Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Preemie Story pt1

This is something that's taken me a while to figure out exactly how to write.  My oldest Yosei (as some reading this already know) is a preemie.  He was born 3 months early at 26 weeks gestation, weighing only 980 grams (just over 2lbs).
I guess I should start the story from the beginning.  About a month after getting engaged I got pregnant (found out I was pregnant 2 months after getting engaged).  At the time we weren't planning on getting married till April, after I had finished out my one year contract with the school I was working at; but the baby news changed that and we moved those plans up some, moving in together right before New Years  and filing all the necessary paperwork to get married after the New Year holiday.  In Japan weddings don't make you legally married regardless of whether you have one or not you still have to go to city hall and file the proper paperwork.  
Anyhow until we moved in together I still had about 3 months at which I had to continue with my normal life going to work and all despite horrendous morning sickness.  Then one night when I was around 12 weeks pregnant I had some really heavy bleeding, so heavy infact that I figured I must hav miscarried.  The next day I went to the nearest ladies clinic prepared to hear the worst only to find out everything looked just fine  and the couldn't figure out any reason why I would have been bleeding.  I was told that if any dayI had bleeding I needed to stay homeand stay one bed rest.  I told my employer what the doctor said and was told ' Yeah, we'll see about that.'  in other words don't even think about calling in sick.  It was an incredibly busy time of year, we were preparing for the big performance day right before winter break.  Normally if you listened to to the Dr. and refused to go in to work the worst that would happen would be you might lose your job.  Bt since I was not in my native country and working on a visa sponsored by my employer, the possibility of being fired, having my visa pulled, and being deported was actually a very real possibilty.  So I toughed it out until the beginning of February,  I had to keep working until after I got married because I still had to transfer my visa froma work one to a spousal one.  After the performance day was over I was allowed to work part time 2 days a week rather than the full time I had been doing,  good thing too as I had moved about an hour further away from work than I had been living. 
I'd had light bleeding all throughout that time,  but no heavy bleeding like that very first scare.  And then, on the evening of March 5th 2008, at 25 weeks gestation, everything went downhill.  I honestly had no idea what had happened,  I though I was having some embarrassingpregnant lady problem and wasjust uncontrollably peeing.  So I put on a pad hoped it would stop and then went to bed.  I woke up about 3 or 4 in the morning and had realized it most definitely hadn't stopped.    So instead of doing what I should have done (waking up Kiyo and insisting he take me to the hospital) I got on the computer and googled to find out exactly what the heck could be going on.  Even after realizing that its very likely my water may have broken I went back to bed and waited till the hospital opened at 8 a.m. to call while Kiyo left for work at 6 a.m. like always. 
Once I called the hospital they told me to come in right away,  unofrtunately for me Kiyo was at work, and having just moved in I didn't really know anybody around here yet and so rather than get somebody to drive me, I walked 45 minutes to the hospital. 
They got me in for an exam right away and I was told I had nearly no fluid left and also that  they couldn't help the baby at their hospital. I was catheterized and put on bedrest while the called around to find a hospital with an NICU that had also had an open bed in the maternity ward.  It took a while but I was finally able to get a hold of Kiyo and let him know what was going on.  He left work right away and came to the hospital.  It ended up taking over an hour before they found a hospital that was willing to take me.  It was 2 hours away near a downtown area of Tokyo called Ikebukuro.
I was loaded up in an ambulance along with Kiyo and my Dr. and we made the trip down to the hospital.   At the hospital I was given steroid shots to help the baby's lungs develop faster and put on an IV of antibiotics (for an infection) and some stuffthat was supposed to keep me from going into labor.  I was on strict bedrest, not allowed to sit, not even allowed to go to the bathroom. 
I was told they were going to try to keep me there for 3 months if possible, this made me so depressed,  the thought of having to live that way for 3 months....  I later found out they really thought I'd be lucky to make it a week.  I don't know if the three months thing was supposed to motivate me to be strong but honestly I would have prefered to hear 'You might make it a few days if you're lucky'.  At least for me that would be more of a motivator to prove them all wrong, to make it as long as possible.  As it was, though I feel horrible about it now,  I really just couldn't wait to get the whole thing over with.  My night charge nurse also did nothing to help me feel any better.  I honestly realize changing an adult's bedpan is like a million time more disgusting than changing a diaper, I really do get that.  But to leave a patient sitting in their own filth because you couldn't be bothered  to do your job and clean them up properly?  Well that's another million times grosser than the changing of said bedpan. 
Needless to say after that night I raised hell with my doctor and was allotted one trip to the toilet a day. 
So my bedrest hospital life went on for a week and on March 12th was told that it was going to be necessary to deliver the following day and I was scheduled for a c-section. 
The operation went pretty much as expected (except that the meds made me puke my guts out during the operation.  The biggest shock though was getting to see the baby,  I didn'T know what the gender was going to be because in Japan they won't tell you until 27 weeks :P  So here on the operating table I find out its a boy,  I never did hear any crying and after a very long time (10 minutes at least) they brought him over so I could see him.  But only very breifly as they had to run him up to the NICU.  But seeing him was the biggest shock.  It was all wrong, he wasn't supposed to be that small,  2lbs had to be bigger than that...

This is the photo Kiyo took of Yosei as they were leaving the operating room and heading up to the NICU.  Not the standard happy very first photo you'd usually get.
This is his first photo after being brought to the NICU.

This is getting pretty long, so I'll continue the NICU experience part of the story in my next post. 

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