Tuesday, May 9, 2000

(Angeline's gestational age: 27 weeks & 4 days)

        What a day! Let me start from the beginning. Emily woke up around 4:00 AM with severe abdominal pain. I asked her if she was having contractions and she answered that she thought it was a bad case of gas or something else. Up to this point, Emily had been blest with not knowing what real contractions were. She had not felt any major ones since the surgery on April 12, and she had no previous experience this being our first child.

        Around 4:15 AM she put on the monitor and an hour later she faxed the data to Matria. They called back saying that they were no contractions. Emily tried to relax and bear the pain of what she though was a bad case of indigestion. Around 8:00 AM she wakes up with severe pain again. Back to wear the monitor, Matria tells her again that they could not see any contractions. By 9:00 AM, we start contacting all our doctors down here (her OB/GYN and her perinatologist). They recommended for Emily to go down to the emergency room, They call in advance. We went straight to the hospital (at this point the clinical presentation was: severe abdominal pain around the incision area + no contractions = uterine rupture? I could not believe this was happening to us!

        Well, things were just warming up. Once we got to the hospital, I realized that most of the medical staff was caught by surprise by Emily's clinical presentation. To make things worse, most of them seemed to be (at least to me) in a state of shock after learning that Emily have had fetal surgery less than a month ago. I started panicking when I realized the nurses and other medical staff did not seem to be sure of how to treat Emily. I have never been so scared, never so terrified in my whole life. I started calling Vanderbilt trying to get a hold of Dr. Bruner (Dr. B.).

        It was so reassuring hearing Norma's voice on the telephone and talking to Susan in Dr. Bruner's office. Dr. B had left to a conference in Colorado. Susan got in touch with Dr. Boehm, head of obstetrics at Vanderbilt, who was covering for Dr. B. She got me some phone numbers to give the doctors down here to contact him at Vanderbilt. At the same time the nurses at the hospital realized that Emily was really contracting (they had placed the monitor sensor incorrectly). They called our doctors again. Dr. Juncosa, our OB/GYN, came to the hospital. He ordered a sonogram, another terbutiline bolus, and an Indocin suppository. At it worst, Emily had 18 contractions within 20 minutes!

        By 11:00 PM, Emily was sleeping. Angeline seemed to be doing OK. The contractions had virtually gone away. The doctors down here seemed to have the situation under control. During all this time, Emily's mom and sister were with us throughout the whole thing, constantly. They are both two very courageous women. Our friend Gayle was also there for us. I am very grateful to all of them.

        I'm also very grateful to our doctors, Dr. Rodriguez and Dr. Juncosa, and to the nurses and other medical staff at Memorial Hospital, that, after the initial shock, knew how to respond during this stressful situation in a human and professional way. And of course, thanks to Vandy for being there for us, once more.