· At my Level II ultrasound and 20 week OB appointment, when asked if I had any concerns, I mentioned that I had been having a large amount of discharge. I was secreting such large amounts, that I had taken to wearing panty liners to stay dry. I was told that this was a "common occurrence in pregnancy and to call the office if the consistency of the discharge changed or was tinged with blood...now go home crazy woman." Okay, maybe not that last part.
About two weeks later, as I was dressing for the day, there was this small gush and when I checked it out, it was thin like water. I called the OB’s office and was told to go to the women's hospital triage unit for an assessment. When I got there, the doctor examined me and said that told that there was a large amount of "some kind of fluid". She took a swab to determine if amniotic fluid was present, and returned about 10 minutes later and said that the results were negative. I was told, again, to watch for blood or a gush of fluid (wait, what?) and was sent home sans that feeling of relief one gets after being dismissed with a clean bill of health.
3 Two weeks later, I had my 24 week exam. My IM was there for the appointment and had questions concerning the "discharge". I told the doctor about my visit to the triage center and she confirmed that she had read the report concerning my visit. I told her that I was still experiencing a watery discharge and that I wasn’t confident about the test results. She assured me that the discharge was not amniotic fluid, and that an increase in discharge was normal in pregnancy. I was given the same signs to look out for as before, and the appointment was over.
Two days later, I woke up feeling “off”. It felt as though the baby was sitting very low in my pelvis, and I felt a small amount of back pain. I took my husband to work and dropped my daughter off at school. I decided to stay off my feet for the rest of the day and keep tabs on what I was feeling. At about 11:30 a.m. I felt a small, barely painful twinge. I felt it again about an hour later. By the time I had to pick my daughter up from school at 2:30p.m., I had experienced four of these twinges. In the car, on the way to her school, I had a REAL contraction. I called my husband so he could meet us at the hospital, and then called the doctor’s office to let them know that I was going in. I was hooked up to contraction and fetal heart monitors when I got there, and had several contractions that were starting to become uncomfortable. After confirming the contractions, a cervical check was performed, and it revealed that I was dilated 3cm, and the bag of waters was bulging. I cried hysterically for about 5 minutes, calmed down, and called my IP's to tell them what was happening.
They were coming from about an hour away, so in the meantime, they did an ultrasound to discover some more crappy news. Gabriel was footling breech, and his foot was lodged in the opening of my cervix. I was there to stay. I was given the first dose of steroids to help the baby’s lungs mature, and an IV drip was started. I was taken up to Labor and Delivery, where I was started on antibiotics, Indocin, to stop the contractions, and Magnesium to try and prevent cerebral palsy in the baby.
Shortly after, my IP's arrived and the neonatologist gave us the good, the bad, and the ugly rundown. The chances of his survival were slim, and the chances of him not having any brain damage or a defect of some kind were even slimmer. We all cried. The goal was to keep me pregnant as long as possible, so we all crossed our fingers and I got ready for what we were hoping would be a very long stay. I was not allowed any food or water, as there was a chance that an emergency c-section would need to be performed. I was placed on contraction and fetal heart monitors and was watched throughout the night.
The next afternoon, it was decided that I would be moved upstairs to the Recovery floor since the Indocin seemed to be working, and the contractions had stopped. I was allowed to eat, drink, and use the toilet instead of a bedpan. Hallelujah! When I got there, I decided to utilize my new found toilet freedom, got up, and felt a large gush. I thought that the bag of waters had ruptured, but when I looked down, I saw that it was blood, and lots of it. A bunch of people in scrubs rushed in, I was asked if I was experiencing any pain or dizziness, neither of which was happening, and a gurney was wheeled in. I climbed onto it, and the resident physician performed an exam and determined that I would be safer back in L&D.
After the move, I was given the second dose of steroids for the baby’s lungs, and we held our breath and hoped that he stayed in for the 24 hours it took for the steroids to reach full efficacy. Once again, I was prohibited from eating or drinking and was not allowed to use the bathroom. We were given possible explanations as to where and how the bleed could have occurred, but that’s as far as they went to figure it out.
After the rest of the day passed uneventfully in L&D, at about 11:30 pm, it was decided that I would once again be moved to the Recovery floor. Before being transferred, I was allowed to eat some fruit and drink some juice and water. I still was not allowed to go to the restroom, however. Le sigh.
The next afternoon, I felt a large gush of fluid as I was lying down in bed talking to my IM about Kim Kardashian's inability to not spend her money on stupid things like vampire facials. An exam confirmed that my bag of waters had broken. We were told that the baby could survive for a while in the womb after the amniotic sac had ruptured as the amniotic fluid would be replenished in small amounts. I am given my last dose of Indocin, and we wait.
Throughout the following morning, I feel the leaking of amniotic fluid. During a routine BP and temp check, my nurse notices that the baby’s heart rate is somewhat erratic and there is a slight rise in my temperature. She is concerned enough that she decides to notify the doctor. THANK GOD FOR NURSES! The doctor tries to do an exam, but can’t see my cervix due to all of the blood and fluid in the canal. She decides that I should be moved back down to L&D for further examination.
Not long after the transfer, an anesthesiologist brings paperwork for me to sign to consent to general anesthesia during a c-section. I sign it and an ultrasound machine is wheeled in, and lo and behold, there is absolutely no amniotic fluid in my uterus. He decides to do a cervical check to see if there has been any further dilation, and finds that not only is there a prolapsed cord, but also that the baby’s foot is through my cervical opening. It's go time. The doctor keeps his hand firmly against my cervix as they break down the bed to run me to Operating Room. He then switched places with a nurse who positioned herself between my legs and rode with me to the OR, all the while pushing forcefully against my cervix until I am screaming out in pain. They get me to the OR and there is a flurry of activity that I can hear, but can’t see. A mask is placed over my mouth and nose and I am told to breathe deeply, and I take as many deep breaths as I can. I feel them preparing my belly for the incision and I pray to God that the anesthesia kicks in before they get that far. I am still conscious, and I’m told that intubation can’t wait. I am told to raise my chin, and open my eyes and mouth and the tube is placed in my mouth and snaked down my throat. Seconds later, the anesthesia finally works and I am unconscious. I am so glad that of all the prayers I've sent up, that this is one of the ones God decided to answer!
I wake up to hubby's very relieved face. My throat is on fire, and the lights are hurting my eyes, but I manage to croak " No more kids." After the nurse decides that I'm okay to leave the OR recovery area, I am taken to the NICU to see Gabriel. Since I'm on the gurney, I can't get really close to his isolette, but I can see that he is tiny and beautiful with a lot of dark hair. He looked so much better than I expected that I cry tears of joy and relief. He was born on St. Patrick's Day, weighing 2lbs 2oz, and measured in at 13.5 inches long! By day 2, he was off the breathing tube and now he is receiving low levels of oxygen via nasal cannula and has a feeding tube and heart monitor. That's all. :) We thank God EVERY DAY that he is doing so well and we pray that it stays that way. While we are aware of all that could happen, we are optimistic that he will be okay. :)
After examining the placenta, pathology has found the reason for my premature labor. Apparently, there was an infection in the placenta. It was so bad, that the pathologist said that it was a miracle that Gabriel did not die in utero, and that if he had stayed in much longer, he would have died. He is truly a little miracle and definitely has the luck of the Irish with him. :)