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The Perinatal Special Care Unit (PSCU) at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns is designated for San Diego women who have premature labor, or whose pregnancies have been complicated by conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. The following story is taken from the PSCU patient journal, a diary passed from room to room as women share the long hours and days of bed rest.
Cynthia with Ethan and
July 29, 2009
Hello to all of you strong, brave women. My name is Cynthia and I have been in Room 478 for five weeks except my first two nights, which were down in L&D [Labor & Delivery] while waiting for a room on PSCU. In less than 48 hours I will be delivering our two precious miracles on July 31, 2009, at noon. I will be 36 weeks pregnant and that was the goal! It’s hard to believe we are so close to meeting our son and daughter. This has been quite a road for my husband and I.
You see, our journey towards parenthood began in January 2005, this was the first month we tried to conceive. I was 30 and my husband 31. We had just moved to San Diego from New York City six months prior and were married two and a half years and it felt like the perfect time to start a family. Life, unfortunately as we know, does not always go as planned so after months of ovulation tests, fertility monitors, clomid, 2 IVIs, and three cycles of in vitro fertilization, not to mention acupuncture, herbal medicine and the constant advice from family and friends to “just relax” or “take a vacation and it will happen,” the miracle we waited four years for came true.
On December 19, 2008, nine days after our frozen embryo transfer, we got the most incredible news of our lives that I was pregnant — it truly was our Christmas miracle and we knew 2009 would be the best year of our lives. Then, January 5th was our first ultrasound at our fertility doctor’s office and that was the day we saw two hearts beating in two separate sacs and we knew we were having fraternal twins.
We felt unbelievably blessed to have two babies on the way. I have to say I have had a wonderful pregnancy. Even though I am writing to you after five weeks of hospital bed rest, as I look back on my pregnancy it was smooth sailing until week 28, then I got some cramping so my OB/GYN told me to stop working and she sent me for antenatal testing on the 3rd floor. I was also seeing Dr. Stanco, our wonderful perinatologist starting at 12 weeks and she mentioned that if during my hospital testing the nurses saw anything suspicious to call her.
On June 25, during a routine non-stress test, the nurse noticed low amniotic fluid on baby A (our girl). She also had a decel while on the heart monitor and we knew since 18 weeks that I had a partial placenta previa but no bleeding, thank goodness. So the nurse called Dr. Stanco at West Coast OB/GYN. They decided to admit me. This was extra difficult for me to comprehend because only four days prior, on 6/21/09, my dad passed away due to complications for a long, 13-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. So I was grieving his death and being admitted to the hospital for the duration of my pregnancy all in the same week. My parents moved to San Diego three and a half years ago so fortunately I spent a lot of time with my dad before he passed. I knew staying in the hospital was the right decision because of the low amniotic fluid, also called Oligo, our little girl was more likely to tangle her cord and if I started contracting she could go into distress and with the placenta previa, I ran the risk of bleeding.
I was not able to attend my dad’s funeral. It was two days after I got admitted. That was an extremely difficult day for me not being able to be there for my mom, but I knew I could not risk leaving the hospital, and my entire pregnancy all my dad kept telling me was to take care of myself and the babies after all we had been through to get to this point. I think once you get over the initial shock that you are going to be here for a long time you get into the groove and form your routine.
The most important thing I learned from one of the social workers was to be active in a passive role. You may fee like you lost all control but you did not. Remember, you are the first, most important incubator for your baby (babies). You have to be an advocate for them and for yourself. Don’t be intimidated by being here, ask questions, do your research, be an active part of the decisions and plans while you are here. Whether you are here a few days, weeks or months remember in the grand scheme of life it is only a short time, just keep your eye on the prize — healthy babies! One of the first things I learned from one of the nurses here is that every day your baby is inside of you is three less days in the NICU. That was all the inspiration I needed. I know there are days you will feel like giving up and that’s normal, you just want life as you knew it before PSCU but try to embrace this challenging time and be thankful we live in this time and this country where we have this level of care to keep us and our babies safe.
Draw from the strength of family, friends and husbands, let people bring you your favorite meal, your own clothes, towels, pillows, books, all of those little things mean so much. The nurses here are so wonderful and compassionate, they try so hard to make our stay here more bearable with their knowledge and reassurance. I encourage you to go to the group activities if you can and also if you have 30-minute wheelchair privileges see if a family member, or nurse or HCA can take you out, if your diet is not restricted I recommend the chai lattes from the coffee cart (I get mine over ice), yummy, they are decaf! This past Monday I went for a low-impact massage which was wonderful. It’s $65 for 50 minutes. She is great, even if you just go once it is well worth it!
Also, go for a tour of the NICU and ask to meet with a neonatologist. It’s overwhelming to go through there but if your babies need to be in there at least you will have an idea of what to expect. I wish all of you the best of luck on your journey. Keep the faith and remember:
“What lied behind us and what lies before us is nothing compared to what lies within us.”
April 15, 2010
After five weeks of hospital bed rest during my twin pregnancy, I was sent home with my beautiful babies. Fortunately, because of the excellent care I received at Mary Birch, my babies were born healthy and were able to come home with us. The first 6 to 8 weeks there was a huge learning curve. I wanted to breastfeed and the day after my C-section a lactation consultant [LC] came to my room, and for the five days I was recovering a LC came in several times a day, this was a huge help to me. And after I went home, [First 5 San Diego] sent a LC to my home. My babies were latched on three weeks after they were born and I am proud to say I am still nursing almost nine months later.
I went back to work part time when the babies were 4 months old. I am a dental hygienist so my career is flexible so I am able to spend a lot of time with our babies and also work a little. My husband and I feel so blessed after everything we went through to become parents. We love taking care of Ariella and Ethan, their needs come first and we work together well as a team in order to keep the babies on their schedule. It's amazing how fast the year is going and we are enjoying every minute with them.
For More Information
To learn more about Sharp's pregnancy and childbirth services or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for a San Diego OBGYN or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm. To find general information about pregnancy and childbirth, visit Pregnancy and Childbirth in Adult Health or read the Pregnancy and Childbirth News archive.