Saturday, August 30, 2008

40 inches

That's my girth. And people tell me that I'm "not that big." How do you possibly gain well over one foot of 'roundness' and not be that big?? Of course, they're not carrying it around! But I probably shouldn't complain, because I'm really not carrying it around all that much the bathroom and back. That's about it.

Today marks 31 weeks! So another week in the books and hopefully many more to come...

I did have a pretty moody day yesterday. It was just one of those days where I was feeling sorry for myself and lacked the motivation to do any of my "normal", watch TV, play Solitaire, etc. So it made for a long day. But I snapped out of it today and am just so grateful for yet another day that I am still pregnant and helping these babies grow BIG!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Well, we're on a roll....

Knock on wood, but I have been sent home after 3 consecutive appointments! Prior to that, I was sent over to the hospital after 3 of the last 4!!! Things seem to have settled down a bit. The contractions are more under control. I still get a few an hour, but I'm taking my terbutaline religiously. And as of yesterday, I have not dilated any further in the past 2 weeks.

My only complaint is the muscle wasting I am experiencing. Dr. L assured me that once I'm running around with 2 newborns, it won't take long for my muscles to jump back into shape. Right now, they just feel like mush. It's been 4 full weeks since I was put on bedrest, so I guess it's to be expected. But otherwise, I'm hanging in there.

Both babies remain head down, so we can attempt a normal delivery. Dr. L told me that she always delivers her twins in the Operating Room, simply because she likes to be prepared for the worst. It rarely happens, but sometimes, the 2nd baby goes into severe distress after the birth of the 1st baby, and an emergency C-section needs to be performed. Talk about the ULTIMATE birth experience!! Can you imagine recovering from a normal delivery AND a C-section at the same time? Ouchy!! Anyway, so she likes to be prepared for in the OR with an anesthesiologist on hand. My chances of having her for delivery are not very good (about 1 in 6), so I will have to ask about the other doctors and how they prefer to deliver their twins.

I'm not being seen for another week...which is exciting, because that means things are moving along as smoothly as can be expected at this point. So I have an appt on Tuesday and then a full growth scan ultrasound next Friday!! By then, hopefully both babies are at least 3 3/4 pounds. By now, they should both be up over 3 pounds!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What a wonderful surprise!!!

So today was supposed to be my baby shower in Marshfield. Obviously, it didn't happen because I am stuck at home on bedrest. Calls were made to the invitees (pretty much all relatives) to alert them that the shower was cancelled. And I will admit, I was kind of bummed that it wasn't taking place. Most mommies-to-be get to celebrate their babies' impending arrival...and well, I just feel like it is something I missed out on.

Well wouldn't ya know it, some of the party came to me today!! I knew my mom and sister-in-law, Chelsea, were going to come visit today because my dad and brother are in a golf tournament. They arrived at about 11:00, we chatted for about 10 minutes, and then all of a sudden, my aunt Kathy walks into the living room. Then my grandma a few seconds later!! And then my great-aunt Mae! Mom said the look on my face was priceless. Because they were trickling in so slowly, I immediately asked who else they might be hiding outside! Ha!

So we just had a small party. Mostly just talked about how I am feeling and doing. We opened some gifts, we ate food from Panera Bread, and mom had brought along a Dairy Queen absolute favorite cake!!

Needless to say, I was shocked. And so very grateful. It really broke up the monotony of my day, and made me feel better that these babies did get to have a small celebration in honor of them. I'm getting teary now! It just meant a lot to me. I definitely would have loved to have a full shower at the house, but I think all of the excitement would have set off contractions. So it was just better this way -- keeping it small and low-key.

The only picture I have of gift opening. Mom has the rest.

30 week picture. Measuring at 36 weeks!

Friday, August 22, 2008

30 weeks tomorrow, and more good news

Can you believe that I've received good news at two appointments in a row?! I had my ultrasound first, and the babies' exit out is still hanging in there. Last week, it was measuring 2.4cm, this week it is measuring 2.3cm. So essentially, there was no change. Woo-hoo!!

After the ultrasound, I saw Dr. L. She was so incredibly happy. I know I blogged before that each day the babies stay in my belly is, on average, 3 less days they will spend in the NICU...well today, Dr. L said that one day in my belly is equivalent to a FULL WEEK in the NICU. So each day is a huge, huge accomplishment. We're still pushing to get to 34 weeks so I can deliver at the hospital here in town. But I can't think about being on bedrest for another 4 weeks. I just have to focus on one Saturday at a time. This Saturday is 30 weeks, and next Saturday will be 31!

My blood pressure did go back down today. Maybe it is the comfort in knowing that I am going to see MY doctor?? But today it was 108/82. And she measured my belly at a whopping THIRTY-SIX weeks!!! No wonder my body wants to have these babies...I am almost measuring full-term! And both babies remain head down.

Dr. L gave me a high five for staying on my regimen of taking the terbutaline every 4 hours. I have my alarm set for 12, 4, 8, 12, 4, 8, etc. And then she also quizzed me on the book she suggested I read last week! I've only read 4 chapters due to my very short attention span, but she was only expecting me to have read 2! So I exceeded expectations. I always was a perfectionist. Haha. I have another appt with her on Tuesday. I want to finish the book so I can surprise her! Then she can really quiz away!

Lastly, total weight gain at this point is 25 pounds. I told Dr. L that I have been eating as much as physically possible -- it's really not easy eating while laying down. The heartburn can be terrible! But I told her that I am trying to beef these babies up and that I could really care less if I gain a total of 90 pounds! I can say that now, because I know that it is highly unrealistic I will ever gain that much. But I really AM trying to gain as much weight as possible in hopes that the babies will gobble up some of that extra food I am eating! Grow babies, grow!!

Monday, August 18, 2008


Today we received the best news we have gotten in over 3 weeks!! The Fetal Fibronectin test (fFN) came back negative today! That means that there is a 99% chance that I will not deliver in the next 2 weeks. So if the test holds true, we'll get up to at least 31 weeks before the babies are born! So just keep your fingers crossed that I do not fall into that 1% who actually does deliver in the 2 week time span.

My blood pressure did skyrocket today. It was up to 132/68. But the OB was not concerned. He said that I was not given any time to catch my breath after being taken to the exam room before it was taken (and let's face it, 3 weeks of bedrest has left me severely out of shape), I was not seeing my regular OB, and I was feeling a lot of anxiety about the test and its results. And the terbutaline I am on to decrease the contractions can be playing a roll as well. He said they will keep an eye on it, because carrying twins increases my risk for Pregnancy Induced Hypertension which can lead to Pre-Eclampsia. Oh, and my belly is measuring in at 34 weeks!!

So that's the latest. But just because the results of the test were negative and I am unlikely to deliver in the next 2 weeks, I am still on strict bedrest. I am not to relax my restrictions at all. And of course, I won't. We actually have a dorm fridge rigged up right next to the couch all of my snacks are in there -- pudding cups, yogurt, fruit, string cheese, water and milk, with granola bars and cereal on top of the fridge. It's pretty sweet!

I have an ultrasound on Friday followed by an appointment with Dr. L. Let's hope for more good news!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Labor and Delivery - Take 4

Unfortunately, it was another eventful day yesterday. Had an ultrasound at 12:45, which I thought was just going to look at the babies' exit out to see if it is still hanging tough. Turns out that it was a full growth we got to see the babies too! (more on that later)

I immediately knew things were not good when Paula (the tech that I love!) told me she was going to get another tech. That tech came in to do a few measurements and confirmed what Paula already knew -- the exit out has shortened some more. From a little over 3cm last week to 2.4cm this week. And when they applied pressure to the top of my uterus, it shrunk down to about 1.6cm I think.

Things started moving rather quickly at that point. I wasn't scheduled to see Dr. L until 3:00, but Paula had the radiologist read the results right away and he called Dr. L. She wanted to see me immediately (about 2:00 at that point), so I was wheeled to the OB department in a wheelchair. And yes, I shed some tears. Mom held in there tough for me though, so that was good.

Dr. L asked me about my contractions and how the terbutaline was working. And because of the ultrasound results, she did another exam. Luckily, I am not dilated any further from last week!! Yay! She hooked me up to the monitors in the office, and in the first hour, I was contracting every 8 minutes. As per usual, some I felt and some I didn't. I stayed hooked up for another 15 minutes, and I contracted every 5 minutes during that time. So off to Labor and Delivery I went! I was hooked up to more monitors upon arrival and was contracting every 5-6 minutes. They gave me a shot of terbutaline in my arm which initially calmed the contractions. Then they picked up again. So an hour after the first dose, I was given another dose. They finally slowed to maybe 1 an hour, and I was discharged home at about 9:00pm.

They have now upped my dose of terbutaline, and instead of taking it every 4-6 hours as needed, I will be taking it every 4 hours around the clock. I will see a different Dr. L on Monday (my OB is off that day), and he will do a Fetal Fibronectin test. It is a pretty good predictor of pre-term labor. If it comes back negative, there is a 99% chance that I will NOT deliver in the next two weeks, at which time they will do the test again. If it comes back positive, it is a little less reliable...only a 20% chance I WILL deliver. Then I will have another ultrasound to look at the babies' exit out next Friday, followed by an appointment with Dr. L. So I get to leave the house TWICE next week! Wahoo!

As for the babies, because I know you're all dying to hear!

Baby A = 2 pounds 9 ounces and is still head down
Baby B = 2 pounds 11 ounces and is head down (was head up last week)

They are definitely piling on the ounces! In just 9 days, "A" gained 6 ounces and "B" gained 7! And you want to hear something absolutely awesome?? Paula was able to point out eyelashes AND HAIR!! Our babies have HAIR!!! It looks rather like a mohawk right now, but nevertheless, they have hair. Oh the little things that make a momma so proud! Haha.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm really spoiled

Yup. That's me. Spoiled. And I'm not afraid to admit it!

On Sunday, my very good friend Heather came to visit and she brought along some yummy Coldstone Creamery ice cream. She could have taken the leftovers home with her, but instead, she left them for me! She also came bearing a few gifts, which was very nice of her. But not nearly as nice as her company!

And tomorrow, my mom is going to be coming to spend the night so she can take me to my appointments on Thursday. Well, my aunt Kathy is making her fabulous cheesy potatoes for me. My grandma is sending a bunch of food as well. And my mom is bringing chicken and rice!! We're not talking leftovers people -- we're talking freshly made dishes just for me! Well, I suppose I will share with Nate. Haha. Looks as though everyone wants to keep me and these babies well fed!

Then of course, there is Nate. Poor guy has taken on so much -- working extra hours to make up for some of our lost income because I'm not working (obviously), doing all the chores around the house, maintaining the lawn, waiting on me left and right, etc. At night he portions out food into lunch-sized containers so I can microwave them on my way to the bathroom and then pick them up on my way back to the couch. He also washes, peels, and cuts up fresh fruit and puts it in a big bowl for me to snack on. And in the morning before he leaves for work, he fills up my water and brings me my cereal for breakfast. He has essentially taken on like 4 full time jobs. What a trooper. I am so proud of him for everything he is doing and for how well he is taking care of me.

One note about the babies. Poor little Baby A got the hiccups twice yesterday. Each session lasted at least 10-15 minutes. It was cute at first, but then I felt so bad! Who likes to hiccup for over 10 minutes? Meanwhile, I think the second episode kind of ticked off Baby B, because he/she started kicking violently...maybe trying to get Baby A to stop?? Who knows. Oh the sibling love...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hooray for 28 weeks!!

Bed-head and no make-up at 28 weeks. But don't focus on that!!

One milestone down. Hopefully many more to come! I read somewhere that from here on out, each day the babies stay in my belly, is (on average) 3 less days they will spend in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). That is huge! So each day truly is a blessing.

The medication I have been taking has done a very good job at decreasing the contractions. I still notice a couple of them an hour, but they aren't nearly as frequent as before. The side effects aren't really getting any heartbeat, heart palpitations, jittery, hot flashes, etc. But the med is doing its main job, so that's all that matters.

I have had quite a few people offer to come visit, and that makes me so excited! Bedrest can be an isolating experience. In fact, Nate moved our recliner out to the driveway yesterday so I could get some fresh air and chit-chat with some neighbors. Anyway, for those who are wondering if they could stop by, you are absolutely more than welcome! My social calendar is blank, so anytime of the day is a good time. But visitors beware -- there is a mini tornado that rolled through the house! The area in my immediate living space (around the couch) is a disaster zone. I have my meds, water, kleenex, remote controls, reading material, check book (still paying those bills!), probably some dirty dishes and/or wrappers, etc. So I apologize in advance for the mess.

Here's to another week!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Some very positive news!!

As you know, I had another appointment today. Dr. L wanted to do another "womanly exam" just to see if there was any change made in the last 24 hours. And drum roll please...there was absolutely NO CHANGE!! Hooray! Despite the tremendous number of contractions I had overnight, there was no change. Amazing! She did assure me that because of everything my body went through yesterday as far as "womanly exams" and being shot up with meds I had never had before and just the plain old emotions of the day, it was probably to be expected that I would have more contractions than I have had since I began bedrest.

The other thing that had both of us smiling today is that at my ultrasound in the hospital yesterday, the babies' exit out of their living quarters is still measuring slightly over 3cm. It used to be over 4cm, so it did shrink a little. But it is still within a normal range (just on the lower end) for this stage of the game!!

We discussed the game plan from here on out. I will be seeing her once a week until the babies are born. I will also have weekly cervical length ultrasounds to make sure the exit out is still hanging in there. I will remain on very strict bedrest for the duration of the pregnancy. I will be headed to Labor and Delivery if the thought even crosses my mind that something might be out of the ordinary. She told me that she wants me to have a VERY low threshold as far as questioning myself about the need to be seen. She said she doesn't care if I go to L&D 50 times only to be sent home 50 times. In fact, she said she would give me a pat on the back for going in!! Also, she said that if I page the on call doctor to run my concerns past them and they tell me I could probably just stay home, but I am feeling uncomfortable with that idea...she said "just go in!!" So in other words, she really drilled it into my head that if I am even remotely concerned, then I am to be evaluated.

Yesterday, when I asked her what my chances were of making it to 34 weeks, she replied with "I don't want to beat around the bush with you Jess, it's pretty doubtful." Today, after the good news we were receiving, I asked her what a realistic goal would be for delivery. She told me that she would be very happy to get me to 32 weeks (Sept. 6) and if we made it to 34 weeks, she would do a little happy dance in the office and jump up and down! So it appears as though she is kind of changing her mind about the possibility of me making it to 34 weeks!! How cool is that?!

I am now on medications (terbutaline) at home to calm the contractions. It is the same med they injected me with in the hospital when they told me it would make me feel like I was running a marathon. Only at home, I will be taking it by mouth. Well...the med is absolutely FANTASTIC with halting the contractions. In the first 6 hours after taking a dose, I only felt maybe 3 or 4 during that whole time frame (when I normally feel 5-6 an hour!). Only downside is the nasty side effects. For those 6 hours straight, my pulse ran at a consistent 112 beats per minute!!! I normally run in the mid 60's, so my pulse has nearly doubled!! Not a good feeling, but as stated plenty of times before, I will do whatever I have to do for these babies. My pain and suffering is nothing if I can prevent the babies from experiencing any pain or suffering.

She also gave me a prescription for Ambien for sleep. I have only slept about 3 hours in the past 3 nights. It is SOOO hard to sleep while on bedrest. I'm just not expending any energy throughout the day. She thinks that getting more sleep may even help decrease the contractions. So we shall see.

In final news...I passed my glucose screening with flying colors! So I do NOT have gestational diabetes and can continue treating the babies to yummy DQ Blizzards! I am currently up about 23 pounds, so I still have 17 to go to make it to 40 pounds total. The only semi-disappointing thing about today is that we did NOT do another ultrasound. Therefore, we didn't get to see the babies, and I don't have any pictures to share. As I wrote about yesterday, the one in the hospital was so quick that there was no time for pictures!! Boo.

Sorry for the novel again! Just seems like so much has been taking place in the past 48 hours here. And considering that this blog is also my own little journal, I want to make sure I remember it all -- the good stuff and the bad stuff. We are still not out of the woods by any means. We're still taking things week by week, sometimes day by day.

And for those who are curious...yes I did take another one for the team today by subjecting myself to the 2nd round of steroids to my rear end!! Haha.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The good, the bad, and the ugly

I don't even know where to begin. This is going to be quite long, so please bear with me!!

Well, I had my appointment this morning. Dr. L immediately wanted an update about what has transpired in the last week. After giving her the run-down, she measured my belly. And at 27 1/2 weeks, I am measuring like I am 32 weeks. Then she pulled the ultrasound machine in the office to take a look at the babies. As always, Baby A remains head down. Baby B is head up. So when I feel most of the movement under my ribs, I am being kicked and head-butted!!

And because I was dilated last week, she decided to do a "womanly exam" to see how things were holding up. And this is where things get bad and ugly. I dilated a little bit more despite being on bedrest for the last week. Then she paused for a couple minutes before she said "I am really wondering if I want to send you home or if I want to admit you to the hospital right now." After a couple more minutes she decided to admit me because in her words "if I don't admit you, I will be worried sick about you all night."

But before I left, she decided to give me the 1st dose of steroids to help the babies' lungs mature. The med is only given twice and it is given 24 hours apart. And...lucky me, the med is a nice little injection right into the bum!! But hey, if it is going to help my babies, they can inject me with anything they want, any WHERE they want!

So off to the hospital I went. I called my mom and Nate and bawled on the phone with both of them thinking that I've done something wrong. I should've done/not done something differently, etc. Just a lot of guilt because I was feeling as though I have not provided a good home for the babies. Anyway, there were a few scenarios in which we were dealing with:
1) The ultrasound would be very promising as far as the babies' living arrangement remaining intact and I would be allowed to go home in the morning.
2) The ultrasound would be rather shady, and I would remain in the hospital for further evaluation.
3) The ultrasound would not go well and I would be transferred to Marshfield for hospital bedrest until the babies make their entrance.

To sum things up...I am home right now!! My ultrasound was VERY promising. Yes, I have dilated. However, the babies' mobile home (or not so mobile home now!) is hanging in there. Not as good as it was 4 weeks ago, but better than we had anticipated. So that is the good news. In fact, it is GREAT news. But of course, there is some more bad news. The bad news is that I am contracting a lot more often than what I think I am. During the first hour of monitoring, I thought that I only had 1 contraction. Turns out that the monitors picked up 6 of them. So guess what that means? More injections for momma!! This time, it was a shot of terbutaline. This medication is supposed to relax the uterus. The nurse told me that I was going to feel like I was running a marathon...heart would start racing, I would feel extremely hot, etc. Luckily, this injection was just in my upper arm. So I didn't have to bear my backside again!! Haha! After that, the contractions did quiet down, though I still had several that I didn't feel.

So the game plan at this point is still up in the air. What I DO know, is that I am on very strict bedrest for the duration of this pregnancy. Bathroom breaks and that's it. I am actually having another ultrasound tomorrow. I'm not sure why, but I didn't fight it. If I get to see my babies again, then I am all for it. Besides, at today's ultrasound in the hospital, there were no "fun" pictures. She took the babies' measurements, and that was it. I didn't get to see faces or feet or anything!! Also, I have another appointment to see Dr. L tomorrow morning. We'll discuss the game plan in more detail, and I will get my 2nd round of steroids at that point. Good thing neither the babies nor myself are entering the Olympics this year!! We would for surely be banned for doping!!

Oh yes -- the babies:

Baby A = 2 pounds 3 ounces
Baby B = 2 pounds 4 ounces

So Baby B is now the heavyweight. Four weeks ago, Baby A was our beefy baby (by 1 ounce), but Baby B had to put a stop to that. It will be interesting if they do another growth scan at the ultrasound tomorrow morning. If they do, I will decide which ultrasound tech I like better at that point -- whoever tells me that my babies are bigger is the winner!! I was hoping for two 2 1/2 pound babies, but the nurse told me in advance that that might be unrealistic being at 27 1/2 weeks. So I guess I should be happy with 2 1/4 pounds.

Last thing, I promise!! Each week now has become a huge milestone. Right now, it's not about getting to 34 weeks. It's about getting to 28, then 29, then 30, etc. Dr. L said that 28 weeks in and of itself is a HUGE milestone because 90% of babies born at that gestational age will survive. And of those, 8o% will survive without long-term disabilities. But obviously, with each week that passes, both of those numbers increase even more! So it's a day to day thing right now. Saturday will be 28 weeks. Then we shoot for the next Saturday.

Okay, I think I'm done now. I am going to go admire my newly formed muscles after doping myself with some steroids!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Day 4

Today is day 4 of bedrest. And I am surviving. Not that it has been easy. But I guess when I think about how I will do anything to make sure these babies are born big and healthy, it makes bedrest much more tolerable. I am hoping and praying that I am not on bedrest for the duration of the pregnancy, but of course I will do whatever I have to do.

So how do I pass the time? I watch TV. I watch Everybody Loves Raymond on DVD. I read extremely backdated People magazines -- we're talking all the way back to November. I nap. I eat a lot. I play video games. I daydream about what it will be like to hold my two little babies. I call my mom on the phone more than she would probably care to hear from me! I respond to emails. I watch my belly jiggle and roll all over the place. I talk to the babies. So I've kept myself occupied for now.

The contractions have decreased, which is a really good thing. I have been drinking water like the seas are drying up!! Supposedly dehydration can spur contractions. So I am drinking and drinking and drinking some more. At times I feel like I am going to float away!

I guess that's it. It's really weird that I am supposed to be working this weekend but instead, I have a little date with my couch. Just trying to pass the time until my appointment on Tuesday when the bedrest restrictions will hopefully be lifted!