Monitoring, NICU & Not Much News

We’ve made it to 32 weeks and 2 days! I don’t have any major updates today, mostly just little ones…

{I'm fairly certain I look more pregnant in this photo than in reality... even one of the nurses last night came in and said "gosh, you hardly look pregnant" mmmm thanks you can leave now!}

{I’m fairly certain I look more pregnant in this photo than in reality… even one of the nurses last night came in and said “gosh, you hardly look pregnant” mmmm thanks you can leave now!}

I haven’t had an ultrasound since the weekend – the next one is the big growth ultrasound tomorrow. This will measure how much the baby has grown in the last 2 weeks, as well as check his amniotic fluid levels and the cord flow. A decision to deliver could be made tomorrow if there was no growth or if the cord flow is “reverse” meaning that the blood flow through the cord is reversing in direction.

As of last night I’m on a more rigorous monitoring schedule. Initially I was hooked up to the heart rate monitor three times a day for about 40 minutes each session to take a look at how the baby is doing. Starting Sunday afternoon he has had many more decelerations {“drops”} in his heart rate than before and they’ve started to align with my contractions. He’s now having a drop about every hour or two, sometimes more. Honestly, we woke up this morning, still hooked up to the monitor, expecting the doctor to come in and tell me it was time to go to the operating room because he had so many drops overnight {which also meant we slept not at all!}.

Instead, she said that while he is having more drops, the time in between the drops he’s still looking great and not seeming to be stressed out and he’s making really good recoveries {his heart rate jumps back up to normal fairly quickly} most of the time. She said she’s being cautiously optimistic and really still hopes he’ll stay in there for another week. I’m not really expecting that he’ll stay put for a week, but I suppose it’s possible and we’ll learn more tomorrow with the ultrasound.

In related news, Alex and I toured the NICU yesterday. There is one floor of the NICU where it’s truly the intensive care unit, and depending on when our little peanut arrives, he could go there for a while. They also have an intermediate level nursery where the babies are moved when they simply need time to grow and learn to eat. It was really nice to get a tour of the space so we can visualize it as we mentally prepare for our NICU baby.

I finally got my consultation with the neonatologist on Sunday and that was really helpful. He explained to me that 32 weeks is such a magical gestational age to get to because at that point the survival rate and long-term complication rate becomes the same as with a full-term baby. He told me to expect the baby to stay in the NICU until his due-date {so mid-July} and that he’ll be on a feeding tube and it’s possible he’ll need some help with breathing. The longer he stays in utero the shorter his NICU stay will be and the fewer interventions they’ll need to do.

We are starting to talk about hypothetical plans for how we’ll deal with having a baby in the NICU for what could be 6-8 weeks. It’s not going to be easy, but we’ll make it work. We’re anticipating having me spend most mornings/early afternoons there, then going home and eventually having dinner with Alex and then going back together to visit the babe and then sleeping at home. We are so fortunate that the hospital is so close to our house! There will be an enormous amount of going back and forth to and from the hospital to visit the little guy and deliver milk to the nurses for him, but I’m sure we’ll get in a groove pretty quickly. It’s going to be strange to go back home without bringing a baby with us, though.

Right now it’s our plan that once the baby arrives I’ll officially stop working {probably until October} and then Alex will go back to work once I go home from the hospital and am able to move around on my own, then he’ll take his paternity leave as soon as the baby comes home, hopefully through Labor Day, and then he plans on taking the rest of his leave around the holidays. Alex’s work has been extremely supportive of the situation and both of us have been working remotely from the hospital when time allows.

Alex and I are doing fine and hanging in there. We’ve still got plenty to do and our room seems to have a revolving door on it, so there’s constantly someone in here. Technology is an enormous help in this situation – we’ve been watching Netflix during my monitoring to take the edge off of it and we’ve used InstaCart to get Whole Foods meals delivered, as well as Uber Eats to get a celebratory dinner delivered to commemorate making it to 32 weeks on Sunday.

Thanks again for all of the encouragement and love! We are so fortunate to have so many family members and friends by our side during this really strange time.