Being told I was going to have my baby 8 weeks early were the most terrifying words spoken to me in my entire life. I wasn’t ready. Baby wasn’t ready. This wasn’t right.
On the second day of my hospital stay, I cried to my husband that we hadn’t even had maternity pictures taken. It was my first pregnancy and I wanted to take them when my belly was big and round. I realized now that my belly wasn’t going to get big and round, but I wanted the pictures to represent our new reality. I convinced the doctors to let me off monitoring for a half an hour. My sweet friend from college came out to do the pictures in our hospital room and at the healing garden. My hair was a mess, there was an IV in my arm, but the pictures were real and raw. They were exactly what I didn’t know I wanted.
My husband went back to work, while I stayed in a hospital bed 45 minutes away, praying to God our baby stayed safe in my belly.
Two days after that, the doctors felt comfortable enough to take me off of 24 hour monitoring. Our Squishy baby’s heart rate was always high and the daily ultrasounds looked good so far. They changed the heart monitoring to every 4 hours and the ultrasounds to every other day.
I learned a lot while I was sitting in the hospital bed. I figured out quickly that what I needed to hear to keep my baby safe inside me was the word “normal.” Everything had to be normal. When they looked at the blood flow from my placenta to baby, it had to be normal. If it was anything other than normal, that was bad. However we could get away with extra monitoring as long as the words “absent” or “reverse” weren’t spoken. The fluid pockets around baby had to be in normal range, although they told me it was in the low side of normal in my case. That word “normal” became my new hope, day after day.
I made friends with nurses and got to know about the happenings of their lives. I heard other moms come in and out and leave with their precious newborn babies. I spent a lot of time watching daytime TV.
On day 6, they found the blood flow to be not normal again. Again I was hooked up to the heart and contraction monitor and scheduled for daily ultrasounds. The resident told me every day my baby was still inside was a gift. I kept that as my mantra, even though I had little power at that point, I had the power to be positive and I hoped it was enough.
As they moved me to a more comfortable room (the room where you stayed if you were in it for the long haul), I planned out a million plans of what the next few days or weeks might look like. They could come in, baby could have a low heart rate and they would do a C-section right away. They could find the blood flow to be anything but normal and decide baby needed to come out and they would induce me. My body could decide it’s time for baby to come out and go into early labor. None of my scenarios included going home.
On the tenth day of my hospital stay, the same Attending that sent me there sent me home.
I was told that baby was monitoring perfectly, and that we had four perfect ultrasounds in a row. Perfect, not just normal.
I was sent home on the condition that I would be at my local hospital twice weekly for ultrasounds and heart monitoring. They hoped to keep the baby in until 37 weeks, I was 33+2.