It’s been one month since I was admitted to the hospital.
We are now at 25 weeks 6 days gestational age. This is, of course, hugely thrilling especially when we consider where we started.
The good news is that the baby – who the ultrasound techs think is most likely a girl – is growing appropriately. This means that her cord isn’t getting compressed and the placenta is functioning, both excellent signs especially with preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM) where, because of a lack of amniotic fluid, problems with those things can be an issue. Baby also has excellent heart tracings when we put her on the monitor three times a day. My maternal-fetal-medicine specialist (MFM) says that her heart strips are amazingly reactive and mature, which means her brainstem is getting good oxygen and blood flow. Although the typical methods of checking cervical dilation and length can’t be used due to risk of infection, based on the abdominal ultrasound last week, my cervix is at least 3.6 cm long and closed.
The nerve-wracking part is that PPROM – especially previable PPROM, where the rupture takes place prior to 23 weeks – imparts a high risk for pulmonary hypoplasia. Basically, this means that I could remain pregnant for a very long time and still have a baby that can’t breathe once I deliver her. This lung underdevelopment happens due to a lack of amniotic fluid, probably from a change in the pressure gradient when the amniotic sac ruptures. I also have a low amniotic fluid index (AFI) that varies from no measurable fluid to around 1.3 cm at my last official measurement (normal is typically >5 cm at this point in a pregnancy) due to the rupture, which increases the risk.
While there is evidence that a baby who suffers PPROM at 19 weeks’ gestation or earlier has at least a 50% chance of pulmonary hypoplasia and relatively few babies who lose fluid at 24 weeks’ gestation have severe issues with this particular complication, my situation falls into the somewhat murky middle. Unfortunately, there are no accurate tests to tell whether or not baby’s lungs are developing well. It’s a wait-and-see scenario.
Every day, however, brings more hope that we might actually take home a baby. We just keep praying for that miracle. I can’t say how grateful I am for so many people – both the comments here at the blog and in real life – thinking of all of us and hoping for this to turn out. I appreciate it so, so much.
Living in the hospital has become routine, although we had one (happy) surprise last week, which I’m going to do a separate post about because it’s just that wonderful. We’ve more or less moved into my hospital room, partially because when I was originally admitted, we’d actually been in the process of looking for a new apartment and moving.
For a year and a half, I’ve been commuting about an hour each way to work to a larger city from the small town we live in. When Arthur lost his job in November, we decided he would look for a job in the same city I work in instead of looking in our small town and we would move to the city. Arthur did find a job in January and had begun the process of looking at new apartments. I couldn’t look at the apartments since I was on modified bed rest or light activity. He did a great job, however, and narrowed our options to two.
In the last couple of weeks, we both realized that despite my being in the hospital, we needed to figure out a plan to get moved as soon as possible. For starters, I’m hospitalized in the larger city an hour away from our current apartment. Arthur just started his new job, meaning that he is working here as well. We also realized there was a good chance we are going to have a baby in the NICU here for a long time, and both of us want to be close.
So we turned in applications at the final two apartments we both felt were good fits, got a date in mid-March for when we can take possession of one, and last weekend, Arthur went home to pack. His siblings and parents came to help, and managed to get our entire den/desk area, most of the kitchen and the living room packed up. Arthur had already started packing our bedroom before I went into the hospital (with me pointing and directing from the couch).
It’s really strange to realize that when I left my apartment at 2:30 am on January 23, that was the last time I’d leave the place I’ve lived the last 9.5 years as my home. Even if I wind up going back at some point briefly, it won’t be home any longer.
That’s where things stand right now. Lots of changes. Waiting. Hoping. Praying.