After the agonizingly quiet ultrasound, we returned to our room. Full of questions. How did the fluid refill that fast? What does this mean? So many of the doomsday reports are based on the fact that the baby has no water…. but that seems to have changed now?? Someone mentioned seeing a blood clot on the screen… is that dangerous? What is bleeding? The specialists that we had been putting off all afternoon just couldn’t come soon enough at this point.
Dr. Huff arrived first. He said “well this is encouraging! You have a 5-6 cm blood clot that looks like it may be holding your amniotic fluid in. That’s pretty bizarre, but we’ll take it. Baby has plenty of fluid… more great news. I think the clot may be what irritated the membranes and caused your water to break in the first place, though we still aren’t sure what caused the clot. What’s important is that we get the bleeding and contractions and leakage stopped. So rest easy.” No problem. I still can barely move my arms and tracking with my eyes is impossible. I’ll just sit right here, thank you.
The next visitor was not nearly as encouraging. She is a neonatal specialist… apparently one of the very best. Her first question was if we are REALLY sure what we are saying when we say we want “full intervention”. Our initial response was “yes, we want you to do whatever you can to save our baby, whenever he comes.” She responded with a list of things that can happen to a 23 week old baby. It was long. Very bad. Very overwhelming. Terrible odds. If he comes out right now, his chance of survival is very slim. Inside of those bad odds, the chance of him having HUGE complications (blindness, brain bleeds, retardation, etc) are enormous. As in, 75% of the babies who survive at this age have at least one of those issues. Our answer didn’t change… do whatever you can do. This is our baby. She pressed on, informing us that it is perfectly ethical and moral (until 25 weeks gestation) to do nothing. Let the baby come, do not attempt to revive him, and just let him go. I choked, and tried to get a head shake out… I’m not sure if anyone saw it. By now I had been living this nightmare for 14 hrs, the mag was making it impossible to keep my eyes open, and I could not listen to any more hopeless scenarios. Nathan knew. He told the dr, one more time, we are full-intervention… do what you can for our baby if we can’t keep him inside. We don’t need good odds. We have a big GOD.
Dr. Huff returned. He says “So we’re full intervention! Great! Here’s what that means… you get 2 steroid shots. One now, one tomorrow night. By the next night it will have taken effect on baby’s lungs and given him at least a fighting chance. It also means that you HAVE to stay on full-time monitors for contractions and baby heart-rate. If something turns south, full intervention means that you have an emergency vertical cut cesarean. That means no more vaginal births for you.” I nodded. He smiled and patted my leg, saying something about how great we are doing and going to be just fine. I love encouraging people.
They moved us to a bigger room then. It was massive and fabulous! Soon my parents arrived. What a relief! We visited a few minutes. A nurse came in and said that the baby’s heart rate was perfect, I am still leaking fluid, and the contractions were still around 4-5 per hour. If they increased to be more than 6 per hour, they would turn the mag back up. I got my first steroid shot… which felt like liquid fire.
Michelle returned with our girls (they had so much fun swimming and bathing and having pancakes!) and they went to bed. It was a very unrestful night for me. I was hooked up to a BP cuff that went off every 45 minutes, my IVs were constantly beeping for a refill or pinch in the line, I had compression boots going non-stop, a pulseox thing on my toe, and whenever the baby would move away from his heart-rate monitor the nurse would come rushing in to get him back on it. I don’t remember sleeping much that night, but I remember asking God over and over to just be merciful. Don’t let my baby suffer. If He is going to take him, do it quickly. Just be merciful. Clearly, we did not have much hope at that point. But God was about to do things that we never knew were possible.
(The original post and comments can be found here.)