Well, That Was Fun
Earlier today, the baby decided to do a huge jump. Startled the crap out of me, it was so big I threatened to call the cops to see what was going on in there.
And then, nothing.
No bouncing, no thumping, no hiccups. Nada. No amount of poking on my part, no loud coughing, no playing Nine Inch Nails through my headphones right on her head inspired movement. Nothing.
I know that babies sleep in utero, we've had many a period of sleep/wake. But none of those sleep periods came right after a huge movement, the likes of which could have quite possibly caused the thing that scares me the most about this pregnany: a cord accident.
Yes, we're more aware of this particular thing than a lot of people -- we've had some friends lose full-term babies due to this and though I recognize that the chances of this happening to our Brunswick are small, I'm still hyper-aware of it.
So after a few minutes of responseless poking and prodding, I headed home with a quickness to fire up the doppler and check for a heartbeat. The purpose of this was twofold: 1. obviously, to make sure her wee heart is still doing its thang and 2. to wake her the hell up, since the doppler has quite consistently annoyed her quite a bit.
But not this time. Andrea and I used 3 doses of gel trying to find a heartbeat, to no avail. Not even a hint of one. We put the thing over my heart to make sure the doppler was working, yep. Picked mine up right away.
That was it, we were going to the hospital. I'm not going to fuck around with this sort of thing, not going to wait until el baby decides to wake up, not when something could be wrong.
So we went pell-mell to our local hospital (not the one where we're planning to deliver) where Andrea dropped me at the ER while she parked. I hadn't realized that the place is Catholic, and is decorated with statues of the Virgina Mary and of saints. This sort of creeped Andrea out but I found it comforting to see the icons I know so well from growing up Catholic while we drove in, trying not to panic or cry.
And I didn't cry, at least not until I was standing at the ER desk, explaining my situation. I spoke calmly, in a quiet voice, until she asked how far along I am. And then I lost it, quietly sobbing out 34 weeks, 5 days.
She got me a wheelchair, then I waited for Andrea to arrive and for my driver to take me to L&D. Seemed like that all took forever, just to get going. I needed to know, was this baby okay?
Finally, Andrea arrived, my chair pusher arrived and we were on our way, though long hallways filled with pictures of nuns and more saint statues, my hand resting on my belly hoping to feel her move. But she didn't.
We made it to L&D and were greeted by a surly OB tech who kind of barked at us, asked if I was married. I couldn't think of the words, I was too busy trying not to cry and trying not to scream at them to hurry the hell up and hook me up to whatever would let us all know that the baby is okay. Andrea piped up and said domestic partner, then filled out the longest admission form ever.
All of this probably took 30 minutes but I assure you, that was the longest 30 minutes of my life.
Finally, a nice nurse wheeled me into a triage room, handed me a cup and asked me to give a sample. I practically ran into the bathroom, knowing that the sooner I gave up the goods, the sooner we'd know if the baby was okay.
After that, it was time to hook me up to the fetal and contraction monitors. I laid down and she hooked up the machines. I understood in that instant how quickly my ideas about a drug-free birth could go out the window and also realized that I really wouldn't care, not if there was ANY risk to this kid.
It took the nurse just a wee bit of time to find the baby's heartbeat, I think that was the longest part of the whole ordeal. When we finally heard it, I cried and Andrea patted my hand.
We sat there for 20 minutes with me hooked up to the machines, listening to the variance in our wee one's heartbeat. The nurse brought me some juice to drink and the sugar from that stirred her up, got her a-dancing in there. The heartrate went up, so did my stomach. And each time, I was grateful to see it.
In the end, all is well and we got some new hints on waking her up (juice/sugar) and a guideline for when to be concerned. That said, I knew most of it beforehand, it was just the huge jump followed by the lack of movement that scared me so. If that happened again, I'd do exactly the same thing. Including the crying and the praying.
But she's okay and now we know the way to L&D at the closer hospital, hopefully we won't ever have to use that knowledge again.
I had this idea that the closer hospital was as small as the one we plan to deliver in, but it's really quite large and has a dramatically different atmosphere. Our hospital is all about the mother, I can labor any way I choose, I direct (as much as medically possible) what goes on. The closer place was a lot more medicalized, I got the sense that HypnoBirthing would be laughed at there and that most of our wishes would be ignored in lieu of what the staff is used to doing. Not that a medicalized birth is a bad thing, it's just not what we're hoping to do so it makes sense to drive a little farther to make sure we have the best chance at it.
And that was our afternoon. I hope to never have another like it again.