Still in the hospital. Still pregnant.
On Tuesday evening, some time after I put up my last post, my contractions revved up again. Starting at around 6:30, they were consistent at about every 5 minutes and while they were strong enough to take my breath away, they weren't too intense and as always, not painful. I was even able to have some really great visitors during that time and didn't feel uncomfortable that they were seeing me in slight discomfort. The contractions continued until I went to bed and through the night - they even woke me up all night almost every hour. After the track record I've had here in the hospital, the nurses weren't concerned but said that if the contractions picked up in frequency or intensity to let them know. Well they didn't, and by about 11:00 the next morning they had fizzled out. Again. I feel like I'm turning into to boy who cried "wolf" and now no one takes me seriously. (Not that they don't take my symptoms seriously...but they're not so quick to ramp up the drama, hook me up to monitors, gather the doctors, get me examined, and send me over to labor & delivery anymore...I much prefer the "wait & see" approach as well.)
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: all uneventful. I had 5-10 contractions inconsistently spaced each day, so really nothing happened at all. Well, actually, that's not totally true. On Wednesday, I had orders to get hooked up on the monitor for about 45 minutes just as a routine thing. About an hour after it was over, a doctor came in with an ultrasound machine; apparently, during my time on the monitor, the baby's heart rate dropped a few times and caused some concern. She wanted to make sure that the umbilical cord wasn't being compressed, and fortunately everything was fine. During the entire ultrasound, though, Lily Mae didn't move at all. After the doctor saw that her heart was fine, she spent 20 minutes essentially punching me in the belly with the probe to stimulate Lily Mae to move, and she never really did - it was pretty unnerving to watch. However, the doc did catch her practice her breathing exercises and was content that she was just sleeping and that it was nothing to worry about.
On Thursday, a different doctor came in to do another ultrasound, but this time it was just for fun and to do a growth scan to see how she's doing. She was moving all around during the scan which really put my mind at ease. Everything looked normal and great, and she's about 4 lbs. 4 oz. right now. I feel very good that she's crossed the 4 lb. mark. For her gestational age, she's in the 35th percentile for growth which isn't awesome, but it's not bad either. I was reassured that she's doing great, and that if she were born now she'd have great success and likely have no long-term complications. Awesome!
Yesterday was day 15 here on hospital bedrest and marked the start of my third week. Here's the plan as of this morning: if I dilate anymore whatsoever or if my water breaks, they will allow labor to progress and will induce me if it slows again. If by 34/35 weeks I still haven't delivered her - are you sitting down?? - they may send me HOME!!!! There's no specific date they have in mind and they're not making any promises, but it looks like that option is back on the table. With that said, even as well and stable as I've been doing the past few days, there is not a single doctor or nurse here who believes I'm going to make it that long being as dilated as I am. Here are some snippets from a conversation I just had with the high-risk OB and the resident doctor:
"The possibility of you taking home a baby with a permanent disability at this point is almost 0%."
"The main concerns for babies born between 32 and 34 weeks are respiratory weakness and secondary infections from being on a ventilator, but our team is very well equipped to deal with both of those."
"Baby girls consistently do better than boys when born prematurely, so you're in really good shape."
So really, who can complain about that? They're ready for this baby. Clark and I have come to terms with the situation and are ready to meet her. To be honest, as much as I want to go home asap, I would rather deliver her here in this hospital to be taken care of by this team of doctors rather than going home maybe at this time next week and delivering preterm at the other hospital where the neonatalology unit is not as advanced. My original doctor was fantastic (and even called to check on me yesterday), but my reasons for planning to deliver at the other hospital were that it was newer and closer to home. I didn't anticipate having to address a preterm delivery of my baby. Now, I'd really rather deliver here before they decide to send me home, because they're just better at this sort of thing. I want Lily Mae to have the best care possible, and that's here in this hospital. Make sense? So I guess I'm just afraid to say it so clearly because I'm scared of what you all will think of me but..... I want to go ahead and go into labor now before they decide to send me home. I want her to be born here. Even if it means that she might need some help breathing at first and she might not be strong enough to directly breastfeed right away, I have confidence that she'd be fine pretty quickly. I have a peace about the whole thing and I'm ready for her. I won't tell you what to pray for, but I do hope you guys understand my position.
In light of all of this, I want to remind you all of the passage of scripture from which little Lily Mae got her name. Who knew it would be so appropriate?
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~Matthew 6:27-34
ps - Today was supposed to be my baby shower. :-(
pss - The docs agreed that since it's quick and easy to put an IV in my arm, that I don't need to have one in anymore. I get to have the port taken out today, and they will only place a new one as needed. :-)