The Event

Again, the poor blog has been badly neglected. One would think that since I have nothing to do but sit around the NICU I would have oodles of time on my hands. Truth be told however, the days fly by so quickly and they have thus far all blurred together. The constant dings and beeps in the background are barely noticeable anymore- though I hear phantom dings when I am away from this place. I very much understand how this place could drive someone bonkers.

Toby's First NICU Night

Speaking of this place- you all probably want to know about the event that brought us here. We all knew Toby was going to be early, we just didn’t know when. I was on day 5 of the forced hospital hang out time and up until then, nothing super exciting sans the pool incident had happened.

Mini story: I had a migraine on day 2 of the hospital stay and they gave me a drug called dilaudid.  Turns out, it makes me violently ill, much like every other pain med out there. After throwing up food from last year in the morning, I had started to feel better and Josh joined sides with the nurses – insisting I go to my pool therapy. Begrudgingly, I went.

About 20 minuets into the pool, after having to be sized up and judged by the other pool moms, I got that funny taste in the back of my mouth. In my head I was screaming at myself not to do it. “Think happy thoughts. Think thoughts of anything so long as it didn’t involve being sick.” It wasn’t helping. Suddenly I knew it was going to happen, so I dashed (as much as one can dash in water up to their neck while 32 weeks pregnant) to the stairs, and hauled myself out of the pool, not bothering to take the stairs. The others were just staring at me.

I managed to make it into the locker room and ran to the one stall that was in there. I yanked on the door to open it, but it didn’t move. Confused, I yanked again. A voice called out, “Sorry, just a second.” I couldn’t even make a noise to respond, but instead panicked even more. Thankfully there was a trash can under the sink. The poor nurse came out of the stall to find me clinging to the sink, heaving into a trash can, dripping wet and shivering to death.  She didn’t know what to do, opened the door, yelled for help and then tried to make me feel better. Poor girl. I think I scarred her for life.

They finally got me out of there, covered in 4 robes, 3 heated blankets and more towels than Martha Stewart has at K-mart. The girls in the pool just continued to stare at me. Clearly, I had blown any chance of making friends. I think they should have been thrilled that I didn’t get sick INTO the pool. I think they owe me their friendship on that merit alone.

So, back to the main story: It was day 5 (Saturday) and absolutely nothing was going on. The morning non stress test and the early afternoon stress test had gone fine- and the dopplar check ultrasound the day before had been good. Our kids came to town, and they got to visit me in the hospital. Life was great.

Tolin Kids Visiting the Antepartum Unit

Later in the afternoon, I started to notice that Toby wasn’t moving as much, so I got up and took a shower, thinking I just needed to move around and get him going. Nothing changed.

The antepartum unit has a lemonade dispenser (I probably cleaned them out of lemonade in the 5 days I was there) – s0 I got a big tumbler full and proceeded to tell my nurse that I was going to put myself on the monitor early. I told her I couldn’t feel Toby, but maybe a huge dose of sugar would do the trick. She didn’t seem concerned but told me to go ahead with the plan.

The monitor showed him with a heartbeat of around 150- and while it was steady, he wasn’t having any accelerations. Which is bad. He had a few slight decelerations, which is normal, but the non accelerations was not. Normally, a baby should have several accelerations within a 20 minute period. Toby didn’t have any at all. My nurse Denise came back in, saw the strip and had me change positions. She didn’t like what she was seeing. After about an hour, she had me change sides again. We tried every position except hanging upside down.

I was starting to get nervous, but Josh kept assuring me that everything was fine and I was panicking for no reason. (Silly crazy wife.) He made me start playing Phase 10 to pass the time while we waited. I was in the middle of kicking his butt when they decided to start doing what is called a Bio Physical Profile (BPP). This is where they do a 30-minute ultrasound to look for movement and some other things. You need an 8 out of 10 to pass the test.

Toby wasn’t moving. He wasn’t doing breathing movements, and he had one singular hiccup. He scored a total of 2, which were for good fluid levels. Becky, the nurse practitioner who was running the test said that was it Toby was waving his white flag and it was time to go. We went from normal hangout stay to emergency c-section in just a matter of hours.

As soon as Becky called it, 15 different people started running in and out of the room doing stuff. Nurses I had never even seen before. Some from the NICU, some from the surgical side, heck some of them could have come from a different hospital for all I know. Josh got on the phone and started calling everyone while I signed my life away on 1,000 pieces of paper.

I really needed to get up and go to the bathroom, but they wouldn’t let me. Becky kept saying I would get a catheter. I still don’t understand why they wouldn’t let me up. I hadn’t had a spinal yet, and we were just camped out in my room.  One of the nurses came in and did a marvelous job of giving me an IV. And by marvelous, I mean, I wasn’t ready and it hurt like a ______________ (insert favorite word).

We started rolling to the OR, but our photographer wasn’t here yet. I was beyond worried that she wouldn’t make it in time and would miss everything. Josh was decked out in blue scrubs complemented by his cowboy boots. Earlier in the day, I had asked him if he brought his comfy shoes, because, “what if?” He laughed at me then, but I was the one laughing now. He looked, in a word, ridiculous.  Thankfully they gave him tall foot things to cover up the boots, so his fashion faux pas wasn’t apparent to everyone.

Josh wasn’t allowed in while they did the spinal block- so he waited for the photographer while I sat hunched over leaning on one of the nurses. I’m pretty sure she said to lean on her (at least that’s what I can remember) so I did. I had my head plunked square in the middle of her chest while she rubbed my arms and kept me from tensing up. Josh said it was very cute- but no one got a picture of it. I don’t know if she wanted me plunked on her boobs, but hey, there I was. She was super sweet about it regardless.

Not too long after that I was numb and laying mostly naked for the whole world to see. (Awkward!) I told the anesthesiologist that if I had any dignity, it sure as hell was gone now. He just laughed. I didn’t see what was so funny.

Josh and the photographer came in- they started, and in about 10 minuets they had him out. Of course, I couldn’t see anything, but I’m pretty sure if I could I would have had a heart attack and died. Josh watched and amazingly didn’t pass out. He deserves an award.

The biggest surprise of the night (besides the emergency c-section) was the knot in Toby’s cord. Every person in the room was shocked – and everyone had to come see it. Toby had a true knot (in his case a figure-eight knot, something you use for sailing or rock climbing). No one is sure how he did it. One thing is for absolute certain, however. The knot was so bad that Toby would not have done very well for very long. We were VERY lucky that we had been tossed into the hospital for monitoring. Otherwise, we would have never known there was a problem, and by the time the next check came, he might have been gone. It’s crazy to think about.

The Cord Knot © 2013 Michelle Garey Photography

The knot wasn’t what caused Toby’s IUGR, that much we know. The placenta was in very bad shape and we’re still waiting on pathology reports to come back. All we know is this: We have been beyond blessed. If we had luck, we’ve cashed it in. It has been a crazy ride, having to come back from Hungary, plan for every eventuality (yes, looking at funeral plots, too) and now living in the NICU.

We have been blessed to have friends and family by our side (near and far) every step of the way. I don’t know how we would have done it without them. We love you all, and are forever in debt to you!


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