After our Friday morning Ultrasounds we typically have Friday afternoon with the Midwives. This is usually anticlimactic compared to the morning sessions but this week was entirely different.
Amber picked me up from work and like usual I jumped into the drivers seat. I started a heated bitch session about what is currently stressing me out at work. It went on for so long and was so distracting that 5 or so minutes into it Amber realized that we were actually on the wrong road. I had meant to take 147 S to 40 W, but had instead taken 147 N. I got off at the next exit and looped back onto 147 S. 40 W was three exits away but for some reason in the heat of the moment I just got off at the next exit. I realized my error immediately, apologized, and drove through the green light to get back on the road. Continuing to bitch about work though, I made the same mistake again, and took the next exit. This one didn't make it easy to get back on the highway; I had to make a left, then a U-turn. I felt like a bit of an idiot and apologized again, but then got on track and made pretty good time to UNC.
We made it to our appointment only about 10 minutes late. I never realized that the students were what accounted for all the congestion that we typically see, but it's the only explanation for the extremely light traffic that made sense. The clinic was about to close so we actually got in right away (positive reenforcement to continue to show up late). They took Amber's blood pressure and weight immediately. Her blood pressure was a bit high at 145 / 89 (probably due to her annoyance at me, which to her credit she hid pretty well) so the nurse, instead of letting her relax for a few minutes and try again instead ordered a urine test.
Hypertension can be a symptom of preeclampsia and a cause of IUGR (IntraUterine Growth Restriction), which we were just warned about during our ultrasound. The test showed proteins and blood in the urine. The proteins could be caused by preeclampsia or it could be there because of the blood. Blood in the urine is apparently nothing to worry about on its own though because it could be from many things including the baby hitting Amber's bladder alot.
The combination of her small fetal weight, Amber's high blood pressure and the protein in the urine was a cause for concern and they wanted to run additional labs. Since it is after 4 on a Friday we'd typically have to wait until Tuesday for our results. Since preeclampsia can be a big deal I guess they decided that they would instead admit us into labor and delivery so we could get our lab results back in an hour, and during that time they could continue to monitor Amber's blood pressure as well as the fetal heart rate.
We were a bit shocked by the news of being checked in and wanted to understand what could happen depending on what the results of the tests showed. The midwife explained that in the worst case they would keep us admitted, and said or at least implied that they would then induce birth that weekend. We freaked out a bit, cried some, and realized how we were so not ready quite yet.
We get to the room, hooked up to all the machines and learned the normal ranges for the numbers on the monitor. They draw Amber's blood and have her take another urine test. As we sit longer, we see her heart rate drop back into her normal range: 119 / 66, and we start to feel alot better. That and the fetal heart rate behaving perfectly normally for half an hour really put us at ease. We felt as though we just had to wait for the results to come back so we could leave. They eventually came back, and as we expected they were normal. The process from walking in the door, to being checked out took about 3 and a half hours.
We went to the cafe to eat and then drove home and I managed to not make any wrong turns. One additional thing to mention is Amber is doing a couple of research studies during her pregnancy and maybe because the people running the studies tend to have a bit more free time, but they stopped by, talked to us and were very comforting and reassuring. It was really nice to have them there especially in labor and delivery when we were otherwise left alone. Two very long, stressful events today, but we are mostly filled with relief and looking forward to 6 whole days without having to see a doctor, nurse or ultrasound technician.