Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bedpans and Basic Cable


 Today marks 20 weeks into my pregnancy. With all the past complications behind me, I was feeling pretty good, except for a slight suspicion that something may not be quite right. The nausea was mostly gone, I was getting our registry together, a baby party was being planned. Even my husband, who is ever constant with his stoic demeanor, was showing some outward signs of happy anticipation. All the excitement that I had anticipated was just beginning to stir and I was feeling almost normal again. Well, as normal as can be expected for a pregnant woman.

  I went in for a routine check up and it turned out to be anything but routine. I was actually dressed and ready to walk out the door when the doctor asked if I remember them doing a pap at my first exam. I  told him yes, of course. See, this particular doctor is not the usual doctor I see. There are two at the practice and I usually see the other more often. Mine was on duty at the hospital that day. The doctor asked me to wait a moment before I left so he could check with the nurses to inquire about why there was no record of having had one. Was it done, but just not recorded? Or, was it for some reason or other, not done at all? I could swear it was. When he came back he had confirmed that it had not been done because of all the bleeding that had occurred in the first trimester. Woopsie! Then I remembered that it was attempted a couple of times with the pelvic exams but you can't really get a result if there is any bleeding involved. So, back to the table for a pelvic exam so he could do what he had to do. Oh joy! every woman's favorite thing, a pelvic exam and pap smear!

  I am back on the table now and I shared my concerns about leaking amniotic fluid and how could I tell the difference between it and normal fluids? He tells me that during the ultrasound (which was scheduled with the specialist the next morning) the sonographer would be able to see if anything was going on. He mentioned that he may notice fluid built up during the exam if the leaking was happening as well. Then I hear "Ummmm..." and a pause. Not the sound you want to hear from the doctor when he's staring down your peekachu! He tells me he sees no signs of fluid leaking, but he does see that I have a "bulging bag of waters". He can actually see right into my cervix! Which is apparently incompetent or insufficient. It is supposed to be closed. Either way you choose to say it, it's still my worst nightmare come true. This is not good. He told me that with this particular complication, most people don't discover they have it until they have experienced a second trimester miscarriage or two. He told me that if it was something that we were aware of ahead of time, or caught it earlier, he would be able to insert a stitch to keep the cervix closed. In my case, because the bulge is visible, it is too late for that. If he attempted it now, the bag could rupture and of course miscarriage would be imminent. And even the stitch is no guarantee, it is just a precaution. With an incompetent cervix, it is too weak or too short to support a pregnancy as the baby grows and the uterus gets bigger. They usually result in loss of the pregnancy or major preterm delivery. Most babies don't survive.

  Of course, now I am in complete shock. I was silent for a minute trying to take it all in. I asked what would be the next step and said I will do whatever it takes to try to save the pregnancy. Even though he did let me know that the prognosis was not a good one. My choices were to go home and do nothing, go on with life as usual, knowing that the pregnancy would eventually fail. Or, strict bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. In the hospital. I asked him when he would like for me to be admitted and he says, "well, you could go now, if there isn't anything at home that you need right away", or I could go home and get some things together first. I knew I was in deep trouble at this point. And trying to wrap my head around the idea of at least the next four months in a hospital bed. Four months!! Four months of bedpans and basic cable. He agreed to allow me to go home and get a few things together. I needed to take care of my two dogs that were kenneled at home, thinking that mommy would be home shortly to feed them and let them do their business.

  We went into his office and while he filled out the documents I would need, I called my husband, trying not to let the panic that was creeping up take hold. He was just getting out of work and was about to head home, so I gently informed him that he would have to meet me at the house only to drive me back to the hospital, as they were expecting me there by 6 p.m. The drive home was pretty surreal, I don't even remember it. Once I got there I couldn't even wrap my head around the fact that I was packing up to be away for God only knows how long. All the while trying not to lose it completely. I grabbed a few things, like pajamas and clean underwear, toiletries and my MacBook. I even grabbed my Viva Glam lipstick just in case I might feel the need for it. Ok, I grabbed the MacBook first, then the rest. I even attempted to stop and clean the kitchen, but quickly aborted that mission once I realized how ridiculous it was.

  We were at the admissions window in The Women's Center at Dekalb Medical Center by 5:26 p.m. Four and a half days later, here I am, on strict bed rest for the duration of this pregnancy. While praying and trying to bargain with God about trying to start a family, I probably shouldn't have told him "I don't care what kind of complications you throw at me or how sick I get, I can take it Lord, if you'll just bless me with a happy, healthy baby." Uh... strict bed rest was not something that dawned on me as a possibility. Yet another lesson in being careful what you wish for. As of right now, I am doing the best  I can to stay positive. It's very difficult, but I try. So for now, we wait...and keep praying.

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