Ah, the Indignities of Hospitalization

Last night, at just 25 weeks of pregnancy, my placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta completely covers the cervix, became a problem:  My baby’s placenta, which provides him with nourishment and oxygen, started bleeding.

I paged the on-call doctor, who told me to immediately get to labor-and-delivery.  There, the doctor determined that the pre-term bleeding was not yet dangerous to me or my baby boy, therefore it did not necessitate his delivery to protect one or the other or both of us.

Today, I’m still bleeding, but not as severely as last night.  Dr. E, yet another doctor from my high-risk practice, the one doing rounds today, told me this morning that I will stay hospitalized until I stop bleeding, plus while I’m monitored for several days afterward, before I am released to bed rest at home.  Last night, Dr. D’s prediction was that I will be here for five to seven days.

I packed a suitcase within five minutes last night, and I’ve been hospitalized during pregnancy before, so I thought I’d arrived at the hospital relatively prepared, both materially and emotionally.  But, while I’ve been hospitalized previously for pre-term dilation and pre-term labor—when I was pregnant with my son, now nearly 5—I wasn’t bleeding, so this is a whole new ball game.

In labor-and-delivery last night, my bloody incontinence pad was inspected repeatedly.  When I went to the bathroom and exclaimed, “Oh, there’s still a lot of blood here,” Dr. D came in to check not only the toilet paper I had wiped myself with, but also the bloody urine in the plastic catch bowl inserted in the toilet.

Because a manual inspection of the cervix is dangerous for a woman suffering from placenta previa, a team of three—Dr. D, another female doctor whose name I can’t recall, and Katie, my labor-and-delivery nurse—peered into my vagina, propped open with a speculum, to see if my cervix had opened or thinned.  They commented on the mucus, on the blood, on the fact that my cervix was still closed.  I asked if the presence of the mucus was good or bad, and they said it’s normal.  Embarrassing, but normal.

Last night, when I was on an IV with fluids, I had to urinate into the catch bowl each and every time so the amount could be measured and dumped out by the nurse when she came in to check on me.

Last night and this afternoon, the nurses asked to see the pads I’d thrown away, plus the one I was wearing, to check the amount of blood present.

Also this afternoon, the nurse asked when my last bowel movement was—and said that having trouble passing stool is common in women on bed rest, so she could give me medication or prune juice.

Twice last night and once five minutes ago, I had to present my super-sized bare tush to the nurses to receive my one injection of Rhogam® and two injections of the steroid that will advance my baby’s development in case he is born pre-term.

Modesty is an impossibility.

I do have bathroom privileges, so I don’t have to suffer the indignity of a bedpan.  I was permitted to have a brief shower this morning, so I’m clean.  After exposing my backside to all last night, wearing a hospital gown that I wasn’t allowed to tie because of the multitude of exams, I am today wearing my own sweatpants and shirt.  And, I am in my own room, so the monitoring of my bodily functions isn’t shared with a roommate.

I hate being here, instead of at home.  I miss my husband and son.  They visited me for two hours tonight, and I just about cried when they arrived with a 4-foot-by-4-foot heart-shaped balloon that says, “I Love You.” My son picked it out, announcing that a heart balloon was the only appropriate choice.

But, I’m working hard to have perspective.  I was restricted from 27 weeks on when I was pregnant with my son, and I survived to be blessed with an absolutely incredible kid.  This time, I’ve been restricted from 21 weeks on, and I’ll be on bed rest until late in the pregnancy, but the end result is worth it: another sweet baby boy.

So, even though I hate it here, I will do what I’m told, no matter how humiliating.

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