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At least 2 more weeks would be nice even if this baby is a giant

Sarah and Bekah hanging out on the couchFor the past 17 weeks I have been getting a weekly Progesterone shot in order to try to ward off any preterm labor. Really, in the world of prematurity, Bekah was only 5 weeks early, and that should not have been a big deal at all.

In fact, many 35-weekers go home from the hospital after a day or two just like their full-term friends. In Bekah’s case, not-so-much. After trying out every breathing machine aside from total heart-lung bypass, we really did not want another early delivery.

So, to prevent another surprise early entry, we didn’t hesitate when offered the shots…well, other than to ask about side effects as far as the baby was concerned. Hearing nothing worrisome (and that the only real side effect for me was a sore bumcheek) I started getting them.

We started thinking that we were finally going to be able to experience a mostly normal pregnancy. At a routine checkup around 30 weeks the baby was measuring big – 95th percentile big, so I went for a second glucose tolerance test to check for gestational diabetes.

I spent the night fasting and worrying, only to take the test and find out that I didn’t have gestational diabetes, but we are having a GIANT baby!

And then, one day before 34 weeks, we were again surprised. I visited my high-risk doctor for the final time, expecting to hear that everything was going good, the baby was still huge (6 lbs 4oz), and that the magic shots were doing their job.

Instead, I was told to go straight home, and not to be on my feet for more than three hours a day, at the very most. The doctor said he was hoping to get at least two more weeks out of this pregnancy…not what I expected hear.

When Chris and I ended up in the labor and delivery department later that afternoon with what I thought was some cramping, we were again surprised. The nurse said, “Well, your contractions are four minutes apart. Let’s see if we can get this baby stopped.”

Bekah helps fix the new baby's closet while mom's on bedrest

Bekah helps fix the new baby’s closet while mom’s on bedrest

Again, not what we expected to hear. I really thought they would laugh and tell me to go home…not so much. The nurses started some medicines and the contractions seemed to slow, but then after an hour or two they started back up again and were about six minutes apart.

Some more medicine (and a whole lot of praying) later, and they slowed to 15 to 20 minutes and my doctor and the nurses felt like it was probably safe to send me home, with a promise that I would listen to the advice of my doctors and if I felt anything at all weird, I’d be back, and fast.

We were, again back on Friday morning. Again, some medicine at least slowed the contractions, and since nothing seemed to be progressing too fast, I was sent home with the repeated promise that I would be back again if anything seemed to be happening.

So, it looks like the list of things I planned to do in the next six weeks will be getting put off, as will a lot of other things. But I must admit, even though we did love the care we all received in Akron Children’s NICU,  two weeks hanging out here at home trying not to do anything, and being able to bring home a healthy baby will easily trump an extended NICU stay.

On the really bright side, I actually have a bag packed this time and will be taking more to the hospital than the hairband and chapstick I took when we had Bekah. Not that I know what’s in it though, since I just tossed in some things before we headed out the door this time too. But it’s probably more than the last time at least.

Read the rest of the Plant family’s story through her blog, Following Your Heart.

About Sarah Plant, Patient Family

Sarah Plant and her husband, Christopher, live in Mineral Ridge, Ohio, with their daughter, Bekah, and a rabbit named Gussie. She enjoys bike riding and spending time with friends, family and her fellow church members. Sarah is a stay-at-home mom and former high school English teacher. In her "Following Your Heart" blog, Sarah shares her experiences as a first-time mom whose baby was born with a congenital heart defect as well as a mom of a healthy boy.