Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ugh, the Hospital Saga...

There is no way I am re-typing this one... You can read it on the baby page at http://www.babyhomepages.net/tummymonkey/music.php?t=stories.php or what I've copied/pasted below:

First of all, Happy Mother's Day to all the amazing Mommies in my life! Believe me, I know what an honor, a blessing, a gift, and (at times, like this weekend!) exhausting endeavor it is to define yourself as "Mommy". I could go on and on about it, but I'm pretty sure you'd rather just hear about this past weekend and what the heck happened that I was in prison the hospital for 72 hours...

On Friday, I had a regular OB appointment, though not with my own provider (Dr. Sheldon) because she has been temporarily deployed to one of the Red Cross ships, the Comfort, until May 16th. The doctor who saw me checked my cervix and saw it was at 4 cm and I had effaced a tiny bit more since my last cervical check - which was on the Sunday before when I was 3 cm. She said I should head over to Labor and Delivery Triage to have them check me again to make sure and to hook me up to the monitors for awhile to see that the babies were fine. It sounded reasonable, so I took my chart and headed down the hall. L&D was PACKED when I got there and Triage was backed up. I waited a little more than an hour (Justin was at home with Jack, so it was fine) and they took my vitals and listened to the girls' heart-rates and re-checked my cervix. Still at 4. So the nurse said they'd like to talk to the doctors and see what they say before giving me the green light to head home. That was fine. But it was also noon at this point and I hadn't eaten since 7 that morning and I knew that if they stuck me there for any amount of time, I wouldn't be able to eat anything at all. So I pleaded with them (probably my biggest mistake, in retrospect) to let me go grab some food. They said that was fine as long as I stayed in the building so I walked from L&D to Taco Bell, ate a good $10 of food there (which is fairly difficult to do, but figured if I was going to actually have babies, I'd want the calories since the worst part of a 22 hour labor with Jack was being hungry) and headed back. They re-checked me at that point and I was 5 cm dilated with no change in effacement, but Addison was at a 0 station (right AT the cervical opening, whereas -1,-2, etc. indicate the baby's head is further up in the uterus and +1, +2 etc. mean the head is past the cervical opening and in the birth canal) "Melissa, you're going to have some babies today! We're going to go ahead and admit you, yay!" The words "you're going to have some babies today" should be the most exciting words a giant pregnant woman hears and now I'm utterly and totally afraid to hear them out of another nurse's mouth until someone looks between my legs and sees baby hair fuzz. Anyway, they took me back to a L&D room and... put me in bed and hooked me up to the monitors. So if I had any "momentum" and was actually headed towards delivering these girlies, that killed it. For hours I sat there listening to their perfect heartbeats, watching the total and complete lack of contractions on the screen, feeling nothing but the numbness of my tush and growing frustration of being stalled with no hope of pitocin to help me get going. The doctors there are insisting the twins are still preemies (though my own doctor was calling them "full term" at 34 weeks) and will not help my labor along in any capacity - to include stripping my membranes. They had me stay over night in L&D and said they'd evaluate me in the morning to decide if I was actually in labor, if they were going to put me in another ward, 4-E, also known as "antepartum", or if I could just go home. Kasey was a trooper and brought me some McDonald's when they ascertained that I wasn't in labor enough to warrant NPO orders, and she sat with me and kept me company for awhile. I sent Justin home for most of this entire bunch of BS so he could be with Jack and maintain as much normalcy as possible for the poor kiddo; I knew nothing exciting was going to happen. Besides, we live 3 stoplights away... 10 minutes if you stop at each one.
Monitors hooked up over night, continuous fluids, IV penicillin in case the Group B Strep test came back positive... vitals every 2 hours... It was a long, exhausting night of absolutely nothing constructive happening. The girls' heart rates were fine, I wasn't contracting... in general, it was pointless torture. Saturday morning they decided I could move to 4-E because they refused to send me home at 5 cm. The only way anything would change is if a) I dilated to 6 or 7 cm on my own or b) my water broke. Otherwise, it was sit and wait. But sit and wait IN THE HOSPITAL. Keep in mind, at this point, I hadn't seen Jack in a full 24 hours, and the last time I did see him, I was looking at the back of his head as I snuck out the kitchen door to my appointment. The ache in my heart was worse than any contraction I ever felt during my labor with him. Even now looking back on how horrendous it was to be away from him makes me queasy.

Anyway, they moved me to this other room - no real TV, a window that looked out on a roof and a/c unit and got no sunshine, and the most heinous excuse for 3 square meals I've ever seen in my life. Oh, and a roommate. As soon as I got to the room, I called Justin and made him bring me my Jack. I can't even begin to describe what it was like to see him again. I can't. I have no words. It was simply amazing. While Justin was there, we ascertained that, contrary to what I had been told initially (that I wasn't allowed to leave the bed, let alone the room), I had orders to walk at least 3 times a day and was permitted to walk around the hospital grounds. The nurse even told me that "when they write orders like that, it's generally because they want to see if there is any change from walking and if not, going home becomes an option." So we instantly scooped Jack up and went walking, hoping against hope that either there would be no change or I'd just break some water and we could get the show on the road. I FELT NOTHING. No contractions, no change in Addie's station, nothing. Jack looked exhausted, so I walked the boys back to the parking garage, buckled Jack into his car seat so he could go home and nap, and watched them drive away. It was gut-wrenching. As I was buckling Jack he pointed at the passenger seat and said, "Mama, sit. Sit dere." All I could do was kiss his sweet little face and try to smile at him. (I already knew at this point that I couldn't handle 3 weeks of this shit nonsense.) Went back in to the room and rested until Justin came back with Jack for dinner and more walking. Again, Jack demanded I sit in the passenger seat when I put him in the car seat. Meanwhile, on the labor front, STILL NO CHANGE. I had to spend another night there... This time I had one of Jack's blankies, but it didn't do a thing to soothe my frustration and loneliness.

Justin called before he put Jack to bed because Jack kept pointing at the phone and saying, "Mama!" So they called and Justin asked Jack, "What's Mama doing?" and Jack replied, "Mama with babies." It was amazing to hear him chattering away on the phone. He got on and told me all about the birds eating their "Nummahs" (his word for good food) and the stars in the sky and the boats in the water and everything he could think of. I think I should mention here that Justin did an amazing job - an i ndescribably amazing job adjusting to being thrust into the role of a single father with a tot and house to care for. When I got home there were no massive piles of laundry sitting around, not food piled up on the counter and no dishes in the sink. He and Jack played and spent great time together, and I am so blessed to have both of them in my life. Anyway, I went to bed that night, needless to say, with the heaviest emptiness I've ever felt in my heart at the prospect of 3 weeks without my son.

The whole day we had been discussing the possibility of leaving AMA (against medical advice) and what that would mean for me, the twins, our insurance, etc. and had come to the decision that if, by Sunday morning, we couldn't convince someone to let me leave, I was going to go ahead and check out AMA. The biggest fear was that doing so would mean Tricare was unwilling to pay for the delivery. Once we found that isn't the case, I was 100% convinced that being at home in my environment would absolutely be the best thing for all 5 of us. By 6 am Sunday, I had convinced a few nurses and even one of the doctors (but unfortunately, not his superior) that I was better off at home. Eventually, the "head" doctor finally came in to talk to me and I explained my position and he just looked at me and said no. I'll sum up both sides of the argument:

Medical Staff:
1. I could progress to 10 cm, not know it, have 2 contractions and deliver the babies en route to the hospital and both could perish. 2. I can be continuously monitored in the hospital. 3. Labor can progress MUCH faster with 2nd pregnancies and especially with twins. 4. I would be able to rest and relax there and be "taken care of".

1. There is no way I will not notice SOMETHING different between 5-10 cm. 2. We live incredibly close to the hospital and if worst comes to worse, we live a block and a half from the Portsmouth FD and can call 911. 3. Two 6-lb babies will not simply fall out of me. 4. If labor was going to progress SO MUCH FASTER with this pregnancy, I probably would have seen SOME change over the course of the 4.5+ miles we walked over a day and a half and the 72 hours I sat around waiting for something to happen. 5. "Resting" and "relaxing" are beyond impossible in a hospital, especially with a roommate. 6. I didn't see a single fresh veggie or piece of fresh fruit the whole time I was there. "Whole grain" wasn't even an option, let alone, "wheat" instead of "white" bread. Everything was over cooked so any nutrients were totally gone, replaced with sodium for "flavor". I couldn't eat the food and therefore replaced 2 of 3 meals with McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc. which was unhealthy AND expensive. 7. Child care for Jack? 8. By the third visit he was starting to act up and I knew that the day would come (probably in the next 3) when he refused to come see me and that would not only break my spirit entirely, but make what will already be a difficult transition even worse. 9. With Jack's labor and delivery, it took over 12 hours, 9 of them on Pitocin, 6 of them on the MAXIMUM dose of Pitocin, to get me to progress from 5-6 centimeters AFTER my water had broken. 10. My mental, spiritual and emotional health are just as important at this stage of pregnancy as my physical health. 11. Delivering the twins in 2 contractions and having both perish on the floor of the van is the worst case, least likely scenario and I cannot live my life basing my decisions on that one potential outcome. I would not get in a car or handle sharp objects or leave my house without a biohazard suit if that were the case. 12. I know my body. I can feel minute changes in what the girls are doing. I know what it feels like when Addie's head is at a 0 station versus a -3 station. I'm responsible enough to go back to the hospital the second anything weird happens AT ALL. 13. I can't rank my children in importance; Jack and his well-being is in no way less important to me than the girls'. They are safe and comfortable (clearly) and happy in utero, and I will keep them there until they schedule my induction at 38 weeks. In the meantime, Jack needs me as much as I need him.

The nasty old crotchety Dr. Ayers just scoffed, asked me if I wanted dead babies and said I'm not allowed to leave unless I sign an AMA form. I could have punched him. So we began the process of checking out AMA. After being "counseled" by the Officer of the Day, the Nurse of the Day, several doctors, several other nurses, Officer of the Day again, having them ask to speak with Justin's command, speaking with our command ourselves, and signing my name on one measly little line, I was out of there by nap time on Sunday. We came home and relaxed and snuggled and played and did some yard-work and everything was wonderful. I haven't felt a contraction the whole time, I'm getting rest, my feet are up most of the day, I sent Justin back to work, and life is good.

When I sat down in the passenger seat of the van after strapping Jack in to his seat, he started clapping and shouted, "YAY! Mama sit! Mama home!" and I LOST it. I have cried so much over the last few days from the roller coaster of emotion it is unbelievable. I got him up after his nap on Sunday and he just looked up at me from his bed and said, "Mama... you here." Sunday's bedtime and Monday's nap time were a bit of a struggle I think because he was afraid I wouldn't be here when he woke up. I lay in his bed with him yesterday morning and he put his hand on my cheek and said very sternly, "Mama. No more doctor. Stay here." I started crying and he used the back of his hands to wipe my eyes and he patted my cheek and said, "S'okay... whatsamatter? S'okoay." and he kissed my nose. I just told him I love him and I'm sorry I left him and he just sat there for a minute. I composed myself as quickly as I could and he said, "Better?" When I said, "yep, thank you Jack," he jumped up, grabbed Eeyore and demanded we go play trains.

I'm still catching up on all the lost sleep and trying to make up for the emotional exhaustion of the whole ordeal, but I'm happy, comfortable and content now. So we wait.
Probably another 2.5 weeks.

I will be miserably huge at that point...

But we'll wait. At home.


Christine:) said...

Ooooooh my goodness. I have been checking your Twitter like every hour since you got admitted and have been going nuts wondering what was going on with you!!
That doctor pisses me off. I hope for your sake that the twins can wait until your real doctor gets back. That's just ridiculous.
Enjoy your time at home and with Jack:)

Katie said...

I just discovered this blog through facebook and read the story...GOOD FOR YOU. You may know I am a Childbirth Educator associated with the HypnoBirthing Institute, and one of the reasons I became this is because I came to believe through nursing school and my own pregnancy that Women deserve more control and rights for normal childbirth and not to be scared to death by the medical mumbo jumbo surrounding a normal natural process. I'm glad you stuck to your guns and did what is best for you and your family, I am sure you will be aware when things actually happen (babies won't just fall out, lol). I can't wait to hear about your girls and I'm glad you've been home to enjoy your family!


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