Wednesday, September 28, 2005

And the days keep rolling by...

Hi all,

This is Liz's brother again. Mom and I have switched roles, so Mom's now staying with Liz in the hospital. I've returned home, so this update is based on spending Sunday/Monday with sis before I left, and several phone conversations since then. Apologies in advance for any lapses in my memory or if I get things wrong.

First and foremost, Liz told me like 4 times to make sure I thanked everyone for their warm emails, prayers, thoughts, and warm wishes. Unfortunately, the hospital labor/delivery rooms don't have wifi (guess they don't expect people to spend more than a couple of days there, goes to show what they know!). She reads most of her email on her cellphone, or she can log in via her laptop but only by dialup. I downloaded her email at one point onto her laptop via dialup, and it took over an hour, so she probably won't be able to answer a ton of emails and she sends her apologies. But she does read every one of them and said they never fail to raise her spirits, so thank you.

Second, today's another celebration, 26 weeks today!

On Sunday, the magnesium started working and the contractions slowed down. After about 12 hours of the higher dose, though, her body started having some serious reactions to the mag(beyond the nausea, dizziness, etc that was happening the whole time). After some difficulty breathing and being on supplemental oxygen off and on most of the night, they decided to take her off it and try something else. While loathe to do so because it was helping stop the contractions, not breathing can't be good for the little ones so she agreed. After some hours (from memory 6 hrs after coming off it?), she finally started feeling better and didn't have the heavy weight on her chest any longer (I'm sure she'd be making some reference to her increased breast size here, but I can't do that since I'm her brother). They did put her on another oral anti-contraction drug, unfortunately I can't remember the name (memory says ephedra, but I don't think that's right). The contractions increased for a while, and they upped her dosage on this new stuff, and they then settled down at about 2-4 per hour by Mon afternoon when I left. She could walk to the bathroom totally unaided and was cheerful and laughing, unlike when she was in the heavy mag-induced stupor.

Today they're even less than yesterday, and Liz was in good spirits. Apparently she's gotten a nice little heat rash going over her belly where all of the monitors are always being maneuvered around. A secret one of the nurses told her: They need a lubricant on her belly for the monitors, but the stuff they use can cause problems over time, and she said that normal lotion works just as well. This way she not only keeps the monitors working, she gets the positive side effects of the lotion keeping her skin smooth and stretch-free, and the whole room smells like grapefruit. One can only guess that the rash would have been much worse if she'd stayed on the hospital stuff.

A new doctor this morning said that she dealt with PROMs a lot and even a fair number of long-term PROMs. When she asked Liz how long ago she had PROMed and Liz said 9 weeks, the doctor's jaw apparently fell to the floor.

The hospital food can get pretty dreary. It's actually pretty decent for hospital food, but imagine ordering from the same restaurant menu every meal of every day and you get the feeling. Mom the other night went out and got some chinese food for Liz, Brian, and herself as a change. Why does it not shock me that my sister is throwing dinner parties in her hospital room??

So for now, everything continues onward day by day, and strangely enough, no news is good news. She remains in good spirts most days (particularly since she's off the mag), and she's got some pictures and flowers decorating her room there. As she puts it, she's going to be there for a while, so might as well make it feel like home. She's going to try to log on herself in the next day or two now that she's feeling somewhat human again.

Liz (as remembered by Gary)

PS- Brian says Buddy is doing fine and starting to grow his tail back, but Buddy misses his mom Liz and hopes she's doing ok.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

A bit of stability

Hello all,

After a long night last night, Liz is doing much better this morning. She was up most of the night with continued contractions, despite the steadily increasing drugs that were trying to stop them. Although they had upped her magnesium dosage, she continued to have strong regular contractions. An ultrasound at 11pm showed that her cervix had shortened (not a good sign, that means these are definitely labor pains). As the pain and contractions continued, we finally called Brian (he was working a 24 hour shift). Around midnight, they upped it yet again (think side effects times ten) and added morphine with another stronger anti-contraction drug. Brian and I exchanged places, I left to go home and Brian took over here at the hospital.

From a personal viewpoint, both Brian and I are freezing and wearing heavy sweaters in the hospital room due to the high AC. Liz, on the other hand, is burning up and feels warm to the touch.

Finally, she was able to get a little sleep and the contractions seemed to slow. Since starting, she’s taking 5 different types of anti-biotics and continues on the magnesium and the IV. As a result, she is very dry-mouthed and they severely limit what she can drink (since she’s taking in a fair amount via IV already and they don’t want to dilute the drugs too much). When they were providing the morphine, they neglected to tell her that she might have breathing problems as a result. During the course of the night, she had to get supplemental oxygen (at one point 4 times an hour). The morphine allowed her to drift off to sleep, which was great right up until when she started having problems breathing and a loud alarm would go off. So, even in her drugged stupor, she wasn’t able to sleep much unfortunately, and I suspect Brian was the same.

Even though her cervix has started to shorten, the doctor said that she could possibly maintain her current status for days or weeks to come. At this point, every day is another blessing. The steroids need 48 hours to go to full effect from when they gave them to her. As a result, they’re really working to calm the contractions until at least Tuesday so the ‘roids can really kick in.

For those who are local, visitors are probably not a good idea until after Tuesday or so. With the drugs she’s on, it just wouldn’t be a very good experience for either party, and we should know more after Tuesday (fingers crossed).

The care continues to be fabulous, a much better experience than two weeks ago. She has a dedicated nurse who has no other patients, so they are here whenever Liz needs something, and they’re all very nice and very willing to help.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Oh no, here we go...

Hi all,

This is actually Liz's brother Gary writing for her. Liz is lying next to me here in a very nice hospital in San Francisco.

She started having contractions this morning, and when she realized they were coming every 10 minutes, she called the doctor. The doctor said better safe than sorry and to come on into the hospital to be checked out.

Luckily, they were then expecting her (thanks to her doctor calling in in advance), and she was whisked up to a room. She was indeed having pretty strong contractions, roughly every 10 minutes or so. We had a parade of doctors coming in, and they decided to give her the steroids. For those who are unfamiliar with all of the details (I’ve gotten a crash course on it this afternoon), steroids help speed up baby development if you deliver within 2 weeks of receiving the injections. In addition, she is also receiving magnesium to try and calm the contractions. Unfortunately, magnesium has all sorts of crazy side effects: really hot, dizzy, light headed, and just generally crappy feeling, to quote my sis.

The magnesium was calming them a little, but she was still having some contractions, so they also gave her a shot of treb, which is medical shorthand for some long unpronounceable drug. That stuff just adds to her general unease, particularly in accelerating her heart rate. Eating dinner was a challenge in that her hands were so jittery it was hard to keep the fork from shaking.

After about 4 hours now in the hospital, she’s still having the occasional contraction, is wearing the contraction monitor and has an I.V. going. Nothing is impending at this point, we’re all just kind of waiting and hoping that things settle down and the contractions stop. They tell her she’s been admitted to the hospital, which essentially means she’ll be here until she delivers. We’re all hoping that that’s not going to be for month or so, but we’ll just play it day by day. Tonight’s menu selection was the penne pasta with chicken, which she said was pretty good, but she advises against the fruit tart. More menu reviews to come.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Quadruplets born in the Bay Area

Here's a recent news clip....

A San Mateo family had quadruplets WITHOUT the help of fertility treatments. The chances of that happening: 1 in 600,000. Another extraordinary thing is that two of the babies are identical, the other two are fraternal. The odds of that happening: 1 in a million. The babies were delivered at Lucile Packard Hospital at Stanford.

David weighed 2.6 lbs Kamilla weighed 2.49 lbs Roni weighed 2.27 lbs Dror weighed 2.22 lbs. She carried for 27 weeks and delivered by c-section.

What I found interesting and exciting is that they were born at 27 WEEKS! That's only 2 weeks ahead of me. Talk about beeing preemies. Usually preemies stay in the hospital NICU until their offical due date.

Literally a “shitty” day

Thursday 9/22/05

Well to get right to the point, our sewage line just backed up. Welcome to home ownership. Thank goodness we were able to get a plumber out right away, as “shit” was coming into the shower and up the toilets…not what I need to stay disinfected and infection free….. This morning I told Brian that I noticed the shower was draining very slowly, and when he put a load of wash in (being the good house-husband that he is), the toilet started “gurgling” I called him to come quickly, he used the plunger, which seem to make it get worse very quickly. They are currently up on the roof, snaking the “sewage clean out”. Poor Kailan (our dog) is in the room with me very freaked out, lots of banging, the whole house is shaking and I’m crossing my fingers that they can indeed clean it out and we don’t need a major sewer line repair. Just what we need, a big plumbing expense! At least Brian is home today.
They got it cleared up...Yeah! Brian's now busy scrubbing the showers and bathrooms. Maybe for once I'm glad to be on bedrest!

Well, on a brighter, cleaner, note, here is a 25 week belly picture and pictures of Buddy in his new home. I’m definitely getting bigger.

25 Weeks

Buddy on a stick (remember, he's only about an inch long) You can see his "blue belly"

Buddys new home, his new little "log" is on the left, where the heated floor is, and there is a heated light above on during the day.

Buddy "sunning" himself on his little log, he really likes to hide under it also

Buddy is munching on a tiny cricket.

I loved my massage yesterday, probably one of the best days I’ve had in a while, but she used such pressure on my neck and shoulders (that were hurting so badly), now they hurt even worse. I’m hoping by tomorrow the pain will subside and it will be better than before, but it’s making it hard to work on my computer or anything else for that matter. I couldn’t sleep till maybe oh, 4am……Today I felt nauseous (normally the nausea would come from my vitamins, today I hadn’t had one yet, I really think it was from the pain in my shoulder and neck).

Fire, Fire!

Early on Monday morning we heard fire engines and sirens. We are usually fairly immune to that sound, having lived in a busy section of North Beach in San Francisco for many years. But low and behold, the house just 6 houses down from us caught on fire in the early morning. We didn't even know what was going on until Brian left the house to run some errands and saw all the fire activity. You would have thought we would have smelled the smoke.
Here's a link to the newsstory.

Here's a good lesson to make sure you have fire extinguishers in your home and to make sure they are operational!!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

25 Weeks Today!!!

Wednesday 9/21/05
Week 25 today

2 Months + 1 Day since PROM

Sorry for the big downer in my last post, not sure why it’s been such a tough few days. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that yesterday was 2 months – 8 weeks – since I’ve been on bedrest, and I know (well I hope) that I have at least that to go.

Today I woke up even forgetting that it was Wednesday. That’s no good, today is always my big day, and I am actually now feeling better that I remembered. AND, today I’m getting a massage. I can’t wait. I’m so sore and achy, especially my back and shoulders.

Here's what says about week 25

How your baby's growing: Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. Her weight — a pound and a half — doesn't sound like much, but she's beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat. As she does, her wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and she'll start to look more and more like a newborn. His hair is probably recognizable now (in color
and texture), although both may change after she's born.

My brother is coming to visit tomorrow for almost a week, so that’s also something to look forward to.

I had a lot of contractions all day yesterday, my stomach felt much “harder” all day, as it does when I’m having a contraction….wonder if because the babies are getting bigger or it was just a whole lot of contractions. No cramping though, tender though. And thank goodness, still no fever.

We didn’t have an ultra sound appointment yesterday as I originally said we were going to. The doc really wanted us to just stay at home rather than get out of bed and go in. I’d so love to know what is going on in my belly, as the increased leaking hasn’t gone away and I hope the contractions haven’t led to pre-term labor.

I’ve gotten to the point that I dread going to sleep, sleep continues to escape me. I guess it’s good training if we end up with a little one or two.

I will post a picture today of Buddy in his new surroundings. He’s doing well, he likes to eat (little fruit flies and tiny, tiny crickets). Brian yesterday went out and got him a half-log, well, it’s really like a curved half-piece of tree bark so he can hang out under it. He has been burring himself in the redwood bark that’s on the bottom of the cage. Half the cage is heated, and during the day we have a bright light on. Brian has really taken to Buddy (which I think is cute), as I’m the one who really wanted to keep him. He’s still very small, but it looks like his tail is starting to grow back. He’s still skittish around us, but yesterday Brian was able to pet him a little bit gently and he didn’t scurry away.

I think it’s funny and cute that a lot of people ask how Buddy is doing after reading about him here on my posts….thanks for asking!

A fellow PROM mom who did have twins (her PROM son has had some issues) sent me the following after she met with her doc: “I wanted to send you a message to let you know I thought of you and your babies today when we had our follow up with the NICU team that is watching Kyle. Right after the Dr came in the room and said "How's our miracle boy doing?" he went into a discussion about how he truly believes Kyle is here with us today because he was a twin. There are many advantages to being a twin during a prom pregnancy. Twins mature earlier in the womb. The unruptured twin creates the positive pressure that the ruptured twin needs for fluid movement. The unruptured twin creates cushion and reduces the chance of contractures. Plus any baby that is in stress in the womb will develop faster too. I wanted to share this with you and I to let you know that our stories are so similar and I pray for you and your girls each night.”

I found these words to be very encouraging, as it does seem to make a lot of sense.

I’ll update this post later with Belly and Buddy pictures.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Leaky Faucet

Monday 9/19/05

Wow, some days are just so much harder than others. Who knows why, but I started crying a bit on Saturday and it’s gotten progressively worse every day. The tears sort of continuously roll down my face. It’s like a faucet I can’t turn off.

Maybe it’s pregnancy hormones really kicking in. Maybe because tomorrow will be 2 full months since PROM and since I’ve been on bed rest. Maybe it’s because I have 2 more months (HOEPFULLY) ahead of me. Maybe it’s because my neck and shoulders hurt so bad from lying down that pain radiates down my arms. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been outside in the fresh air for so long. Maybe it’s because summer didn’t exist for me. Maybe it’s because I feel so dependent and helpless. Maybe it’s because my muscles and body are completely atrophying. Maybe it’s because a healthy pregnant mom came to visit me this weekend who is due the same time I am. Maybe it’s because I won’t be able to have a baby shower. Maybe it’s because this is not the way I expected my pregnancy to be. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling sorry for myself.

This has to be the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

I feel so guilty for carrying on, as I shouldn’t be feeling this way at all, as my babies are still with me….. I had a lovely PROM mom and her husband come and visit me on Saturday. I “met” her on the PROM mailing list that I belong too, and we have such similar stores, twins via IVF, PROM (hers is from unknown reason). She lives in Northern California and made a trip out to visit me in person. Sadly, she lost both twins at 22.5 weeks in July. My heart just goes out to her and her husband and all of us PROM mom’s who have lost their little angels or have had to go through this horror of just lying in bed day after day not knowing what the outcome is going to be.

I feel bad for crying and feeling sorry for myself, as I know she would trade places with me in a heart-beat. Maybe my tears are for the entire lost little angel souls out there that have parents that want them so badly. It’s very hard and so unfair.

I’ve had so many wonderful people reach out to me to offer their support. I try so hard to stay positive and think positive thoughts. I shouldn’t be feeling this way.

But I do.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Better This Friday Than Last

Friday 9/16/05

Yesterday was a tough day, nothing new happened, so not sure why it was a “tough” day, maybe because I was so looking forward to wed which was 24 weeks, it made Thursday a hard day, as it was a day like all other days, lying in bed just waiting for time to go by.

Brian went out and got a cage for “Buddy” the lizard. I heard Brian talking to him the other day and said, “Hey now little Buddy,” hence where he/she got his/her name. Now we don’t really know if the little guy is a male or a female, but he is so cute and tiny, and we can at least nurture a baby lizard. I guess this sort of lizard is VERY common, it’s called a Western Fence Lizard (or a blue belly lizard). I had a lot of time to do web research.

Supposedly they can make great pets too. As he’s so little, the pet store recommended fruit flies, and he was so cute as he gobbled them up. Brian kept making a gobble noise as he would reach out and eat each one. I did get out of bed to look. He has a heated aquarium, lots of yummy fruit flies to eat, twigs to climb on and seems very content. I know that if I hadn’t found him on my drapes, he would have never lived. Brian is at work today, but I’ll take a picture of Buddy in his new home tomorrow.

Charles, a Realtor from my office came to visit this morning and brought us a huge plate of turkey lasagna. Kim (from Tahoe) is going to visit, she’ll be here any minute and is coming to stay a few days. Brian and Kim were firefighters/paramedics together in Tahoe and used to be roommates at one time.

My New Orleans family (ex-in-laws) called me today – they are staying at a friends’ house in Austin Texas. They are so torn as to trying to figure out what to do next. Their home is still under water. They have no idea if they will be able to salvage anything on the 2nd floor due to mold. They are hoping to go in the first week of October, when the water is supposed to be pumped out. I can’t even imagine. They have not only lost everything, but are also trying to figure out what they are going to do for income. They are seriously contemplating moving out of NO for good.

I’ve been leaking like crazy for about 2 days now. Either the little Prom Queen is just getting bigger and peeing more, or something else (my fear is always that the other one Promed too). I’m sure it’s an unjustified fear, but this is more than I’ve leaved since the very beginning. It's even harder to sleep, as the leaking is about every hour now. I guess it’s normal to feel this sort of fears. I still am having contractions, but not that often. I don’t think I had any yesterday, but just had 2 a little bit ago. I hate them.

We do have an ultrasound appointment set for next Tuesday 9/20.

Feel free to sign the guest book and say hi! 112 People have views this journal so far in just over a week! Thanks for visitng and checking in.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Leaping Lizards!!! 24 Weeks Today

Wednesday 9/14/05
24 Weeks today!!

This is a milestone week for me! I’ve really started getting bigger, Even compared to last week, my belly is bulging. Here’s what’s happening in my belly x2 :

How your baby's growing: Your baby's growing steadily, gaining about a quarter of a pound since last week, when she was just over a pound. Since she's almost a foot long, that makes a pretty lean figure, but her body is filling out proportionally and she'll soon put on more baby fat. Your baby's skin is thin, translucent, and wrinkled, her brain is growing rapidly, and her taste buds are developing. Her lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" and cells that produce surfactant, a substance that helps the air sacs inflate easily.

I’m continuing to beat the odds, I’ve hung in now for 7 weeks since PROM (which of course means that I’ve been on bed rest for almost 2 months). I’m still leaking, slight pink spotting and contracting now too. The contractions are scary, as I still don’t know what would make me suddenly start having pre-term labor contractions versus what I’m having. I can go hours without any, and then I’ll have a whole bunch.

My mom has already called to confirm that she should send flowers today (making sure that I’m at home and not at the hospital or something). It’s amazing how much I look forward to the flowers, as it really means another week and it really helps me remind me of another successful 7 days without infection.

Brian worked yesterday, but I had 2 visitors, so it made the day go by so much quicker, (Keri my friend from Santa Rosa and a realtor from my work, Pat). I actually got some work done to real estate wise – I sent out my “monthly” email newsletter that I could never get to in August. I at least feel like I accomplished something. It was hard to do, as typing in bed continues to be a challenge for any period of time.

As of now, I don't have any doctor visits or ultrasound appointments set, Dr K said to just hold off and stay in bed rather than come in. Still waiting to see if a visiting nurse will be coming. They are working on it, but having insurance snafus.

I had a very interesting night last night and the reason for the title of this post. (Hey it’s something out of the ordinary in my day to day bed rest experience)…

When I was going to bed around midnight, (remember that Brian was at work), I was adjusting my pillows and such, and looked up at my wispy curtains and was shocked to see some sort of creature inside the curtain which obviously made me jump – I hate spiders and was concerned it was a LARGE spider, but instead, it turned out to be a baby lizard! And, if you couldn’t figure out by now, lizard is my nickname and I love lizards. Super small and cute. I thought it was sort of fitting, at midnight when I was 24 weeks, this little baby lizard came to me. Brian has been telling me that there are lizards in our yard, and in fact when Brian’s mom was in town (knowing that I like lizards) they caught one so I could check him out (yes, he was returned to our yard, so this wasn’t his/her offspring).

I captured it (he had already lost his tail, that wasn’t my doing). I wondered how in the world did he get inside the house and on my curtains, and was certainly glad I saw him before I felt him crawling on me when I was sleeping or something. Shame on me, but after I caught him, I got out of bed to put him in a glass in the kitchen, figured would certainly make Brian jump when he got home this morning.

I’m contemplating keeping him, I’ve always wanted a lizard as a pet, but don’t have the faintest idea what little brown lizards eat. Brian put him under a light so he would be warm. You can tell how small he is in comparison with my finger. If you have any lizard food suggestions, please email me!

My strange night continued, as I was then reading a book (no surprise, I couldn’t sleep) and my phone rang close to 1am! I got scared, thinking something had happened to Brian at work, but it was a woman, who said, “whoops, sorry” and then hung up. Guess it was a wrong number, sort of late at night be dialing wrong numbers, at least I was already awake.

Then, my strange night continued, at 3:00 am (I actually had been sleeping, but had just woken up because of course I was leaking), when I heard all kinds of noises outside my bedroom window. Freaked me out. It must have been the neighbors doing some sort of late night activity with their garbage or something, but it was scary lying in bed, not knowing what was going on.

When Brian got home this morning, I had all kinds of things to report to him on my “exciting” night. Guess this really tells you how stir crazy I am.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Just another Monday

Monday, 9/12/05

Well, the contractions have continued, but they come and go, some times I don’t have any at all (which is good), as labor contractions get more and more intense and frequent. I didn’t know that you could have contractions without labor. This is all so new to me. But they are still scary whenever they happen.

Brian goes to work tomorrow; I dread that as it’s so lonely on those days. And it means I have to get up a lot more often. But I think I’ll have a few visitors. Counting down the days until Wednesday…..which means I made it to week 24.

Dr K’s office is looking into getting me a home health aide once a week to check my vitals and stuff.

I’m back to not sleeping at night, I seem to not be able to fall asleep until 2-4 am, and then sleep until 10-11am. Oh well, I’d rather sleep late in the morning as it makes the day go by faster.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Oh no, contractions and a day at the hospital

Saturday 9/10/05

Well, I continued to have a bit of pink spotting once a day now for 4 days….wonder if it's related, but......

Bad news, sometime on Thursday I started having contractions. I’m not sure when they really started, having never been pregnant before, I don’t really know what they would feel like. When I went to bed Thursday night, lying on my back, I could put my hands on my belly and concentrate. Instead of just the kicking feelings I’ve been feeling fairly strongly lately, I noticed that my whole abdomen really tightened up super hard, like something solid, and then would go away. I still wasn’t really sure what was happening, it seemed to be about every 20 minutes or so. I kept feeling and feeling my abdomen when it wasn’t tight and then tried to determine if it indeed felt different or if the babies had moved and I was just feeling hard parts of their bodies.

I had though that contractions would feel like menstrual cramps, and I definitely wasn’t feeling a cramping feeling. I felt a bit of pain at the lower part of my uterus, but I’ve felt this before, which I’ve been told are just your ligaments stretching. This seemed to be a bit different, but I just didn’t know.

It was about midnight, and I think I finally admitted to myself that this was indeed contractions. I took my temperature right away to confirm I didn’t have a fever, I didn’t. A girlfriend, Sierra, was here spending the night keeping me company, as Brian was at work, and I seriously contemplated waking her up so she could feel my belly and confirm what I was feeling. I knew I could have her drive me to the hospital and Brian could meet me there.

I remember someone said that 6 contractions an hour were bad and to call/go in with that many, and I was only having about 3, if that was what I was having at all. So I decided to try to go to sleep and wait until the morning. I woke up, leaking of course, nothing new, got up, then when I got back into bed, realized I was still feeling the same thing as the night before.

At this point I called Brian, but couldn’t reach him (he was out on a call). When we finally spoke at 8 when usually got off, he obviously was really worried and upset that I didn’t do anything about it the night before. He came home as fast as he could. I called my OB at 9, and was a bit frustrated by their office, as I rang through the “emergency and doctors line” and when they realized I wasn’t a doctor they put my call into the regular phone cue. Brian was obviously pissed that we were on hold, he told me to get ready to go to the hospital. When I finally reached someone, they said indeed to go in and that my doc wasn’t in the office that day (Strange, as she had said she was going to call me today).

It’s now 9:15 or so, we left to drive back to the city where he had just come from. Brian hadn’t had any sleep at work and had a crappy night. A friend was coming to town today to stay with me for 3 days and Brian was going to get a much needed break to go up to Tahoe and go camping for a few days with a buddy. I knew that this was all going to go down the drain. He so needed a break. He was not in a good mood. A night without sleep can certainly do this to anyone and his trip was over. I felt terrible.

We got to the OB triage at the hospital at 10am. They put a contraction monitor on me, and after about 45 minutes or so showed some definite contractions. I didn’t know how I felt. Part of me was saying “phew, we weren’t here for nothing, I was having contractions.” The other part of me was definitely saying “oh my god, this could be it for the babies, I’ll have to be admitted and they’ll be born soon, which is waaaaay to soon.”

The doc on call said she was in touch with the Perinatologist (Dr. K that I’ve been wanting to talk to, as my local twins group has said he’s fabulous). I asked if he had been consulted, as well as my OB (who I said I was told was out today, but found that surprising). I reminded them that my case was a special case.

They gave me a shot of something to try to make the contractions stop. They warned me that this shot would likely make my heart race and give me the jitters (as well as the babies hearts). Boy the Doc wasn’t kidding. It was terrible. Within 5 minutes, my heart was literally jumping out of my chest and I was shaking terribly. No fun. I started really crying at this point. Brian was not in a good mood to comfort me, he was so tired and upset too. I felt sort of alone. They took my blood to check for my white blood count to see if I had an infection (I still had a normal temp).

They finally said Dr K wanted my cervix checked by ultrasound, but it was now just about 11:45 and I’d either have to wait until 1:30 or have Dr O do it now (who was the doc who gave us the fateful amnio, and I have made it very clear to all that we DO NOT want to see this doc again), so we decided to wait until 1:30. I had some “wonderful” hospital food, (when I was trying to eat soup, I was shaking so bad (from the shot) that Brian made me laugh when he said it looked like I was suffering from major alcohol withdrawal, and I said I could sure use a drink about now.

Eventually they told me my white blood count was slightly elevated, just as we were going upstairs for an u/s.

At 2:00, I was wheelchaired to the bathroom and we decided to try take matters into our own hands and say we wanted to go up to u/s now. We went up, and waited around more. Finally a u/s tech came and got us and led us to the u/s room and first thing she said was, ‘I’m going to check your cervix with an abdominal and transvaginal u/s.” I said in no uncertain terms with some I’m sure angst in my voice, “You will under no terms will be inserting anything vaginally, I have a PROM and that is a big no-no.” She looked sort of confused and said are you leaking fluid? I said “I have NO fluid and have been leaking fluid for 6 weeks.” At this point, Brian started getting really upset, realizing that no one up here even knew us nor our situation, as they would never suggest a vaginal u/s as that’s been beat into us from every doc due to my high-risk of infection.

A very nice OB doc came in when she realized how upset we were, as the u/s tech couldn’t easily find my cervix abdominally. The doc was able to find my cervix and, good news, felt that it was still elongated (like it should be if I wasn’t in labor). She asked when my last u/s was and what was my cervical length then, it was 1 week ago just down the hall, she said that u/s was with the Perinatologist and she was in a different department and didn’t have access to their records. Brian went off on the doc saying how ridiculous that no one in the hospital spoke to one another. We hadn’t really been told anything. How in the world could they have not known from downstairs that we had a PROM. I said I hadn’t even spoken to my OB and didn’t even know if she knew I was here, she said she would try to help and talk to her. My Doc was doing a procedure, and couldn’t be reached for 30 min, so we waited so I could just lie on the u/s table.

My doc finally got on the phone with me and said because my cervix looked good, we could go back home, I said my husband wanted to talk to her. He got upset when he asked her about my white blood count, and she didn’t even know. She told us to go back downstairs to the OB ER. She then checked my prenatal records, and found out that my white blood count was even slightly higher then than now, but that in order for us to talk to Dr K (the Perinatologist), maybe we should be admitted. I asked why Dr K couldn’t talk to us here in the OB ER, and if he wanted me to be admitted I would do that.

So, basically, eventually, Dr K came and spoke to us (we’d now ordered another meal) as it was nearing 5:00. (Remember we got to the hosp at 10am).

For the first time, I felt someone was finally being "positive" rather than doom and gloom (unlike the peri I’ve been talking regularly too). He said he was very happy that the cervix looked elongated still and that he felt it was ok for me to go back home (even though I was still having an occasional contraction) and to watch for any changes (pain, contractions more often, etc).

He also spoke to us about having a nurse come to my home once a week to take vitals, etc, and that he said he'd rather have me stay on bed rest than leaving the house for the u/s and things. We discussed when I should get the steroid shots and when we should be admitted to the hospital, and he was ok with trying to delay a week or two (for the shot) and for a month for being admitted (like we’d like to) as longs as things stayed the same as they are now. When we complained that it was hard to talk to someone live when we had problems, he gave us his office number and name of his girl. That made us feel better also.

Back home……..

Well, we went home after a full day (8 hours) this was my longest day out of bed since we went to Florida. I also finally slept really well, (I think I was really worn out from the day). Brian slept well too, as he hadn’t slept a bit in about 40 hours. I felt contractions on Friday night still, but so far today, I think they may have settled a bit, who knows, I’m still not really good at telling when I have one. I have to be lying on my back, feeling my belly with my hands. I can’t tell otherwise, as it feels a lot like babies kicking.

I’m so happy to be home (and put off being admitted to the hospital yet) and even happier that the babies didn’t have to come yesterday. They can “bake” a bit longer still. I’m trying to get to my goal of at least 30 weeks.

Instead of Brian being out on a camping trip, its back to “normal” he’s cleaning, doing laundry, and mowing the lawn, and of course waiting on me hand and foot. I feel so bad for him, this is all so hard and certainly not what we had in mind when it came to having a family. He just came in to check on me and said, “Hi Beautiful.” I said wow, thank you, as I certainly am not feeling very beautiful, although, this WAS a shower day!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

23 Weeks and counting....(9/7/05)

Wednesday 9/7/05
23 weeks today
1.5 months bedrest and since PROM

Well, it’s another week. I look forward to Wednesdays all week, so this is a big day! 23 weeks. Next Wednesday will be 24 weeks, which is the first official week that a pregnancy is considered “viable”.

I posted a new belly picture today, go to to see.

My dog Kailan is up on the bed, next to me, it's nice to have her here to pet and love. Of course you can see CNN in the background wtih Katrina news. This is my view day after day after day. Kailan can only come up on the bed when Brian is home, as she's too old too jump up on her own.
Last night I had a little bit of pink come out with my regularly leaking amniotic fluid. I was/am nervous, but it seems to have cleared up by the morning. I immediately took my temperature, and it was normal.

According to How your baby's growing: Your baby is more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound. Her skin is red and wrinkled. Blood vessels in his lungs are developing to prepare her for breathing. She can swallow, but she normally won't pass her first stool (called meconium) until after birth.

My PROM baby can’t swallow, as there isn’t any fluid for her to swallow

Here were some interesting facts about survival rates:

A baby's chances for survival increases 3-4% per day between 23 and 24 weeks of gestation and about 2-3% per day between 24 and 26 weeks of gestation. After 26 weeks the rate of survival increases at a much slower rate because survival is high already.

At 23 weeks, a baby has between 10-40% chance of survival
At 24 weeks, it goes way up from 40-70% chance of survival.

You can see why 24 weeks means a big deal.

Here are some other facts about survival and disabilities of preemies:

Other factors may influence survival by altering the rate of organ maturation or by changing the supply of oxygen to the developing fetus:

--Rupture of the fetal membranes before 24 weeks of gestation with loss of amniotic fluid markedly decreases the baby's chances of survival even if the baby is delivered much later. (Our biggest fear)

--Male infants are slightly less mature and have a slightly higher risk of dying than female infants. (obviously good for us having 2 girls)

OK, maybe this is terrible to research on, but it is such a big fear of ours:
What are the chances that my baby will have a significant disability or handicap?

For any infant, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PREDICT AHEAD OF TIME THE LIKELIHOOD OF A SIGNIFICANT HANDICAP (moderate or severe mental retardation, inability to walk without assistance, blindness or deafness). However, some factors increase the RISK of these handicaps:

One of the main reasons we don’t want to go to the hospital until I am about 28 weeks:
Extreme prematurity, especially infants of 23-24 weeks of gestation at birth. At these gestations the risk is about 50%. As gestational age increases, the chances of being normal or nearly normal increases dramatically and is similar to the chances for survival. This means if survival is 80%, then about 80% of those who survive are free of major disability. Thus, with a 80% survival, 20% will die, about 64% will be healthy and 16% will have major disabilities.

What are the chances that my baby will have a minor disability?

Minor disabilities occur in about 15% of children born on time. They occur more often in premature infants, about half of infants weighing less than 3 1/2 pounds at birth. Many of these are not appreciated until school age. Common minor disabilities include short attention span; specific learning problems in school such as difficulty with math or reading; poorer than average coordination, especially for games requiring eye-hand coordination like hitting a ball; and needing glasses at an early age. Children with minor disabilities usually lead normal lives. Early identification of these problems helps make learning easier.

Well, enough research for now. I’m very, very happy to have made it another week.

The door bell just rang (I can’t get the door of course) but I know it’s a flower delivery from my mom and brother. To celebrate the Wednesday milestone, she is having flowers delivered on Wednesdays. I’ll have to wait till Brian gets back from the store to pick them up from our doorstep.

Monday was a tough day. Monday was Labor Day. Whooppeee, no big deal to me. Every day is the same to me. Brian was at work. A wonderful mom from my local twins group, Chari, came and brought me flowers from her garden, magazines and some Chinese soup. What a sweetheart. I’ve never even met her before. She was on bedrest for a lot of her pregnancy and she said the soup was her saving grace and that she understood all about the nightmares of bedrest. She even did a few house cleaning errands around the house.

After she left early afternoon, I realized I was alone for the rest of the day and night. Wow, it was a long day. Around 10:30 pm Brian called and said he had good news, I said “news that I could get out of bed?” no, he laughed, but he asked if I’d like some company? He was able to leave his shift early because a fellow fireman came into the station to spend the night as he was in town with his family and didn’t want to drive the 1 hour home before his shift the following morning, and he knew of our situation and offered to cover the rest of Brian’s shift!

I was so glad to have Brian come home. We stayed up talking till 2 (I can never sleep until then anyways), he told me about his day, where there was a shooting in the projects in Hunters Point and he said it was frightening, as the locals at the projects (they were all African Americans) were yelling at them for taking too long to get there because they were black. I’m sure Katrina fueled a lot of that. One had died on scene due to a head wound and the other was barely hanging on. Wow, I hate his job sometimes, but I was sure happy he came home early.

Do you know what I find really difficult? So many people ask me daily: “Your situation is terrible, but one baby is still ok, right?” I’ll explain again about the situation.

One baby ruptured her membranes (pPROM) (we call her the Prom Queen) at 17 weeks. The other baby didn’t. Both babies are in their own amniotic sacs, one is ruptured. They are both in my uterus. The PROM baby is HIGHLY susceptible to infection. (read the post from 8.25) I have gone now 6 weeks since PROM with no infection, which I guess is more rare that not (that I have gone this far). Infection is so prevalent in PROM moms because the membranes are open and are ripe for infection, as well as the constant leaking of fluid.

As soon as I have any signs of infection (fever) I have to go IMEMDATELY to the hospital, as pre-term labor usually starts quickly thereafter as well as a huge risk to me. That is why they typically want me to be admitted to the hospital at 24 weeks, as that’s the first viability. So, even though both babies are growing on schedule, it’s a two-for-one deal. If complications come across early (before say 30 weeks) the risk of preemie issues are there for both babies, not just the PROM problems that we won’t ever know until she’s born.

So, yes, although currently one baby is “ok” she isn’t out of the woods until I advance further in the pregnancy. It’s all a matter of premature issues. The other one is a-wait-and-see situation, wait until she’s born. Either way it’s HIGHLY likely that both will be premature and have to spend time in the NICU at the hospital. And that’s why every Wednesday is a really big deal!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Thursday 9/1/05 - Home Alone

Thursday 9/1/05

Brian went to work today. This was my first day and night being completely on my own.
It felt so quiet and I felt so alone.

I did have 3 visitors, however, one amazing woman, Maria, from my local twins group cooked us all kinds of meals. I had never even met Maria before. The number of people reaching out to me has been so amazing and touching. Some days I feel so alone, I think of people I know going about their daily lives and I am stuck here day after day, and then a total stranger reaches out to me with such amazing thoughtfulness and generosity. My wonderful boss Sheila came by as well as an agent from my office, Gail.

I have things I need to do (send out my monthly real estate email newsletter), but I have no desire what so ever, besides the fact that it really is difficult to type very much. I also have wanted to put up t his blog, but have been putting that off too

I continue to watch the news about New Orleans. It’s probably not the most healthy thing for me to do, as I need some positive things and humor in my life and the tragedy unfolding before me certainly isn’t very uplifting.