A Disney fan blog about the good things in life.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Preemie Story - Part I: Ready or Not...

Part 1: Ready or Not...

On March 7, 2010 my son Quentin was born 8 weeks early. The experience was sudden, unexpected, terrifying, surreal, and confusing.

A week before he was born, my husband and I watched television and went to bed per our normal routine. That night I tossed and turned. Back and forth, up and down to the bathroom. I had to pee, but nothing was really coming out. I felt nauseous.

Around 2:30 AM I made one final trip to the bathroom. I looked down and there, as gross as it sounds, was blood and a lot of it. I had been bleeding the whole pregnancy. The doctors really didn't think much of it (bleeding can happen for no real reason) but had one eye on me for good measure. I had seen blood before in the middle of the night, but this was different. I felt different. I remember feeling dread-- I knew this was not good but I was not scared, yet.

I shook my husband awake.

"We have a problem."

He was groggy at first and just to show him I wasn't being an alarmist, I made him look into the toilet bowl. The sight of so much blood snapped him out of the haze.

"We are calling the doctor, right now." he informed me.

Because all emergencies happen in the middle of the night (of course this would not happen at noon on a Tuesday) we were put through to Brigham and Women's hospital. Still somewhat calm, I told the attending my issues. This was not my first time calling after hours, but this was the first time I knew I needed to be seen. The pit of dread started spreading from my belly out to my fingers and toes. I began to feel anxious.

We called my mom. With as much calm as I could muster, I explained the situation and she scrambled out the door to watch our two year old son.

What to Expect When You're Expecting does not cover middle of the night hospital runs when your two year old is sleeping and you are only 31 weeks. This was where our story diverged from the books and the uncertainty was terrifying. On the drive to the hospital the streets were empty. A cop car pulled out behind us and despite his desire to blow all red lights, Brian was compelled to slow down.

We discussed the "what-ifs".

"What if this baby is born now?" Brian asked.
"It's not good." I replied.
We sat in silence.

Even in a major city like Boston, the hospital is quiet at night. I checked in with the OB office where an office worker took all my info.

"Are you in labor?" she asked.
"I hope not." I replied.

We were escorted up to triage where Brian and I sat, held hands, and waited. Waited for our names to be called and waited for someone to tell us that this was all going to be ok.  Minutes ticked by and the relief that we felt for making to the hospital was replaced with an anxious impatience. Why hadn't anyone seen us yet? We sat. And sat some more. Finally we were called.

The doctors had more questions than answers. How long have you been bleeding? What is your pain on a scale of 1-10? How much blood? How often do you bleed? At 4AM we were sent for an ultra-sound where another doctor sat silently studying the images. I wanted him to say something, anything, but his silence scared me. It was clear that idle chit-chat was not appropriate or encouraged. It didn't matter, I didn't know what to say anyway.

The baby was fine but my cervix was shortened. Things were moving. Maybe it was the start of labor but it was possible that it could be slowed down. I was informed that 31 weeks is not good-- 32 is much better. If we could get me to stay pregnant for 4 more days, that would be a help. Though he tried to hide it, there was concern on the doctor's face. I began to cry and the triage nurse hugged me.

At 4:30 Wednesday morning I was admitted and  officially became a labor and delivery patient trying not to have a baby.

Next Up: A Preemie Story - Part 2: "Try Not to Have the Baby"


1 comment

  1. Great account, unfortunately an all too common event although obviously terrifying when it's you! Going to read parts 2 and 3 now...


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