Hospital gown, helicopter ride
It’s been a whirlwind of information & events since baby Ronin’s 20-week ultrasound in early March 2023. In my last three posts, I’ve been trying to give some context on what we’ve been dealing with: Ronin has a very rare congenital heart defect that would require open heart surgery, he likely has Down Syndrome, and he is severely intrauterine growth restricted (IUGR).
What I haven’t mentioned yet is that I’ve been living in the hospital for over a month now. And like many aspects of my pregnancy, this part was completely unexpected.
Here’s what led up to me being admitted to the hospital:
28-week checkup appointment
On the morning of May 1, I had a 28-week checkup appointment scheduled with my OB. I brought Hope along with me and left the older girls at home; Ray was at work. I knew they would be doing a one-hour glucose test that day, but other than that it was supposed to be a quick in/out. Or so I thought.
In addition to checking my weight and blood pressure, my doctor ordered an ultrasound to check on Ronin’s growth. The ultrasound tech didn’t let on anything, but as soon as the doctor saw the results she rushed in and told me that I had to go straight to the hospital.
- My amniotic fluid was only 1 cm (anything under 5 cm is considered oligohydramnios), and
- There was reverse end-diastolic flow in the umbilical cord.
At the time I didn’t understand just how scary these two findings were, but my doctor did make it clear to me that I would likely be delivering my baby that day.
I called Ray to let him know I was going to the hospital closest to my OB. I prayed with Hope; I don’t think I even knew exactly what to pray for, other than to tell God that I trusted that He had my baby in His hands. Then I buckled Hope into her car seat, searched up directions to the hospital on my phone, and drove us there.
Preparation for preterm delivery at the local hospital
Hope and I found the correct wing of the hospital, and I was admitted to Labor & Delivery. Ray wasn’t too far behind, and he even thought to bring a Chicken McNuggets Happy Meal for Hope (with everything going on it was already well past lunchtime). I switched into a hospital robe and the nurses hooked me up to an IV to rehydrate me. I was also given an intravenous infusion of magnesium sulfate to protect Ronin’s brain, and my first steroid shot to speed up the development of his lungs if he was to be born at only 28 weeks.
While all this was going on, the nurses and doctors were working to pull together my file so that they could determine the best course of action. Because of Ronin’s heart defect, we had been planning to deliver him at a hospital in Dallas with a top-rated pediatric cardiology specialist. The doctors made the call to have me transferred over to Dallas.
Naively, Ray and I asked if he could drive me to the hospital in Dallas – roughly 2 hours away. I felt fine and we wanted to avoid the additional cost of an ambulance if it was possible.
That idea was politely shut down pretty fast.
The nurses told me I was actually getting “the royal treatment” – I’d be flying over to Dallas in a helicopter. (What is money, anyway?)
One of the many things I love about Ray is his sense of humor. Even with all of this going on, we’re still able to banter and joke together. We decided that since Ronin got to fly in a helicopter, we’d have to be listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” on the ride in. The pilot and two flight nurses were more than happy to oblige.
My “royal” flight in to Dallas only took about 40 minutes. As we flew into the city, there was a beautiful pink-purple sunset that I could see through my feet… since I was laying down, strapped to a gurney… wearing a hospital gown and having several tubes coming out of my pregnant body. I think I had an oxygen mask on, too.
Baby Ro and I obviously know how to make an entrance. 👸🏽✨