Saturday, April 10, 2010

30 Wks, 5 Days: My Meltdown

I did my required monitoring strip in the early afternoon yesterday, and about 5 minutes after sending it, I got a call to tell me I had 26 contractions in one hour. I couldn't feel them, but just felt a constant tightness in my belly that was uncomfortable. The nurse had me give myself a bolus, then wait an hour and give myself another, then re-monitor. On the second strip, it actually worsened and I had 29 contractions. So they insist on calling my doctor.

Of course the nurse is still at the doctor's office, as it is during business hours, and she tells my home nurse to send me to the hospital....again. And that she will let the doctor on-call know I am going. I really don't want to go, and am concerned that the instruction to go is some knee-jerk reaction, that they aren't keeping in mind who this is, that I do this. So I call the doctor myself, and pretty much beg him to stay home. I'm worried that this is it--that I will get there and they will keep me until I deliver. He tells me this is not necessarily the case and says we will see if I am dilating any and go from there.

So I go, and of course I get a nurse who has never had me, but she is older and seasoned and has seen it all, so she doesn't panic. She is more worried that my blood pressure is up, as is my heart rate. I tell her the history of the pregnancy, how badly I wanted to stay home, and she understands.

They call my doctor, who gets one of his colleagues at the hospital to check me, and they want to do a fetal fibronectin. I'm not really happy about that. I know those can take forever to come back, and I also know that as I get further, with my history of preterm delivery, it is likely to be positive. So they check me afterwards, and of course am not dilated any but the doctor notes that my cervix is very soft. And after waiting, we find out the fetal fibronectin is negative. Good! They are calling my doctor at this point, and I am waiting for word that I can go home.

Wrong. He wants to keep me. "Just overnight, sweetie," the nurse says. He wants me to stay for observation overnight and IV fluids.

No. NoNoNoNoNo. NO! I start crying hysterically at this point. I know this song and dance. and I have a complete meltdown on my poor nurse. This is what I tell her:

They'll put me in with "just IV fluids". And the monitor. And I will have contractions all night, because it's me we're talking about. And in the morning, another doctor will be on for my practice and will see that I am contracting, so then it will be mag sulfate. Then someone else will be on Sunday, and they will say, "Gee, you aren't quite 32 weeks, so let's ship you to another hospital." And so it goes.

And I would be fine with all of it if I were feeling the contractions, or even if the mag sulfate worked for me, but I know it won't. It didn't with E at this stage of the game, and it didn't the last time with this pregnancy.

I want to go home. I am not dilating, the FFN was negative, I am not in pain (other than back and hip pain from the way they keep making me lay on the uncomfortable stretcher in order to keep Zachary on the monitor).

No. I'm going home.

The nurse asks me if I will sign treatment refusal forms, and I cry and tell her yes. I don't want to upset my doctor, as I respect him too much and understand why he wants me to stay, but I have to go. I just keep telling the nurse, "I'm DONE. I'm sorry, but I'm just DONE!"

I want to be home with my husband and son in these last days of the pregnancy. I want to sleep where I am comfortable and be able to eat. I want to be able to bathe. If I stay, I tell them, it is because they are going to deliver this baby. I've had enough.

This has been going on for 11 weeks. Painful injections, first every 7 days and then every 5. Having to stick myself with needles every 2 days for my pump. Heart palpitations from the medicine. Lowered blood pressure from the medicine. Hospitalizations, both inpatient and outpatient. Scars all over my arms and legs from needles. Probable nerve damage in my left hip from the time someone gave me my shot wrong. The times in the hospital where they wouldn't even let me bathe myself, one of the most basic of human needs. $2K worth of just insurance copays per month. Medical bills piling up- a $500 copay for every inpatient stay. My most-likely-lost job. My abandoned education. J's abandoned education. Being alienated from everyone I know.

But you want a healthy baby, don't you?

You're damned right I do! I have done all of this for no one but him. I have had no benefit. J has had no benefit. And E most certainly has not had any benefit from this horrendous pregnancy. And I will endure more. More contractions, more painful injections and needle sticks. More of everything as the pregnancy reaches it's end.

But I am finished. And I am going home.

I don't know what happened from there. I know she called my doctor again and told him what had to say about the probable chain of events. That I was willing to sign papers stating I was leaving against medical advice. She said his response was , "And she is probably right". So he agreed to let me go, without signing papers, so insurance would pay.

Now I'm worried. I'm afraid I have upset my doctor, whom I absolutely love. Or the L&D nurses I work with and rely on. I'm afraid that, since I couldn't feel these contractions, that when I do my required monitoring, the whole process will start over again later today. That I will have to do this over and over before I finally deliver.


  1. I literally feel your pain. I'm sure your doctor understands your frustration and was probably going to keep you overnight to cover himself and in essence, he probably did truly understand why you wanted to go home. I doubt he will be "mad" at you and if he is, it would be so unprofessional for him to hold a grudge against you. And I'm sure he won't.

    Just relax, you are home, where you should be, don't worry about what other people think. You've been through hell and back, you know your own body, and you are at home where you should be.
    I will keep my fingers crossed for you that the contractions stay away for a while.

  2. Thanks, Bianca. While I am so sorry that you can relate so well because I wouldn't wish this on anyone, it is really nice to have someone who understands. I am so exhausted of all of it.