I stayed up too late on Saturday night. I’d been making a few freezer meals for after the delivery, and then I wanted to watch some of “North and South” with my husband. We’d finished the first two books and were down to the last. So I put the food away and relaxed for awhile on the couch. I’d been having false labor contractions for weeks, but that night they were more regular, about a half hour apart. Still, I was not counting on any action anytime soon when I finally got to bed around midnight.
But about 0300, I realized the contractions were regular and only ten minutes apart, and by that time they were strong enough to have woken me from sleep. So I started timing them, and I woke David to say I thought our baby would be born that day. I got up and started getting stuff ready to go to the hospital, just a few last-minute details (like posting on Facebook!). Sometime after 0400, we arrived – with Timothy in tow - in Labor and Delivery at the hospital. I was in pain but calm (which should have been a sign to me that I was not ready to be admitted yet). The nurse checked me and said I wasn’t ready to be admitted yet, that I wasn’t in active labor at that point. She kept me on observation for over an hour in any case, but nothing changed on examination, so she gave me Benadryl and Tylenol and sent me home “to rest.”
By the time we got home from the hospital, I was in complete agony and screaming through each contraction. I literally worried about the neighbors calling the police because of my screaming. I tried to lie down and rest, but the contractions were so close together that the pain never actually went away between them, just grew and lessened in intensity. I stuffed a blanket in my mouth to deaden the sound. Somehow – due to the Benadryl, I suppose – I managed to close my eyes between each contraction for an hour or so. I had no idea when to go back to the hospital, since they’d sent me home. How was I supposed to know when I was in active labor? The contractions from the moment we arrived home already felt like they were only two or three minutes apart, but I was in so much pain I couldn’t even time them.
Finally, sometime after 0730, I told David we had to go back to the hospital. So we woke up Timothy for a second time and headed back to Labor and Delivery. This time, I had three contractions in the ten minutes between our house and the hospital, and when we arrived, I was moaning and putting all my effort into not screaming. The nice guy at the lobby desk asked me if wanted a wheelchair, but I couldn’t concentrate enough to say yes or no, so i just grimaced, walked past him to the elevators, and went up without the wheelchair. When I arrived in Labor and Delivery, it was the middle of a contraction, and somehow we got me into a bed in the triage room. I was still in my nightie and socks, wearing my glasses and everything (not like when Timothy was born, when they basically stripped me naked toward the end). The nurse examined me, announced that I was complete, and got some extra hands to rush me – in the bed - across the hall to the delivery room in the middle of a contraction. They got me into the delivery bed, the doctor rushed in, and after I screamed through another contraction, he told me the next contraction to push instead of screaming.
So I did. In the middle of the second contraction of pushing, at 0805, Anna emerged and started squawking right away. I had to ask to make sure it was a girl, since I’d been so paranoid that my baby would be a boy. Not that a boy would have been bad, but I was expecting a girl from the ultrasound, and I was just nervous that I’d gotten all these baby girl clothes for naught! :) From the time we entered the Labor and Delivery unit to the time Anna was born cannot have been more than fifteen minutes, active labor maybe an hour-and-a-half, and the grand total of painful early and active labor about five hours. Not bad.
So Anna was born at 0805 on Sunday, December 12, 2010, weighing 7 lbs 8.3 oz and measuring 20 inches long. Poor Timothy was there the whole time. He was out of the way enough to not see everything, but he experienced it nonetheless, hearing it if nothing else. He was a real trooper and has been great these past eight days!
But Anna was seen by a pediatrician right away and was sent for lab tests because of petechiae (little blood spots under her skin). That afternoon they told me her platelet level was dangerously low, and that she would have to be sent to a better hospital in Savannah.
I was terrified. When they spoke to me, I was alone. They’d put Anna in the nursery, and I hadn’t seen her in five hours. My husband had gone home to rest. I just wanted to cry. I got to hold Anna later for a half hour before they took her away in a portable incubator on a stretcher, with all her monitors and wires.
Anna has something called neonatal alloimmune thrombocytopenia, or NAIT, which basically means that her platelets have a factor from her daddy that mine don’t have, so my antibodies were attacking her platelets. If the platelets get too low, especially with the trauma of birth, she could have internal bleeding. What they really worry about first is bleeding in the brain, but her head ultrasound on Monday was clear, so her prognosis was good. And this week it has just been a matter of waiting to see if her platelet count would rise once my antibodies started to disappear from her blood. Although they went up initially and slowly, this past Friday they went down so low that the doctors had to give her IV immunoglobulin, which basically destroyed my antibodies to help boost her platelet count.
The treatment worked, and her numbers have been climbing again, today out of the extreme danger zone. Yes! If they keep rising consistently over the next few days, she will be able to come home, so that is what we are praying for. If they remain level or go down again, she may need more treatment. We just pray we are through the worst and that Anna can join us for Christmas. :)