Monday, March 31, 2008

New Room: Good News / Bad News

This was our view from the Labor & Delivery Room.

This is our view from the Family Birthing Center room.

This is Oliver Herring (7 mos. old) visiting Nichole in the new room.

This is Oliver playing hat switcheroo with Sean in the old room. Oliver is a comic genius.

We're in the Family Birthing Center Room 2524 so that means that Nichole is healthy and stable, Coulter is healthy and stable, and Sean is still sleeping on the day bed. The rooms is much smaller, the view is not as inspirational, and the artwork belongs in a motel -- and the fact that we get to be in this room is really good news so none of that matters.

Dr. Williams is treating Nichole's mental health while on bed rest in incredible ways. She said, "This is mostly mental. If you hate bed rest then you'll want this time over in a hurry, you'll make the birth happen and your baby will spend more time in the NICU. Everyday you spend without the birth is 3 days the baby won't spend in the NICU. I need you to be a happy, patient patient and not crawling the walls waiting to get out of here." So now Nichole now gets to cruise around the hospital once a day in a wheelchair and gets to see an Occupational Therapist to give her exercises to do while sitting in bed.

Sean's planning on bringing Morgan to the parking lot tomorrow for Nichole to visit with him. She didn't get to say good-bye on Thursday and is missing her terrible.

We're learning sign language so that we can communicate with Coulter and he can communicate with us before he can talk. Today's words: dirty diaper and poop.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The way things look if you walked backwards to Nichole's Room

Here's the elevators that let you onto the 2nd floor.

Just outside of the elevators is the Family Waiting Room with a garden balcony.

Rounding the corner down the hall is the Legacy NICU.

Coming through the double doors the window on the right looks onto the Emergency rooftop and trees.

On the left side of the hallway are 8 labor and delivery rooms (behind me are 4 more) and on the right is the hottub and the Nurses' Corner Station.

Here's the corner of the Nurses' Station where they can see everything that goes on.

Here's they are asking what I'm doing. This started out as a project to show Nichole what the floor looks like since she hasn't been out of the room since she was admitted on Thursday.

This is walking backwards from the Nurses' Station towards Nichole's room.

Looking out of the room and to the right are the double doors that lead to Legacy's famous NICU department... we're in good hands.

Here's the hallway in the room that leads to the hallway.

Here's Nichole in her room. There's a bathroom, TV with DVD and VCR, wireless internet (which I'm using right now), a great view of downtown Portland, bridges, and the west hills, a shower, and the day bed where I sleep.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Change of Plans: Mice and Men

Greetings from Legacy Emanuel Hospital (address in link) Labor & Delivery Room 1.

We're here... and we didn't really expect to be here yet. I'll post updates here since text messaging everyone is a bit unwieldy and I can only write 10 at a time and at 160 characters each.

On Thursday we came in for a routine pre-natal check up with Dr. Lara Williams (rockstar) and Nichole described a under-rib pain and back pain that felt like shredding beef with a fork for the past several weeks. While in the appointment she described the pain which alone didn't point to anything. This complaint coupled with a description of a feeling like Coulter is sitting very low prompted Dr. Williams to give a more indepth examination. That's when we learned that at 28 weeks (out of the hoped for 40 weeks) Nichole was 3cm dialated. This is when everything that seemed like a priority 5 minutes before went to the bottom of the pile and got replaced by Coulter's health and well-being. Getting this news was a little like being on an airplane that has suddenly lost cabin pressure. Oxygen is flowing? Then why isn't this bag inflating with air? Is this normal? What's happening? When? Now? What?! Now?! This is just a routine check up. Admitting to the hospital? Now? We not ready now. We're ready later. This isn't happening now. What are the choices? Admitting into the hospital now? And here we are now.

Nichole was given the news that she was, as of right now, done with work and would be on bed rest until the end of the pregnancy. At this point bedrest means living in the hospital. The hope is that by being on strict bedrest we can delay Coulter's birth for as long as possible. We're hoping to be here without incident for the next couple of months.

For the past 48 hours Nichole has been on a constant IV drip of Magnesium Sulfate to settle her uterus down and prevent contractions. She's been given 2 shots of steriods to help develop Coulter's lungs in a hurry (just in case he comes early). The treatment has gone beautifully, and, with Legacy's world famous NICU (20 feet from our room), Coulter has a 97% survival rate. So now we wait. We hunker down and wait. Every hour that passes without a delivery is a good hour. If we can get to Sean's birthday (as of now May 14 is 6.5 weeks away) then we're ecstatic.

Today the doctors took Nichole off the Magnesium Sulfate and will closely monitor Coulter's heartbeat and Nichole's Uterus for the next 24 hours. If no contractions then she'll be moved from Labor and Delivery and to a regular room requiring less monitoring.

One thing about Legacy Emanuel Nurses - they are incredible. Sybil, Jen, Kate, Diane, Melanie, and Julie have been absolutely amazing. So talented and competent. They aren't just treating Nichole and Coulter's physical health, but they are going beyond the call and helping us with emotional health as well.

Friday, March 28, 2008