Q: What is going on?
A: We (Lisa, Dean and our future baby) are at Swedish Hospital in Seattle. Lisa has been in pre-term labor since Thursday night (10/26). The fine folks at Swedish have so far been successful at slowing things down, and everyone is doing fine.
Q: What is this web site for?
A: To keep our family and friends updated on the latest developments. (Thanks to Aly Frei for setting it up).
Q: Should we be worried?
A: Well, it’s a bit on the early side to be having a baby. We are 25 weeks plus 2 days pregnant (36 weeks being full term). Thanks to the wonders of modern medicine, there is a reasonably good survival rate for babies born at this stage, but there is also a significant risk of complications. With each passing day and week that labor and birth can be delayed, the risks diminish. Thus, strangely enough, our goal is to stay here in the hospital for as long as possible, while our baby gets a little more gestation in before being born. We are very pleased to have gotten through the first 48 hours in good shape. There is a long road ahead of us, but we are feeling very optimistic.
Q: How did this happen?
A: Unaware that anything was amiss, we went to Swedish for a routine ultrasound Thursday afternoon. Everything looked fine with the baby, and we were beginning to discuss our dinner options. The doctor proceeded to check the cervix, but we assumed that would just be a matter of routine as everything had been fine at Lisa’s last exam a little more than a week prior.
The doctor suddenly told Lisa, “You’re in pre-term labor.” She told the assistant, “Call Triage. Call Dr. Bohmke. We’re going to the hospital.” It took us both a few moments to digest this news, which represented a significant departure from our evening plans.
Five minutes later, Dr. Bohmke (our OB) met us in the triage unit and the fine folks at Swedish immediately swung into action. Lisa was dialated 1.5 centimeters and the amniotic sac was beginning to prolapse through the cervix. Dr. Bohmke outlined steps that could be taken to diminish contractions and delay the process, but obviously we were at high risk for a very early birth. It was possible to delay birth by days, weeks or even months, but the first big test was to stabilize the situation and get through the next 48 hours. In any event, we learned that Lisa would not leave the hospital until she gave birth.
Needless to say, we were rather overwhelmed by this turn of events. The worst-case scenarios flooded into our minds and took some time to recede. But even at that troubled hour, it was deeply reassuring to be in the hands of the tremendous professionals here at Swedish.
Even though we were facing a difficult trial, we also realized that we were incredibly lucky. If we had not had a routine ultrasound exam scheduled that afternoon, we might not have become aware that Lisa was in pre-term labor until it was too late to do anything to slow it down. Instead, it was our good fortune to stumble upon the problem when we were just across the hall from a first-rate pre-natal unit.
Q: Where do things stand now?
A: The situation seems fairly stable. With the help of medication, contractions have slowed almost to zero. Another ultrasound this morning confirmed the general impression of stability. Levels of amniotic fluid look good. Lisa is confined to her hospital bed, but is in good spirits. We’ve made it through the first 48 hours, giving the doctors time to administer steroids that will help the baby’s lungs grow (one of the biggest challenges of premature birth). We’re settling in for what we hope will be a long haul.
Q: How is the baby?
A: He continues to look good in all the ultrasounds, and is kicking away merrily. If he misbehaves, we tell him, “Go to your womb.” We have made it clear to him that he’s got three months’ rent paid up, and that there’s no point in leaving before then.
Q: Is there any truth to the rumor that the future baby’s name has been revealed?
A: Absolutely not. “Miles George Falvy” is top secret, and will remain so until his birth.
Q: What about reports that Dean has lost his mind and thinks he is the patient?
A: These are greatly exaggerated. I did strain the MCL (medial collateral ligament) in my knee playing soccer on Wednesday night, less than 24 hours before this drama began. This has diminished my functionality and led to a certain amount of confusingly patient-like behavior here at the hospital (like wearing a knee brace, propping up my leg and hopping around on crutches). However, I am getting back on my feet and hope to be at full speed shortly.
More updates to follow soon.