A lead up to the big day and brief description of the 7th ring of hell, otherwise known as bed rest inside a hospital.
I was put in the big room in the back of triage. I was still bleeding heavily. A bunch of residents crowded into the room while they gave me a dose of steroids to develop the baby’s lungs. Arch arrived and he held my hand as we found out from the portable ultra-sound that the baby was okay. His heart rate was 144 and he was alive and was at 25 weeks 2 days gestation. That is about when I started breathing again.
Dr. Playforth, Dr. Bradley’s partner came in and said that they assumed that I had suffered a placental abruption and they wanted to keep me in the hospital to see if it would resolve or continue. We were lucky, we were told, that I had external bleeding because usually in an abruption the placenta collapses around the fetus, suffocating it, without revealing any external symptoms other than small contractions that could have been mistaken for Braxton Hicks. I was on constant fetal monitoring until delivery.
Later that night Dr. Bradley came by and told us that 72 hours of no bleeding meant I could go home but that I would be on bedrest and would need to see her twice a week for ultra-sounds, for the rest of my pregnancy. Going back to CT was out of the question, I needed to be within 10 minutes of the hospital and near a level III NICU. She told us the goal would be to make it to 32 weeks. She told us if we delivered that night we’d have choices to make about his care. She was sending one of the neonatolgists to talk to us about what to expect with a 25 week old preemie...
Well, that night, the bleeding didn’t stop and I started contracting in the early morning. Contracting to the point where I could really feel it. They gave me some tocolytics but told me I could only be on them for about 24 hours. 2 Senior residents came in with the anesthesiologist. We had to sign a consent form for an emergency c-section. They seemed to think the surgery was going to happen SOON but they wanted to get another 24 hours out of me, because they wanted to give the steroids a chance to work on Jack’s lungs.
That second day and night was the worst of my life. It is well documented that my husband can sleep through anything. Me? Not so lucky. The L&D floor was very busy. There were women on either side of our room giving birth, without epidurals. It.was.very.noisy.
But I didn’t deliver that day, in fact we made it almost two whole weeks. Two of the longest weeks in the history of man.
St. Luke’s is one of the busiest if not the busiest maternity center in NYC. SLR’s bread and butter is birthing babies. We thought this was a huge upside when we decided we wanted to give birth there, but there really is a BIG downside to high volume…
There are 35 L&D rooms at SLR with fetal monitors in them. Dr. Bradely wanted me on fetal monitoring constantly to watch Jack’s heart rate, but the hospital needed the rooms for women in active labor; I was bounced around ALL the time. If I had two hours with no bleeding they would send me down from Labor and Delivery to post-partum until the next bleeding episode started, and then they would move me back upstairs and re-attach me to the machines.
Anyway, in two weeks we were in 19 different rooms. We spent two nights in triage (being monitored) and heard a 1st year med student catch a baby; we spent a day and a night in the Operating Recovery Room, BEFORE giving birth (being monitored); we spent 1 night in a shared room with a couple that had just given birth to their full term baby. The rest of the time we were just bouncing back and forth between the floors. As soon as we secured a private room where Arch could spend the night I would get sent back to Labor & Delivery. In retrospect, everytime they moved me to L&D they were prepared to do an emergency c-section, but that fact didn’t really register on me at the time.
Almost every night, Arch was there by my side. He went out and bought an inflatable camping mattress so that he would have someplace to sleep. Some nights he would sleep at Amanda’s, but mostly he would just head back there for a quick shower and a change of clothes. He charmed the nurses and would bring them coffee from Starbucks and trashy magazines. He greased the wheels inside SLR the same way he greases the wheels to get us a good parking spot at the garage. He made me eat food (a major accomplishment) and he continued to work remotely while supervising the construction that was still going on at the apartment. He was doing everything and I was just lying on my back concentrating on not having a baby. If there is a hero in this story, other than Jack, it’s my husband.