Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Disclaimer/warning: This post is all about me and my jug o' pee, so if you are of delicate sensibilities and prefer not to read about bodily fluids, feel free to skip this one! I'll just give you the bottom line up front: we are still in limbo and don't know whether I'll need to go on hospital bedrest or not.


One of the three markers for pre-eclampsia is the presence of protein in the urine. The other two are high blood pressure and swelling (edema) of the hands and feet. I have high blood pressure, although now I'm not meds that are keeping it in a better place. Last week I did a 24-hour urine catch and this week I'm doing one again.

The benchmark they are looking for is 300 milligrams of protein total in the sample. Anything under that doesn't count, and anything over that is considered a red flag for pre-eclampsia. Mine was 1,700. Yes, you read that right: almost six times the benchmark. Anything over a gram is considered Bad News and some doctors, I learned yesterday, will just go right ahead and deliver the baby immediately with that kind of result. I appreciate that my doctors are a little less alarmist and are willing to wait and see what the results of the second test might be.

If they are still above 1,000 milligrams, then I will be put on hospital bedrest - probably in Charlottesville, about an hour away from here - because they have a NICU and I'm only 31 weeks. If it's lower than that, I may have the option of bedrest at home (oh please oh please!) or at the local hospital (also preferable because easier to see Valerie). My biggest concern is being away from her...

Anyway, so this is how the 24-hour urine catch works: You get a plastic jug, and what they call a "hat" or "bonnet" - a plastic cup with sort of like wings on it, that you put on the toilet before you void (that's the term they use for peeing) your bladder, and it catches all the urine, which you then pour into the jug. The jug needs to be kept chilled. We used a small cooler packed with those frozen blocks that you keep in the freezer. That's it. You collect all your urine over a 24-hour period and then deliver it to the lab.

The convenient thing about the cooler is I can take the jug with me discreetly if I have to go out and about somewhere and continue the urine collection even if I'm not at home.

The inconvenient thing is I have to remember to put the cap back on the jug, which I am very prone to forget. It seems like the act of putting the "bonnet" back in the cooler feels to me like capping something and I feel like I've already packed up what I need to pack up. Or something.

So, today, just as I was arriving at the lab, I heard a slosh from inside the cooler and thought "uh-oh..." and indeed, when I opened it up, I found that I had left the cap off and spilled about a cup of fluid. I know, I know, GROSS. But also, hugely inconvenient. I feel like a prime idiot because now I have to do the test all over again, AND delay getting back the results. They said it wouldn't be accurate if they didn't have 100% of the fluid from the 24-hour period.

The thumping sound you hear is the sound of me banging my head against the wall.

Since I had to register as an outpatient for an accompanying blood draw (which we didn't do either), I kept the hospital band on my wrist in hopes it will remind me not to be so stupid again tomorrow.

So the wait continues.


racheljherr said...

Oh Elizabeth! 'Slosh' made me laugh out loud a tiny bit but I am so sorry you're having to deal with this. Thinking of you all.

Lydia Garrisi said...

Hi Betty! My mom forwarded an email from your parents alerting me to what you're going through right now. First of course, congrats on your 2nd pregnancy! I'm so glad for you! I'm praying for you too; I know pre-eclampsia is nothing to mess around with. Can't wait to get updated when I have a little time to read more of this blog. Blessings to you, Valerie and Terry.