Friday, October 27, 2017


"Under pressure she became a diamond.  Under pressure she became unbreakable."
R.H. Sin

Thursday, October 26th:
I'll start with sharing that I have great blood pressure... normally.   

Our day started out very chill and we were both doing our best to dampen the looming anticipation of questioning what the day held for us.  Brian relaxed with the dogs while I worked from home until we needed to leave for our afternoon appointments.  We arrived at Northwestern about 30 minutes early (1:30p) for our fetal non-stress test and ultrasound, even after stopping for a latte.  Like the last time, the nurse strapped two monitors to my belly to track the baby's movements for at least 20 minutes.  The baby was having a dance party and we were done relatively quickly.  We proceeded back to the waiting room and shortly thereafter, we were called back for the ultrasound.  The doctor ordered this quick test to measure the amniotic fluid level - everything checked out fine.
Our final stop was back to the waiting area around 2:45pm for our 3pm appointment with the doctor.  During our wait, we entertained ourselves by scrolling through years of pictures stored in our Google photos.  Here are some of the hilarious outtake gems that Brian allowed me to post:
Say Cheese!

Amy and Nick's wedding with our best people
Pub life in Ireland - Take 1
Truly, this was pretty fun and made the time pass quickly... until the clock struck 4pm and we were still waiting.  Brian scooted up (he opted for a peddle scooter instead of the crutches) to the receptionist to ask what time we could expect to see the doctor.  She apologized and explained that it would only be a few more minutes.  At this point, we didn't really have any other choice but to wait and we loved the fact that our doctor took such an interest in his patients, even if it meant we had to wait our turn.  In the meantime, the medical assistant asked me to come with her so she could get my vitals while we waited; she also pointed out that it was the end of her day (aka I want to get out of here).  She recorded my weight, asked if I was having any problems and then took my blood pressure - it took her two tries to get my blood pressure.
"What's your normal blood pressure?" she asked.
"120/80" I answered very confidently.
"Well, you're 127/90 now."
This surprised me, but it had been a long day already, so I just chalked it up to lots of waiting and my emotional and physical state of 'hanger'.  Brian and I had planned on a fairly brief appointment, which would have allowed us to grab a very early dinner.  Therefore, I hadn't eaten a ton before we left the house.  Mistake.

By the time we finally saw the doctor, it was 4:30.  After a brief exam, the doctor confirmed I had slightly progressed since our last appointment, but not enough that he would want to move forward with induction, especially because the NST and ultrasound were good.  However, he was concerned about my blood pressure.  He explained that while he could possibly attribute my elevated pressure to many different factors (like a long day), it wasn't worth the risk that I had developed preeclampsia.  I concurred - I had no interest in ending up like poor Sybil from Downton Abbey.  So came the bomb - the doctor wanted us to go across the street to OB triage to be monitored.  If my blood pressure didn't decrease (or labs were outside normal range), they would induce me that night.  (Say what?!)  He also disclosed that it was going to be a tough task to convince the doctors across the way that I should be able to leave... he was doing his best to prepare us that we were going to have the baby in a few hours.
With this development, Brian started to question the accuracy of the original BP reading and if the tech was just in a hurry.  He had some choice words for the situation, which I won't repeat, but did say that if he had a stethoscope, he would do it himself #marriedtoanurse. He asked another nurse to try again, but to use a different cuff.  Apparently, cuff size matters and the smaller size the medical tech used could have skewed the results.  The second read was 122/86, but the doctor still wasn't satisfied.  So, off we went across the street to Prentice Women's Hospital.  Were we about to have a baby?  I didn't have any of my things!  I was starving - were they going to let me eat or drink? Probably not.  And what about my dogs???  Could Brian go home to take care of the dogs and get my hospital bag?  UGH.  This was not a part of the plan, but shouldn't we be prepared for this by now?  Question: You know what isn't good for reducing blood pressure?  Answer: Please review the previous questions.  Thank goodness for Brian who brought me back from the three steps ahead I had jumped; we needed to focus on one thing at a time.  We texted our amazing neighbor, George, and he was able to take Ali and Marley for a walk to buy us some time to hopefully bust out of triage prison.  

We checked into triage and were collected 15 minutes later by the charge nurse.  She reiterated the doctor's instructions - labs, fetal monitoring and frequent blood pressure reads.  For almost my entire pregnancy, I've been studying hypnobirthing.  This technique teaches relaxation, mental focus and meditation for natural pain management and it coupled really well with my love of yoga.  I knew I needed to get zen if I was going to have any chance of going home.  (insert slow, deep breathing) The first pressure read was already closer to my normal range, but we knew one time wasn't going to cut it.  So, there we sat for close to two hours watching Big Bang Theory and every time the blood pressure cuff kicked in, I closed my eyes, focused my breathing and went to my happy place (which wasn't on a skinny gurney in OB triage).  The final reads were roughly 118/65, so we got to go home (8pm)!  The nurse told us to call the maternal fetal medicine office in the morning to get our next steps.  

Friday, October 27th:
This morning, we called the office for our next instructions.  I was half expecting them to ask us to come back for induction, but the doctor called me back personally and explained that he wanted me to watch out for signs of increased blood pressure (swelling feet/hands, pain in my right side under the ribs, consistent headaches) and come back on Monday morning.  If this baby doesn't make his/her entrance this weekend, we will schedule my induction on Monday for one of the following days.  This put my mind at ease because 1) I would still have additional time to naturally go into labor 2) the baby would likely reach 40 weeks gestation and 3) I had one more opportunity to head into the office before I took leave.  My work has been exceptionally understanding during the entire journey and I adore the brilliant, compassionate people I work with.  Not to mention, if I'm physically able, it is hard for me to not work when I should be working. 

So, once again, we wait... We are looking forward to enjoying our last weekend as a family of two humans and two four-legged kids.   Life is about to get real.

Aaron Rodgers