Writing this post from my hospital bed where I’m going to be on bed rest until the babies come!
A very long story made short… I have mild pre eclampsia, the boys are doing fine and I’m still pregnant. They gave me my two steroid shots a few days ago so they have the full effect of those for maturing their lungs now. My BP which was very high is now elevated but in the normal-ish range. Things are day to day but looking good.
A very long story made very long and partially incoherent because so much happened it’s hard to recall it all!
Because I’m pregnant with twins, we go to both a regular OB once a month (it was just switching to twice a month this week) and a specialist called a perinatologist once a month (also just switching this week). The perinatologist does growth scans on the babies to make sure that they are both gaining weight appropriately and that one is not growing too much faster than the other. Twin-twin transfusion syndrome is what they watch out for, but we are at very low risk for that because the boys are each in their own amniotic sac with their own placenta. TTTS is usually something identical twins are at risk for, not fraternal.
Thursday morning, my husband and I headed to the hospital for our regular growth scan appointment at 830am. Two things going into that appointment, 1) I felt 100% normal, no swelling, no headaches, absolutely nothing out of the ordinary so we just hopped in the car and went and 2) I figured I’d be home by 10am so I brought some OJ and figured I’d have breakfast when I got back. Hahaha.
Growth scan, both babies were super active as usual. The US tech called them stinkers like usual because they make it so hard to get measurements because they are bopping all over and kicking each other and me. They were both heads down at this point, so we were SUPER happy about that. Toward the end of the exam the tech said one baby weighed about 2lb 1oz and the other weighed 1lb 12oz. That was my first red flag. She said it was fine, low end of fine, but fine. But I read SO much about pregnancy and babies and get so many “In your 28th week…” emails that I knew they were a little underweight and got worried. That meant Little Baby had only gained 4oz in 4 weeks since my last growth scan (whereas I’d gained 11 pounds, WTF?).
So they brought in the perinatologist to take a look and calm me down. She said that again it could all be totally normal and that the babies being fraternal means they are no more alike than any two siblings and that one woman could have one 8 pound baby and one 6 pound baby and there’s nothing wrong with that. But she looked them over anyway. The littler baby’s placenta wasn’t getting him blood quite as fast as the other baby’s placenta, so that was also something to make her wonder. After that, she sent me back for some blood pressure monitoring and to put the babies on the doppler for a Non Stress Test (just monitoring their heart rates). My BP was through the roof (for me) at 154/110. So right away they said it’s probably pre-eclampsia. Again, the babies looked just fine on the doppler for the NST.
The perinate heard about my BP and came back to tell me that they were admitting me to the hospital. This is where things got very overwhelming and scary so I probably don’t remember it all correctly. It was also very confusing because I still felt a-okay, completely normal.
They wouldn’t even let me walk to the new room Labor & Delivery, they put me in a wheel chair! Then they took me to the exact room we’d been in 10 or so days go when we took our Childbirth Prep class. I got hooked up to a magnesium drip to prevent seizures from my high bp and they started every 15 minute blood pressure monitoring. They said the babies could come that day if my BP stayed that high.
This is when they gave me the first steroid shot. For premature babies, the lungs are the last thing to develop and babies whose arrival is imminent benefit immensely from mom receiving two steroid shots to speed maturation of their lungs. Thanks to my crazy over reading on everything pregnant-related, I knew that all already and was expecting it. They gave me my first steroid shot at 1pm on Thursday. The shots are given two shots, 24 hours apart and the babies receive the full effect of the show 48 hours after the first shot, so 1pm on Saturday they’d be complete. Of course, at that time no one had any idea if the babies would still be on the inside come Saturday.
Our hospital has a level 3 NICU, which means that they are capable of caring for the tiniest newborns (24/25 weekers!) in house. We knew this when we chose my OB and hospital because we always knew preterm birth was a risk with twins. So the hospital sent a NICU doctor down to talk to us then, he told us everything they could expect and plan for if the babies came at 28 weeks. Some scary stuff, but a lot of good news as medicine is pretty amazing at taking care of such premature infants nowadays. Again, for the most part I knew everything he told us but it’s good to hear it from a real doc and not Doc Google for once.
We spent a LOT of time crying and worrying about the babies having to come so early. All of that is real blurry. I remember being very sad that their first Christmas is probably going to be in the NICU instead of being big, healthy 10 month olds next year; but small potatoes on the worry list!!
After monitoring for a few hours and waiting around a lot, my BP was coming down into high but acceptable range. All this time, the babies have been active as usual and have great heart rates on the monitor so no one was too worried about them. We finally got a doctor to say that I would not have to deliver on Thursday night, which was a relief. So they gave me an Ambien and we got some sleep on and off (mostly off, it’s hard to sleep while hooked up to blood pressure monitoring, baby monitoring, and IV bags!).
I’m probably mixing up some things that happened Thursday with things that happened Friday because it’s all a blur really still. Alas…
Friday morning, babies did great over night with their monitoring. The L&D nurses also called them stinkers for being so active that they kept going off the monitors. My BP was down to 119/70 at some points over night, which is pretty much normal. We were told that pending the results of protein test and another doppler scan of the babies placentas, they would decide if we had to deliver on Friday or not. So a TON more waiting around.
I got my second steroid shot at 130pm on Friday. 24 hours after that the babies would have the full effect, so goal #1 was the make it to the second shot, goal #2 was to make it to 24hours after that. At that point, everything was very short term goals.
Finally got to go to our ultrasound/doppler at 3 something maybe. This was the big good news of the day. The perinate said the placental blood flow was MUCH better and that with my BP being elevated, but not scary high anymore she said no delivering the babies on Friday! AND SHE SAID I COULD EAT! Having not eaten since having a damn milkshake Wednesday around 5pm this was almost as good news as the not delivering on Friday (ok, not quite, but my stomach certainly was excited!!!!). They wouldn’t let me have any food for so long because if deliver was within 6 hours, and it will be a c-section whenever it is, you can’t have solids for 6 hours before anesthesia. So this was the first confirmation that delivery was NOT going to be within 6 hours!!
I honestly don’t think anything has ever made either me or my husband so happy as finding out the babies would get the full effect of the steroid shots.
The only other thing I recall from the ultrasound is that the perinate said she’d see me again on Monday or Tuesday and since that was DAYS away that made us feel fantastic because she thought we’d still be pregnant come next week.
Then the second best news of the day… I COULD EAT SOME FOOD finally because the babies weren’t coming Friday. I ordered linguini with meatballs, mashed potatoes, apple sauce, ginger ale, and some apple pie. And I ate pretty much all of it. It was crappy hospital food but pretty much one of the best things I’ve ever eaten for many reasons (hunger, being so relieved that the babies were ok, etc).
Right after dinner I got released from Labor & Delivery and moved up to Maternity, where I’ll be until the babies come. Another awesome thing about Stamford Hospital is that Labor & Deliver AND Maternity are all nice, private rooms. And they gave us a big Mat room because they said they usually reserve those for women that will be here from the long haul.
As soon as I got up to Maternity, they took out my IV, took me off the magnesium (so I could feel like me again and because they were no longer worried my BP would give me seizures), stopped the nonstop BP monitoring, took the babies off constant monitoring. Basically, they put me on once a shift monitoring for all of that!
Unfortunately, one of the shift changes is at like midnight, so at midnight someone comes to wake me up, hook the babies up to the monitor and I have to sit here for an hour while they watch the babies heart rates. Of course, the babies pass with flying colors and that makes it worth being up til 1am.
That brings us to Saturday!
Saturday basically started our holding pattern and settling into a routine on the Maternity floor. They check my vitals from time to time, they’re very steady. BP is usually around 130/90, maybe a little lower. And I have no swelling other other signs of pre-e. The babies get monitored once a shift, so every 8 hours, and each time we seem to learn a little about the babies personalities.
Baby B – So monitoring the babies consists of two heart rate monitors on straps attached to my belly (and one to monitor contractions, which my uncomfortable, so bad Braxton Hicks laughingly don’t even show up!!! Guess I over reacted with those!). There’s one monitor for each baby and they are strapped on, so stationary Now Baby A wiggles around but stays put enough to stay on the monitor. Baby B on the other hand… he wiggles, he kicks at the monitor and he goes off it constantly! The nurses called him a little stinker and say he’ll be our trouble maker for sure! He’s already getting a reputation. I love it.
The rest of Saturday was just the same, hang out, relax, settle into the hospital routine. I hope we are here a LONG time. Feels weird to say that, and god know we’re racking up the bills (something I’m blessedly not allowed to talk about or think about because it raises my BP!), but the longer we’re in this holding pattern, the longer the babies have to grow and mature and the better the outcomes will be!