The shades are drawn and Laura is sleeping again after a nice breakfast–french toast, hash browns, muffin, OJ, chocolate milk. This woman goes through a lot of chocolate milk. To be fair, these are only the 236 mL cartons, a bit smaller than you would have had on your school cafeteria tray. I buy a couple every time I go down to the cafeteria so that we have reserves in the fridge.
Laura slept through the night pretty well, with some Benadryl-style pain pills. The sleep is always interrupted by restroom breaks every couple hours, and I am accustomed to unhooking her and helping her out of bed. There are two plugs for the IV monitors, which I hang on the hooks at the top of the IV stand, and then Laura has to roll that into the bathroom with her. She is usually groggy but can do everything herself. Sometimes, like right now, she is also hooked up to baby monitors which are a pair of ultrasound discs attached to her stomach. We unplug these as well and she drapes them around her neck, so she is buried in cords whenever she gets out of bed. Thankfully she only needs the baby monitors for a couple sets of hours each day. While they are on, we can turn the volume of the baby’s heart beat up or down so we can choose to listen to his central machinery (and hear quite a few hiccups as well).
For meals, I usually head down to the cafeteria near the Children’s Hospital around the time Laura orders her room service. I can eat it down there or bring it back up. I also make occasional runs to fill up her water and ice cups, but that’s about it. Yesterday I went to the apartment to shower and change and grab some extra supplies, which was my only exposure to the hot day. Other than that it is many hours spent in this hospital/hotel room where I need pants and sweatshirt to be comfortable. There’s a decent fold-down couch I sleep on with some sheets and a blanket from home.
We are preparing for a turning point today, as Laura will be taken off the magnesium drip at some point (she can’t wait, as the intravenous needle in her hand has caused the most discomfort out of everything). This, along with the steroids, slow down the contractions, but Laura is definitely in pre-term labor regardless. When the magnesium is removed it could go one of two ways: the labor could stay slowed down in which case we might move to a smaller, non-delivery room and just lay low for days (weeks?), or her body could kick back into gear and want to deliver the baby sooner rather than later. Dilation of the cervix does not go back down once it has occurred (4.5 cm at last check, which was Monday) and Laura’s instincts are saying it will be a “sooner” scenario when she comes off the medications.
To be clear, Laura is just about 32 weeks pregnant, well within range of a healthy delivery (full-term is 37 weeks, and extreme premature birth can happen as early as 25 weeks or so). If you search for pictures of babies around 32 weeks old, they look normal but are understandably small. Our son will need to go to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) right away, and will likely have breathing tubes to get him going. He would spend at least a week there if not more while maturing as best as he can. We have already come a long way by buying a few days, and the medications have helped to build his lungs and brain. If labor happens soon we will hope for a smooth delivery (at least he’s small, right?) and Laura is looking forward to eventually getting out of bed and unhooked.
Well, Laura is awake and checking her phone, so I will see if she needs anything and we will continue to await the doctor’s visit. We’ll return with more info.
This was yesterday afternoon when Laura’s hometown gals came to visit. Laura is holding her Baby Center pup, Cheeky.