsia.
None of this is a surprise. What Dr. Schwartz told us about at the beginning of this 3rd trimester is coming true. The hope is that the creeping up of my blood pressure stays slow/moderate, and that the protein count doesn’t skyrocket. More labs were taken today and the results will be in tomorrow – which will give a more exact look at what the situation is. I’m not showing many other symptoms – and especially none of the symptoms of HELLP syndrome. But I’m up 2 pounds this week, so that’s a tad worrisome.
If things are getting worse quickly, Dr. Schwartz will have to hospitalize me for more intensive monitoring (BP readings every 15 minutes, IV therapy, fetal monitoring, etc.) Nobody wants that – cuz it would stress me right the hell out. Being in the hospital (by definition, uncomfortable) wasting paid leave with no baby, strapped to a bed would just suck SO bad. And it’s possible that I could be monitored for up to a week before things reach a critical point where the baby has to come out. So that would be a TON of paid leave down the drain. If I’m allowed to be at home, at least I can still do *some* work, and Paul is here to keep a close eye on me. We live like 7 minutes from the hospital if that becomes necessary.
In preparation of the baby coming much sooner than anticipated, I got the first of two steroid shots today. (Supposedly they burn like crazy, but I didn’t feel it at all!) For those who know or care, I’m being given Betamethasone.
So here we are. I’ve been told I can’t go into the office any longer. Dr. Schwartz didn’t get into specifics right yet, but basically I need to be off my feet as much as humanly possible, with feet elevated. And most importantly, I need to be in a calm environment, away from stress. I need to go into the office tomorrow to collect some things and wrap up some stuff, but I’ll be leaving at noon for my 1:00pm appointment. I might go in for a couple hours on Friday too. Cuz seriously, I wasn’t ready to not be in the office quite yet.
Dr. Schwartz is back at home in Denver until Monday, so he’ll call me during my appointment tomorrow to go over my lab results and answer whatever questions we come up with by then. He’ll be back in the office for a 9-day stretch starting on Monday, so I have a strong suspicion that he’ll deliver me during that time, assuming I don’t need to be delivered this weekend for some reason.
As far as baby goes: he’s doing OK at this point as far as we can tell. He was 4 pounds exactly two weeks ago, so we’re assuming he’s somewhere between 4.5-5lbs right now. Our concern for delivering him soon is his lung maturity. The steroids they gave me today (and tomorrow) are designed to kick his lungs into high gear to make surfactant to make it easier for him to breathe. He’ll have to spend some time in the NICU when he comes, but we don’t know how long – could be 2-4 days, could be 2 weeks or more. No way to know until he gets here. If we make it to 36 weeks (doubtful) they can use amniocentesis to check the development of his lungs, but prior to 36 weeks, there isn’t much they can do to check. If he comes sooner than that, it will be because my body just can’t take being pregnant anymore.
We’ll have a better idea of where we stand after tomorrow’s appointment. I already have appointments for Monday, Wednesday and Friday next week for fetal monitoring. Here’s hoping I can keep those.
I still need to pack my hospital bag. I need to wash some baby clothes and put things away in drawers and in his closet. I need to go out and buy some preemie-sized clothing and onesies. It never occurred to us that we could have a preemie. We knew the pregnancy would almost assuredly have a bumpy ending, but having a preemie never occurred to us. I can’t believe I’m typing that word.
I don’t know how to deal with this, really. I’m a planner, and I can’t plan anything right now. I don’t know how things are going to go or what my options are anymore. I don’t know how nursing/pumping gets dealt with in a NICU situation. What do we do with ourselves when we can’t be at the NICU? Does it make me a terrible parent that I’m still worrying about getting to work during all of this? I’m vacillating between abject terror and a preternatural calm, both stemming the knowledge that I am in control of absolutely none of this. I’m going with the flow, because I don’t have any other choice. I’m doing my best to stay calm because stress really doesn’t help the situation. Prayers would be appreciated though. An update will happen as soon as possible after the appointment tomorrow afternoon.