Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nurse Becky

ok, so this might come off wrong, so let me start this out by sending love and respect to all my nurses out there... but holy moly we just had the most intense nurse experience of my stay. Let me instroduce, Nurse Becky. She entered the room and proceeded to tell me all about why she was late what she does, how she does it, why she does it, etc. etc. etc. I mean down to the detail of what a stool softener is and how it works.

All I needed were my scheduled meds, vital check and monitoring which usually takes about 10-15 minutes. Well not Nurse Becky...
-she asked me everything about my body from checking my nail beds down to my last weight, which I had checked 5 weeks ago so not sure how that adds accuracy.
-during my monitor she made me lay in a still position with my arms over my head so my arms would stay out of her way.
-she would not take her eyes off me until she saw me take my prenatel vitamin because she was not allowed to leave me alone with meds...
-when I asked he for an ambien, which many patients take for obvious reasons, she lectured me that I could become addicted and should be careful, seriously? Of course I realize that but cut me some slack for a few days!
-then she asked why my leg pumps were off (they help with circulation on bed rest) and I told her I just turned them off recently (totally allowed) and she then told me how I was putting myself at risk for blood clots which could quickly travel to my heart and instantly kill me.

Of course I am grateful for her detail, but the intesity/lectures were a bit much. Brian cracked up when she left and said have fun with her during your 3a.m. vital check.

p.s. Braden is doing great. He is cozy in the womb probably still wondering what all the fuss is about.

p.p.s. Thanks for the Halloween comments, highly entertaining :)

Trick or Treat

Braden is still cooking along and if I had to guess by his activity this morning he wants to be a soccer player for Halloween. Good heart rate, good activity, momma is doing fine so all is still well on the keep Braden in campaign for now. We did have some more tough conversations with doctors yesterday about risks to me and Braden long term if I went into delivery in the next week ... not a position we want to be in so at this point week 24 is good, but week 25 is better and 28 and beyond is best. One thing is for sure, these doctors and nurses are amazing and I am in the best place sitting right here.

Speaking of sitting her... we are definitely on a mission to make this bed more comfortable for me. Some nurses claim they are tempurpedic... I am suspicious... others claim they are like sleeping on concrete... sounds more accurate :) I am also working on a calendar for visitors which I really look forward to in order to break up the day.

Please let me know what you all are doing for Halloween or what you are dressing up as. All I have is a view of the hospital lobby so the entertainment factor of people watching in limited. I need some non-hospital updates to take my mind off things.

Love you all, we all feel your prayers and appreciate the support!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Working Toward Milestone #2

Today we met with the maternal fetal medicine doctor for the second time since checking in at St. David's - North Austin. She measured the amount of amniotic fluid in the womb and confirmed that Julia was continuing to retain some of the fluid (that's good). We had crossed our first milestone of making it through the first 48 hours without developing an infection. Our next milestone is to keep Braden in the womb to week 24 - next Friday. This next week is a critical time in which Braden's lungs go through an important developmental stage which will give him a better chance outside. We're ultimately working to get beyond 28 weeks, which studies have shown gives the baby a much better prospect at survival and long-term health. We are still in an incredibly vulnerable position, but the longer we're here, the better the prognosis gets. We truly believe that your prayers are helping all 3 of us, so keep them coming.

As we move through this challenge, we'll continue to provide updates here regularly.

Information Overload

By the time we finally turned in for bed at the end of the night Thursday, we had both been awake for 62 of the past 65 hours. We were exhausted, stressed, and scared. Nurses were in and out of the room every couple of hours, and we were scrambling to get updates to our family and friends. Through all of this, we were still trying to get our heads around everything that was happening. We met with 5 different doctors, including our OB, a maternal fetal medicine specialist, and a neonatologist, that gave us more insight into our situation and the spectrum of possible scenarios and outcomes. Braden's heartbeat and movement was normal. Despite the rupture, Julia was retaining some amniotic fluid and Braden was continuing to produce new fluid. It's not uncommon that PROM patients lose all amniotic fluid. The fact the Julia was retaining some fluid would reduce the risk of infection and distress and would help Braden's lungs develop as long as he stayed in the womb.

The doctors reiterated the significance of the first 48 hours from rupture. About 50% of PROM infection cases occur within the first 48 hours. At bedtime Thursday, we were at 44 hours and in the final countdown for our first big milestone.

Black Wednesday

Through the first 22 weeks of her pregnancy, Julia was incredibly fortunate. She never had to deal with morning sickness, and we had a healthy baby boy progressing right on schedule. We had picked up the crib and started to make progress toward arranging our baby room. Just a week earlier, we had decided on a name: Braden William Betts.

Then the bomb dropped. At 3:30 am on Wednesday October 28th, Julia woke me up with a look of terror. Her water had broken. We rushed to the hospital where they confirmed the diagnosis (Premature Rupture of Membranes [PROM]) and checked her into the hospital. She was 22 weeks and 5 days pregnant; Braden wasn't due until February 26th - 4 months away!

The next 12 hours were a whirlwind of information: descriptions of the condition, implications, statistics, etc. The scariest thing was the uncertainty. Julia could go into labor at any minute, in which case the odds would not be good for baby Braden. In the best case scenario, Braden would continue to grow in utero for as long as possible - up to week 34, at which point the OB would induce. The tradeoff: Julia would be on bed rest until delivery. If you did the math, the "best case scenario" was that Julia would be in the hospital on bed rest for 2.5 months! The biggest early risk was infection, as a primary function of the "bag of water" is to protect the baby and mother from bacteria. The first 48 hours would be critical.