33 weeks

I fought so hard to get to 33 weeks. The past several days have been an uphill battle every step of the way. I’m glad to be here.

On Tuesday I went in for an non-stress test, which they really need to change the name of. They stress me out to no end because half the time I end up being admitted because of one thing or another. Tuesday the babies looked fine, but I started having back to back contractions. Off to L&D I went.

My OB decided it was time to give me steroids for the girls’ lungs. He wanted to hold off on this, because it can lose it’s effectiveness over time, but I guess we are there now. So a shot to the arm to stop the contractions and a shot to the hip to develop the their lungs. Eventually the contractions stopped and I went home mid-afternoon. I slept for hours – the shots to stop the contractions make my heart race and make me jittery – it really takes it out of me.

I woke up for dinner and there were the contractions again. Back to back, getting more and more painful. We had a quick discussion as to who was going to take me to the hospital. Rob was supposed to leave for his sister’s wedding the next day and was in the middle of packing. We decided mom would take me. I called my OB and it was the on-call doctor again. I have an irrational hatred for the on-call doctor even though I am sure he is a very nice man.

Back to L&D and more shots for contractions. The contractions were coming so quick and strong I thought we’d be meeting E & O that night. The shots stopped them again, but I was fed up. I can become a very demanding patient when I am irritated. All I wanted was a a cervical exam. With having to stop contractions so many times in a row, I wanted to know if I was progressing or if it was false labor. I had three nurses attempt to tell me this was a bad idea and one say.. well, I guess I can wake up the on call doctor. I tried to stick to my guns but without my OB to check with I decided to wait until morning.

I was hooked up to so many monitors and fluids that I didn’t sleep all night. I finally lost my cool at 6:00 a.m. and called Rob sobbing. Luckily it only took a bagel and him coming to the hospital for me to get it together. At this point we really didn’t know if Rob would be leaving that evening for England. Rob’s mum wisely decided to keep this from his sister.

Rob called my OB and they had a long conversation about the previous night and where we go from here. Finally we had a plan: 1) cervix check 2) steroids 3) ultrasound 4) home! OB also told Rob that even if I continued to go into labor the earliest they’d let me deliver was this coming Tuesday. There were several more ways to stop labor before giving up. So Rob was going to England and E & O were staying put. Hell yes.

  1. Cervix check. 2 cm dilated, 80% effaced. Not great, but definitely still possible to go several weeks.
  2. Steroids. Check. Girls’ lungs should be good to go.
  3. Ultrasound. Everyone looking good. Plenty of fluid. E is about 3 lb 7 oz and O is 4 lbs 3 oz! Yay!! All that bacon has paid off.
  4. Home. Well…

So my perinatologist popped in at the end of my ultrasound and said she wanted to admit me for good. And then I died. I begged to not be admitted. I hadn’t slept since the day before. Did you know hospital beds move of their own accord now? Seeing me practically lose my mind at the idea of being admitted she decided she’d let me leave after more drugs and another cervix check. I was ready to just ignore her and do what my OB said. Because I am a lovely person. As far as I was concerned, they could have a fight to the death over whose orders I was supposed to follow.

I went back to my room and had to wait until 4:00 p.m. until my next set of drugs and my next cervix check. They decided to let me off the monitors, hallelujah. I was hot from the drugs they gave me so I fell asleep on top of the blankets, in a hospital gown, with no underwear. I woke up, drooling, with my OB and his nurse standing over me. Win! Anyway, my OB and my perinatologist had a pow wow and agreed that I could go home given that my cervix hadn’t changed. He then tried to talk to me about baseball because he knows I have no idea what he’s talking about and enjoys confusing me.

I was sent home at 4:00 p.m. with no changes. I am now on a regular prescription of drugs to stop me from going into labor. They make my heart race and my face flush and are just a whole pile of fun. Rob left for England and I am on even stricter bed rest. Bathroom, shower, couch, bed. To be honest, after spending a night in the hospital, bed rest is a breeze. No one is poking or prodding me. I am so ungainly now that movement of any sort is pretty difficult. I have gone from taking it a week at a time to a day at a time.

Today? No contractions.

Bump watch, week 33.

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Ainsley, Part III

(To catch up, Ainsley, Part I, Ainsley, Part II)

Ainsley arrived on Thursday and I landed about midday Friday. We went straight to the hospital and I was able to film someone very important finding out about Ainsley.

(you may need to turn up the volume)

Dylan, Jess’s step-son was six and, as you can tell, hoping for a baby sister. Not only did he get a baby sister, but she arrived 2 months early! Being there to see him find out and meet her was so amazing.

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Ainsley, being born at 32 weeks definitely had some struggles and needed to stay in the NICU. However, in preemie world, Ainsley was huge! 4 lbs 12 oz is very respectable for a baby born 8 weeks early. She also didn’t experience all of the difficulties that the nurses and doctors were anticipating. Whether it was because they had her due date slightly off or Ainsley was just ready early, we will never know.

When I arrived my sister was having a lot of difficulty getting a hold of her breast pump because of a ridiculous amount of red tape and a hospital that hadn’t caught up with the changes in health care laws. So my first assignment was driving to a medical supply store at closing time on a Friday afternoon and demanding a breast pump. Done.  Jess was discharged that night, going home without Ainsley or a breast pump would have definitely caused problems with her milk coming in.

Over the next several days it was back and forth to the hospital daily. Jess and Jason lived so far away from the regional hospital that this was no easy feat. If we went twice in one day everyone was exhausted. Jess would have been there every waking minute but it just wasn’t doable. Seeing first hand how hard this was for her makes me very grateful that my hospital is 15 minutes away.

However, the NICU that Ainsley was in was amazing and she was very well cared for. They warned Jess and Jason to be prepared for her to stay 6 to 8 weeks, which would put her at what should have been her birthdate. Ainsley had to be under special lights for jaundice and was in a regulated incubator. She wasn’t keeping her temperature up on her own.

Most preemies are tube fed, as was Ainsley. They just aren’t ready to suck, swallow, and breathe at the same time. I feel like that is a lot to ask of someone who was just born! Ainsley had some trouble digesting at fist and every set back was so hard on my sister. But Ainsley got the hang of it and by the time I went home she was just on the verge of having the feeding tube out.

Ainsley was discharged and ready to go home at 17 days.

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Stay tuned for a final post on coming home with a preemie and how Ainsley is now (be prepared for some insane cuteness).

32 weeks

32 weeks and another milestone. 32 weeks is great for twins. It is great on the prematurity front. We are well beyond hoping for survival. We are looking at preemies that need to stay in the NICU but will likely have no long term developmental issues. Yay! Singletons are likely weigh about 3¾ lbs at 32 weeks. Given that E & O are twins and have been measuring a bit small, I am hoping for 3½ lbs. I have a growth appointment this Thursday where I will find out more. Three weeks ago they were just under 3, so I feel like 3½ lbs is a respectable goal. They are moving around and definitely taking up more room in my stomach.

It is a good thing that the girls are doing great because I am .. not. Almost every time I post a bump update I get so much positive feedback on Facebook and Instagram about how great I look and how I am handling everything so well. I love the support I get and it means the world to me. It makes me feel like I am actually keeping my shit together and can do this.

This past week I have felt like I can’t. I am too big. I am learning the first hard lesson about putting my children’s needs first. I want them out. Get out, get out, get out. I am done. I am going stir-crazy on bed rest. I feel like I have reached the end of the internet.. twice. I can barely walk or sit anymore. I want to have a temper tantrum and say NO MORE. My body is done. I would like it back, please and thank you.

But, the girls would benefit greatly from another 2 or 4 weeks. 4 weeks would be great for them. I feel like 4 weeks would kill me. Every day feels 5 days long. I just sit and eat Tums and watch daytime television and watch my feet turn into elephants. I now have added taking contraction meds every couple hours to stop my contractions. Also, a new fun development, the babies are now squishing my stomach pretty badly. I felt so full after eating a half a muffin this morning that I thought I was going to puke. I have tried supplementing with Ensure and my stomach did not take kindly to that. Ooof.

The days I go to the doctor exhaust me, especially the NSTs. They are uncomfortable and long and sometimes cause me to have contractions. Hearing my OB and peri go, Yay! another few weeks at least! brings me joy and makes me want to throw something. I should also mention that it is about 104° today with no end in sight. I am not naive to the impact this is having on my mood and my ability to just keep going.

Even when feeling this way threatens to engulf me, I try to focus on how much good it is doing for E & O. That is all I have to keep me from going completely insane. I want healthy babies more than I want my body back. More than I want to sleep through the night or go shopping. I do. I had another FFN test last Monday and it came back negative, so I have a 99.1% chance of making it another week. 33 weeks!

With these results, Rob and I made THE DECISION. He leaves for England Wednesday and returns the following Thursday. I told him all along that it was his decision and not mine to make, but when it came down to it, it was mine. Had I asked him to stay he would have. But I want him to go. I want him to be with his family, I want him to see his sister get married. Worst case scenario? He comes back to two children. That’s not a bad thing to come home to. I am calm about it. Zen.

I wouldn’t be in this place if it weren’t for the amazing support system I have. My mom drives me to and from the doctor multiple times a week. She comes up with things we need to do to get ready for the babies that keep me busy and help me forget about bed rest. She also makes me lunch and dinner and picks up after me. I don’t know where I would be without her. My dad washed all of our baby clothes and has done numerous loads of laundry for us. My sister graciously gave up her, much larger, bedroom for me and Rob (and the bébés). My whole family swapped rooms and painted and made our new room into a nursery while I sat and organized shampoo bottles under the sink. On top of that I have a church family that is all rooting for me, for us.  I usually have multiple visitors a week which helps a lot. 

If I didn’t have this abundance of support in my life Rob wouldn’t be going to England. Yes, he will be missed, but I won’t be alone. And I am super excited for him to go. He hasn’t been back since we moved here, over 4 years ago. Yes, I am super scared that I will unravel completely and have an actual temper tantrum while his gone, but I still want him to go.

Onto bump watch, week 32.

IMG_1682This is how I feel. What? How? Why?

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Ainsley, Part II

If you need to catch up, Ainsley, Part I

While Jess was in the hospital she was given more steroids for the baby’s lungs and magnesium sulfate to stop labor until the steroids could take effect. At 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday Jessica started having contractions. She didn’t think anything of them because she had been having contractions off and on pretty regularly. However, the nurses said it was time. Jess was nervous because Jason was over an hour away. They called and Jason didn’t answer the first time and Jess started to spazz a little. However, he called back right away and by 2:30 p.m. Jess had been given an epidural and Jason arrived.

At about 9:00 p.m. she wasn’t really progressing so they gave her Pitocin (also called Oxytocin). At this point Jess was worried about being sent home because labor had stalled out. She was also exhausted from being in the hospital and not sleeping well for three days. On top of this, as delivery got closer, more and more people came into the room to observe.

Apparently partial placenta abruption is very rare so all the medical staff was super excited to see her placenta. I am sure she was thrilled by her large audience. I know I will be delivering with an OB, a neonatologist, two neonatal nurses, and I believe some O.R. nurses in the room, but I am prepared for that. I don’t think Jess was expecting to be the star of a show. Jess and Jason decided not to find out the gender of the baby. So not only was this a delivery at a different hospital, 8 weeks earlier than anticipated, with an audience of doctors and nurses, they were still waiting to find out boy or girl.

The medical staff had prepped Jess and Jason for the baby to come out unable to breathe on its own. It would be taken directly to the NICU. Well, Ainsley Rose surprised everyone by coming out screaming at 3:56 a.m. Jess got to hold her for several minutes before she was taken to the NICU.

IMG_5869Ainsley Rose — December 12, 2013 — 4 lbs 12 oz, 18.5 in 

31 weeks

Last night was another night in L&D. I started having contractions at 8:30 p.m. I called my OB at 10:00 p.m. Unfortunately it was the on-call doctor, not my OB. Boo. He sent me straight to the hospital. I was not comfortable knowing that the orders wouldn’t be coming from my regular OB, but at this point, freaking out about anything is pretty much beyond my energy level.

I was having contractions in my back that spread around to my stomach that were pretty painful.  This was new for me. Usually my contractions are just irritating. These were stopping me in my tracks. I got to L&D and was hooked up to all the monitors. The girls were fine and awake (punks). My nurse was not friendly. Between her and the on-call doctor I was ready to go home and deal with it in the morning. The nurse couldn’t get my contractions to appear on the monitor so she told me they weren’t actually happening. And then I cold cocked her.

Eventually they got my contractions to show up and they were painful and every eight minutes. On-call doctor decided to give me a shot to stop the contractions. It stopped them, but not completely. However, I was so irritated with my nurse and the on-call that I was like, yep, no more contractions. Let’s peace out. They gave me a pill that was supposed to prevent contractions for another 8 hours and I scooted out the door with Rob. We bought tacos on the way home.

The main reason for my irritation was that the on-call doctor was hesitant to do anything. He just wanted to stall me until the morning. No cervix check, no FFN. That and my nurse attempting to tell me my exceptionally painful contractions weren’t happening made me realize that I just needed to wait to talk to my OB in the morning. Yes, I was an unreasonably pissed pregnant woman. grumble grumble grumble.

Called OB this morning and just got back from an appointment with him. Cervix check, FFN, etc. So my cervix is soft, floating, and closed. Soft = bad, closed and floating = good. I feel like by the end of this pregnancy I am going to have spent more time discussing my cervix than is socially acceptable.  Then again, I feel like the amount of cervix discussion that is socially acceptable is minimal. I have already flown past it, might as well keep going. What freaked me out was that Mr. OB can feel E’s head right on the other side. My first thought was, no you can’t, because that’s really weird. 

OB put me on meds to take whenever I am experiencing contractions. He didn’t want to use these until it was absolutely necessary. So I guess it is necessary. We discussed steroids for the babies lungs and he doesn’t think it is time yet. They are only effective for 8 days so I am hoping that means he thinks I will make it at least another 8 days. However, when I asked if he was going on vacation anytime soon he said he was canceling a trip to Arizona this weekend because of me. I think he was joking? I hope.

E & O are coconuts this week, knocking around in there. Their movements and kicks have gone from fun and cute to OMG you are hurting me! I usually attribute the movement on the right to E and she loves to do something weird where she makes my whole stomach lopsided, sticking out way further on her side. It feels delightful. However, kicks and movement that are getting stronger means babies are bigger, so I really try to take it in stride.

On top of my increasingly regular visits to L&D, my life has become a blur of NSTs and fluid checks. As of Friday both girls had plenty of amniotic fluid and were both still head down. E is so far down that they can’t even get a visual on my cervix from an abdominal ultrasound. Thanks E, I am excited to meet you too, but wait a bit longer. As thankful as I am for the continuous testing, it is exhausting. The girls continue to attempt to sleep through their testing. I refuse to feel bad about having to use the baby alarm on them.

I am exhausted and uncomfortable. I can only sleep on my side at this point but it kills my hips. So, I sleep on one side for two hours, wake up to pee, switch sides, then do it again. All of my sleep comes in two hour increments or less. Preparing me for newborns? Heartburn has arrived on the scene and it is a treat. My feet and hands have started swelling, but it definitely isn’t as bad as some women I’ve seen. I do feel like I have Shrek feet on particularly hot days though. I am up to 25 lbs of weight gain, which I feel is respectable. However, I haven’t gained any weight in almost a month. Believe me, it’s not for lack of trying. I have become a hobbit. Two breakfasts, two lunches, dinner, dessert. Maybe a second dessert.

Onto bump watch, week 31.

IMG_8238My grandma came to visit, so I did my hair. But did not put on shoes. Please.

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IMG_8249What is slinking around the corner?

IMG_8250Who is that?

IMG_8251Oh it’s Shadow. Our dryer cat.

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IMG_8255Our shoot took a turn for the silly.

IMG_8256Dryer Cat made an appearance.

IMG_8258He LOVED it.

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IMG_8271And then dad won by out creeping all of us.

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