Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Penelope and Me

At first I was hesitant to post very much about all my goings on with Penelope because it may be TMI or "not fit the purpose of the blog" or something like that. But considering that this blog began as chronicling my problems with preterm labor with my last pregnancy, I don't know what my hesitation is all about. I almost feel like this blog should be just about my kids and not me -- but then I am pretty involved in this whole process of carrying the Little Sprout, so. . . . But I'm rambling, and I've decided to at least post regular updates about Penelope and me just to keep everyone updated.

So, my blog readers know that I've had a couple of trips to the MEU the past few weeks, and I had another a week ago Monday. Unfortunately that trip led to my being admitted for "preterm contractions." Basically, I was contracting every 5 minutes, and Tylenol, Benedryl, and 2 shots of terbutaline didn't stop them. So, the doctors decided to admit me for IV sedation -- in other words, they gave me demerol via IV which knocked me out cold, which thankfully also knocked the contractions out cold. I was able to come home on Tuesday morning, with a closed cervix. I did okay with it -- not great, but okay. See, one thing about having kids is that Gary isn't going to just sit up at the hospital with me. I mean, he wanted to and my friend Amanda was more than happy to go be at home with my kids while Gary stayed with me, but our kids have always had ONE of us with them at night since they came home from the hospital. So, even though I wanted Gary with me, more than that I wanted him at home with the kids. Poor Gary was torn and couldn't make a decision so I made it for him. Luckily, Auntie Ann had been working that night, so after her shift was over she came to stay with me until they knocked me out with demerol. It was really nice having her there. Unfortunately, I don't remember her leaving and don't think I said goodbye, but demerol is funny that way. Nothing about that bothered me until later when Gary informed me that I've been snoring -- LOUDLY -- in my sleep for two or three months. I had no idea. I hope I didn't scare Ann too badly.

For today's medical lesson, here is the difference between "preterm contractions" and "preterm labor" -- preterm contractions (a/k/a Braxton Hicks) are what you have when you are contracting but your cervix is not changing, and preterm labor is when the contractions are changing your cervix. They are the same contractions -- the only difference is whether your cervix is changing. Now, as a note, when I say I'm having contractions, I mean I'm having about 10 an hour. There is not an hour that goes by in the day that I don't have around 3 an hour. So, if you happen to be pregnant and having a few contractions a day, don't be alarmed by reading my story -- unless you're having more than 4 contractions an hour, and then you need to call your doctor.

So moving on, this past Sunday night, I had several contractions, but I managed to stop them with Tylenol and Benedryl. I had a doctor's appointment yesterday morning, and started having contractions again while waiting for the doctor to come in. My regular doctor was not at the clinic on Monday, so another doctor checked me. Unfortunately, my cervix was a fingertip (half centimeter) dilated and I was 50% effaced, which ever so slightly changes my diagnosis from preterm contractions to preterm labor. So, I went to the MEU to be monitored, and was eventually admitted to the hospital. First, I went to L&D, where I was given IV fluids, antibiotics, the first steroid shot to help develop Penelope's lungs just in case she is born early, and some demerol to help stop the contractions. After we got everything under control, I was transferred to HRO (High Risk Obstetrics, which used to be called 5 North in the old building) and am still here today. In HRO, I was started on procardia therapy, which is something I can take at home that will hopefully keep the contractions at bay. Unfortunately, I still had some contractions this afternoon, and was given some percocet to get those stopped. They have stopped for now, but I am going to have to stay at least another night in the hospital. The doctors, rightly so, don't want to send me home until they are sure the contractions are under control and that I won't have to come right back. Tonight I also got my second steroid shot, so I've had a full round to help develop Penelope's lungs, just in case she is born early.

The kids add a whole new dimension to the concept of hospital stays while pregnant. With the kids, I was in the hospital on bedrest for 7 weeks, after being on bedrest at home for 7 weeks. I actually WANTED to be in the hospital, because I felt it was safest for all of us. Now, if I need to be in the hospital then I'm going to be in the hospital, but I really miss my kids. Tomorrow, hopefully, our nanny will bring the kids up here to visit in the morning, so I can get my fix. Honestly, I'm having a rough time tonight. I know I need to be here, and that's fine and I'm certainly not going to argue with the doctors on that because they're right, but I am really really missing my husband and kids. At least I have Penelope here to keep me company!

When I was pregnant with the kids, I was in a state of perpetual fear until I hit 28 weeks. Granted, later is better, but 28 weeks is a big deal. So, this time I turned 28 weeks this past Friday and I know that's pretty good. I'm still afraid of having a baby earlier than term, but at least I don't have the overwhelming fear that I suffered through before, though I understand that it's all relative. When I was when I was 28 weeks with the kids, I was 3cm dilated, 75% effaced, and had been in the hospital for 5 weeks. And I somehow made it another 2 weeks with them. . . . At least now I'm over 28 weeks and have a decent cervix still. I am still in the running to have her at term.

So, that was the first of the "Penelope and Me" updates -- and hopefully you will have many more over the next many weeks until she is born a big, term baby.

I do have some pics from the kids' new room, and will get those up soon. . . .

Edited to Add -- Not long after I published this post, I had the best visitors ever! I think I'll make it through the night now. Thank you so much, Gary!!! I love you all so much!


JoLynn said...

Thanks for updating us on Penelope. My twins were born at 28 weeks so I know how much of a milestone that can be. I hope you hold up many more weeks...but am also glad they got both steroid shots in just in case.

Hang in there!

Brian and Crystal said...

Thanks for the update! Glad that gary and the kids were able to come see you and lift up your spirits! Hang in there and keep us updated. Crystal and I will be thinking about all the Lee's and praying for the best possible outcome!

Jamie said...

awwww! I just sent you an email with some bloggy love. Not sure if you're checking work email anymore so I have to give you a note of encouragement here! Keep healthy!

Michelle Carney said...

Oh no! Take care of yourself and that sweet baby! Hope you are able to break free soon!

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you and sending you good thoughts!
[Insert random LOST joke here.]
L, Nanny Y