Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Blur

Throughout the night, I was hooked up to a variety of machines: fetal heart monitor, contractions monitor, blood pressure, pulse odometer, IV drips, etc. People came in and out constantly to check my dilation, check my breathing, see if we needed anything…it was constant chaos. We were the medical students’ entertainment for the night. Abigail was quite the spectacle and they all wanted to see if the pregnant lady was going to continue to dilate. Add Abby’s medical problems on top of preterm labor and it made for quite a case study for these young scholars. They can look at me all they want, but they’re not going to touch me!

Dr. H, our wonderful perinatologist, never made it in to see us. He was reviewing my charts though and conferring with the other doctors about what we should do. Three different eager med students came to me with the release forms to be signed for the amnio reduction, a very serious procedure that is not without its risks. Three different med students turned away a bit dejected when I informed them all that I would not be signing any release forms until I talked to Dr. H. It’s not that we weren’t going to do the procedure; it’s that this was a major decision and we wanted to talk to our specialist who would be the one performing it! I wasn’t going to just sign my life away without knowing the risks and benefits involved. The third med student, a sweet girl named Lindsay, finally seemed to understand my point and relayed the message to Dr. H. Thanks Lindsay! Nobody else came to try to get us to sign release forms, so somebody got the memo.  Label me the pain…but I don’t do anything without understanding it first!

As I alluded to in a previous post, the Magnesium Sulfate (Mag to the nurses—don’t I sound knowledgeable?!) made me slightly loopy. I slurred my words, had trouble making coherent thoughts, and couldn’t move a muscle. It was a muscle relaxer to the 9th degree.

The worst part was the double vision. As more Mag got into my system, I could no longer focus on anything. All of the doctors coming in to talk to me were moving around the room (but not really), and I had to resort to covering up one eye to even be able to look at them clearly…never mind that nothing in my brain was clear at this point.

I do feel like I have a pretty good memory of the 18 hours I was on Mag, but it is kind of a blur. I had to have someone move me at all on the bed, which made for very uncomfortable sleeping. Naturally, I couldn’t go to the bathroom…there were other “lovely” ways they took care of that. Of course, that was quite entertaining to Caleb!! He was disappointed when they took it out!

At one point in the early morning, a burly chief resident came in, flicked on the lights without as much as a watch-your-eyes, and gruffly told me that he needed to check my lungs so I had to roll over.

Uh, yeah. Okay. Easier said than done.

He just stood there while I fumbled, so Matt helped me roll over. I really am starting to understand the helplessness of paraplegics, because I seriously couldn’t move. I wanted to move. I told my legs to move. But I couldn’t move. It was crazy.

At some point in the morning, my chest really started to hurt. If you have asthma, you understand that something-heavy-resting-on-your-chest kind of a pain that makes it hard to get on top of your breath. They had me take my inhaler a total of three times over the course of an hour or so, but it wasn’t getting better. They decided to check my blood to examine the Magnesium levels to see if I was becoming toxic. Before the report came back, the doctor gave the order to cut the drip to see if that improved my symptoms. Low and behold, it did!

Almost immediately, I began to feel a lot less loopy and more coherent. My chest stopped hurting, I could take normal breaths, and my eyes were no longer rolling in the back of my head. My vision was slowly going back to normal. Yay! Problem solved!

When the report came back, I was indeed over the levels I should be—and they had decreased my dose since I had been there.

Of course, cutting the Mag meant that my contractions might start back up again. Save a few irregular over the course of a few hours, they didn’t!! This was a major milestone, because it meant:

1. I didn’t need the Mag anymore!!

2. An amnio reduction wasn’t currently necessary (not saying it won’t be in the future, but we are safe for the time being)

3. Food!!! I could finally eat, after over 24 hours of nothing but ice chips (and those were cut off after midnight because of the amnio scheduled for this morning)

4. I could lose some of the many cords that were attached to me, allowing me to be more mobile.

5. We were able to move to a step-down unit where there is a lot less monitoring (and a lot more sleeping!!)

6. This is one more step to getting home and into my own comfy bed!

So, that’s where we are now. We’re hanging out in a step-down unit for the night, watching How I Met Your Mother on the internet (the teeny little TV costs $5 a day to rent!), and trying to figure out how to survive without Facebook or Blogger.

Yes, my blogging friends and stalkers, both are blocked by the University’s server. I understand not wanting nurses and less-eager med students frolicking around on these kinds of sites, but this is a patient server. How in the world am I supposed to survive an extended NICU stay with Abby without being able to blog about it?!?


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