Friday, November 4, 2011

The hospital...and the hospital

On Wednesday, we took a family tour of the Women's Center at Northside Hospital.  I know, just a few days ago I confidently said I was ready, but as soon as the hospital was in sight, I started to feel anxious.  Apparently, I am ready to bring my baby boy home, but not to give birth or make any of the decisions regarding his birth.  I gave birth to Finnan and Jude at Dekalb Hospital and Northside seem to be almost exactly the same but bigger and farther. (I had to switch due to an insurance change.)  The benefit of it being a larger hospital is that there is no triage, which in my case is a huge benefit.  The drawback of Northside is that it is far (about 30 minutes) and requires driving on I-285.  Given the quick progression of my last labor, I am extremely nervous about that drive.  My doctors seem to be as well.  At about every appointment, it has been mentioned to me, "Considering your labor history, if you want to (and you have started to dilate) we will induce you at 39 weeks."  I do not want to be induced, but I also don't want to be going through transition while sitting in I-285 traffic.  Luckily, this is a decision for another day.

Since it was a family tour, Finnan and Jude were able to join us.  They seemed to like seeing the hospital, but were disappointed that the tour was limited to the Women's Center.  They wanted to see the "main hospital."  As we drove by the "main hospital," I explained that hopefully we will never have to see it.  The next day, as the boys and I were in the car, standing still on I-285 north in the pouring rain on our way to Children's Hospital, Scottish Rite, I had to laugh, especially since not even two hours earlier I had debated whether or not to even call the nurse's help line.

While we were on the family tour Wednesday night, Jude's ever-present on/off cough escalated.  It seemed as if he coughed through the entire hour long tour.  I felt terrible as I would not have brought a sick toddler on the tour.  His dry cough continued through the night, keeping him up for much of it.  In the morning, he would not eat or drink.  He was breathing heavy.  But, within an hour of waking up he feel asleep on the sofa.  When he woke up he was still worn out and wanted to be carried, but his breathing had improved so we headed off on some errands so I could pick up some vicks vapor plug-ins and ingredients to make him chicken noodle soup.  He feel asleep again at his normal nap time and woke up two hours later without a cough and in extremely good spirits.  But, he was breathing extremely fast.  After some internal debate, I called the nurse line and they gave me the last appointment of the day at the doctor's office.  I had to wake up Finnan and the three of us ran out the door to make the appointment.

When we got there, he was still so happy.  I didn't think he could possibly be sick, but as soon as the nurse saw him, she said, "Oh yeah, he is having trouble breathing" and then she measured his pulse-ox at 93.  The doctor came quickly and within minutes they had him started on a nebulizer treatment.  After the treatment, he was still not better, so they sent me upstairs to get him a chest x-ray.  Since I am pregnant, poor Jude had to go back all by himself.  However, Jude, being Jude, just said "Okay!" and walked right back with the tech and returned thrilled with the x-ray sticker he received.  When we got back to the doctor from the x-ray they gave him a dose of prednisone and the doctor lingered around him continually checking his breathing for quite a while, questioning whether this was truly asthma or if he had aspirated something earlier in the day.  After giving me a slew of instructions regarding how to monitor him tonight, she said, "No, can you take him to the ER right now?"  Any mother's answer to that question is obvious.  So, that is how I found myself sitting in traffic in the pouring rain.  To make matters even more laughable at that moment, my fully charged cell phone was completely inoperable for about 30 minutes.  I couldn't tell Atticus where we were and additionally, I was suppose to pick up a friend in Decatur for girl's night.  I finally got a text through to Atticus (yes, I know I am not suppose to text and drive, but really, I was not driving) and within seconds he was able to get through to me.  He made it to the hospital before we even saw the triage nurse.  At about 8:30, I decided to take Finnan home and Atticus stayed with Jude the rest of the night.  The doctor at Children's decided to put Jude on an hour long nebulizer treatment and then sent him home with albuterol and prednisone to take over the next couple of days.  According to Atticus, Jude was charming and cooperative at the hospital.  They got home at 11 and Jude still seemed to be in good spirits.  Today, we have been trying to take it easy.  His breathing is not 100%, but we have a few more days for the medicine to kick in.  He hates the albuterol (he happily agrees to medicine until he sees the mask that goes over his face then he starts screaming, "No, not that medicine!!!"), but otherwise, he is acting fine and is running around.

To be honest, I assumed this would happen to one of my children.  I grew up with (and still have) asthma.  But, it was not what I was expecting.  I assumed I would be able to detect an asthma attack right away.  Of course, I haven't received an official diagnosis of asthma yet, but Jude's pediatrician called me last night to check on him and based on Children's course of action she spoke of the incident as an asthma attack.  Ironically, my asthma diagnosis also came at two and a half, right before my brother was born.

Throughout the evening, I was incredibly calm and really was not worried.  But, I had trouble sleeping last night.  As often happens, the later it became and the more I thought about it, the more sad and worried I became.  Even though asthma is a disease I understand and that I am not afraid of, I know what this could mean for Jude.  My incredibly active and physical boy, who already has his eyes set on the baseball and soccer fields, may not be able to do those sports past a certain level.  He may have a harder time keeping up with his brothers in certain weather conditions.   Staying in older buildings, such as the River Farm, or visiting friends with cats or even potentially dogs could trigger symptoms.  It worried me that even though I can monitor my own asthma, it is clearly different in young children and may be harder to prevent attacks with early detection.  This is all too early to worry about and I am extremely thankful for my healthy and happy little boy.  And, who knows, maybe he was already destined to turn his energy into swimming and water polo, like his mama :)

Jude showing off a large leaf he found on a hike in Dearborn Park last week.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

34 weeks

Picture at 33 weeks.
At 34 weeks, I am finally ready for my baby boy to come.  My house is not ready (construction just started this week), but fairly suddenly, I feel like I can handle this and I am dreaming of feeling the warmth of my little one.  Right now, I am feeling much the same as I have for the past 2 or 3 months.  In short, this pregnancy has not been a comfortable one.  With noticeable Braxton Hicks contractions, strong pelvic pressure, varicose veins, extended fatigue and cramping, every time I go to the OB, I have a new question.  Given this is my third time, I thought I had pregnancy figured out.  According to my OB, this is common for third pregnancies and that your body handles pregnancy less well each time.  I don't know if I have become more accustomed to this condition or if the knowledge that these discomforts are normal (and I am not headed for pre-term labor) has made me feel better as the weeks have gone by.

This baby has been the most active of my three in utero.  I think of him as performing Tai Chi.  He will move and then hold poses where I can feel a limb protruding from my belly for several minutes before he will retreat again and change position.  His movements can be quite piercing.  This goes on almost all day and throughout the night.  I can not imagine this baby is going to enjoy being swaddled.  Let's just hope he indeed sleeps.