Saturday, February 27, 2010
23 wks, 5 days: The Brethine Pump and Star Trek Crap
So I see my doctor on the Monday morning that is to mark the 23rd week of pregnancy. And he is starting me on the brethine pump. I am a little nervous about this. The brethine I have been taking by mouth has at times had me having such bad palpitations that I have to focus on my breathing, feeling short of breath from the tachycardia. He, on the other hand, doesn't seem nervous at all, but rather excited by the idea. He is sure this is going to solve my problem. Whether or not he is truly happy about it, or whether this is his way of keeping me upbeat remains to be seen. Whatever. I will try anything that has the slimmest chance of giving me a healthy, closer-to-term baby while leaving my life intact.
After a brief visit, I leave the office expecting a call from the home health company that is handling my P17 injections. And it comes about 2 hours later.
They tell me a courier will be bringing the medicine, and the nurse plans to be there by about 3:30 that afternoon. Sure enough, by about 3:00, these boxes start arriving at my home, via a courier who looks like a disgruntled grandpa, angry at having to trudge through the snow to deliver the packages. I am wondering how in blue hell my doctor pulled this off so quickly until I see the garish fluorescent-orange "STAT" labels on each box. A-ha! I know exactly how he did it now, and am picturing his nurse on the phone with the company, making it sound like delivery of this baby is imminent if they don't get the supplies here yesterday!
Shortly thereafter, my nurse is here, looking kind of frazzled too, and I start thinking I may be the rudest person of all: the massive snow we got last week is still accumulated on the front sidewalk, as we use the back door to come and go from the house. In my fight to keep working, I have to get J to do everything, and it is all I can do to get him to do the laundry and keep the three of us in clean undies and socks. The front sidewalk was not at the top of my list. I mentally take note to get him to handle it, while apologizing to the nurse, who is bringing even more boxes into the house. It really does stink not being able to do anything by myself, and having to rely on others, when I am truly used to handling everything.
So we get started. First is the home uterine monitoring. What? The huh???? I had no idea this was even coming, but apparently my doctor wanted it. So she shows me how to strap myself up to a monitor like they use in the hospital to track contractions. And explains that I am to do these recordings for one hour, twice a day. She plugs this huge contraption to the outlet by my kitchen table, extends this antenna, and plugs the monitor box into it. After a series of beeps and flashing lights, it says that data has been sent, and ten minutes later, someone from Columbus, Ohio calls my home to let me know they got it, and it looks great. I am utterly amazed. My amazement turns to the thought, "Wow, I am old!". While pregnant with E and having contractions, the only way to tell the doctor that they were truly contractions was to schlep to the hospital. It was such a pain. Now I can do this from home, and a team of OB nurses will interpret what is going on and call my doctor for me. Fancy Star Trek crap!
Next comes the dreaded brethine pump. I am really nervous now. I guess I had pictured trudging around my house with an IV pole. My doctor had tried to explain it to me, and said it would be more like a fanny pack attached to a little catheter. I remember him laughing when I sarcastically commented on how hot that would look with scrubs. But this is even better than what he explained. It's smaller than a cell phone, and goes in this pouch the size of a large wallet, which can either clip to my waist or fit in a largish pocket. Cool. And the needle is tiny, and not an IV or even intramuscular catheter, but rather a small subcutaneous one. It actually looks like a large thumbtack.
So the nurse is ready to show me how to insert the catheter to start delivery of the medicine, and this is when I start to kind of freak out. My profession has me driving needles into peoples' arteries (which I am quite good at, by the way) without the teensiest bit of squeamishness. But this? This little needle the size of a large thumbtack??? Going into me??? I can't do it. My heart is pounding and my respiratory rate goes through the roof as my hand hovers, frozen in space, above the prepped area of my upper thigh. I cannot do it, until she places her hand on mine and does it for me. And it doesn't hurt, and I feel reallyreallyreally silly. But there it is, attached to this thin blue tubing that snakes its way to the tiny pump. Viola! Continuous brethine infusion, with a bolus every four hours.
I cannot wait to see if it works. I will find out the next night when I return to work.
(Image Credit: Smiths Medical, not mine. )