After not having been checked or monitored since before dinner yesterday, I was rather surprised this morning to have the Italian doctor walk in and announce that I could go home! Since I hadn't had any changes during the time I had been without any anti-contraction medicine, they were willing to release me, and I for one wasn't going to question them! I called Ted immediately, knowing that he was planning to bring the kids in to visit shortly--I wanted to tell him not to rush, because I had a feeling it could still be awhile before the papers were actually signed.
And I was right.
The kids showed up with Ted about an hour later. I had everything packed and was sitting in regular clothes (hooray for no more hospital gown) when a nurse came in with the monitor. Of course! They hadn't checked Baby's heartbeat or my contractions, so of course they wanted to do that one more time.
So I get put on the monitors. Gina, the liaison from the Support Site, and Cdr J, who is handling my case, arrived soon after that, along with one of the base chaplains and an Italian doctor. It was quite a circus--all 8 of our family members plus 4 extra adults AND my doctor from SS on the phone trying to talk to me on Cdr J's cell phone while the monitors beeped and swished loudly beside me.
Dr. T expressed concern that the Italians apparently have a different philosophy regarding my situation--for example, since I wasn't showing progress, they were perfectly happy to let me go home to rest. The American team wasn't so happy with me going home to rest, given my case history. So he wanted to ask me some questions and then consult with the OB who had been on call Saturday night plus the SS pediatric team.
The monitor was registering regular contractions. They weren't painful, but they were definitely showing up. I suspect it was the stress of waiting so long in the hospital after being told I could go home!! Everyone else in the room seemed utterly unconcerned, though, so I didn't think much about it, thinking only about getting the discharge paperwork so I could go home and get in my own comfy bed.
Finally everyone left the room, with the doctor having said that he would make copies of the paperwork and I was free to go. Gina said she would come back for my signature and it would, basically, be a done deal.
The little ones were getting very squirrelly. By this time it was well after 1pm--I was wishing that I had asked that they bring me lunch after all. I had given the kids every last bite of edible substance that I had on hand, and we were all quite hungry. We sent Ted and the younger 4 down to the parking lot, with Charis and Tobin to help me carry anything else that needed to go home, assuming that the three of us would meet him at the front door shortly.
I was still hooked up to the monitors. And still having contractions.
I rang the nurse button to communicate that I was ready to go home, had signed papers, and the doctor was all right with me leaving. She took one look at the printout, said "Five more minutes," and left.
More waiting. Longer than 5 minutes. Another ring on the nurse bell. Another strange look when I asked about going home--I could tell some of the Italian staff weren't buying the one doctor's notion that I was in any shape to walk out of there. There was some discussion about paperwork...which I had been under the impression was already finished.
Another phone call, this time Dr. T calling my cell phone directly. He and the OB had discussed my case, and this was their recommendation...
First, the OB doc had wanted me on bed rest AT THE SUPPORT SITE HOSPITAL. Dr. T (the family practice doc whom I've been seeing) disagreed, saying that non-sick people don't need to be at the hospital. However, his concern was my proximity to hospital care. Since we live in town, plus the fact that I've had this pre-term labor stuff going on, plus the fact that I'm carrying Baby #7, he would "feel better" if I were to basically hang out closer to the SS hospital.
How to do this, you ask?
"The Stork's Nest." Three rooms (basically bachelor's quarters) set aside for similar circumstances right across the street from the hospital. Unlike being IN the hospital, no one would be cooking for me (without me making arrangements to have meals brought to me), and, oh yes, we would pay $50 per day for the privilege of staying there.
Are you kidding me?! How is THAT supposed to help me rest??! This was beyond confusing to me anyway, because everyone kept saying to me that if I were to deliver in the next week or so, it should take place at the Italian hospital because of their NICU! So HOW did it make sense for me to move into an unfamiliar place if they would just have to transfer me back to the other side of town should I go into labor anyway?!
Grrrrr. Dr. T was very nice about it all, and I'm sure this is just a matter of them needing to cover all their bases, but since I was caught in the middle of the question of whether I was even going to be able to leave the Italian hospital to begin with, I simply wrote down his contact info and told him I'd call him back.
I called Ted and told him to bring the kids back so we could at least buy everyone some hospital panini and feed the starving masses. Back they trudged while I called Gina to try to figure out what was going on. She stopped by the room soon after to assure me that the paperwork was indeed finalized, and as soon as I got taken off the monitors I could leave.
Ted took the boys and Kenna to get panini and pizza slices while a nurse came in to check my cervix, which I actually agreed was a good idea at that point. (Still contracting!!) From what I could understand, nothing had changed, so I eagerly waited for someone to confirm that we could actually leave the hospital. No one returned. The kids were beyond stir crazy by this point (well, the younger two boys, actually...my older ones were taking all of this in stride!), so I finally told Ted that maybe he should just take all the kids home and wait to hear from me as to whether I was allowed to leave or not. So Ted left with the kids--but THANK GOD he decided to stick his head in the doctor's office on the way out to ask what the heck was going on--and the doctor, OH JOY!, waved his hand and said, "Go home!!"
WOOHOO!! The kids and Ted ran back to get me, and we ALL left the hospital TOGETHER! I called Dr. T to let him know that we were politely declining the option of getting a room at the Stork's Nest, and after more consultations, he called me back a couple of hours later to tell me basically what we had already decided:
If I go into labor in the next 8 days, I am to go straight to the Italian hospital. If we make it beyond that point, I can come to the Support Site hospital. In the meantime, I am on STRICT bed rest.
But I am on MY OWN BED!!!! How can this not be more restful for me?! OK, sure, I'll miss the amazing Italian lunches and dinners (but the thought of facing one more breakfast in that hospital makes me want to hurl jam), but aside from that...just being away from my family I think causes me more stress! At least here at home I can cuddle on my bed and read stories with them! And we have people willing to help out, so we'll line up some caregivers for next week when Ted goes back to work. We have a few days to get things in place, and honestly, Ted can take more time off work if he needs to, although I'd rather have him save that for when the baby comes.
Whew. This has been quite a journey, and Septimus hasn't even arrived yet! Please join us in praying that we can wait another 8 days or so before that happens! Thank you for all your prayers on our behalf this week!