After years of infertility and IVF, we've finally seen light from the other side. I knew it could happen, but certainly didn't think it would be us ... our new life with twins. Gulp.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Ramblings from the Couch

Who knew that a Sunday, at home on bedrest (and therefore no different than any other day of the week) could be so exciting? And it's only 3:45!

After a sleepless night, I woke up as J was getting ready for church. I slid my way over the the bathtub, finished reading Operating Instructions - for the second time, and slithered my way into some clothes. I've taken to doing any primping (rudimentary makeup and hair arrangement, i.e. ponytail) sitting on my bathroom floor mat, with makeup mirror propped on the tub surround. This way, I'm technically not fully upright, although not totally reclined. Is that cheating?

I moved my way over to the upstairs office, excited to await the arrival of the computer repair guy who was to fix the networking problem that has plagued my laptop for months now. I've had to use J's and it's been more than inconvenient for him.

In the interim, J's sister, her husband, 3-year old son, and brand new baby (one month today!) came for a visit and thoroughly entertained me for the next hour with stories from last night's cocktail party, general gossip, and lots of baby stories and advice. She feeds the baby with such ease and confidence, I often wonder how in the hell I'm going to do that with two. My little nephew made me a wonderful painting, complete with handprints and indecipherable messes. Love it. They oohed and ahhed over the newly painted (one coat last Friday, the next on Monday!) nursery, and got me excited to get that going.

So yes! Fully regaled in "Geek" attire, the guy from a certain service that promotes themselves with the geeked out image, arrived, and managed to diagnose my silly problem in a matter of minutes and fix me right up. Slightly embarrassing, and a wonderful per-hour rate for them, but relief at just having it done. At this point, I'm learning that outsourcing is the quickest and most efficient way to get things done when physically incapable of doing them yourself, and verbally incapable of explaining them to your husband.

A good friend and his girlfriend are coming over for pizza and Sunday night TV tonight, which I'm looking forward to. And tomorrow ... an exciting day for sure!

The painters are coming to finish up the baby room and get to work on some other areas (repairing damage from a huge storm two years ago ... we thought it easier to just live with bubbly, peeling walls, but no more!). My mom is coming to take me to my 1:00 doctor's appointment. She's never seen an ultrasounds, so I'm excited she'll get that opportunity, but I'm sure she'll recoil in horror at the coochie cam wand, which I'm sure I'll be lucky enough to experience again. I'm crossing my fingers for an uneventful (read: elongating or static cervix) visit, and a good report from my doctor.

However, just to plan for the unhappy, I am going to take a small bag with us, containing any essentials that would be needed should I be instructed to head on over to Labor & Delivery like last time. Strangely and superstitiously, I feel like if I plan for the negative outcome, I'll surely receive good news. But if I'm counting on good news, I'll be tragically caught off guard by the bad news that will inevitably present itself. Murphy's law, right?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A Change of Scenery

I floated in the warm tub, free of wires, tubes, monitors, and other encumbrances. Feeling weightless, feeling tired, but also energetic. Thankfully, still pregnant and healthy. Thankfully at home.

What a wild few weeks it’s been. Two weeks ago Friday, I guess that makes it April 7th, I show up for a regular doctors visit. Just a stop at the lab for my glucose monitoring and a quick ultrasound to check on the babies and on my cervix, which at all previous visits had been declared “Perfect!” “Award-winning” and “Just like we like to see them.” I was ready to add my perfectly formed and withstanding cervix to the list of accomplishments on my resume. Lest we not get ahead of ourselves.

The perinatologist who monitors my ultrasounds thought something awry, that my formerly strong and elongated cervix was starting to show some wear and tear, in the form of effacement, not dilation. The formerly 4 cm long cervix was starting to shrink, inching (or centemetering?) down to 3. Not so great at 29 weeks. Being the lovely, proactive woman that she is, she orders a fetal fibronectin test, to be performed on Monday. The jist of this test is that it detects secretions that indicate if you are in danger of going into labor in the next two weeks.

We have a lovely, carefree weekend, with no thoughts of any misdoings occurring in my body. We babysit nieces and nephews on Friday night and enjoy a dinner with J’s sister and husband. I drive to my hometown for a lovely baby shower on Saturday, and enjoy a leisurely pizza with the family that evening. I spend Sunday ripping through all of my thank-you notes and eagerly organizing the fifteen-zillion baby washcloths that I’ve received. (Really … I should have the cleanest damn babies this side of the Mississippi).

Late Monday morning, I arrive at the doctors office with the plan to take the test, and skip on over to get a bagel sandwich for lunch and perhaps a gratuitous stop at Target for nothing in particular. I meet with another doctor in the practice, as mine is out of town (for the first time in the 10 years I’ve been seeing her, I think!) She performs the fetal fibronectin (results to arrive in two days or so), and checks my cervix manually. Completely unhappy with what she finds, she sends me over to ultrasound yet again, for another wanding. A quick coochie cam from the technician, and I’m sent back to Dr. Fill-In. When they send me to her office, as opposed to an exam room, I know I’m done. I hear her distinct European accent on the phone in the hallway, asking Labor and Delivery to find a room for me please, as we’ll be right over. Smiling on her way into the office, she asks if I’ve overheard, and suggests we walk over together, as she has another patient to check on.

Apparently, Le Cervix is not behaving AT ALL. Not dilating, thank goodness, but not behaving.

Labor and delivery is a scary place when you’re not prepared for it. And at 29 weeks, I’m not sure who is ever completely prepared for it. “But I’m supposed to go over to the bagel shop and get lunch,” I announce to everyone who enters my room. “I’m not supposed to be here!” Quite obviously. Duh.

Hooked up to three monitors, one for each baby and one for contractions, J. arrives, much to my relief. I see that I’m contracting every three minutes, which is a surprise to me, since I don’t feel squat. My belly has always been pretty hard, which we attributed to me being not a particularly large person carrying twins. Oh no, these are contractions.

Honestly, the next two days are a bit of a blur. I know that they involved large doses of magnesium sulfate, hot flashes and wooziness, insertion of IVs and catheters, steroid shots in my ass, antibiotics drained through my IV, J’s fascination with following the contractions on the monitor, pills every few hours, and finally, a kind nurse noticing that I was still in one of those L&D beds and switching me out to a regular, more comfy hospital bed.

Apparently, the drugs did their job, and on Wednesday, I was sent over to the ante partum unit, where women go to wait and wait and wait to deliver their babies, with the directive that I was likely to be incarcerated for a minimum of four weeks.

It is hard to describe the despair and lack of control that overtook me. I have total faith that they babies will be okay. I don’t know why I feel this way, but I know – I just know – that they will be born healthy and be well taken care of.

The despair has been of the selfish variety. For myself. For J. For what we’re missing out on. I think that I’ve tempered this despair and refocused my priorities, but the shock of it all was pretty overwhelming. I think I’ll talk about this a bit later … it gets me down to even think about it.

I’ve gone on and on quite enough for now, so let me wrap it up. A wanding on the 13th showed that my cervix was stretching back out a bit (who knew it could reverse itself!?), and with my pleadings and confirmations that J., who works from home, could take care of me quite well at home, my doctor (who was finally back in town!) agreed to reassess the situation on Monday. Easter in the hospital was just fine … a pizza and a basket full of goodies was quite a treat!, and on Monday, she agreed that I could take my show on the road – just long enough to get me home.

My days are spent on the living room couch, avoiding my new obsession with the Food Network and attempting to read all the books that I know I should enjoy, what with all this time on my hands. I consume copious amounts of water, all in an effort to keep contractions at bay, yet find that I still have to get up almost every hour to let it out.

Life is okay. I am so lucky. I have good friends, a wonderful husband, and this second chance to keep these babies inside for a few weeks longer.