Wednesday, October 19, 2016

God Loves Him More

It's crazy to think how much can change in a month. Almost one month ago on September 22, I went through a full day of work with no breaks other than lunch due to my prep-less Thursday schedule. I drove home immediately after dismissal so I could have some time to myself before heading back for a school event at night. Then I returned to work and spent another two hours at work in the evening for Back to School Night speaking to parents about the plans for the upcoming year for math, English, and science.

Just less than month later, I am on my 23rd or so day of bed rest and trying to mentally prepare for the early arrival of our baby boy.

The reason for all of the changes is because of what happened that next Friday morning on September 23 at 3AM. It was by far the most terrifying and most traumatic experience I have ever lived through in my entire life. I was sleeping on the couch in the baby's room because I have found that it helped with my back when literally out of nowhere, I was woken up from my dream because I felt liquid of some sort moving through my system at an incredibly fast rate. I thought that maybe I had to use the bathroom, but it was completely out of my control.

I immediately rolled off the couch to the floor, and I still had absolutely no control. One of the more unfortunate symptoms of pregnancy is loss of complete bladder control, but I distinctly remember thinking, "It can't be this bad, can it?" Then I started thinking that maybe my water had broken. I had also read that it doesn't typically come out so quickly the way that it's portrayed on TV and in movies, but I wasn't 100% sure. With the flashlight on my phone, I tried to figure out what it was, but I couldn't tell. I stood up and rushed to the bathroom. However, when I sat down, I was in for a huge shock.

There was blood everywhere. I had had an incident with bleeding just 5 weeks earlier, but it was nothing like this. I called for Howard and banged on the shower door to wake him up. The worst part of this was that it wasn't stopping. Without being too graphic, the baby's room and the bathroom basically looked like a murder scene. Saying that I was bleeding would have been an understatement; the only words that could be used to describe what was happening was "gushing" and "pouring."

Howard called my doctor's answering service knowing that we'd have to go to the emergency room but wanting them to be prepared for our arrival. I was about to break down and cry hysterically, but somehow he remained calm and kept me calm too. Later on, he told me that he was visibly shaking, but I just didn't notice because all I could do was look down. As Howard got me new clothes, I called my parents' house, which I knew would probably scare them because the only time that typically happens is for emergency purposes. My mom said they could pick us up, but I wanted to get to the hospital as soon as possible, and we're less than 15 minutes away.

When we went downstairs to grab my bag and a hoodie for me as well as put on our shoes, I was praying out loud and saying, "God, protect the baby. Keep him safe. We know You love him more than we do." And as scared and worried as I was that I was going to lose the baby after carrying him for 8 months, I started feeling a bit more at peace that God was in control.

Since it was about 3:15AM at that point, it was fairly chilly outside. The windshield on the car kept fogging up, so we were being cautious about that. One good thing was that they finally paved Forest Avenue! It was so bumpy for weeks after they tore it up, and it was such a relief that the drive could at least be a smooth one. I had the directions on my phone even though we've been there before a few times in the past, but it also gave us something to focus on instead of worry. I was texting my mom to keep her updated because she and my dad were going to go to the hospital too. I also texted the director of my school and the headmaster to let them know we were going to the hospital so that they would be prepared for the fact that I was going to miss work. It's also a comfort knowing that they would be praying for me too.

Because we were there a little over a month ago, Howard knew to drive the car to the back of the hospital and drop me off at the emergency room. He walked me in and I told the nurse there that they were expecting me upstairs. She called to confirm and then asked if I wanted a wheelchair. I took her up on that offer because I wasn't sure if constantly moving was hurting the situation. Plus, I didn't think I could maintain my composure and stand much longer. While the nurse took me upstairs, Howard went to park the car.

I filled out the forms that I had already filled out not too long ago after the first very minor bleeding incident. It was surreal being there again. A nurse came in and brought me to triage where she gave me a gown. I asked if I could use the bathroom first before being hooked up to monitors, and thank God when I went, I could tell that the bleeding was coming to a stop at that point.

Howard arrived around that time so he was able to help me change into the robe. The nurse put two different monitors on belts around my belly. One was to monitor baby's heartbeat and the other was to monitor any potential contractions. We immediately saw that baby's heart rate was exactly where it should be, and we both breathed a sigh of relief. I felt that as long as he was okay that everything would be fine.

The craziness of the night wasn't just for me though. There was another couple in the section next to us that was dealing with the woman's fairly intense labor. My mom had arrived at that point, but since only one person was allowed in triage, she had to stay in the waiting room right next to it. She heard that woman in pain and wondered if it was me and if the baby was coming incredibly early, but then she picked up on the constant swearing and knew it wasn't me! That woman was soon transferred to labor and delivery. But then the night continued to be an eventful one as another woman was brought in sitting in a wheelchair clearly in incredible pain, and she had to be taken directly to a room because she was literally going to have the baby right where she was!

It actually took some time before I was fully examined. I went to the bathroom a few times while waiting because of the fact that I was hooked up to an IV. Since I knew the bleeding wasn't heavy at this point and that baby's heartbeat was strong, I was starting to calm down. There were two different residents that came to ask me questions. The first one did the ultrasound and then the second one did the full exam. My mom was allowed to come back and stay with us as well since there was no one else in triage at that point, but my dad stayed in the car. Even my doctor showed up at one point; she actually got angry at some of the staff because she had requested that they not examine me because it was so late and I wasn't cared for right away due to the two women who had their babies so quickly. I think the message might've gotten lost in the hustle and bustle of the staff change. 

Someone from antepartum ended up coming to see me and just casually mentioned how I was staying in the hospital for at least a night. What now? I have to stay at the hospital? Apparently no one told me about that either, so that was news. In all honesty, she was the one person who I wasn't that happy with because she just had a very direct and somewhat blunt way of delivering news or answering questions. For example, I had an IV in my arm already, but they needed another tube of blood for testing because one was left out in the initial testing. She was looking on the back of my hands and my wrists and my other arm to see if she could draw blood, but there was nothing available. She questioned why I hadn't had any water to drink, and I explained to her that since arriving at the hospital, I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything. She asked why I didn't drink any water beforehand, and I had to explain to her that we arrived at 3:30AM, and that I was woken up from my sleep and didn't think as I was changing and getting ready to leave to go to the hospital that I should get a drink of water. When she finally poked me in the back of my left hand, it was one of the most painful pricks I have ever had in my lifetime, and I've experienced plenty! It also continued to bleed for quite some time thereafter. Howard said he could tell it was bad because of the look on my face when I usually never cringe from blood draws. 

Howard and my mom were then led to my bed in the antepartum room. I was taken by a technician to a separate location for an internal ultrasound. She told me that the baby was measuring just a little over 4 pounds at that point. Then she also commented that my placenta was low. I feel that I was asked many times during my pregnancy if I was ever told I had placenta previa, but I never was. This was the first time I heard about a low-lying placenta. After that test, I was brought to the antepartum room to settle down for observation for the remainder of the day and that night.

Thankfully, I wasn't required to be hooked up to the IV bag any longer, which meant going to the bathroom would be a little easier. It was still rather painful though because of the angle of the needle. I really hope the veins on the back of my hand are visible when I have the baby because I don't want to deal with it in my arm again!

Plus, it also meant that I could eat and drink! Lunch was soon, but we weren't sure when it would be delivered, so Howard and my mom went to the cafeteria to get some food. I was really wanting something like a salad and soup from Panera, which my dad was willing to get, but it was just easier to do some from the cafeteria so that my dad wouldn't have to drive far to get it and return with it.

I thoroughly enjoyed that soup since I was so hungry at that point. My mom actually had to help me in the beginning because it hurt so much to bend my right arm due to the IV. I then switched over to using my left hand. It wasn't the most spectacular soup in the world, but it tasted homemade and I liked that they got me a ton of noodles to slurp when I was done with the broth. I was eventually brought a sandwich for lunch, but I didn't eat it at that time though I did enjoy the chips!

My mom left in the afternoon because it was actually my grandfather's birthday dinner celebration. It was just Howard and me for the duration of our stay along with the two other women who were already in antepartum. Most of the time for me was spent like this:

I was hot because of the chux that you sit on, so I didn't even want the socks that they gave me or the blanket that was on the bed. I don't even know what else we did to pass the time, but I was amazingly grateful that Howard stayed with me the entire time. Since we're only about 15 minutes away from the hospital, I told him that he could take a break and go home if he wanted to, but he stuck by my side. Since there were no nurses really stationed in antepartum, he also didn't want to leave me without the ability to get help if I needed it. 

I do remember that during that time, I wrote an email to my boss about having to begin my maternity leave much earlier. The last time I spoke to him about it, I had said I was trying to make it to the end of October, but clearly God had different plans. I had to just stop thinking about my responsibilities at work and accept the fact that my priority was to make sure baby stayed put until my due date. I also didn't have much of a choice because of the bed rest, but for once, I didn't feel as guilty as I thought I might. I was actually pushing myself at work for the past week or so, and Howard and my parents wanted me to start my leave earlier than what I had planned. I was returning home with swollen feet and just falling asleep on the couch with no energy to do anything. I had also had the flu shot and the Tdap, which knocked the wind out of me for a little bit as well. But in the past 8 years or so of teaching, I kept going to work work regardless of how I felt. However, this was one time in my life where work just could NOT be on my list of concerns any longer.

For dinner that night, I was given beef stew. From what I remember, the other women weren't allowed to eat, so I was happy that I could.

I took a few bites of it and wasn't enjoying the beefy flavor, so Howard actually ate it (along with the sticky rice my mom made the day before that my dad brought for him when he picked up my mom). I had half of the chicken and roasted red pepper sandwich from lunch. I look back at these pictures and know that although it was a stressful time during the pregnancy, we also were able to have some laughs. Howard thought the little styrofoam container was a delicious soup of some sort, but in reality, it was just hot water for tea. He was smelling the beef stew in the large container!

That night, I was grateful that we were both able to sleep. Howard was upright in a chair when the night nurse came by and got him a reclining chair and a blanket that was definitely more comfortable for him. During the nighttime hours, one of the women had an emergency situation with the baby's heart rate or something like that as the alarms went off. Then since the other woman who was next to us was discharged, another girl and her husband was brought in in the middle of the night too. I woke up from all the sounds but was able to fall back asleep. It wasn't a deep sleep by any means, but it was still needed.  

Our favorite nurse of the stay was named Rachel, and she did have to come to me in the morning hours because the monitor wasn't picking up baby's heartbeat. He was clearly so done with having that thing on him because any time a nurse would move it around, he would kick it! Not only could I feel it, it was audible on the monitor as well because it would suddenly be a loud thump. Howard and I laughed at his behavior because he was actually more well-behaved with the nicer nurses as if he knew to be cooperative.

I was grateful that after spending so much time in the hospital that I wasn't actively bleeding. I definitely still had some old blood and some spotting, but it was much easier to deal with than what had happened at home. I was hoping and praying that I'd be discharged, but I also knew not to expect it to happen so quickly. Instead, I looked forward to breakfast. Unfortunately, the breakfast I was given was French toast, which is one of my least favorite things to eat in the entire world. I figured I'd be hungry enough to eat whatever was given to me, but this was like a shingle. A dry, whole wheat shingle, haha. Even Howard didn't think it was very edible, and he doesn't mind whole wheat bread or French toast!

Howard went downstairs to the cafeteria to grab us some more edible food for breakfast. We split a cheese omelette that I actually thought was pretty good especially compared to the French toast and some corned beef hash. We also split pancakes, and Howard indulged in some bacon since it's something we never actually buy ourselves. 

We finished our breakfast around 9AM. Then we were visited by nurses and finally the resident who said that we were going to be discharged! They were waiting on the blood test that the nurse Rachel had taken to check that I wasn't anemic from the blood loss. She had to prick me in the right wrist, but she did it so gently that it was such a relief compared to the horrid experience with the back of the left hand. I signed the papers after being told that I had to stay on bed rest, and we walked downstairs (after the difficulty of trying to find someone let us out of the unit because the doors are always locked). I sat in the lobby area as Howard go the car, and I took this picture at 10:36AM. 

I was beyond grateful that I was leaving and going home. I prayed for the one woman who was still in the hospital who would have to stay until her baby was actually born. Personally, I couldn't wait to be home to use my own bathroom and to take a shower and be comfortable sleeping once again. Since then, the pregnancy hasn't exactly gone the way I imagined it would what with the bed rest and the planned early c-section, but that's going to have to be another story for another day. All I know is that this adventure is one that is going to require a lot of trust in Him! I just have to keep remembering that God loves my baby more than I ever can, and He also loves me too more than I can ever imagine.


  1. You really should write a book, my friend! I'm just glad you and Pikachu are fine and hopefully we'll see you both soon!

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