• Posted on November 10, 2010 at 10:03 pm

I was admitted into the hospital on May 4th because my cervix had shortened and I was dilated 2 cm. This is not good for someone who is only 24 weeks! I was admitted into high risk Labor and Delivery because it looked like I would actually deliver that night, but they managed to get my contractions under control and eventually, I was transferred to the Women’s Ward for the long-term to be monitored and given medication to control the contractions I was having every day. My doctor was able to give me two rounds of steroids – one at 24 weeks and one at 26 weeks – to help with lung and brain development.

At 25 weeks, I was checked again and my cervix was still holding at 2 cm. My cervix looked to have shortened more, so I was kept in the hospital for the duration of my pregnancy. Once the cervix shortens, nothing can be done to fix it, other than strict bedrest and lots of hoping for the best.

I also was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, which was a pain because my diet was strictly monitored and I had to be poked for blood sugar checks at certain times of the day and night. I got over the control of my diet, until the food department started messing with my food tray. One morning, after getting my insulin shot (you’re supposed to eat 30 minutes after the shot), I lifted the lid of my food tray, only to find a plate with 3 strips of bacon and nothing else. I usually ordered the egg and cheese burrito because it was the only thing worth eating. Because I had already had my insulin, the lack of food on my plate could have had some very bad negative effects. I was PISSED at the food services. I was diligent in finding out exactly how many carbs I was allowed per meal and I even asked what each meal’s carb total amounted to so that when I ordered, I didn’t have to keep asking. The lady who took my order every day told me I was allowed a certain number of carbs. Well, apparently, the idiots in the food service had a different number for me, so when my food order was placed, the techs would look at my plate and then pull food randomly because according to their number, I was over my carb allowance. It got to the point where the person in charge of food services was going to have a big meeting to get to the bottom of the issues I was having. Every day, they messed up on my food. And, one of my nurses said it best: When you’re stuck in the hospital and on a restricted diet, the only thing you really have to look forward to is your meal. So, when they mess up on it, it becomes a huge problem. Not only that, but I was on a higher number calorie diet, due to the twins. The pharmacist who was working with food services told me that she didn’t think I was getting enough calories based on what I was eating every day. It was just a huge mess. 🙁 And, through all of it, all I wanted was a chocolate chip cookie.

For the three weeks I was there, the days were the same: I’d have contractions (very minor ones) in the afternoon from around 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Then, they’d go away. I got pretty complacent, thinking I would make it to 32, 34 weeks.  A few days into my 27th week, I started to feel Baby B kicking.  I didn’t know what to think.  I wanted to feel my Baby B kick, but feeling the baby kick would just make everything so much more difficult when I went into labor.  The baby kicking made him or her real, and no longer something I could ignore.

On Sunday, May 23rd, while watching the final episode of “Lost,” I noticed my contractions were a little stronger than they had ever been. Earlier in the day, when I was hooked up to the monitor for the day shift, I had 10 contractions in an hour (which was more than normal for me) but the doctor said it was OK. So, I paged my nurse (who was beyond awesome) and she put me back on the monitor. Sure enough, the contractions were stronger and she contacted the doctor on call. The next thing I know, the doctor is coming in and checking my cervix. I had dilated to 4-5 cm. At 1:30 in the morning, I was being whisked down the hallway to labor and delivery, terrified out of my mind. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. I so desperately wanted to make it to at least 29 weeks. That’s what the NICU doctor said they were most comfortable with when it came to preemies – 29 weeks or higher. But, considering that I’d held off delivering for 3 weeks, it was better than delivering at 24 weeks.  Much, much better.

The following day was misery. I was pumped full of magnesium to try and stop the contractions. I was on it for 12 hours and boy, that stuff hurts going in! Then, it was a waiting game. Since I had to be flat on my back and my back was starting to really, really hurt (like bringing me to tears, hurting), I asked for my bed in my room. They brought it and that gave me some relief.

The main source of my pain, though, was the catheter they put in. Since I was flat on my back and not allowed to get up, I was told I could use a bedpan. I used it once, but then about an hour later, I had to go again, even though I had postponed it as long as I could. Mostly, I held it because I knew I’d have to use the bedpan again.  I tried and tried, but couldn’t do it. I started crying, I was so miserable. My back hurt, my arm hurt where the magnesium was going in, and my bladder hurt, but I couldn’t go. So, the nurse said I could get a catheter. She made several attempts to put it in, but couldn’t, so got another nurse to do it. That nurse shoved something that felt like a tree up my urethra. I was told it would burn at first, but then the pain would go away and I wouldn’t even feel it. Ha ha. Right. Every time I moved, I felt that thing. It burned and hurt, all day long. 🙁

To make matters even more interesting,at about 1:00 in the afternoon, one of my nurses came in and told me that my doctor would be in at 5:00. I stared at that clock for 4 hours, willing the time to go by faster. It didn’t. I tried to sleep, but the catheter burned every time I moved. All I wanted was to go back to “my room.”

At 5:00, my doctor didn’t arrive. At 6:00, my doctor didn’t arrive. I asked the nurse about it and she said that my doctor was there, but that she was doing her rounds and she’d get to me as soon as she could. She also said that whoever told me my doctor would see me at 5:00 probably shouldn’t have told me that. All it did was make the wait longer. My doctor finally arrived around 7:30 or so. It was a very long day.

She checked my cervix and noted that I hadn’t dilated more and was holding at 4 cm. She asked me what I wanted and it went something like this, “please take the catheter out.” Done. I can have a bedside commode brought to you… wait, the bathroom’s another foot away. I don’t see why you can’t use the bathroom. Just don’t stand for very long. “I’d like to take a shower.” Done – but no more than 5 minutes. “I’d like to eat.” Done. Anything else? “No, just the catheter.” She went to take it out and commented after the vile thing was removed that it was the WRONG SIZE. She said, “don’t they have one that’s smaller?” I was so mad at that evil nurse who shoved that thing up there. And, because of the too-big size catheter and the other catheter that was put in, I ended up with a UTI. What is wrong with some people???

After I took my shower, I noticed I had a contraction that was stronger than normal, but thought it might have been because I was standing. I was hoping that the contractions were gone because once I was off the magnesium, the nursing staff was monitoring me. If I didn’t have any contractions in the next 12 or so hours, I’d most likely not be going into labor and I’d be able to go back to my room. So, having a contraction here and there was not a good sign, but I was hoping it was nothing.

I sent my husband home around midnight to get some sleep and I was confident I’d be going back to my room on Tuesday morning. About 3:00 AM, I was awakened by a rather strong contraction. I thought it might have been because my bladder was full. I went to the bathroom, and for the first time since the week before I was admitted into the hospital, I found I was spotting. I alerted the nurse. She told me not to worry, they’d let the doctor know, but it was probably nothing.

Nothing? I haven’t had ANY spotting while in the hospital and every day, when the doctors do their rounds, they ask me if I’ve had any spotting or bleeding. So, I was a bit worried.

Sure enough, by 4:00 AM, the contractions started in earnest and they were like nothing I’d ever felt before. The doctor checked my cervix at 4:30 and I was dilated to 7 cm.  The doctor who examined me was startled because right when she checked my cervix, my daughter kicked her hand.  My placenta and my daughter’s foot were bulging through my cervix.  I had progressed so quickly into full labor, the nurses didn’t have very much time to prep me for the OR.  My doctor was actually a little peeved that it took so long.

I kept asking when I should call my husband and at 5:00 AM they told me to go ahead and call him and tell him what was going on. I called again at 5:20 to let him know I was being prepped for the OR and for him to hurry. Not to worry – he was already on his way when I called the second time and had just enough time to put on the scrubs and hold my hand as we rolled down the hall to the OR. I didn’t know what to do. The contractions were so painful, I was tensing up with each one. In the 2 minutes it took for me to get from the Labor and Delivery room to the OR, I counted 5 or 6 contractions. They were right on top of each other. My doctor was starting to wonder what was taking the nursing staff so long to get me to the OR and called to see where I was.

I am so thankful my own doctor was at the hospital that night and into the morning. I did say something funny to her when I saw her again. The night before when she was granting me my wishes, she said before she left, “Dana, the next time I see you, I just want it to be a social visit, OK?” When I saw her again, I said, “Dr. M, I thought you said the next time you saw me it would only be a social visit!” She laughed.  At least there was some humor that morning.

She was also a bit upset that the nurses took so long to prep me because of the danger of having my water break before the surgery. I was even having a rather nasty contraction while the anesthesiologist was trying to do my spinal, which caused me to not sit straight on the table, and I was sitting on the new catheter line they put in (this one was MUCH more comfortable – I couldn’t feel it at all!). Dr. M asked me if I was having a contraction while sitting on the table and all I could do was nod my head. She said, “This is why I wanted her here earlier!”

While they were prepping me, I laid there on the table and stared up at all the lights and saw all the people around me, working on me. I said, “there’s no modesty in the OR, is there?” The anesthesiologist leaned over me and said, “Nope.”

After lots of pulling and tugging, Grace Kayleigh was born at 6:27 AM and Benjamin Kristian was born at 6:28 AM on May 25th, 2010. Grace weighed 2 lbs. 3 oz., 14 1/2″ long, and Benjamin weighed 1 lb. 15 oz., 12 1/4″ long. Benjamin lived for about 20 minutes and then passed away.

I had many people in the course of the three weeks I was on bedrest in the hospital tell me how lucky I was.  We were lucky my doctor caught my shortened cervix and saw to it to check.  Otherwise, I would have gone into labor at 24 or 25 weeks and there would have been nothing anyone could do to prevent the birth of our twins.

Lucky.  I do feel lucky to have been able to spend the short time I did have with my son.  But, with that luck, I feel an incredible amount of sadness.

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