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On 5/20, I had an apptwith the perinatologist, Dr HouseonFire. The growth scan showed the baby haddropped from 7% to 4% on the growth chart. His comments to me were "Justlook at me sideways and this baby is out" and the most terrifying "Atthis point our main concern is fetal death." Once again, I left crying andtexted Mike because his office has zero privacy and I knew that he wouldn'twant to hear the words fetal death from me while sobbing on the phone. Ofcourse, he didn't want me to text the words to him either, so he still ended uppissed off with me for the whole conversation. We talked when I got home and Itold him I was basically done with the pregnancy and nervous because the docput it on me to go to OB triage if I didn't feel the baby (and I really wasn'tfeeling the baby much to begin with so now I was more nervous than ever).
Also on the way home, Itexted our friend Dr Michael and he told me that the ob wanted me tocome in the next day (Wed) instead of waiting until my appt Friday. My inlawsdrove into town Wed (the original plan was for my parents to fly to NJ to visitmy sister on Thursday and my inlaws would be in town with us to cover myparents in case we needed help – BUT “fetal death” was enough to scare my momso she canned the trip and also called my inlaws and told them they needed tobe here in case there were major issues).
Wed 330pm, I walked in tothe OB’s office and the girl checks my blood pressure. It was 155/95. I'm a120s/80s so I immediately asked if the machine was broken. The OB says he'llhave them check my pressure on the way out to be sure, but after talking to himI calmed down quite a bit. He was very reassuring, and the plan we agreed onwas that I would drive to the office every day and get a non stress test on thebaby. The decision was to make it to 36 weeks (Monday the 26th) and maybe avoidsome NICU time and then he would do the C on Monday morning when our friendNurse Beth was on the schedule. When we left, the second reading showed my bpat 142/87 so we all agreed the stress was high but the pressure was coming downso it was probably “just me”.
We headed home, morereassured and confident that we were one week away from having a baby. Weprobably slept the best that night because we had a plan in place and a date tofocus on. Thursday morning (5/22) Mike left for work at 5am like normal. Marksaid that his first choice for school pick up was me and second choice was myin-laws. I almost left the hospital gear at home, but then I thought better ofit and grabbed it. We dropped Mark off at school and then my mom drove me tothe OB for my check. Unfortunately, I wasn’t thinking and I left with my set ofkeys to my car (which had Mark's booster seat) and when I got to the OB'soffice my blood pressure was 150/100. Again, I thought "What's wrong withyour machines?!" She tried it 3 times. My OB was off that day, and DrMichael had taken the family to CA so the only doc on duty was the woman in thepractice, Dr P. She walks in, looks at me and says, "You just earnedyourself a pass to OB triage." Mom and I walked across the traffic circleto the main hospital, and the whole time I'm saying, "When WE leave here,WE need to run to Babies R Us and get one of the infant carriers because my conversationwith the nurse that did my blood pressure made me realize that the car seatsituation wasn’t going to work for us afterall.
I checked in at OB Triageand Mom roamed the 5th floor looking for our friend, nurse Beth. By the timeBeth checked on me, I was sporting a seriously sexy gown and lying on ahospital bed hooked up to another NST test and texting/emailing Mike to tellhim where I was. He calls FREAKED OUT and cussing up a storm which is not mynormal husband. Apparently, he forgot to charge his cell phone and I was tryingto get him to calm down and listen to me that there was no need to hurry downtown. I had to tell him to stop home, change clothes and leave my set of keysfrom his key ring with his parents because his car seat for mark is the wholebig seat they can't begin to install on their own. He barks at me "I'mcoming down there!" and hangs up on me (but actually the cell died at thatmoment), flies out of the office (I guess it was a sight to see according to acoworker haha) and stops at the house. He confessed he had to stop the car andcalm down because he was having a panic attack while driving. I love this man,but he is not cool under pressure. Meanwhile, I'm on a gurney telling twonurses that I was sorry that I am the calm one in the relationship and thatthey have to drug me. I totally asked if they could just drug him!
So while I’m lying theremom and I smell something burning. A nurse totally made popcorn in their breakroom and it caught fire. Suddenly fire alarms are ringing, lights flashing,firemen are all over the OB Triage space. It was hilarious. Beth came back tothe OB Triage to check on me when the other nurse was waiting on the bloodtests for my results. It was looking like I'd be released, and then Beth startslooking at my contractions on paper and counts them... She says, "Why areyou having contractions every 5 mins? Are you feeling these?!" I said,"Well, I wasn't sure what I feel but it doesn't hurt. I figured it onlymattered if it hurts." Apparently not... And then my BP jumped into the160s range and Dr P got the call about the contractions and the BP andcalled my OB. So via phone, the two OBs agreed to admit me, monitor meovernight and do the C Friday morning which made Beth and I super sad becauseshe wasn’t on the schedule for Friday and it was her kids last day of schooland she didn’t want to miss it.
Around that same time,Mike showed up at the Triage and traded places with my mom. He calmed down alittle, but really it was Beth who got him to relax with a little humor. So,Beth was hanging in my Triage space for the announcement that "Erica is beingcommitted" and ran off to stake her claim on me as a patient and set up aroom for me. I get into my Labor/Delivery room, and tell her I have to pooplike crazy. I spent like 20 mins living in the bathroom emptying out (anothersign of labor... go figure. LOL) and convincing Mike that if the plan is to dothe C at 6am on Friday that he should go home, be with Mark and help hisparents. He finally agrees, and it's like 430/5pm by now. Beth warned us that6am could be 5am so be there early. She walked out of the room for about 2 minsand suddenly the BP machine goes crazy and bells ring and red lights flash.Beth walks in, looks at me and says, "Really, Erica? I'll be rightback". My BP jumped to 177/121.
She called Dr P whoHAPPENED to get a pop-in, in-office visit from Dr HouseonFire and a phone callthat same split second from my OB to check in on me. Beth said, “I heardDr P say, “Remember that patient with the Tricuspid Atresia baby? Well she’s up in Ob Triageand her BP is now 177/121” and then I heard HouseonFire start spazzing out"GAME OVER!!! Get that baby out of there, her time is done, she's done,this pregnancy is done" etc. My OB had called in, so Dr P told Bethshe would confer with them and call her right back.
Next thing I know… Beth walks in chipper and says "We'rehaving a baby! on my shift!!! Overtime!" LoL she and I were SO stoked thatshe got to be there for the big event. And then I'm telling Mike, call yourfolks back and tell them there's another change of plans because we are havingthis kid tonight... Within minutes, people streamed in and out of the room. Ihave no idea what I was actually signing my life away to. I looked at mike andrealized he now had no food since 1030 am lunch and beth found him a boxedsandwich. I was eternally grateful because he has a history of fainting on low bloodsugar and stress. And out of nowhere, Dr P walked in and was by my sideuntil I was on an operating table. I’m SURE that it was because my bp was crazyso suddenly.
I had to pee, but Dr Psaid with a bp now of 180s/120s the only way I was peeing was with a bed pan.No thank you!!! I told Beth I'd wait for the catheter and like a true friend,she gets me on the table after the spinal, she tells me she’s putting in thecatheter and then leans over the sheet and says "PSST! you don't have topee anymore!"
My OB drove in on his day off to do the C Section. At 610pm, Max Amiliano was born, weighing in at 3 lbs 13 oz and 17 inches. I couldn't reallysee anything, but my OB had to use the vacuum to suction the little dude outof my pelvis. According to Beth he tried to scoop him out of there but hewasn't budging. His head is the size of a large peach. This is so unfair. Anitty bitty kid like this could have slid out on his own, no surgery necessary.Darn my weakened placenta!! I know the room got silent waiting for his crywhich was so much softer than I remember Mark's being I guess that's thedifference in full term vs preemie volume. I know Beth said she was thrilledwhen he came out breathing on his own. They saved the cord blood, they stitchedme up layer by layer. Mike said he was in NICU with Max and I was in the oR for90 mins. I guess he was getting worried but he forgot about the cord blood andthis surgeon was so much more experienced and took his time to do it right.
When I was in recovery,my bp wasn't dropping on its own. The decision was made to give me magnesium.Beth told me days later that if they had not waited and given me mag before orduring delivery, it makes mommy and baby very sleepy, and sleepy babies oftenforget to breathe so i'm sure the decision was made to hold off and monitor meclosely. I’m certain that was the reason Dr P was by my side because theydidn’t want to “mag” me and risk the baby needing oxygen as a result.
Obviously, Max ended upin the NICU but the nurse wheeled me all the way into the NICU just so I couldsee him before she tucked me that night. I'm so grateful. I had sent Mike home tobe with Mark around 8pm so my mom came down. In the time that she took to getto the hospital, my two bffs Carrie buzzed over and Desiree was in the samehospital on the 8th floor with her dad so they each got some time by my sideuntil I was tucked in and drugged for the night. By that time, Beth checked onme one last time before her long weekend away from work.
The next morning, the magwas turned off and I was moved to a recovery room on the 4th floor. Max was inthe Nicu on the 5th. I felt SO different after the incision than I ever didwith Mark. Recovery has been SOOOO much better. I told the NICU staff not tostarve the baby. I wanted him started on formula as soon as he was allowed toeat until my milk came in. I think the staff was afraid I might not try topump, but really I didn't want him to lose any ground. At 1755g, there was noground to lose in case they needed to do surgery. I think he officially dropped to 1648g, but he took a bottle as soon as they offered one so he cleared another milestone with no difficulty. =(
I managed to get up tosee him in NICU at least two or three times a day, but I really didn't get tohold him right away. He had open lines in the belly button in case they neededto do surgery. Luckily we got word on Sat from the cardiologist that he wasdoing ok on his own and she wasn't going to send him for the surgery. He justneeded to get bigger and then he'd go home. And that night my bp jumped back to179/109 and I scored myself some fabulous blood pressure meds for the next 30days.
I was released on the 26thand we drove down everyday to visit and bring milk for Max. He was finallyreleased on 6/2. I am eternally grateful to the team of people and I am amazedthat this kiddo never needed oxygen, feeding tubes or surgery before leaving.He continues to amaze me. I couldn’t love him more.