I have spent 14 days on hospital bed rest now. And, I can honestly say I have only had one bad day since my hospital stay began. I have tried to remain focused on the babies, but day 8 sucked. It dawned on me that I had been here for over a week. It was only days until Christmas; the time of year I would typically be running all over town finding the perfect last minute gift or at least at home enjoying my Christmas decorations. But, instead I was stuck in a hospital bed; all of my independence gone. My breaking point was when they came to change my IV site (they relocate the IV every 3 days) and decided to put it in the bend of my elbow. I had already had it in my hand, my wrist, and my forearm, so elbow was next. The problem with that spot is it doesn’t feel like you can bend your arm. Luckily, the next day the IV came out. They can always put it back if I need it in the future. Since day 8, I have new level of acceptance for being here.
On Christmas Eve, the labor and delivery ward was very slow, so the nurses decided to take Chris and me on a tour. First stop the NICU. While I know there is little doubt that the babies would end up there, I was surprised to find out the nurses all knew who I was, how far along I am and that I am carrying twins. They took us straight over to the” Giraffe” which is an enclosed incubator that they use on extreme preemies. They explained all that it did as well as other equipment that might be hooked up to the babies. Numerous times while discussing processes and procedures they used the term extreme preemies which lead me to ask, what causes a preemie to be classified as extreme? The answer: a baby born on or before 28 weeks or that weighs less than 2.2 lbs.
The next stop on our tour was the mom and baby ward, followed by the operating room. There is a specific OR designated for multiples. They explained in the room each baby would have a nurse as well as the neonatologist, the doctor would have a scrub nurse or 2, of course the doctor, I would have a nurse, the anesthesiologist, Chris and me. That is way more people than I thought would be in the room during my c-section, not that that is a bad thing.
On Christmas, we talked to a lot of family and friends. There were 3 questions that were asked most frequently. 1) How do I feel? Minus being a little stiff from being in bed so much, I feel perfectly fine. 2) Do you really have stay in the hospital until you have the babies? That is a very understandable question considering my “twin due date” isn’t until March 10th. Yes, I will not be going home until after the babies have arrived and the closer to March to better! 3) Why are you in hospital? I have a condition called Absent End Diastolic Blood Flow. It isn’t the easiest condition to explain, but I found an explanation online from a nurse at the Texas Children’s Fetal Center that explains it much better than I can.
“The blood flow in our bodies continues to move forward when our heart is not beating (Diastolic). The placenta works like a pumping mechanism. It provides a closed loop circulation between the baby and the placenta…used blood moves from the baby to the placenta, it then picks up nutrients and is cleaned and then returns to the baby. Doctors look at 3 measurements in a fetus to determine fetal well being… the cord Doppler’s are one of those measurements. When their heart beats and there is a balance of pressure between the baby and the placenta on relaxation of diastolic, blood continues to move forward, when the placenta is working really hard to get that blood flow back to the baby it may appear absent in forward flow. It should be considered a yellow flag… it is concerning but just needs to be watched. When it reverses it is a red flag and is very concerning.”
My Doppler readings on baby B have varied between intermittent absences and absent (mostly absent, but no reversing). I have learned they measure in 3 places along the cord; at the placenta, mid way, and close to the babies’ abdomen. They also check for other signs that would indicate baby B isn’t getting everything he needs. They look for activity level. My babies have no issues there; they are very active babies. They look for amniotic fluid levels, again no issues. And, they frequently monitor the babies’ heart rates. Both babies’ heart rates are in the 150s and 160s. All in all, I have very healthy babies. They just need to continue to cook for a bit longer!