Friday, February 3, 2012

Gotta keep an eye out for that silver lining…

Another week leads to a little more drama.  I was hoping the pregnancy wouldn’t be so exciting, but I guess you can’t always get what you want.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, there was the possibility that our child could potentially be born premature.  Well, at this point, the doctors seem to almost be guaranteeing that it will happen unless they intervene in some way, so we are now in a situation where my wife is now in a hospital for the next month, more or less confined to a bed.

Of course, the preterm birth of the baby isn’t really the big worry.  The baby is past 7 months at this point, so she will have a pretty high chance of survival (at this point, north of 90%, raising even higher once we hit next week).  The real problem, at least from the doctors point of view is that the baby is in complete breech position.  For those not familiar with what that means, it means the baby is currently head up, butt down, with the feet bent at the knees so that she’s in sort of a cannonball position.  Optimal birth position is with the baby head down, butt up in a standard fetal position.  With the feet down, there is the possibility that the baby’s head will not fit through the birth canal properly since the body comes out first.  There’s also the possibility that the umbilical cord could come out first and cause the baby to lose oxygen during the birth, and that leads to a whole other mess of things. 

Even that by itself, wouldn’t be a problem.  There is still time for the baby to flip itself over.  The issue is that the breech position is in tandem with the fact that my wife’s cervix has shortened quite dramatically in the last week.  Standard cervix length during this part of the pregnancy is 30mm or more.  When we first went to the doctor, it was 24mm.  When we went for a follow up this past Tuesday, it was down to 16mm.  My wife then got sick on Thursday and was vomiting so frequently, that the tension and strain on her body had shortened to 10mm.  The rapidity with which her cervix shrunk, and the breech position had the doctors worried that the umbilical cord could potentially slip out, and so they admitted my wife immediately into the hospital, and will now keep her for a month to monitor hers and the baby’s condition. 

It has been a lot to take in, and I’m surprised that I haven’t had a nervous breakdown yet.  It’s a lot to take in, especially when it’s my first child.  I’m anxious for the health of my wife and of my child, and all of this news is just stressful to get, especially in such rapid succession.  Fortunately, I’ve been able to keep myself calm by realizing two things.  One, that the infant mortality rate in this country is the third lowest in the world, and two, that while the illness that afflicted my wife may have caused her cervix to shorten, it is also possible that her cervix had shrunk to that point anyway, and that if she hadn’t gotten sick, we might not have discovered the problem until it was too late.  There’s that silver lining I was talking about. 

With the sudden shortening of her cervix that she was experiencing prior to this recent visit to the hospital, I would not have been at all surprised if it was the case where we were fortunate that the sickness had been bad enough to drive her to the hospital, or it might have progressed to the point where the baby could have just popped right out.  The last thing I want for my wife is for her to have to undergo a Caesarian, because that causes so much stress and damage to a body.  Not to mention how it screws up the bonding ritual between a woman and her child.  So maybe her getting sick when she did was a blessing in disguise, or a stroke of really good luck, depending on how you want to look at it.  Either way, she’s in the care of a really great staff, and even though this wasn’t the ideal situation for us, I’m at least relieved that she is in good hands. 

I do want to thank everybody for their well wishes during this time.  It would be even harder to have to face this completely alone, and this event has really opened my eyes as to all the love and caring that we get from our friends and family.  The concern that has been shown for us has been incalculable, and we are grateful for everything.

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