Monday, May 19, 2014

Vasa Previa: almost done!

I thought that with being in the hospital, I’d do a lot of updating and posting about what it’s been like. Nope. I’ve been here 3 weeks now and have only posted once. I’ve actually had a lot to entertain me and haven’t really gotten bored much. But… Joel pointed out that I probably ought to update. I’d like to remember these things, too, so I will. (Warning: this is going to be extremely long. I probably wouldn’t read it if I were you, but I want to remember all of these things, so I’m keeping it all in here.)

The Plan

Like I said, I’ve now been here for 3 weeks. It’s Monday and on Wednesday I’ll be 34 weeks. That’s when the c-section is scheduled! There weren’t any morning slots available, so it’s scheduled for 6:00 pm, which isn’t ideal since I have to fast 8 hours beforehand (not good for a pregnant woman). If the 7:30 slot opens up we’ll take that. That would be the best. Tomorrow morning when my doctor visits we’ll decide what to do. If a morning slot hasn’t opened we’ll either stick with the 6:00 or see if there’s a morning slot for Thursday. I’m quite anxious for tomorrow Smile.

Daily Life

I have a bit of a schedule (the nurses are sometimes late) that helps give structure to my days. 

6:00 am: The nurse comes in to give me Nifedipine (medicine that stops the contractions), take my vitals and put me on the monitor (baby’s heart rate and contractions) for an hour.

Sometime after 6:00 am: Dr. Seale comes in to check on me (that’s why I have to do the monitoring so early; he needs to be able to check the strip).

7:00 am – 12:00 pm: Once monitoring is done (I can’t sleep while on the monitor) I do different things. I order breakfast and then either get ready for the day, sleep, or just waste my time on the computer or watching tv. Pretty much all of those things happen, I just never know the order.

12:00 pm: Time for more Nifedipine! Then I’ll usually order lunch.

2:00 pm: Back on the monitor for an hour.

Sometime between 5:00 and 6:30: Order dinner.

6:00 pm: Nifedipine again

6:00pm – 10:00 pm: Hang out doing whatever. Often Joel and the kids are here around 6:00 and we hang out. Sometimes in my room, sometimes in the Ronald McDonald Family Room (awesome place!). Occasionally they come before dinner. Depends on the day.

10:00 pm – 11:00 pm: I get ready for bed right before 10:00 and then I’m monitored for an hour again.

11:00 pm – midnight: Depends. Sometimes I finish up whatever project I was working on and go to bed, sometimes I stay up till the nurse comes in again.

Midnight: Nifedipine, then sleep. The nurses leave me alone till 6:00 am.

The Nifedipine and monitoring times are really what make the schedule.Here are some things I’ve done in-between to stay entertained:

  • Watch movies, Hulu, Netflix, TV, etc, usually while doing something else. I have a hard time just watching and not doing.
  • Puzzles (I’m on my 2nd. Quite challenging ones.)
  • Different crafting projects I’ve been needing to accomplish for years (wahoo!)
  • Playing an addicting and frustrating game on my phone: 2048
  • Chat on the phone
  • Chat with the nurses
  • Have visitors
  • Do my hair
  • Work on different projects on the computer
  • Browse the internet
  • SLEEP (The first week I had a ton of energy, but I guess my body is slowing down because I now need a few naps throughout the day and the 6:00 am wake-ups kill me)
  • Read
  • Go to the Ronald McDonald Family room with Joel and the kids
  • Video chat
  • Getting my nails done twice by my awesome cousin (thanks Tamara!)

That pretty much covers it.

Joel and the Kids

One of my biggest concerns about being in the hospital was for my family. I knew Joel could handle it, but I also knew it would be hard and I hated thinking about all of the stress it was going to put on him. I also worried about how the kids would handle it. (Kids are 6, 4 and 1 1/2.)

They’re doing great!

I mean, not that they wouldn’t like for me to be home, but they really are doing well. I think for the kids it helps that Joel is able to be home with them (his bosses have been awesome about letting him work from home) and I think that adds the stability they need. He also brings them up to visit me everyday and we video chat throughout the day. They call on video chat every night to do scriptures and prayers together. I love that.

Joel has been keeping up with the laundry, doing housework, working on the yard, taking care of the kids and visiting me. I’m not sure how he’s doing it all. I struggle with just my jobs when I’m home and he’s doing both of ours like a champ!

There have been a lot of awesome people who have helped make it easier for him. For me, dinner is one of the hardest things of the day (the days I don’t have to worry about it just go better for me) and we’ve been very blessed to have a lot of people help out with that. People have sent gift cards to restaurants and a bunch of people have brought dinner over. That helps so much! Joel works right up until dinnertime, so it’s nice for him to not have to worry about that. His mom has also watched the kids a bunch when he has meetings at work. And we’ve had so many people offer to help out if he needs it. There has seriously been so much kindness shown towards us and we really appreciate it! It makes me feel so much better to know that people are helping out so much to take some of the strain off Joel. Thanks everyone!

And for anyone who might have been wondering, Joel has changed more poopy diapers in the past 3 weeks than he has in the past 6 1/2 years that we’ve had kids and he’s been doing it without complaining. Smile  I change all of them unless I’m not home or it’s my birthday or Mother’s Day. (I don’t mind one bit. He absolutely hates it and has a strong gag reflex, so I like to be able to do that service for him.) I’m sure he’ll be glad for me to get back to take that over again Smile.

I’ve also been well-taken care of by others. Visitors, well-wishes and gifts have been plentiful Smile.  People are so kind!

Other Tidbits

Here are some other things from the past 3 weeks:

  • Food: The food was quite depressing the first week. The menu isn’t very big and since I can’t have gluten, it was even smaller. Luckily, the 2nd week I was brought a menu for the café. Since I’m here long-term I can order from that and the menu changes each day and it’s much fancier food than the regular menu. It is available Mon-Fri, so the weekends are a little sad, but it’s definitely better than that first week. I’ve also learned different tricks to ordering and getting what I want (like they have smoothies and milkshakes even though they’re not listed on any menu). I also have tons of yummy snacks that people have brought me, so that helps.
  • IV:  When I posted last time, I was going to have to have my IV thing changed every 3 days. The policy has recently changed and it’s now every 4. That’s nice because it’s not the most pleasant thing.  The nurses also have to flush the IV a few times a day so that it doesn’t get clogged and they have to cover it when I shower.
  • Nurses: There are a TON of different nurses here! The one I’ve had the most is Aggie. She’s nice. But I’ve also had tons that I’ve seen just once. I guess there’s around 120 here, about 60-80 are full-time and the others are part-time.
  • Ronald McDonald Family Room: The kids love this place! I’m quite grateful for it, too. Their favorite part is that it is completely stocked with fun food! They also love the toys to play with. Here’s what it looks like: We don’t go there everytime they come, but probably 65% of the time.
  • Room: My room is tiny! Like really small. But the window opens up and outside my window is an area with trees and plants. Nothing else. No people walking around, no cars going by. It’s in-between some buildings. It’s quite nice. There’s a recliner right by the window and it’s nice to sit there and listen to the birds. It helps me forget (a little bit) that I haven’t been outside in 3 weeks.
  • Baby’s Health: Our sweet little baby is doing awesome! My doctor always comments that we could take the heart rate strips and put it in a textbook for how a perfectly healthy baby should look. That’s reassuring. Hopefully all of that continues once he’s out. He’s also a wriggly little guy! I’m glad for that. It helps me know that he’s not smashing the vessel in-between being monitored.
  • My Health: I’m doing well. I sometimes have contractions, but they always go away (which means they’re false labor, not true labor). Most are just tightenings, but I do get consistent and painful ones at times. Not a fan of those. Glad I’m in the hospital!
  • Rainstorms and the Full Moon: Have you ever heard that strange things happen when there’s a full-moon? Well, it’s true. More women go into labor that night, the ER is more full, and it makes crazy people more crazy. I keep quizzing my nurses on it. They all say full-moon nights are definitely busy. In fact, when it was a full-moon last week both myself and my sister, Kim (2 weeks ahead of me with twins), were having contractions. Hers were so bad that she had to go to the hospital to get a shot to stop them. All of the storms we’d been having that week also caused a lot of contractions for me. Apparently it’s the barometric pressure. I didn’t realize that before. I’m glad the storms are gone because although I’m still having contractions, they’re not as consistent or painful. Come to think of it, it was pouring rain when I came into the hospital with bad bad contractions over 3 weeks ago. Crazy!
  • I love social media! Through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter I’ve been able to connect with other women going through this same thing. In fact, there are currently 4 others throughout the country in the hospital with vasa previa. 2 of us have the same c-section date and one has hers 2 days after. Kind of fun to have buddies who know what this is like. Smile
  • Why 34 weeks?: The recommendation for vasa previa is to be hospitalized between 28 and 32 weeks (30-32 is most common) and to deliver via c-section before 35 weeks. A bunch of things I’ve read say between 34 and 35, which makes it interesting that a lot of women on the Facebook page are going till 36 weeks. Most seem to be 35 or 36 and 34 is actually quite rare. BUT the vase previa vessel over my cervix is a really big one and doctors are worried that although I’m in the hospital, it might not be fast enough if baby were to start bleeding. That’s why it’s best for me to have the c-section at 34 weeks. Safer for the baby. Gotta get him out before this ticking-time-bomb goes off (and the contractions are certainly a motivator to do it sooner rather than later).

Emotionally, How I’m Doing

I feel like this is an important section to add for anyone who might be going through the same thing. It’s a big part of it.

I’m actually doing really well with being hospitalized. The first two days were the hardest. I cried a lot. I also had a breakdown when I wasn’t able to help Kaylee (my 6 year old) get ready for her kindergarten “opera” and when I realized I’d be missing the last month of school for her (thankfully, Joel brought her up the next day so that I could help her get ready for the evening performance for the parents). And then 2 days ago I had another crying session because I was missing being with my family and I was scared for what was to come. Luckily, none of those moments lasted long and most of the time I feel great!

It’s actually quite relaxing being here. Like I said before, I haven’t really gotten bored very often. I’ve also been able to get a lot of projects done and to do some good studying and thinking. It just feels like a really long pampering time (you know… besides the times I have to get poked with needles and such).  I am excited to be back with my family, though. I miss them (although, I’m trying to figure out how in the world I’m going to get back into caring for a house and family… this is pretty cozy here Winking smile ).

I’m feeling anxious about the c-section coming up. I’ve just never had one, so I don’t know what to expect. I keep telling myself that women have them all the time and it’ll be fine, which I know, but I’m still not looking forward to the actual surgery.

I also hate not knowing how my baby will be. How much NICU time will he need and what will that be like? Also, what will it be like right after he’s born? Will I even get to hold him? I’m hoping that since he is 34 weeks and not earlier and since I have had 2 rounds of the steroid shots for his lungs, that he’ll do well and that I’ll be able to hold him. I hate not knowing when the kids will even be able to meet him. That makes me sad. There are just so many unknowns coming up. I’m excited, but really anxious, too.  Even with all of the craziness with the vasa previa, I’ve still know what the plan was up until now (hospitalized and then c-section at 34 weeks). No one knows what the plan will be once he comes.


That pretty much covers it. I think it’s everything I’ve thought about sharing over the past 3 weeks.

Thank you to all for your kindness and prayers!


Sara Ann said...

I read the whole thing;) super super interesting! I went into labor the night after the blood moon, so I'm totally a believer! Good luck this week! Praying for you!

bryce and paige said...

Gosh Bethany, you are such a trooper. I will definitely be praying for you. I can't help but think how sweet it is of you to keep this detailed record of your experience that is helping and will continue to help others having a similar experience. It is so comforting to know others who are going through the same thing. Glad you've been able to connect with those too. So excited for you to meet your little guy in a day! You'll do awesome!