The labor and delivery unit of Memorial Regional Hospital would start charging me rent, if they weren't already billing exorbitant amounts to my insurance company. Yesterday, Jon and I uneventfully embarked on our third excursion to l&d. I use the word "uneventfully" only because neither of us were too concerned anything was really wrong. However, after a series of events which transpired on Thursday and Friday, I was peer-pressured to return to the hospital for monitoring.
Firstly, let it be known to all that it is a fact that once a woman is well into her third trimester, the fetal movements appear to decrease, as the baby has little room to wiggle around and his body is usually squished against his mother's organs. He is still squirming, dancing, and partying inside, but to the unknowing first time mother, something has gone horribly astray and this warrants immediate attention.
Every night, as soon as our cat hears the garage door opening, signaling that Jon is home, he begins the crazy-cat-cry spectacle, which lasts until Jon retrieves the mail and makes his grand entrance. Usually, as soon as Tiger recuperates, Baby J begins his nightly gymnastics routine for his daddy and all is well. Well, on Thursday night, Baby J must have had performance anxiety and refused to follow Tiger's opening act. When Jon and I noticed this decrease in activity, we were concerned, but not yet alarmed, as this has happened before.
On Friday, I had some friends over from work and I was happily fed mass quantities of cheesecake and chocolate cake. Expecting Baby J to be overcome with enthusiasm and to spontaneously burst into song and dance, I was disappointed when the little guy only reacted with a few sluggish movements. A couple of hours later, while I was undergoing my weekly ultrasound in my doctor's office, little bugger refused to cooperate yet again! He scored high on the breathing, AFI, and heartbeat, but other than a few slight manuevers, would not budge. After shoveling more candy and sugar down my throat, the tech, me, and my mom watched as he again opened and closed his mouth, sticking his tongue out--mocking us! And I have to say, I really did take offense when the tech commented that I had a "lazy baby" since most of the other babies that she sees in this stage move around their confines quite well.
On the way home, my mom and I, now both nervous, stopped for more sugar-induced ice cream and he still barely moved! That night, I monitored his kick counts, and although he passed ten kicks in one hour, his movements were still lethargic. Yesterday morning, my mom called the house and strongly encouraged us to call the doctor. Afraid of hearing about the re-emergence of her devastating eye tick once again (she now has acquired a post-nasal drip and cough), we called the doctor and he instructed us to go to l&d, just to be on the safe side.
Everyone in the triage/l&d unit appear to know me on a first name basis. Jon and I are so accustomed to the drill--valet car in main entrance, check-in downstairs, present ID bracelet to security on the second floor, then head to the triage department on the left (I am going to start providing hospital tours to expectant mothers complete with informal introductions to all of the nurses). Anyhoo....the nurses hooked me up to the monitors for an hour, of course, baby's non-stress test looked beautiful, and we were free to be on our merry way. Once I escaped near-imprisonment once again, I thanked Baby J for allowing his befuddled mother to blissfully return to house arrest.
While we were there, the triage nurse further explained to me that if I had been eating more food than normal, my enlarged stomach was another factor in diminishing the baby's movements. I neglected to tell her about the mass quantities of cake, ice cream, and sugar I had ingested as well as the fact that my pregnant, Ethiopian-esque figure was long gone since being discharged. She also gave me my own pair of monitoring bands, since I have exhausted the hospital's supply (they cost a whopping $10), and advised me to hold on to them for my return visit (let's hope that will not be for another few weeks!). During my brief stay, I encountered one of my antepartum nurse buddies, was able to distribute another knifty knitter hat to one of my fellow incubators, and donated the enormous stack of magazines and books I compiled for the mother's-in-waiting. So, I guess my visit wasn't a total loss after all....
Of course, the second that we arrived home, Baby J began with his usual daily ritual of kicking and punching my ribcage, internal organs, and sitting on my bladder. We have since decided that we are adding another two months to his grounding period.