As of today, I have been put on bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy. It wasn't atotal
shock. We knew there was an "issue" that we were actively monitoring, but we weren't necessarily expecting bed rest so quickly. I am only 27 weeks along. The baby is fully developed at this point, but she needs the extra time to develop her organs and gain weight. She is roughly 2 pounds 4 ounces and is doing fine right now.
The "issue" is a growing hemorrhage at the insertion point of the umbilical cord into the placenta. The hemorrhage occurred as the cord developed. It was initially noticed on my 20week ultrasound, but it didn't become an "issue" until my ultrasound during week 24. The hemorrhage has been described as a big bruise on the placenta. Based on its location (right at the insertion point), it can put pressure on the cord and affect blood/oxygen flow to the baby as/when it grows. During my 27thweek ultrasound, they also found a resisted blood flow to the baby; this development is new and another reason I'm now on bed rest.
Nothing could have prevented the hemorrhage from happening. My lifestyle or activity level didn't cause it. It just happened. I've learned that pregnancy and having babies really is a miracle and out of our control for the most part. You just have to learn to deal with whatever happens.
My specialist is Tennessee Maternal Fetal Medicine. They deal with high risk patients all of time and see this issue on a regular basis. I also consulted with them during our last pregnancy loss. They have been great to work with so far. I will have (at least) a weekly ultrasound and they will also measure the blood flow from the cord to placenta and in baby's brain. They also gave me two steroid injections to help prepare baby's lungs in case of a premature delivery. I'll still do all of my normal OBGYN stuff with Dr. Amanda Barrett, whom I love. She has been a great support during all of my pregnancy trials. If the "issue" worsens, I will be hospitalized for bed rest and increased fetal monitoring. In the hospital, I would have daily ultrasounds and twice daily stress tests for baby.
I found a great article online, "A Primer on Premies"
that describes the five most common medical ailments of premature babies. I found it informative and thought others may, too. It's my understanding that nearly any baby born before 36 weeks will need some time in the NICU. But, my doctor said that I will be pleasantly surprised with how well baby could be if we can keep her in as long as possible. And, Baptist has a tremendous amount of resources to treat premature babies, so I am confident that all will be done that can be done. We know some friends who've had premies that led to healthy babies. I'd love to hear from you if you had a really
The drudgery of bed rest is unappetizing. I can only get up to use the rest room, take a shower once daily, and fix a quick sandwich. I have a good chance of gaining a lot of weight. Thankfully, I have a contract with the University of Tennessee that I can work on from my computer. Otherwise, insanity may be at my door and quickly....or a large online shopping bill.
I worry about J. While we have day care for JT covered through next week already (what a blessing!), he will have to bear the entire burden of watching him, cooking and cleaning on a reduced work schedule. I know he'll do a great job, but I worry about the extra stress as we want to avoid premature labor as long as possible.
I miss my health insurance policy with the State of Tennessee. We paid $100 for all of my prenatal care and delivery. $100! It was an unbelievably generous policy and has unsurprisingly become less generous over the last year. We'll easily pay $1,000-$3,000 for out-of-pocket expenses and co-payments with our new insurance. If anyone has experience or knows how much NICU costs, I'd love to hear from you. My sister-in-law just told me that my insurance may help with costs associated with bed rest, e.g., paying babysitters. I'm definitely going to look that up and call them tomorrow.
If you have any experience with premies, I'd love to hear from you. Learning from others' experiences is a great way for us to understand what we are in for and prepare as best as we can. Trying to manage the unknown is the most stressful part of this experience. I will have a lot of time on my hands, so feel free to call. We also won't turn down any offers to bring over dinner, fruit (and other healthy snacks to avoid obesity), TV show dvd series or hanging out with JT for an hour of two. But, if life's too hectic, and I know how it is, just pray for us and baby Caroline (her name for now!); that she has the best outcome possible; comes into this world as healthy as possible; and helps us deal with whatever comes our way.