The transfusion went well. The doctor was visibly relieved when it was over. I don't know all the technical details, but the "normal" level of red blood cells (or something) is around 10 or 11. The baby had a level of 2. So, it was very good that we caught it when we did and that we did the transfusion. Otherwise.....it wouldn't have been good at all.
So, this is how my day went. First I woke up early (at 6:3o a.m.) very starving and very annoyed that I was only to consume a "light breakfast." Doctors do not understand how terribly hard that is for me. I wake up STARVING. Ravenous. Stomach growling before I leave the bed. So, I held out as long as I could by drinking water and tea. Then, around 8:00 I made an egg sandwich with egg, cheese and two pieces of Canadian bacon on a whole wheat English muffin. John said, "That isn't exactly a light breakfast." I said, "For me it is. I'm still starving."
We got in the car and were driving down the interstate to the hospital, my stomach growling the entire time. And then we got stuck behind a DiGiorno pizza truck....with a giant picture of a pizza on the back. I wanted to go lick that truck. I hate being hungry. John let me eat one peanut butter cracker.
At the doctor's office we sat around and waited FOR AN HOUR. I ate two Starburst candies. I was getting worried and agitated and ever more starving. My mind started racing through all the horrible possibilities. Then it started taking inventory of all the food in my purse--beef jerky, granola bars. Finally they called us back.
It was just in a regular ultrasound room. I laid down on the regular ultrasound table in my clothes. I figured I would have to put on a gown or something, but I didn't. I told them not to get any blood on my brand new (and AWESOMELY comfy maternity khakis). They said patients always seem to wear white or khaki when beta dine is involved.
They confirmed that the blood was the right type (my blood type). The doctor said it was from "Baltimore's finest." Ew. That doesn't sound so great to me. Some stranger's blood is now in my baby. I know it was screened for everything....but still. Freaky. I asked if we would be able to save the cord blood at birth and he said no.
First they covered my belly with beta dine and marked the locations for the needles. He numbed the two needle locations on my skin. Then came the amniocentesis. He stuck the needle in on my left side and it hurt like a BITCH. I wasn't expecting it to hurt. My uterus just cramped up and "grabbed the needle." It felt like labor contractions. Ouch. It seemed to take forever.
Next, they got started on the blood transfusion. The needle (which I never saw) was apparently very long and very, very thin. It is about the same width as the umbilical cord vein. John said it was about 10 inches long. They stuck it in just to the left of my belly button. It didn't hurt as much as the amnio one, THANK GOD. Because it was in there for about 30 minutes.
It was very tense and very scary. I was terrified that my breathing was disturbing things. The sonographer sat to my right and tried to keep the umbilical cord in view at all times. The doctor was to my left. There were three other nurses in there. John sat up by my head.
The doctor guided the needle down through my placenta and up to the point where the cord attaches to it. Then he just suddenly jammed it downward kind of violently. I wasn't expecting that at all and my legs started shaking. It took all my concentration to keep my legs still and my breathing from being too deep. We could see everything that was going on via a television screen mounted near the ceiling. The needle was this long white line down through the placenta.
It took him a long time to get the needle into the vein. I was really scared about this, because if he messed up and shredded the vein, the baby would just instantly die. I can't imagine wanting to do this for your profession. It was just so terrifying! The sonographer was trying to guide him in the right direction. This seemed to take forever and was really tense. I was getting worried. I hadn't expected it to take so long! I guess he doesn't really like to do these procedures this early in the pregnancy because the vein is still so thin and small. Great.
Finally he got the needle in and took a few blood samples of the baby's blood (that is when we learned the level was at 2). Suddenly the doctor seemed all agitated and yanked the syringe of blood off the contraption it was on and asked for a new....thingamajiggy. The nurses were scrambling around. John said one of the nurse's hands were totally shaking. My legs were starting to shake again, too.
Then my uterus contracted and pushed the needle out of the vein. So, we spent some more time trying to get it back in and watching the baby bob all around into it. I was scared he was going to stick the baby with the needle or that the baby would somehow damage the vein. I saw the baby's hand reaching toward the cord and cringed. Luckily he didn't have to paralyze the baby. I was really worried he would have to do that.
He took a syringe of blood and started injecting it. We could see the blood swirling through the umbilical cord toward the baby. He would occasionally say "I NEED TO SEE THE BABY'S HEART RATE NOW." The sonographer would scramble around and find it. It went up a bit (which is better than going down). They zoomed in and out and spent more time trying to make sure the needle was in the right place. John and the nurse both asked me a question and I just couldn't answer. I was too terrified to move. John stroked my forehead.
He injected another syringe of blood, and took a final reading of the levels. It was at a 10! So, he pulled the needle out and I really started shaking then. I just couldn't believe the whole thing had happened. My abdomen felt extremely sore and crampy and painful. Well, maybe not extremely....but more than I had expected to feel.
Because I have Rh negative blood, I had to get a rhogam shot in the butt. Any more needles anyone? Stick me anywhere but the uterus, please.
The doctor is obviously very good at what he does, but he is kind of.....different. John tried to shake his hand afterward and he just totally IGNORED John. It was really strange. Finally one of the nurses said, "he's trying to shake your hand." He answered, "Not until the baby is born." Oooookay.
I limped out of the hospital, one hand holding my crampy belly and the other trying to find the beef jerky to shove in my mouth. We went out for cheeseburgers and fries. Yum. Then, I came home and took a nap.
We had to cancel our Florida reservations. When we asked about travelling, the doctor said he really didn't want me to. I asked him, "What are you worried about happening?" And he said, "I worry about everything." Again....not so reassuring. So, instead we're going to a resort on the Chesapeake Bay with a heated swimming pool and a spa that offers pregnancy massage. It is nice to just be hanging out together at home as well.
It is strange not having Becca here. I am constantly trying to be quiet, or listening for her to wake up, or turning off the fan so she doesn't stick her fingers in it. We talked to her tonight on the phone and she started crying, "I want my Mama! I want you!" A few tears slid down my face. I miss her so much. My dad said she saw a photo of us and cried a little, but other than that she has been happy as a clam, digging worms and baking pies with my dad and playing with play doh with my mom. Dad is taking her to the "Snake Farm" tomorrow and then she'll be staying with Jo Anne and Jim for the rest of the week. It is Becca's Summer Camp! I am really relishing having unscheduled time with John home and nothing else to do. We are really relaxing. I should go....John is beating Guitar Hero without me!
On Knowing Better and Doing Better
2 days ago