April in Glenwood: Pregnancy pictures worth a thousand words
I can count on my fingers the number of photos of me during pregnancy. There are considerably fewer at the end of my term.
Today, it’s as easy as pressing a button on a cell phone to capture life’s moments — special or otherwise. For those of us on social media, we share everything from videos of baby’s first taste of bacon to family portraits from vacations at the beach. Everyday occurrences, from eating breakfast or driving down the road are captured in the digital cloud forever.
My adventures in pregnancy were cut short a few months, an experience I’m reliving as Will’s first birthday approaches. Yesterday was the anniversary of the eventful day my water broke and physician-ordered hospital bed rest began. It was hardly a time for photo opps and selfies.
Luckily, I was able to quickly get to the hospital when I noticed the fluid. I had read in those extremely subjective, what-to-expect mommy blogs that fluid leaks can happen, but I was leery. I called my best friend Megan, a nurse and a mother of two boys, who I caught as she was just off shift at the hospital and driving home. She told me to call my obstetrician immediately, and since the office was closing, the nurse told me to go directly to the emergency room.
Will’s paternal grandmother lives close enough where she could easily drive me to the hospital, and we remained calm as we drove there. I can’t remember much of what we talked about, but I know it was probably something to put my mind at ease as I sat on a towel and wondered what would happen next. Once at the hospital, I was admitted and tested to see if the leaking fluid in question was of the amniotic variety, which it was. Luckily I was not in labor and having contractions. I was promptly placed on a magnesium drip.
Then the fun really began.
Magnesium sulfate is commonly administered intravenously to women who are pre-term, before 37 weeks of pregnancy — I was 29 weeks at this point — to delay delivery. Medically speaking, magnesium sulfate protects a premature baby’s brain and reduces risk for cerebral palsy. There’s a short time window, and I was thankfully at the hospital at the right time. The magnesium was coupled with a few hardcore steroid shots to my upper legs, which improves baby’s lung function and cuts risk of death by 40 percent.
The nurse warned I would quickly feel the magnesium sulfate in my system, which she described as “feeling drunk, but not the fun kind of drunk. Like the room is spinning kind.” She pretty much got that right. Magnesium sulfate’s flu-like side effects include flushing, feeling uncomfortably warm, headache, dry mouth, nausea, and blurred vision. I had them all, as well as about 24 hours of insomnia.
In the end it was all worth it, and I would do it over and over again.
Megan says she has never seen me so calm as I was that day in the ER. I remember thinking I didn’t have much control over what was happening. All I could do was stay calm and send Will peaceful vibes. I always felt we were going to make it through it all with a positive outcome, but we did have some scary moments.
The hometown hospital where I planned to deliver didn’t have a NICU, so I was transported via ambulance to one of Indiana’s top high-risk delivery hospitals. They had mentioned us traveling by Lifeline helicopter, and that instantly gave me butterflies. The ambulance ride was deemed sufficient, and we made it there within a half hour. Just 11 days later, at 1:59 a.m., Will made his surprise arrival into this world weighing 3 pounds, 2 ounces. We stayed nine weeks in the NICU, and today you wouldn’t even know the events of July 7 through Sept. 15 had taken place. He is happy, healthy and in the 50th percentile for weight, length, and everything else they measure for a baby’s progress. He is quite simply a miracle. And, coincidentally, extremely photogenic.
April E. Clark wonders what it would have been like to be nine months pregnant. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark @gmail.com
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This summer, the local arts nonprofit Voices will be debuting The ARTery, a tiny mobile space for theater and the arts, a news release stated.