Friday, August 10, 2012

twin birth story: preterm labor and bed rest

This is the third entry in my birth series, which you can read about starting here, and then more about the pregnancy up until now here. The text in italics are excerpts from my journal entries.

Everything seemed to be going well, I was always tired and my belly felt so heavy, but that's a complaint that every pregnant woman can claim. I had experienced braxton-hicks for most of the last half of the pregnancy, but they were becoming increasingly uncomfortable. I didn't classify them as "contractions," though.

After my beautiful baby shower, I came home feeling especially crampy and tight. I had an OB appointment that week, and when I described how I was feeling to my doctor, she told me to stop work and start taking it easy. She checked me out of curiosity and declared me at 2 centimeters and a worringly thin cervix. Bed rest had officially begun.

So here I am at home, day one down, and wondering WHAT I'm going to do for 7-8 weeks! I was on an online forum today and their recommendations were to take it only one week at a time. Every week they are inside is a huge milestone and means less problems for them. Please stay in, girls! You can do it! We can do it!

But after the weekend, I felt different.

It was absolutely amazing to me how fast I hit a wall. It's like once I was told to rest and gave myself the go ahead, my body just crashed! Everything has become difficult and painful! The girls are just so heavy and getting heavier - and they won't spread out, they just go straight out front. The ligaments - especially the left one - are so strained. But the contractions have subsided a bit and the girls are still active. Andy has been so great - he joked that he is becoming a very good "house husband," which is true!

Early in the week, I went back to the doctor to check in and see if my contractions were still progressing. Unfortunately, I had dilated another centimeter and my cervix was even more effaced. It wasn't the dilation that was causing the concern, it was the combination of both dilation and effacement. She sent me across the street to labor and delivery for monitoring. I was totally and completely unprepared.

We had friends visiting from out of town, and I had told them that I'd be "right back, shouldn't take more than an hour," and I'd meet up with them at the Zoo. I hadn't brought my purse, and I had left my cell phone in the car. All I had were my car keys.

I hobbled across the hospital campus to get my phone and by the time I stumbled into L&D and was hooked up to the machines, my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart. They decided to do a Fetal Fibronectin test, not wanting to admit me if I just needed some extra rest and hydration. It came back positive.


I was admitted immediately and an IV of magnesium sulfate was in my arm within the hour. I called Andy and our friends to tell them the news. Once the magnesium sulfate began to take effect, everything became a blur. 

That stuff is brutal. Your mouth is bone dry, you get hot flashes, can't walk without help, and basically you are totally incoherent. It's a smooth muscle relaxant and it relaxes everything. You are drugged.

The best way to describe it is like wandering drunk in the Sahara.

I was on it from Tuesday afternoon until Friday, regaining consciousness Friday morning. I was told to stay until Monday, and Monday stretched into another two weeks, over Andy's first Father's Day and his 29th birthday. I was 5 centimeters and 90% effaced. My mom and my sister came up to keep me company while Andy returned to work, wanting to save his time off for when the babies actually came.

Monday came and I'm still here, still effacing and still dilating. It's very hard to be here and stay encouraged. I can go home at 34 weeks, so I'm just counting down day by day. Today, 13 more days. I feel healthy and like I shouldn't NEED to be here in a hospital. I also feel disappointed in my body; I'm young, strong, have good nutrition, and take good care of myself. I feel like it's letting me down. It's hard not to feel bitter about those twin moms who made it full term without bed rest and wondering, "what did I do wrong and why can't I do it?"

My doctor knew about my aversion to intervention and did the best she could to make my stay as noninvasive as possible, but we still had the daily fetal monitoring. As someone who did not want to have more than one ultrasound, it nearly drove me mad. Especially when the nurses would hook us up and then go on their rounds and not come back until an hour later. Every time they hooked me up, I'd say a desperate prayer for God to protect my babies.

So I learned how to watch the monitors for the markers they needed to pass, then I would unhook the cords and go sit on the toilet until the nurse came back. The girls were always healthy and strong, even during the labor scare. I felt like it was me failing them, even though I knew it was nothing I could control.

I also learned how to hide the huge prenatal vitamins they gave me (I had my own, thank you), and sometimes the stool softeners. I also hated the Procardia, and would sometimes hide that, too.

I didn't cause any outward trouble, in fact, we were known around the floor as being very self-sufficient. All the nurses loved having us because Andy pretty much did everything for me, so they only had to come in and take my vitals. I laid as low as possible.

But I struggled inwardly and tried to work out my thoughts on paper. I could feel myself slowly giving up, but couldn't seem to bring myself out of it.

It's amazing to me how different this pregnancy is than what I imagined it to be. It's life, I guess, especially my life, it seems like my best laid plans go out the window every single time. Then, I move through the stages of grief because I cling to those ideas or plans and deny, resign myself, get mad, etc. and then finally just accept, while still trying to make involved decisions. So I'm still making birth plans and trying to plan for what I CAN control, or at least contribute to.

It's impossible to get good quality rest here, just by the very nature of the hospital. You are watched at all times. I'm tired of my girls being watched and monitored 4x per day. I'm tired of taking pills that make me feel icky. I'm tired of scrounging up food from home because the food here is not good. I'm tired of wearing the same two outfits, and I miss my bed. So I guess this is the time when I cling to God and ask Him to give me peace, His peace, and strength to see this through. There are so many things that I AM thankful for, and it could be much, much worse.

After a three week stay we were given the OK to head home. I was skipping and leaping for joy in my head as I waddled out of the building and into the bright sunlight. Ah, to be home. That was what I needed.

I had a glorious, albeit uncomfortable, five days at home before my water broke.

1 comment:

  1. I got to share this with world. Thanks and i love having twins. 12 Weeks Pregnant With Twins


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