Week 32 has been tumultuous at best. I have been continuing to have regular contractions, low back ache, menstrual like cramps, and pelvic pressure/pain. On Tuesday I saw my OB’s Nurse Practitioner and mentioned all of these things to her (again). This woman is not unkind by any means, but she makes me feel incredibly rushed. She did not seem to think much about my symptoms and tried to dismiss me. When she finally remembered to take my blood pressure (her nurse was out sick) she found that it was high but told me to just have my perinatologist look into the next day. I had to ask her to check my cervix because she wasn’t volunteering and I was worried because of all the contractions I had been having. So she manually checked it, they can’t measure it there, and found that it was closed but starting to soften (and I am not 100% sure what that means, effacement maybe?)
So on Wednesday I did have an appointment with my perinatologist for my now once weekly biophysical profile of each baby. The appointment went great; I actually got a great sonographer this time! Their heartbeats, lungs, stomachs, brains, kidneys, amniotic fluid, cord blood flow, etc. all seem to be in perfect condition! And I love to see their little diaphragms practice breathing! When she used the wand to check my cervical length we even got to see our little girls head and it was covered in hair! I couldn’t believe you could see the hair! The details of this appointment are that the babies look great! My cervical length is still 2.8cm, down from 4.3cm, but they are okay with this length until I get to 2.5cm. They never say if I am dilated or effaced, so I assume that I am not.
My blood pressure was normal at this appointment, however, when I told this doctor about my headaches, upper abdominal pain, and high blood work Tuesday, he was concerned. He told me that if I still felt this pain on Thursday, I had to go in for a pre-eclampsia work up. Thursday morning I was still in pain so I had a pharmacist take my BP, and it was still high. She sent me home with a cuff to check it myself and throughout the day it was still high. I finally gave in and called the doctor and they insisted that I go to the hospital where I will deliver to get pre-eclampsia blood work done, which is an hour away. I had to cancel our weekly Thursday night Bible study and I waited for my husband who was 2 hours away at a staff conference. So he drove 2 hours to the conference, 2 hours back, and then an hour to and from the hospital. We got to the hospital and they hooked me up for monitoring, took my blood, took a urine sample, and repeatedly checked my blood pressure. After 2 hours, my blood pressure was normal every time and we got the lab results back. My only abnormal results were that my blood platelet levels had dropped to 180 and my uric acid level was elevated to 5.8 (which are indicative of low kidney function/failure).
The nurse said that pre-eclampsia causes these results but that I was not being diagnosed with pre-eclampsia because my blood pressure was remaining normal. We agreed on pre pre-eclampsia. When she called my doctor with my results the decision was made to give me the intramuscular steroid shot, betamethasone, to help speed up the baby’s lung development in case they are born early due to these lab results. High uric acid levels and low platelets can lead them to induce labor early because of danger to mother and babies. This shot is a 2 part, so I was instructed to come back in 24hours for the second shot and repeat blood work to see if my labs worsened. I admit I was a little excited because they only give the steroid shot when they think labor is impending; all I could think was “I may deliver babies tomorrow!”
Did I mention that my husband in in school for his MBA and this particular Thursday was the day before his last day of class this semester so he had work to turn in that night? Thankfully we made it home by 9pm-ish that night. This brings me to the next day, Friday. I am not sure there could have been a busier day! At 9 am my husband took our 2 dogs to the vet to update their shots; easy peasy right? Nope. Our smallest dog had a severe allergic reaction to the distemperment shot and it turned into an emergency situation and they had to keep her there (thank goodness I wasn’t there, I may have gone into labor, I love that little dog so much!) So when he got home from that appointment we had to take my car into the dealership for a quick service (a fix for something they had already supposedly fixed earlier in the week); this appointment was an hour away of course. We had another appointment that afternoon that we had to rush to after this service visit. Well, after waiting in the customer lounge for an hour, the service manager finally told us to take a dealer car to our next appointment and then come back. They gave us this really old ford Taurus that almost stalled at a red light and made horrible sounds! I didn’t think it would get us anywhere!!! While in route to the appointment the dealer called us and said the problem was with our airbag (in a 2012 car) and that they couldn’t fix it today so just take the Taurus home. That was not an option. 1) It was a death trap, and 2) our car seats and stroller couldn’t fit into it. My husband informed them of my pending labor and the need for a larger car; they said they would have to look into it.
So we pull into the parking lot of our next appointment 10 minutes early, only to receive an email (thank goodness for smartphones) telling us that they were not ready for us and could not see us. WHAT? Who cancels an appointment 10 minutes before its start time? Do they think we live down the road? My husband told them that if they couldn’t see us by 3:00 that day then we couldn’t see them at all; they agreed. So we drove back to the dealership but of course they didn’t have ONE vehicle that would fit our stuff so they rented us a ford escape from Enterprise. Then we had to wait for Enterprise to pick us up, drive us back to Enterprise, fill out all the paperwork, find out the gas tank is empty and have to get it filled, and then drive back to the dealership to load all of our baby gear into this rental car.
Are you starting to get a picture of how this day is going?
I think that it is important to interject here that Thursday morning the orthodontist put “chains” on my teeth to close the gaps my newly straightening teeth were causing. I am pretty sure they used small bike chain! So this meant that from that appointment on I was/am in total pain from the top of my head down to my shoulders. These chains make me feel like I have the flu. I recently read a few articles that said Tylenol leads to increased asthma in children if taken during pregnancy and I have taken my fair share with these braces, so I decided to just suck it up and not take anything for pain because I don’t want to harm my babies.
So back to the scene, we have now been out and about for 4 hours; I am in excruciating pain, starving because I can’t chew anything, exhausted and swollen. Remember, I am supposed to be on bed rest. After the ordeal at the dealership is finished we make it to our now 3pm appointment, to which the other party is still running late. We finish that appointment only to have to drive another hour to another state for a 4:30pm appointment. (I am very thankful that our 3:00 appointment had snacks in their office, I may have started hallucinating if not!) We made it to our 4:30 a little late and that one took 2 hours, so of course food was the only thing on my mind. However, we still had to drive another 1.5 hours to another state for my repeat lab work and 2nd shot, oh yeah, and we had to stop at home to let our dog out (the one who didn’t get kept at the vet. P.S the vet called while we were on the road and told us to come pick up our dog…yeah, that wasn’t going to happen.)
We left that appointment, grabbed a quick meal that I could chew, and took off for our next appointment. Remember that this is Friday, my husband’s last day of his current school semester and he had work due by midnight. This meant that he had to grab our laptop from home so that he could complete his school work at the hospital because we wouldn’t get back home until 11:30pm, with his work due at midnight. Phew! We arrived at the hospital around 8:30pm and they hooked me up the same as before and ran all the same tests. My blood pressure was still normal, my platelet levels were the same ( I think) but my uric acid levels had climbed higher from 5.8 to 6.1 in just 24 hours; how much more would they rise over a weekend? They gave me my 2nd steroid shot and instructed me to follow up with my OB Monday. I have an appointment scheduled for Tuesday at their office that is closer, and part of me wonders what good it would do to move my appointment up by one day. On the other hand, if my uric acid levels rose that much in 24 hours, how much more could it rise over 3 days? I guess I will call Monday and see what my OB’s office says.
So no babies were delivered that night, I was sent home on bed rest and diagnosed with “symptoms of pre-term labor and pre-eclampsia.” My husband finished his school work and submitted it from the hospital room, and we were out of there by 10:30pm. We finally arrived home around 11:30pm and crashed…until the next morning when he had to run out and pick up our poor little dog from the vet. And so concludes the longest day in the history of time! We were out running the gamut for 12.5 hours. At the end of the day my feet and legs looked like an elephant’s! It was such a brutal, long day. So here I am this weekend, trying to rest and recuperate and get my feet to stop looking like Barney Rubble’s!
I am thrilled that I made it past 32 weeks carrying twins. I read a lot of women’s stories about giving birth around 32 weeks so I wouldn’t have been surprised if I had gone into labor. I am now at the beginning of my 33 week, and my guess is that I will give birth sometime in my 34-34 ½ week. 34 ½ weeks would give us Christmas babies! My OB would like me to hit 35 weeks and I agree, that would mean New Year’s Eve babies : )
Oh and P.S. at this past week’s appointment Baby A had returned to a head down position! Yay! I am praying that she stays in this position so that we can attempt a vaginal birth. So my prayers are that Baby A will stay in this position, and that in the end run our birth scenario will be whatever is best for mine and the babies health.