Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It's Time

So forget all that stuff I said about how the best available science says we're really most likely to have the baby January 18th.  I'm posting this from the hospital, where the best laid plans of parents and doctors have gone askew.  We expect to meet our baby boy sometime in the next 36 hours - which is about 36 weeks and a day.

A couple weeks ago, V-Train started experiencing intense itching at night on her arms and legs.  We assumed it was just one of those fun things that accompanies pregnancy but, when we told the doctor to see if there was something she could give us to make the itching go away, she was a little concerned.  She tested us for a very rare condition called Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy, in which the bile produced by the liver doesn't get shuttled away fast enough, and builds up in the blood.  This condition is strictly related to pregnancy (goes away after) and carries no risk for the mother.  However, it carries some risk for the baby which increases over time.

The diagnostic test (for liver bile levels) came back negative... but with some additional weirdness in the bloodwork.  But since ICP is so rare and the diagnostic test came back negative, the docs dismissed that and started looking for other causes.  However, while we were waiting for the test results, I did a lot of research on ICP.  And the more I read about it, the more it seemed to describe V's symptoms to a tee.

At our last visit, on Friday, we talked with the doctor and shared our concerns, and she agreed to retest the liver bile levels (which is not a standard test).   Today the doctor called me at work.  She'd been trying to reach V-Train (who was having lunch with one of her company's execs and thus had her phone off).  I knew it was serious when the doctor gave me her personal mobile number and told she needed me to track down the wife so she could talk to her immediately.    When V finally talked to the doctor, it turned out that the retest showed extremely elevated liver bile - a conclusive diagnostic for ICP.

The doc told her to go into the hospital now -- she was going to induce tonight.  That's because at 36 weeks, there is very little "prematurity risk" to the baby.  And after 36 weeks, the risk of ICP to the baby increases quickly.  So the safest thing to do is to deliver now.
After we both had panic attacks we went home and did our best to prepare for our hospital stay.  We thought we had a few more weeks, so we're definitely not quite ready.  We have wonderful friends and family who have graciously stepped up and are helping us cross off the last items on our to-do lists.
The doctors are doing what's called a "slow induction", which can take anywhere from 5 or 6 to 40 or so hours, with the best guess being a little over 24 hours.  Mom's doing great, resting in bed waiting for the first contractions to kick in.

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