Friday 4 February 2005

digging my way out with a spoon

On Wednesday, we had our midwife appointment as usual. And as usual, I forgot that I needed to bring a urine sample with me until about five minutes before we had to go - and I didn't really need to "go", if you know what I mean. We arrived at the surgery and I sheepishly handed over my little plastic container that held five drops of wee. Apparently they actually don't need that much to run their tests, so they did their usual dips. I had some protein in my urine, which is never a good sign in late pregnancy, and my blood pressure was higher than usual. Throughout most of this pregnancy, it's been around 75-83 but today is was 90. My midwife decided to send me into the Day Assessment Unit at our hospital to run further tests, just to be cautious. What, now? Oh, now. Alrighty then.

My blood pressure was taken a few times, and it eventually crept up to 98 (at this stage of pregnancy, anything over 90 is cause for concern and anything over 100 might mean labour induction). After being stuck three times (the third in the back of my hand), the doctor found a co-operative vein and took a blood sample (it came back normal). The midwife said that if my blood pressure got too high they may have to induce, and casually added "But you're 37 weeks along, so it would be no problem for the baby". NOOOOOOOOOO I only just went on maternity leave last Friday and I would like a bit more time off, please! Then somewhere in my brain, a little voice said, "But you wouldn't be pregnant anymore and your heartburn troubles would be over." Tempting. Just slightly. Another urine test showed protein traces, and I was hooked up to a foetal monitor so they could make sure Pip was happy and well. "Click this button whenever you feel the baby move", the midwife told me. As soon as she strapped the monitor to me, Pip wriggled, squirmed, and hiccuped non-stop for an entire hour. "Let's see how baby's doing. WOW, that's an active baby!" she said when she checked the printout. The doctor came back and checked my reflexes (apparently they get hyper sensitive when you have preeclampsia), felt my belly and said that Pip was a good size, and informed me that I would need to spend the night in the hospital. As an added bonus, I would need to collect my wee in a giant plastic container for the next 24 hours. I tried to argue that my blood pressure was probably going up because I was in a hospital, but she was right - it was better to be there just in case, as it was the best place to be.

After 8pm, I was admitted to the maternity ward and Paul went home to retrieve my suitcase (good thing it was partially packed already in preparation for the birth) and pick up some food for me. I sat and cried, and filled out my meal selections for the following day from the godawful choices they had, and cried some more. The midwife found a TV for me; it was another quiet night at Hinchingbrooke and I had the entire ward to myself. Paul returned with my goodies but couldn't stay because visiting hours had come and gone. I watched some trashy TV and ate my dinner. "Ooooh 'Desperate Housewives'!" the midwife said when she came to check on me later. She was a fan, too. When she returned to take my blood pressure again an hour later, she said "'Desperate Housewives' must be a good treatment for high blood pressure - yours is now down to 88!" Hurrah. I watched a bit more TV, read some of my book, then tried to sleep. I woke up at 4.30, and had to remember to take my giant plastic jug with me. I stayed awake for an hour, then woke up again at 6.30. Then again at 7.30. Just as I fell back asleep, all the lights came on and someone came in to take my blood pressure. Good morning to you too.

Another urine sample (I know pregnant women pee a lot, but this was getting silly), a trace of protein was still present, but my blood pressure was down to 90. The doctor sent me home, much to my great delight. I have to go back for another check and another round with the foetal monitor in another two hours, and hopefully they won't tell me that I need to stay overnight again. At least this time, I'll have a bag packed and if they do need to induce me soon, I'm a bit more prepared mentally. On the positive side, I feel like I've had a dress rehearsal for my hospital stay when I do go into labour. A lot of the mystery is now gone, and I find it comforting to know that the midwives and doctors at my hospital are really quite nice. I also like how I got offered tea at least four times in the span of around 12 hours. That makes me happy.

Right, I must go pack my bag and think happy thoughts. Here's hoping that a good night's sleep in our comfy bed has worked wonders.

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