July 07, 2013

A Day in an Italian Hospital

(Read about the start of this adventure here!)

Our day didn't begin until after 8am or so, when my body wouldn't let me sleep any longer due to the stiffness of trying to lie semi-comfortably in a hospital bed with a needle stuck in my right arm.  In fact, Ted slept (or dozed) off and on even after 8:00.  A lady whom I will ever bless brought me breakfast, and even though it was not as plentiful as I would have hoped, having skipped dinner last night, there was the saving grace of Italian coffee.  Mmm!

The nurses kindly waited for me to finish breakfast, and then one of them wheeled me down to radiology for an ultrasound of my cervix, which was dilated to 3cm.  The docs on base had estimated only 1-2cm last night, so at first I wasn't sure this was a good thing.  But the Italian doc seemed pleased, saying that the medicine they were using for treatment was not good to use for 1-2cm dilation, but only for 3+.  And knowing that I have been dilated to 3 for weeks before delivering previous babies, I decided it wasn't worth being concerned about either!

We came back to my room, where they hooked up monitors again to check Baby's heart rate and my contractions, which were entirely un-noteworthy in my opinion.  They didn't disturb me at all during the night, and even after fully waking, I had hardly noticed any during the various activities.  We felt this was a good sign!  As before, the monitors were only on me 20-30 minutes--and when the nurse came in to remove them, she turned the air conditioning on for me!  Woohoo!  We hadn't even realized A/C was an option here!  A member of the kitchen staff came in to take my lunch and dinner orders, and then we were left alone.  Ted and I decided he would head home to take over kid duty (Carla had texted that things were going well, praise God!) and return later in the day, hopefully with the children for a visit.

Gina, the hospital liaison, called right after Ted left.  She had spoken with the Italian doctor and confirmed what we thought we had understood from him earlier--he is pleased with how the treatment is working, and assuming my contractions don't return, they would likely release me tomorrow morning.  Hooray!  I asked Gina about visiting hours and whether the children were allowed to come...she called me back after checking on that to let me know that as long as we kept the door closed, it was fine for them to come anytime.  Technically, children under 12 aren't allowed here, BUT...that is obviously not adhered to, based on the sounds that came from the hallway throughout the day!

I had a wonderful, peaceful quiet time, starting off with listening to The Job Suite by Michael Card.  A friend had posted it on Facebook, and I thought it was a beautiful and thought-provoking way to begin some worship time.  Renewing my mind and spirit with the water of God's Word was so refreshing...and I realized that the fear and even terror I had felt last night was absolutely, completely gone.  I renewed my hope, my trust, and my joy in my Lord!

Lunch arrived at noon--and what an amazing lunch it was!  It totally made up for my not having dinner the night before!  A bowl of pasta bolognese, rosemary-seasoned potato wedges, grilled pork, a mini-loaf of bread, and a fresh peach.  I had to save the bread and peach for a snack, there was so much food!  (Maybe that's why they give such tiny breakfasts, LOL!)  So, hands down the BEST hospital meal I have ever had, and that includes the "Proud Parent" dinners they serve in the military hospitals after a baby is born!  Score 2 for the Italian hospital care!!

Score 1 for the Italian hospital care--did I not mention specifically?  The LACK OF HOVERING!!  I LOVE that they do vitals, monitor a short while, and then leave me in peace!  I never would have slept at a military hospital last night with all the stuff they would have been doing to me!  The only unavoidable thing here is the IV drip, but that's kind of the point of being here--doing something to stop labor!

After my yummy lunch was consumed (and extra food stashed away for later!), I was free, blissfully free, to lie down for a two-hour nap!  Thankfully the little Italian visitor in the hall stopped running up and down the corridor and banging on my door by the time I was finished eating so that it was actually pretty quiet.

So my hospital room.  I suppose it isn't terribly different from what I might expect anywhere else...but here are a few random observations...

  • Hospital beds in Italy = just as uncomfortable as hospital beds in the States.  They are nearly identical.
  • So are the pull-out couches.
  • Bathrooms in Italy have a bidet!
  • I have a mini-fridge in my room...I don't think I've ever had one in a military hospital!
  • There is a rolling tray to hold meals, etc.  So glad--at first we didn't see it, and it made for difficulty twisting around to reach my water bottle, phone, etc.  But then we located it tucked into place, cleverly fitted into a cabinet unit.
  • There is a TV, which I haven't even turned on for obvious reasons.
  • There is a crucifix on the wall.  Lucan noticed it right away when he was here visiting, saying, "There's Jesus dying on the cross!"
  • My room has a little entryway of sorts...not sure why, but there is a second door and a wall, about the size of an elevator--I suppose it's for privacy?  The other rooms we've seen as we've been up and down the hallway are more open, but I also think those rooms have more than one bed.
After my nap, I enjoyed some reading time before Ted and the kids arrived for a visit.  Hooray!  I was starting to get a bit lonely!  It's so weird not having ANY responsibilities...just me and my IV rolling cart, ha!

The kids were happy to see me, too, which made me feel great. :-)  I was a bit concerned that Zaden would want to yank on my IV line, but thankfully that did not capture his interest, and I was still able to hug and snuggle him a bit before he was ready to explore the new surroundings.  The nurse came in to do another round of monitoring, so the kids got to see and hear all of that excitement.  We enjoyed hanging out together for awhile, and then the kids were too hungry and getting a bit too rambunctious for the space we were in, so Ted took them home to make tacos while I enjoyed some surprises myself: my dinner was delivered by my Italian friend Emilia, the mother of Salvatore who comes to play with our boys a couple of days each week!  I didn't realize she worked in the kitchen here, so it was a fun surprise for both of us!  She was of course surprised to see me here--she and Salvatore had hosted us for a morning of swimming in their pool followed by lunch last Wednesday, and I hadn't seen or talked to her since then.

Anyway, I was just about to dig into my equally delicious dinner (more pasta--I chose that over soup--plus a ball of mozzarella di buffalo and a tomato salad, more yummy bread, and an apple) when another friend dropped by for a visit!  I just met Jacki last week at Carla's house when the Ks hosted a 4th of July party.  Jacki and her family have been in Naples as missionaries for about 15 years!  Carla had called her last night during our flurry of "what do we do now" activity to see if she would be available and willing to translate for us if needed.  Well, since we have a base liaison assigned to us, we haven't needed translation services, but since Jacki lives so close to this hospital, she decided to pop in and check up on me.  So sweet!  I enjoyed visiting with her while I ate my dinner, and then she took her leave and I have been enjoying a quiet evening ever since.

So, as things stand now, I can still feel our little guy movin' and groovin' in my belly; contractions are barely happening at all; and I anticipate perhaps one more round of monitoring before I can turn in for the night.  With the thought of being released in the morning, I'm feeling very optimistic!

All in all, I am extremely pleased with this whole experience, given the considerable shock I underwent at the beginning of it all.  The staff at this hospital has been nothing but kind and professional, and I can't complain at all about the quality of care.  I'm very thankful that the medication worked--even though meds/intervention would not have been my preferred approach, given the time frame we were dealing with and the circumstances, I'm thankful that God has allowed the scientific knowledge for us to have dealt with the contractions to slow things down.  I'm not ready physically OR mentally for a baby yet!!

As far as our little bambino, well, he's apparently not so little, LOL.  I do wonder about the due date--originally at my first check-up, when they did an 11-week ultrasound, the due date matched up perfectly with the date of my LMP.  However, at the halfway point ultrasound, he was measuring about a week and a half bigger than where I supposedly was.  And that's about the same size difference now--measuring about a week and a half beyond where I am.  So, if his current size puts him in line with a 35-week baby, even though I'm 33.5 weeks based on a due date calculated from LMP...well, do I need to be that concerned about delivering him early?  I'd like to think not.  And frankly, the thought of carrying him full term or even late is rather terrifying, LOL!  I thought Zaden was big at 8 pounds, 3 ounces!  (I don't know how my friend Claire has delivered 9 babies, all without drugs, and all weighing around 9 or more pounds, I believe?!  One was over 10!)

So that's where we are at!  And if you are not related to us and are still reading this far, thanks for following our journey and for your prayers!  (Thanks to our relatives for that too, ha!!)  God has once again reminded me that He is sovereign, and no matter what happens tomorrow...or the next day...or the next week...or the next month, I trust His purposes and pray for His glory to be made known in and through us.


Debi said...

Thank you for this informative post! When I first heard what was going on yesterday I was pretty shaken up as I'm sure you were as well! I did my own calculation of how far along you were and I calculated 33 weeks. Then I went on Google and read as much as I could about babies being delivered at 33 weeks. I quickly found that the baby had a very very good chance of survival and even thriving even delivered as small as 4 pounds, so I felt very sure at that point that you and the baby would be fine. Glad to hear that the contractions are slowing/stopped at this point and I will continue to pray that it stays that well. He (and you) will benefit for a few more weeks of him staying put! I'm glad you are being treated with such wonderful care and in this case I do agree that medication was a GOOD thing and very glad you had access to it. Take Care!

Megan R said...

So thankful that you're in good hands! And definitely praying that he'll stay put a few more weeks. Lots of important things happen during those final few weeks of gestation regardless of baby's size.

A friend recently had a baby at 34 weeks, and while he was able to go home within only 7-10 days, the "pumping/nursing/supplementing with formula" feeding routine medically indicated for preemies for several weeks proved to be rather daunting and exhausting for her. Your nursing issues with Zaden proved you can do that, but let's pray you don't need to!!