Joey is nearing 5 months old and as I sit down to continue writing his birth story, I'm amazed at how long ago it all seems. I've moved on from the chaos of life during May and June and the memories are already fading. I need to write this down before it becomes a memory of, "He came early..."
The first item of business after confirming my rupture was to give me the first of 2 steroid injections, to help baby's lungs mature. I would get them 24 hours apart. 48 hours after the first shot, they would be fully effective. My prayer became, "Please keep him safe inside me at least until Tuesday morning."
Along with the steroid shot, they started me on an IV of Magnesium Sulfate [Mag]. This had a 2-fold purpose: to prevent labor and help protect the delicate preemie brain if I did go into labor.
In addition to the pokes and prods, I was informed that my beloved doctor, who had been giving instructions over the phone, was passing my case on to the hospitalist OBs. Shots and IVs I can handle, but this news was hard to hear. She'd delivered all of my babies, and if nothing else, I was desperate to have her prayerful presence walk me through this. I felt like an emotional lifeline had been taken from me. I fought to assume the best while questions ran through my head: "Is this somehow my fault and she doesn't want to deal with me? Am I not worth the hassle? Is she just trying to protect herself in case something goes wrong?"...I knew those weren't true, but I didn't know the truth, and when that's lost, it's hard to fight the lies.
Following this news, one of the OBs walked in and gave us a brief overview of what might happen in the next hours, days or weeks. Here's what we were told:
- There was no way to know if I would go into labor, or when it might happen.
- If I didn't go into labor on my own, I would be induced at 34 weeks. This is standard procedure for a pregnancy with ruptured membranes.
- I would stay on the Mag until Tuesday morning (48 hours). If I went into labor before 32 weeks, it would be restarted as a neuro-protectant for the baby.
- No efforts would be made to stop labor after Tuesday morning, as it's believed that the body is giving birth for a reason.
Mark asked what was the likelihood of making it to 34 weeks. I think we would've been satisfied with any number that was thrown out - knowing that it meant nothing, but still giving us something to hope for, to try to beat the odds... The doctor shrugged and reluctantly said, "Maybe 40%?" Hopefully that would get us past Tuesday morning.
34 weeks meant up to 4 weeks in the hospital. I was trying to wrap my head around counter-intuitively wanting to be in the hospital for 4 weeks. What on earth was this going to mean for our kids? For Mark? For my mom, who I knew we'd be leaning on, heavily? Reality began to settle around me. If everything went perfectly, we would still have a preemie younger than 35 week Iain, and I remembered that sleepless crucible all too well.
With our best-case-scenario sketched out for us, and unanswerable questions swirling through our hearts and minds, we began to settle in, contact family and friends, and pray.