Thursday, October 29, 2009

Pre-Term Labor Scare Part I: The Twins Make a Break for it in my 26th Week

Three and a half weeks ago, late on Sunday night I was laying on my side doing a contraction count. (Because I'm having twins and therefore have a greater pre-term labor risk, I'm supposed to lie down twice a day for an hour and check for any tightening of the belly, which is a Braxton Hicks contraction.) For the first time ever I felt tightening. And then 4 minutes later tightening again. And again. And again. It's normal to have some tightening this far along in a pregnancy but if I feel six contractions in an hour I'm supposed to call the hospital. I called after about 4 contractions since only 20 minutes had passed. The nurse said to keep checking and they'd see how I was doing in 45 minutes. At that time the contractions started to be accompanied by a little pain, and the nurse said to immediately go to the hospital.

We really didn't think this was going to progress into labor, but I grabbed a camera and some magazines just in case. Mark thought I was overreacting...

At the hospital, the doctor did a cervical exam (um, ouch) and told me I was 3 cm dilated. (Ironically at my OB appointment less than a week before, my doctor told me I was 0 cm dilated and said everything looked great and I could cancel the next appointment in two weeks.) The doctor said they were going to start giving me medicine to stop the contractions and give me steroids (shot into my butt a la Jose Canseco) to strengthen the babies' lungs. She told us it was quite likely that I was going to deliver in the next 24 hours. And I would be on strict bed rest at the hospital until the end of my pregnancy.

Mark and I were pretty much in shock.

I was given a room that had a chair in the corner for Mark that folded out into a bed and we were up all night while I was visited by a steady stream of doctors and given various drugs, ultrasounds, and contraction and fetal heart monitors. I was attached to an IV and not allowed solid food in case I was to go into labor. I was given another cervical exam (ouch again - I've never had a doctor brace against me so she could go in as far as possible), and was told I was now 4 cm dilated.

Thankfully, the drugs kicked in and the contractions stopped by the next day.

Mark and his chair-bed. If I had been at Kaiser for a month we joked about how we could save money on rent by having him just move in with me and sublet our place.

Mark and I talked later about how we're glad we didn't know how serious giving birth in my 26th week was. We knew it wasn't good, but the reality didn't hit home for another day. For instance the following morning a perinatology doctor visited and told us that the babies had a very good chance of survival - 90% chance for each. I'm sure she thought she was comforting us, but those odds sounded terrible to me. And I knew if that was the survival rate, the chance of a baby having developmental problems (unhealthy heart and lungs, learning disorders, etc.) must be awfully high. The majority of the doctors seemed to think that I'd be very lucky if I was able to carry the babies another three weeks.

I felt so frustrated because I felt like I had been trying so hard to do everything right with this pregnancy - from my diet to exercise to using natural (read: hippie) products. And now I was failing at doing the one thing I needed to do - keeping them in there cooking to term.

I'd never had flowers delivered to me before. My mother-in-law sent me this beautiful bouquet. Love the Casablanca lilies!

Due to being pregnant and the warmth of having all my limbs touching each other, I had the AC cranked to its highest level and no sheet on me. Meanwhile, Mark would often visit wearing a sweater and he still had to put on the sweatshirt hoodie I was admitted in and, as seen here, a blanket.

Next time...
Part II: Living in a Hospital for Over a Week

(For anyone who doesn't know how the hospital story concludes, I'm home now on modified bed rest and the babies are continuing to cook inside me. I'm still a pre-term labor risk but if I'm really lucky they'll stay there awhile, maybe even to term.)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Deliverance" Delivery?

(I'm a bit behind on posts due to both a pre-term labor scare which landed me in the hospital - I'll report on this soon - and my attempts whenever I'm online to figure out what baby gear we need. I wrote this post a month ago but haven't gotten around to posting it until now.)

I felt Twin B (the girl) kick during Road House and then after that Twin A (the boy) enjoyed kicking me all week. Mark got to feel it too. However, I didn't feel Twin B kick again the entire week so I contacted my doctor. She said it was so early in my pregnancy it was probably nothing to worry about but that if it would alleviate my worries I could come in since she hadn't seen me in awhile. What nervous mother-to-be wouldn't say "yes"?

I had thought that the boy was on my right and the girl was on my left. That's sort of true but they're still migrating to those positions. Right now the boy is in front of the girl. So apparently that's why I feel him kick much more often. Since the appointment I will notice the girl once in a while get a good kick in on her side.

I also heard their heartbeats for the first time. The boy's was unmistakable and really loud and fast. Because the girl is behind the boy I couldn't really make out the her heartbeat (though I saw it on the ultrasound), but the doctor could. I thought it sounded like a static-y CB radio.

Membrane between the twins. I'm not sure about that random sphere.
How'd that 80s plasma ball get in my vagina?!

80s plasma ball, don't hurt my lady parts.

When the doctor and I watched the ultrasound, she said the twins were swimming around with their heads next to each other "kissing."

Both heads next to each other, possible kissing. Insert Dueling Banjos joke.

I told Mark and he said we're going to have to make them stop doing that when they come out. I suggested we name them Luke and Leia. He said it should be Angelina Jolie and whatever her brother's name is.

Real Angelina and her brother.

Fake Angelina and her brother on Saturday Night Live with their love child, Kerplixik.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Maternity Clothes as Worn by Dudes

I received many bags of maternity clothes (thanks everyone!). And then my husband Mark and friend Brendan got into them. Okay, maybe I forced them to. Anyway they were game when I asked them to model.

Brendan in his maternity Daisy Dukes.

I'm still not sure how this top is maternity since it's cropped higher than a normal non-maternity top.
I know those aren't really Daisy Dukes, but maternity Daisy Dukes sound like an awful idea waiting to happen... Coming Fall 2010?

Brendan models a 1980s work appropriate maternity dress with unfortunately placed buttons.

Mark strikes a ballet pose in these paisley maternity pants.
(model's own shirt)

Mark attempts 1st position.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Weekly Update: Week 24

Number of weeks pregnant: 24 weeks

Total weight gain in past week: 0 pounds. (I know, shocking. My doctor says it'll all even out. I just happened to gain 0 pounds this week, and 4 pounds 4 weeks ago.)

Most recent natural product purchase: I dyed my hair again with semi-permanent color. Most doctors will tell you that you can dye your hair while pregnant. I had one doctor who said she didn't recommend it, and I figured one being against it was good enough for me. (I know most of you probably think I'm overreacting.) In the last two months I started using a semi-permanent color with no ammonia or peroxide that I can only find at Sally's Beauty Supply. This was my second time dyeing my hair. The downside is that I now have to dye my hair once a month instead of once every three.

New pregnancy symptom I've noticed: I now have a faint temporary line going down my stomach-- it fades after pregnancy. I hoped that I was too fair to get them (finally my paleness paying dividends!), but no. I get to burn after 5 seconds in the sun and get a line down my stomach.

Other new pregnancy symptom: Whenever I stand I feel like I need to pee - even if I just peed. It goes away when I sit down. (It would be funny if it went away when I was sitting on the toilet. Well, not really funny...)

Food cravings:
Pizza again - especially from Little Star or Amici's.

Baby gift: My mother-in-law's friend, Elaine, made us really cute baby quilts. About a month ago we picked out the designs we wanted from some pictures she sent us and we chose two designs with safari animals because they were the cutest (we can't resist a cute elephant) and went with our nursery safari animal theme. Mark is sad he can't claim a quilt (or two) for himself.

Quilt A

Mark points out his favorite part of the quilt. Mr. Pillar.

Mark promptly scrunches up the quilt.
Bad Mark! It's not a blanket!

Quilt B

Bad Mark! That can leave wrinkles!

Used thing I'm most excited about: Boppy from Andrea, bag of baby girl clothes from Julia.

Maternity clothing news:
I can no longer wear my non-maternity pajama bottoms. The only things that fit me on the bottom now are my maternity jeans and maternity corduroys. I also outgrew my borrowed maternity shorts. Now I have to wear my maternity jeans to work out, but thankfully my exercise now only consists of walking. Mark often comes with me.

What I've learned:
It's best to get help when getting up from being seated on the ground. Mark and I saw War Games outside on a blanket at Google and it was really tough getting up. (At home I roll over to a kneeling position to get up, but I didn't have that luxury on a small blanket on the grass.) By the way, War Games is awesome.

Would you like to play a game? It's called "not being able to get back up once you're sitting on the ground". The only winning move is not to play.

Other news this week: We made an offer on a third house. (We also did a stake out to see how much noise would be generated by the two preschools located behind it. Answer: Surprisingly not that much noise.) But we lost to someone who bid all in cash. Again.

Our friend Sophie (of throwing up in her sink fame) is a professional photographer specializing in maternity photography. How lucky is that? She did a photo session with us which was a lot of fun. When she's done Photoshopping us to make us look beautiful I'll post the photos here. We ate the same pizza I threw up in her sink afterwards (well, not the exact same pizza) and surprisingly eating there didn't repulse me at all.

Also, Mark painted my toenails! Unfortunately he did not allow me to take pictures. I told him it was too hard for me to reach them anymore so he had a choice - pay for a pedicure or paint them himself. While painting them he complained that when I do it, I don't allow enough time for my base coat to dry before applying color.