A few weeks ago I posted My Birth Story Part 1. I will continue to journal through these events as my birth story didn’t happen on just one day after several hours of labor. It was a two month long traumatic experience. This is my journey and how I hope to heal.
At some point during my 31st week, after discussing all of my questions and concerns, my doctor decided that we were now at the point in pregnancy where my condition was stable enough to no longer need the 24 hour monitoring of hospital bedrest. I was very nervous about this decision especially since the nurses explained to me that it was actually the insurance company that began to question the need for me to still be under hospital care and there was only so much more stalling my doctor could do.
The plan was to go home once I reached 32 weeks. I understood the concern and made all the arrangements to make sure that I stuck to my bed once I got home. Saturday, December 3rd was the day. I’d get a second round of steroid shots just to be on the safe side (one shot Friday morning followed by the second booster 24 hours later on Saturday morning), have an NST done, one last cervical measurement and internal exam to make sure I was still closed on the outside.
My anxiety levels were high but I was also really excited. I hadn’t been home (or anywhere outside the hospital) in almost two months. I could sleep in my own bed. I could see my husband and baby girl every. single. day. again. The girls were growing strong inside of me and I’d had very little change for several weeks. It looked like things were going really well. I just had to make it 4 more weeks at home before my bedrest orders were going to be lifted completely!
So, Friday morning, December 2, 2011, my doctor checked in with me. I was in really good spirits. I had been having really rough nights all week, having over a dozen contractions an hour for a few hours before bed, calming down only once I got to sleep on a heating pad. I cried Thursday night. I didn’t think I was strong enough to keep doing this. The contractions were getting painful, taking my breath away. I was scared. The residents kept telling me the contractions were just irritability but how was I supposed to know? How was I going to go home and tell the difference? Jeremy assured me that we’d be okay. He missed me. Lily missed me. And I missed them. So much. By Friday morning, I was ready and I told Dr. M that. She told me my schedule for the day and made sure I knew she was on call for the night/weekend. She switched things around to make sure she was there when I was discharged.
I never told Dr. M this but that meant a lot to me. OBs get a bad reputation for not treating their patients like actual people. So many are compared to midwives and in the natural birth and parenting world it is basically implied that midwives are superior in some way. I’ve never once questioned the judgment of my doctor. She visited me every single day for the 50 days I was in the hospital. She remembered me by name. She remembered my family by name. She didn’t need a chart to remind her who I was or what my case was. She switched her schedule to be at the hospital when I was going home. She didn’t want my care or my anxiety or my questions to fall on to anyone else. And maybe since I was having so many rough nights she had a hunch that she’d be needed. Maybe. I’ve never asked her and I’m not so sure I’d want to know the answer.
Around 11 a.m. on that Friday, I had my first steroid shot. My nurse told me I was next to go down to the perinatal center so even though I hadn’t showered yet or ordered lunch, I flipped on the Price is Right and just tried to rest. After almost 45 minutes, I went ahead and ordered lunch. I was used to the perinatal center and their lack of promptness. I didn’t want to miss out on lunch being stuck downstairs. I always ordered cold lunches so I wasn’t worried about it sitting around waiting for me to get back. I still didn’t shower though. I knew if transport came for me when I wasn’t available, my turn would get skipped and I’d have to wait even longer. By this point in the afternoon, I was already anxiety ridden. I was really run down, feeling much lazier today than I had in weeks. My stomach was upset and my bowels were definitely emptying in a not so good way. I should have known this was a sign but I ignored it and played it off as another uncomfortable part of having twins. Around 1:30 or so, I noticed a very light leak but thought it was simply discharge from not having showered. I felt so gross but I was desperate to get through these tests.
Finally, around 2 p.m. transport came to get me. We chatted lightly as it had been awhile since I had seen her. I told her they were trying to send me home and she joked that it wouldn’t happen that no one was having any luck down in peri that day. This was the first light bulb. You never think about it as an outsider but the pheromones women put off are strong. On the antepartum floor when one of us had a bad night, we all seemed to. When one baby had trouble with an NST, they all seemed to. It was really bizarre in a way but it was also very telling. The perinatal center was of course backed up so I ended up waiting another 30 minutes or so for a nurse to get me hooked up for my non-stress test. I recall wishing I’d remembered to bring my water and phone. I was so thirsty waiting. And bored.
This was my first NST so I wasn’t sure what to expect. My bedrest buddy had failed two in a row just a week or so before and ended up delivering early because of it. Knowing I was supposed to be going home, I sort of knew something would go wrong. I flipped on the TV, Let’s Make a Deal was on, and just rested in my chair. Pink was putting a lot of pressure on my ribcage so it was pretty uncomfortable and I wanted to move around but couldn’t. The nurse came in midway and said that Pink had already passed but that Purple hadn’t done much moving. She had me drink some apple juice and chew on some ice chips. She also asked how I was feeling and said they were picking up contractions every 3 minutes. I was shocked to hear this. I told her I was uncomfortable from the position I was in and Pink’s movement but that I didn’t think I was contracting. She accepted that answer and left me for a few more minutes.
It was after 3 p.m. when she came back because Dr. Phil was on the TV now. I paid very little attention to it though as she was very concerned when she returned. Purple had picked up her movement and passed the NST but my contractions had picked up. They had me empty my bladder and then rest in my wheelchair waiting for the on-call MFM to look at my strips. It happened to be my least favorite MFM who was internal check crazy and of course said my cervix needed to be checked right away. I didn’t put up a fight since they told me they consulted with Dr. M about it too. They needed to still do an ultrasound to check the girls’ positions and their fluid levels so I waited around for what seemed like forever waiting for a room for all that to happen. I joked with transport who was waiting around for me after having already brought someone else down because they’d called her when my NST was done not realizing I wasn’t going anywhere. I’d already basically assumed at this point that I wasn’t going to be going home but still never imagined I’d be delivering. I just wish I’d had my phone.