Dear Family and Friends,
A few days before Christmas I began experiencing some new pains/sensations where baby boy is “living.” Having never done this part before, I attributed them to third trimester changes and basically just tried to get over/ignore them (like any good nurse patient would). On Christmas, they happily went away, but the day after Christmas, these sensations came back and something about them had me very, very irritated. By Sunday, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. I called my doctor yesterday and described what I was feeling. He agreed that it all sounded like typical third trimester stuff and thought we could hold off on a visit until later in the week until I told him I just really felt something wasn’t right. So he fit me in yesterday afternoon for an ultrasound. The short of it is that I’ve started to efface, meaning my cervix is severely shortened compared to my last measurement. And the baby is now engaged, or has dropped (which Zac noticed the day after Christmas, as I was suddenly carrying much lower). So these two things have us more than a little concerned that baby boy might be trying to make an early debut.
However, that’s not to say that these changes can’t also happen in a perfectly normal and healthy pregnancy. Many women walk around dilated and effaced for weeks in their last trimester. But given my history, it’s just worrisome. Yesterday I received a first dose of steroids to rapidly mature baby boy’s lungs. I will get another dose today. I also received some of these steroids with Everett, although he came before we were able to complete them. This medication will give him the best chance of breathing on his own should he be born anytime after today.
My doctor and I discussed what we could expect at this gestation. I will be 33 weeks tomorrow. A 33 week preemie is a totally different ball game than a 25 week micro-preemie, but he would still require a NICU stay...albeit hopefully very short (like a few weeks). At 34 weeks, even if I went into full blown labor, they wouldn’t stop it. Research shows that there is no increased risk of delivering vs delaying birth at that gestation so we really just need to make it one more week. The best thing I can do is try not to worry and rest up. My doctor didn’t recommend bed rest but he did tell me to ramp up on my couch time. So that’s what we will do.
In an odd coincidence, Everett and I delivered Christmas cookies to the SV NICU last week. It’s something that was done for us at CHLA and we’ve kept up the tradition here at home. Several times a year we bake for the NICU families and package the goodies up with an inspirational message for the parents. In the four years we’ve been doing this, we’ve never been allowed back into the NICU itself. However, this year, the nurses felt it would be a nice idea to have me hand deliver the packages to the NICU families...to give them a face to go with an incredible success story. I jumped at the opportunity. And about 30 seconds after walking back into the NICU, I realized that I’d made a very wrong decision. Being back in that NICU, words can’t even describe how awful it felt. The last time I was in that room, we were being told that Everett likely wouldn’t survive. They had shut down the entire NICU, closed our section off, and allowed all our family members to come in. They dimmed the lights, they moved the chairs into a giant circle, and Zac and I held him as we kept our thoughts to ourselves about what the next 24 hours might hold. I can remember wondering in that moment if this was going to be the last time I held my living son. All these emotions came FLOODING back when I stepped into the NICU. I handed out the packages as quickly as I could, kept a smile on my face and told a few families a very abridged version of our story. And then I high-tailed it out of there, so nauseous and fighting back tears and so full of every depressing emotion that I never wanted to feel again. I wasn’t ready to be back there. And that really surprised me.
So if you could pray that this baby boy keeps cooking and that my cervix keeps holding, we would very much appreciate it! All we want is healthy...and no NICU if possible. We are strong enough to handle anything thrown our way...this I know. But this time we would really, really like things to just be...easy. We want to hear him cry and we want to hold him in the first moments after he’s born. I’m just praying we aren’t hoping for too much.
Happy New Year to you all!
The Bollinger Family
P.S. If baby boy stays in, our scheduled c-section date is February 12th, 2014 at 7am.