Thursday, June 19, 2008

This Time Two Years Ago

As the twins' second birthday approaches I'm full of memories. I think about this day two years ago while I was holed up in the hospital, aka Hotel Swedish. I was worried, uncomfortable, depressed. I made a deal with my doctor to let me go home in one week at 35 weeks of pregnancy. At the time I was almost 34 weeks along and I was actually wondering what would be worse another two weeks plus of hospitalized bedrest or a few more weeks of babies in the NICU.

During my stay in the hospital I seriously felt like a prisoner. Nurses would come and go and I would look at their name tags and notice that they 'only' had a Bachelors of Nursing and I'd think to myself that I was more educated then them and that I once had a regular job like them. I wasn't always the woman who wouldn't get out of bed and had messy hair that needed to be colored again desperately. I once was a professional. Now I was a bystander to my day. I would know that I was to have an ultrasound or a visit from the doctor, the lactation consultant, the NICU doctor, the nutritionist or some other professional but I had no idea when. I knew that I could have one hour out of bed in a wheel chair but had no idea when that would be. It was impossible to plan. And although it seems like I had a lot of time on my hands there were so many 'things' I needed to do that the days went by fairly fast.

A day in the life of a patient in the antepartum unit:

7 am: woken up to get meds, see the shift change of nurses and vitals taken

7:30: breakfast (strawberries, bagel with cream cheese, scrambled eggs, mocha)

8 am: Doctor's rounds. A quick visit with the OB and Medical Student

9 am: Monitoring. This happened three times a day for 30-90 minutes depending on how cooperative the babies were. The nurses would come in and strap three straps on my enormous belly. One would monitor baby A's heart rate (Max). One would monitor Baby B's heart rate (Madeleine). And the other would monitor my contractions. They had to get a solid 20-30 minutes of heartrate and sometimes it was very hard to find the baby and then keep it under the monitor so that the heartbeat would be picked up consistently. Some nurses had a terrible time finding the babes and would sigh and eye roll as if it were my fault I wasn't they weren't behaving.

11 am: more meds and vitals

Noon: Ultrasound. In this scenario the patient is picked up by a transporter and put on a gurney. I am wheeled down to the fourth floor where I wait in a room with other patients, some of them very sick and hacking up lungs, on tubes and half way conscious. After I've waited in the room for a while I am wheeled into the ultrasound room where I wait a little more until the tech comes in and looks at my paper work. She does the ultrasound like she is putting parts on a conveyor belt. I ask her for simple pictures of the babies and she sighs and says if she can manage it she will. I ask her to look at Madeleine's leg and she says that that is not ordered and she will only do it if it is convenient. One ultrasound tech asked me if I did IVF to get the twins, like it is her business. Another one asks me about Madeleine's leg, as if it is her business. They are disrespectful of my time, my body and my feelings. They do not drape me well and expose my huge stomach, my vagina and anything else. They don't clean me well and leave ultrasound gel on me which is why I shower after my ultrasounds. Sometimes this process will take an hour sometime two and sometimes two and a half. Sometimes the radiologist will come and talk to me but sometimes they don't but rather just send the report. If I get a good transporter he will show me the print out report or my chart. Once I was reprimanded for looking at my chart without a medical personnel with me. WTF?
1 pm: shower
1:30 lunch. Salad, sandwich, diet coke and a cookie
2 or 3 pm: outing to Starbucks in a wheel chair with a friend
3 pm: meds. monitoring
5 pm: Michael visits
6 pm: dinner
7 or 8 pm: monitoring. meds
8 or 9 pm: bath tub soak. This is the best part. Swedish Hospital has a HUGE soaking tub, big enough for my enormous belly. It was heaven and I still miss my baths there.
10 or 11 pm: bed.

Two years ago I was worried about the unknow. Had I known then that everything would turn out just fine. Had I believed then that life would unravel the way it was suppose to. Had I realized that my children would be beautiful people full of grace, wisdom, humor and love. Had I known I would have relaxed. I would have trusted. I would have...


Jenna said...

I too wish I would have relaxed. Well said Niki, it was such a scary time wasnt it!

AnnaK said...

Oy - does this bring back memories! I remember the first time I saw you at Swedish -- it was in the ultrasound area, you were being wheeled out while I was on my way in. Your face showed the frustration I felt. Tough days for sure... And what was the deal with the medical charts??? By the end, I made them give it to me. By that time, I could also do my own ultrasounds and hook up the monitors! But like you said, I wish I knew then what I know now.

twin power mommy said...

WOW, that belly was huge. Since i never got that far i don't know how big mine would have gotten with the girls. I remember them telling me that i was to gain about 50 pounds.
i thought "THAT's alot of weight to gain!" but having them at 25 weeks meant i didn't gain any more than 32 pounds.
I remember the days being stuck in bed waiting for the belts to pick up heartbeats. I HATED those times. It was so frustrating for both me and the nurses coming in.

anne said...

Thank you for this post. I was in the antepartum unit at Scottsdale Shea hospital last summer for a month, and it was a horrible time in my life. Nothing was worse than people saying, "I think bedrest sounds wonderful." They have no idea. It's nice to know that there is someone out there that does know what it is like.