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Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 3 of captivity

So let's begin with why I'm here. At 18 weeks of pregnancy, it was discovered that there was a varix on the vein in the umbilical cord of my baby. Of course, this led to complete fear for my husband and I, but at the time it was believed that this varix would lead only to low birth weight. We were sent to a hospital with stronger technology and the ability to verify what my OBGYN had found.

We went to the hospital the next day, and indeed they verified the 9 mm varix. What's a varix, you might wonder? Well, the vein in the umbilical cord has a dilated portion. Throughout the vein, it should be a consistent size. At 19 weeks, the smallest was 4 mm and the largest was 8 mm. The first doctor we saw at the hospital had a few negative experiences with an Umbilical Vein Varix. His first reaction was to admit me to the hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy. Why, you say? I mean, it was just about growth, right? No, now we are concerned about a possible blood clot. See, the blood goes through that smaller space and then funnels into that larger area. Should the blood begin to swirl, it could become thicker and create a clot. Or lead to very little growth. The blood wasn't just going from the small area to the large area, it goes back and forth.

After that first visit with the Maternal Fetal Care center at the hospital, the thought of a hospital stay was overwhelming. So, it was decided that I would return in a week, and then two weeks after that. While they kept an eye on the cord, viability was not possible until 24 weeks. Finally, 24 weeks arrived and I began a 3 time a week regiment of sonograms. After a mini-growth spurt for the baby, the cord vein measured 1 cm 2 mm. The smaller portion was 4.2 mm. The varix had grown, but the turbulence had not begun to show itself.

Finally, on the 14th, I went to my 8 am appointment and was examined. The measurement was 1 cm 4 mm, and turbulence was spotted. The first doctor who initially confirmed the varix decided that hospitalization was a definite need.

There is nothing scarier than the thought of being admitted to the hospital for 3 months. Each day, I would be uncertain as to if this would be the day of the baby's induced birth. Each day, I would wonder if a clot had occurred. As the doctor told me, I could take a shower and a clot could happen. I don't think he meant to scare me, but he did.

An Umbilical Vein Varix is not a common occurrence. In fact, it happens in 1 out of 2,300 pregnancies. It's a relatively new discovery because of the sonogram technology today. There are two recent studies, both with less than 20 participants each, and they say totally different things. One says not to worry and deliver at 37 weeks, the other says hospitalize and deliver at 34 weeks. I hope I make it that far. That's 2-3 months from now. I'm 25 weeks now. I've already been administered two doses of steroids to help the baby and prepare the lungs for an early delivery.

The nurses are wonderful. My mom and sister decorated the room. My dad came to visit. People stop by and visit all day. I'm allowed to walk. I get new pictures of my baby every day. I have lots of entertainment. I get to order 3 meals a day from a menu, and I'm not on dietary restrictions. I listen to the heartbeat three times a day for an hour each time. Those are the good points.

My husband graduates from NC State this weekend from grad school. I can't be there. Christmas will be in the hospital. I miss my cats. I miss cooking and cleaning. I miss driving and going to Target. I miss walking around. I fear which doctor will be in the fetal care center each day, because I never know how they'll read the varix. Yesterday and today, the doctor told me that she expected turbulence as physics would support, and that she had never seen fetal demise. I pray that I do not change that mindset for her. 

In short, I want to go home. But, will I? If I go home, it means my baby didn't make it or I have a tiny preemie. If I don't, I lose my life for 3 months. I miss cuddling with my husband and sitting on the couch watching TV with him...will this happen again?

I'm supposed to create a schedule for myself here in the hospital. So far I get up, shower, clean up the room, order breakfast, begin heart-rate monitoring. Then what? I can crochet, watch TV, color, play barrel of monkeys, walk the halls, read, play on the computer. But I feel sometimes like I'm going to have a panic attack. Like this hospital and the doctors are draining all life out of me. Nights and mornings are the worst. It's when I miss Scott the most. He stays here on Wednesdays and the weekends...but the days he's not here are scary. And he's on the couch..not close enough.

Granted, my OBGYN has been amazing checking in on me every day. So supportive. Like I said, the nurses are amazing too. I just wish I was home.

Oh, I did ask my doctor if I could just come in every day instead of this, and he said that if an emergency did occur, my being here could allow for a quick c-section or emergency delivery. If I came in every day, that would not be would take much longer.
Currently, I'm waiting to hear about what's going to happen on the weekends. No one knows. The Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors don't want to come in on the weekends, even though they are on call. They admitted's not that hard to just come in for an hour...and there's 4 of them.

So far today, I woke up to a loud code red at 6:40 am. I showered at 7. At 8, I went for my sonogram. At 9, I had the heart rate monitoring. At 10, I ate breakfast and then a church friend of my Mom's stopped by and prayed with me. I really appreciated that. Now, I blog. I think this might be cathartic. Lots of people ask what's going on, but I just can't repeat it over and over. It hurts too much and I end up crying. Mom should stop by soon, and then maybe I'll get to walk. I'm really looking forward to Scott spending the night tonight.

Right now, I miss wearing my wedding rings. I miss my freedom. I hope and pray this baby is safe.


  1. My heart breaks for you. This is a difficult time, to be sure. I'm thankful you are surrounded by the love and support of your family and friends who live close by. Know that you have so many who are praying for you, Scott, and baby Hrinko. For peace of mind; for reassuring news; for a safe delivery of a healthy baby. I know this is hard. Sending you lots of hugs and praying that these 3 months go by quickly!

  2. Hi there- could you give us an update of what happened and if everything went well? I hope your baby is healthy and doing good!