Thursday, November 5, 2009

Pre-Term Labor Scare Part IV: I Tunnel Out of the Hospital

Dr. Lin (one of my many doctors - I inwardly referred to her as female Asian Doogie since she looked so young but was very bright) came to check on me the morning of 10/13 and perform a cervical exam.

Right after this picture was taken Dr. Lin turned to her computer to compose a diary message, paused, looked thoughtful, backspaced a bit, and made a meaningful generality about the universe and the dilation of my cervix. And then Vinnie climbed in through her window.

Doogie Howser's Diary or Random Twitter Update

As she digitally measured my cervical dilation she looked thoughtful. (Note: It's weird to watch doctors look thoughtful when they're manually measuring your vagina.) "You're only 1 centimeter dilated," she told me. I had been measured at 4 centimeters previously by three different doctors. But she said I had a previously undiagnosed tilted cervix and she thought they were measuring the wrong thing. Alternately, it's possible (though rare) my cervix closed 3 centimeters since I was last measured. She said that this changed everything - I didn't have the same preterm labor risk and that it was even possible I could carry to term. She said she didn't see why I should stay in the hospital any longer and that I could be on modified bed rest at home. Modified bed rest in this case meant I should lay down a lot but could also sit for periods of time and walk around as needed (say, to prepare my lunch), and also do things that "made me happy" like go out to eat or go to a friend's house (assuming I'd sit or lay down once there).

And here I woke up that day thinking I was a major preterm labor risk that would be on strict bed rest until delivery!

But before accepting her diagnosis I wanted a second and third opinion. The second one came from one of the doctors who measured me before. She hadn't remembered previously measuring my cervical dilation, and she said something like, "I don't know who measured you before but you're only 1 centimeter." I said, "Actually you were one of the ones who measured me." Enter awkward pause. The third opinion in agreement came from Dr. Miller. One look into his cold, remorseless eyes told me he was a zombie gynecologist (sounds like a terrible horror movie).

Here's the zombie gynecologist who's the primary doctor for my pregnancy until the end of the month when he retires and is able to devote all his free time to eating brains.

I had been so worried the past week that I cried tears of joy after the third opinion and was in a state of disbelief the rest of the day. Mark came to pick me up in the early evening and had to transport five loads of my stuff to the car. I actually cried again when we pulled out of the parking lot. When I checked in I just didn't think I'd see this (yes, the parking lot!) again until after labor.

While in the hospital Mark came up with the idea of not shaving until the twins were born. It would be a sort of measure to mark how far they'd come. That sounded good to me (even though Mark's true motive might have partially been laziness), and for the first time in my life I supported Mark in growing a beard.

Here's Mark about a week into his pre-term labor pregnancy beard. Once we got home from the hospital he shaved it off.

You may remember Mark's last attempt at a pregnancy beard.

28 weeks is a big line in the sand in terms of baby development. When I was in the hospital, Mark and I focused on my making it to 28 weeks. At home at midnight that night as I hit the 28 week mark, Mark presented me with something he'd made. It was intended to go on my hospital room wall but now I displayed it on the refrigerator.

Since then Mark's made a 29 week version with a gold star, a 30 week version with two gold stars, and a 31 week version from this past Wednesday with three gold stars.


  1. Thanks! I hope I get a new one tomorrow for 32 weeks!

  2. Okay, this is the best pregnancy blog EVER.

  3. Man, I would have LOVED that sign in my hospital room :)

  4. My doctor (Dr. Crites) asked for an electronic copy for her classes.