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The Slammer - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
The Slammer
I probably should have posted this earlier, but I've really been too out of it to write a coherent post. So better late than never.

If you're my friend on Facebook, you probably know that I was admitted to the hospital Saturday night. If you're not my friend on Facebook - why not?? Anyway, all day Saturday I was having contractions that the terbutaline wasn't stopping, even with multiple boluses. More alarmingly, there was a signifcant decrease in baby movement. I felt 5 or 6 kicks in 2 1/2 hours. I wasn't freaked out about that - because as far as I'm concerned, if the baby was moving at all, that was a sign that the baby was still hanging out, even if the medical establishment would have preferred more movement than that (and no, I'm not late enough in the pregnancy that they start saying "well the baby doesn't have much room to move anymore").

Anywhozit, I came in and was contracting a lot (shocking). An extra terbutaline bolus didn't help. So the doctor admitted me so he could put me on magnesium sulfate. A "magnesium holiday" as they call it (whoever "they" is). In theory what happened was that my body wasn't responding well enough to the terbutaline anymore, so they pulled it and ran the magnesium instead (called a "mag holiday" or a "mag wash" ... another friend said that's a terrible name for it and it ought to be "antepartum purgatory" which I think comes a lot closer to the truth). When I was admitted, I was banging out contractions every 2-3 minutes (that's about 20 an hour, if you're keeping count). The mag cut me down to about 10/hour pretty quickly and then finally I had a couple hours yesterday afternoon where I only had a handful and I was able to sleep (blessed sleep!).

The doctor came in mid-morning yesterday to talk to me and I was, at that point, not too loopy from the magnesium. I was still pretty uncomfortable, but the contractions had slowed to about every 6-8 minutes, so it was looking good. Still, I admit I'm completely miserable, and as horrific as it makes me feel to say it - I just want it over. Of course I want this baby to cook as long as possible, but I also want my body back. The nurses had called my doctor probably close to a dozen times between the time I was admitted and the time he came to see me mid-morning, including flurry of 3am phone calls to him to clarify orders, etc. He walked in and I told him I had a deal for him.

Him: "Oh, you've got a deal for ME? Can't wait to hear this one!"
Me: "I won't have you called at 3am anymore if you get this baby out NOW."
Him: "Oh, I don't mind 3am phone calls. My wife might have gotten a little annoyed, but it doesn't bother me."
Me: "No, really, think about it! A whole night's sleep and all you have to do is GET THIS BABY OUT. My offer is good for 24 hours - then no promises about quelling the 3am phone calls."
Him: "That's okay. I'm not on call after tomorrow morning. I can take it."
Me: "Yes, but Dr. H is on call tomorrow - she's way nicer than you!"
Him: "Yes she is. You can take your chances with her."

[for the record, Dr. H wouldn't deliver me today either... oh well! And yes, I was kidding. Mostly. Well, at least a little bit.]

He asked how I was feeling and I said "Have you ever been on mag?" He admitted he had not but had talked to plenty of women who had been on it. He told me I was taking it rather well. He told me that usually they can get people off the mag within 48 hours. "48 hours!!???" "What? You want me to turn it up?" Oh hell no. He did warn that if the contractions got any worse, they'd probably have to turn it up, but he was hopeful that they wouldn't have to do so.

And that's what I was hoping for. Until suddenly I was banging them out every 2 minutes again. I was in agony. And unfortunately, that bought me a ticket to purgatory - a 50% increase in my mag dose. If you've never experienced any of the joys of magnesium sulfate, there's really no describing it, but I'll do my best.

It starts out feeling as though you are literally on FIRE from the inside out. Every vital sign check taunted me with ridiculous pronouncements that my body temperature was 98.4 (F) couldn't possibly have been that low when I was certain I was 4,000 degrees (F). Then the nausea/vomiting, which fortunately wasn't a huge problem for me since I am already on high doses of Zofran and Phenergan - so I wasn't puking uncontrollably like many women do... I just wished I was because I felt so terrible. The headaches. The blurry vision. Seeing thigns in triplicate (I'm not joking!). And the absolute worst part of all - muscle weakness. Muscle weakness sounds so benign, doesn't it? But my legs were lead weights - I couldn't move them if I tried. I coudln't sit up, couldn't move my head, could barely lift my hands. Those who have known me for a while know that the sole reason I'm opposed to ever having another spinal/epidural anesthesia is because I had a small stroke (TIA) when I was 23 - losing control of my body on purpose is not ever going to be a goal of mine. It's petrifying. I got congested, and completely parched - my throat was killing me from being so dry, but drinking a gallon of water (which seemed the only logical solution at the time) was not an option, since between the mag and the preexisting hyperemesis, I would have just thrown it right back up. There really is no way to describe the horrors of mag and do it justice.

Thankfully, I have weaned back down, and am now below my starting dose. The hope is that I'll be able to turn the mag off entirely tonight (long shot) or tomorrow, and go back to the terb pump. Hopefully this "holiday" will have helped my body downregulate? Upregulate? I can't keep it all straight. But one way or another, hopefully after this holiday the terbutaline will be working again. I'm not holding my breath, but I *am* hopeful that I'll get to go home in the next day or three and that I'll be home for Pesach.

Poor Seth is stretched to the limit and I don't blame him. I know very clearly now that even if I ever thought I might want another baby after this one - I just can't do it. It's not fair to our family to have me this sick for this long. So we're done after this little one makes his or her appearance into the world. For that reason alone I wish I could savor this pregnancy - but there just is so little to like about it. I'm very grateful to be where I am. I'm very grateful to be pregnant and to be growing a whole entire human. But I can't bring myself to call pregnancy a joyous experience. I think it's miraculous, yes. And I can't wait to meet this child and move on with our lives.

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21 comments or Leave a comment
ichur72 From: ichur72 Date: March 23rd, 2010 02:54 am (UTC) (Link)
That sounds ... just beyond horrible. I hope things improve and am glad that #5 is still cooking.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
yeah, it sucks. I'm glad #5 is still cooking - but also ready for this to be OVER!
cellio From: cellio Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:28 am (UTC) (Link)
This sounds really rough on all of you. I'm sorry.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:44 am (UTC) (Link)
it's certainly not a spa vacation, that's for sure.
From: atimesif Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:31 am (UTC) (Link)
I didn't know that you were admitted because I don't 'do' facebook, but I had some sense of worry for you. I figured that something must be going on because you didn't post last week. Also, here in NY the weather has been miserable and I have my theories about physical problems and bad weather. (Last Shabbos we had a mini-hurricane.) How's the weather in MD?

The magsulfate sounds awful! Like a method of torture! I'm glad that you're still able to hold onto the pregnancy - you're a real trooper.
You're in my prayers. I hope you get released soon and that you have a calm Pesach.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:43 am (UTC) (Link)
well, you're forgiven for not being on facebook.

Weather here has been fine (until today when it was raining). It was 70 degrees and sunny over the weekend.
From: atimesif Date: March 23rd, 2010 04:51 am (UTC) (Link)
The weather was glorious this past Shabbos, I meant the previous weekend...
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 10:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I don't remember what Shabbos was like the previous weekend - but I was home then. It was this past motzei Shabbos that I was admitted to the hospital.
marag From: marag Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:33 am (UTC) (Link)
I understand why they call it a mag holiday, but the term still made me homicidal. Can't think why. ::eyeroll::

For me, the worst parts were the boiling and a constant feeling as if an 800 lb gorilla was sitting on my chest. My panic trigger happens to be difficulty breathing, but I completely understand why that would freak you the heck out.

I was lucky that by that point in my pregnancy, I could drink juice and it would only make me vomit one or two times a day. ::sigh::

I can't refer to the doctors by their initials, because there are too many dupes. Helmbrecht and Henry, Simmonds and Shrout and Siniese. At least Dr. Bernard left, so there's just the one B :D
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:43 am (UTC) (Link)
I've never met Dr. Henry - actually, I don't see a Dr. Henry on the list of physicians there.

Dr. Simmonds is the one that put me on the mag (and raised it - the bastard). I actually really like him a lot, so I'm not complaining. I do appreciate his abundance of caution - it's better than treating me like I'm a hypochodriac (which I am not). Dr. Sinesie is on call tomorrow, I think. I'm hoping she lets me OUT of here.
lizziebennet From: lizziebennet Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:57 am (UTC) (Link)
That sounds beyond awful. I'm glad the baby is still safe, and hoping you get out of there/stabilized soon!

I added you on facebook, btw!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm headed home today! Hooray! (and I added you back, but you probably knew that)
batya_d From: batya_d Date: March 23rd, 2010 05:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh gosh what a nightmare :(

I hope things start to turn in your favor for the rest of this pregnancy!!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I doubt things are going to improve much, but I *am* glad the end is in sight! Only a couple more months to go (unless I have My way about it, in which case, only a month or so to go!)
hannahsarah From: hannahsarah Date: March 23rd, 2010 08:12 am (UTC) (Link)
I've been all kinds of busy lately so I've been in and out of LJ land for a while.

I'm sorry to hear that you've had such an unpleasant vacation, and I hope you get home soon!

I don't think I could survive pregnancy. My biggest panic trigger is nausea. I get carsick if I look down for more than 30 seconds. I hate throwing up so much - it's the main reason I never developed a drinking problem in high school. One sip too many and I'd be praying for a swift and merciful death.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
not all women throw up in pregnancy, fortunately. But even of those, only about 1% have hyperemesis (and of THAT subset, only a very small percentage are still NPO after 20 weeks - I'm just lucky!).

At any rate, you certainly would have survived pregnancy - but I make no promises that you would have enjoyed it (I sure don't!).
thefourthvine From: thefourthvine Date: March 23rd, 2010 09:41 am (UTC) (Link)
This sounds so completely and utterly horrible; I cannot imagine that anyone would expect you to call this a joyous experience. And, actually, if you did, it could only be because of some novel condition like Antepartum Reality Disconnect. (For which you would be treated with yet another horrible medication and yet another prolonged hospital stay.)

I - hope for the best for you and #5? I've been following this saga just long enough to know that hoping for everything to be suddenly miraculously better is not realistic. Instead I will hope that things are the best that they can be for both of you, and that there are no lasting ill effects for anyone.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks so much - I'm really okay, just very tired of this. I feel incredibly guilty for having worked so hard to get pregnant and still not managing to enjoy the experience. This pretty much sucks. But ultimately, the only thing that matters is the baby on the other side of it.

You're right - things aren't going to get miraculously better, but at least I know that there's an end in sight!
(Deleted comment)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
actually, you almost have to laugh - the level of crap that I've had to take in this pregnancy is truly absurd! I couldn't make this stuff up! I told a rabbi friend of mine that much of this was G-d's cruel joke on me, and my friend responded, "Well, actually it sounds less like this being G-d's joke on you and more like you're the punchline!"

He had a good point.

And you, too, have a good point - someday, whether I'm laughing or not, I'll get to look back on this.
skatured From: skatured Date: March 24th, 2010 02:23 am (UTC) (Link)
I wish I had more to say that "I'm thinking of you" or there was something I could do than wish good vibes for this pregnancy to get easier or just stay status quo.
kalki From: kalki Date: March 27th, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
ugh. :(

*prize at the end* *prize at the end* *prize at the end* *prize at the end* *prize at the end* *prize at the end* *prize at the end* *prize at the end* *prize at the end* *prize at the end* *prize at the end* *prize at the end*

21 comments or Leave a comment