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I’ve been promising to write about my hospitalization and subsequent delivery for the last six months now. I haven’t pulled together the story of the actual delivery yet, but here is the VERY LONGWINDED story of my hospitalization… and this is just the readers’ digest version! I’ve been writing this since the end of February, but just in tiny little chunks, so bear with me if it’s not entirely coherent!

I’m on my way out to Winchester, VA to visit with Jess and her husband and their Five Little Monkeys. Since Jess was one of my biggest supporters in the latter part of my pregnancy and through my hospitalization (even going so far as to post updates for me while I was internet-less in the hospital), I figure there is no better time than now to finally start writing my epic post about my last few days in the hospital and my subsequent delivery at 33 weeks of my 3 little miracles, Abby, Ellie and Sam.

So, to recap, I was admitted to the hospital on September 11, 2007 (which happened to be my admitting perinatologist’s birthday), because my blood pressure was creeping out of control, my liver enzymes were elevated, the contractions weren’t getting any better, home monitoring wasn’t helping, and the terbutaline, procardia, and indocin weren’t keeping things at bay any longer. While the contractions in and of themselves weren’t that worrisome (I was far enough along that they weren’t going to stop labor if it happened), the elevated liver enzymes were worrisome, as was my blood pressure. I went to my check up knowing full well that I was likely to be admitted that day. We’d been playing this dance for weeks, really. They’d been offering to admit me for a while, and I had almost taken them up on it several times. If I hadn’t had an almost-four-year-old at home, I would have been in the hospital a couple weeks before, because I was having such a hard time managing at home. What I hadn’t been expecting was to hear my doctor suggest that if they monitored me for a day or two and felt it was necessary, they’d deliver me. DELIVER ME? WHAT? As far as I was concerned, I still had at least two weeks left! And here my doctor was talking about delivering me in the next day or two. Gah!

Anywhozit, I got all checked in, and my nurse got me hooked up to the dreaded monitor because the perinatologist that admitted me had ordered non-stress tests (NSTs) qshift. That meant that at least three times a day, they strapped on three fetal monitors plus a toco monitor to my enormous belly for about an hour in order to get at least 20-30 minutes worth of readings for all three babies. Suffice it to say, that was all sorts of fun. The good news is, I was having so many contractions (at least 10 per hour) that the nurses FREAKED OUT every shift even though I tried to assure them that it was totally normal for me. So every single shift they would call my doctors to make sure that it was okay to do nothing. Needless to say, when Dr. G. came on call a day or two later, he put a stop to the NSTs real quick. He asked me if I felt like I was comfortable judging for myself if things changed significantly enough so that I could alert the nurses. If I wanted to continue with the NSTs, he was fine with it, but he thought it was probably a little silly. I agreed, particularly since they were waking me up in the middle of the night to deal with the stupid NSTs. He ordered Percocet for pain because the contractions were really painful, and they also ordered Ambien to help me sleep if I wanted it, though I don’t recall ever actually taking it while I was there.

I wrote in my notes on 9/12:

5:30am– nurse took me off the monitor finally. Now I’m wide awake, b/c it’s pretty close to normal wake up time anyway.
6:10am– Babies are kicking away, just as awake as I am. I’m still in a lot of pain fr. contractions, but I could care less, which is essentially what Percocet does for me, which is why I don’t really bother. I know it’s fantastic that I made it to 32 weeks, even though my goal was (and IS 34. Still, I’m scared about it. I did not want this. I went to my appt. yesterday completely prepared to be admitted to the hospital, but absolutely UNPREPARED to hear the word ”deliver,” let alone when grouped with “in the next day or two.” That left me completely incapable of processing anything else.
I am supposed to have a “NICU Consult” today. Hopefully that will help ease my fears, but I worry it will only solidify them. I know logically that triplets born at 32 weeks do really well. And I also know that it’s not a sure thing that I’m going to have to deliver yet. But I’m completely freaked out nonetheless. Hopefully the neonatologist will be able to help calm those fears somewhat. I know that we’ve already passed the point of serious concern re: intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH). And I got my 1st of 2 betamethasone shots yesterday, so that should help with concerns re: lung development. So we’re in good shape.
Dr. G. should be coming by this morning. I should apologize for having him woken up at 4:30 in the morning. I do hate waking doctors up- it makes them less alert during the day to do things like c-sections! (Speaking of which, I think I’ve pretty much kissed my chances of avoiding a c-section goodbye) Anyway, I’m curious what he’ll have to say about the game plan. He seems to be the most cautious and conservative of the three doctors in the practice. My guess, though, is that at this point, all three doctors would pretty much havce the same approach given what’s been going on. At any rate, it’ll be good to see him. I had thought I’d be seeing him at my appt. yesterday, but it was Dr. M.
Much Later-Dr. G. came in at 7:30am. Asked what was going on last night [I’d had tons of contractions through the night and he’d been called a couple times about me]. I told him the number of contractions was fairly consistent with my normal rate, but the intensity/pain level of each contraction was much higher than usual- except for the night my terbutaline pump hadn’t been working. Dr. G. suggested that we might re-start the pump for the sake of my comfort level. He isn’t looking to hold off labor at this point – if it happens, it happens, but there’s no good reason for me to be in that much pain. Fair enough.

My notes over the next several days are really sketchy because it was Rosh Hashana and I couldn’t write anything or use the computer. It was weird to be in the hospital on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. I couldn’t use the phone or electricity or anything. I did have some visitors, because fortunately, the hospital is walking distance to my house and my community, so it could have been a lot worse. Also the hospital arranged to have Yeshiva students come in to blow the Shofar for the Jewish patients. I was at a Catholic hospital, so it was a little surreal to have a nun come into my room to ask if I’d like to hear the Shofar, but it was great that they did that for us. Also, Pastoral Care Services made sure that apples and honey were on my dinner tray every night.

I had a sonogram on 9/14, with a BPP. They didn’t do growth measurements, but the sonographer could tell from the Doppler that Baby C was smaller than the other two. She seemed worried, but Dr. G. was running off to an emergency procedure, so I didn’t get to talk to him. I assumed that if it were anything to worry about, he would let me know after he reviewed the pictures later in the day. I didn’t hear from him, so I assumed all was well. I asked Dr. M. about it the next day (Saturday) and she said that particular sonographer is very jumpy and that she and Dr. G. talked about it and looked at the pictures and didn’t think they needed to be too alarmed just yet. They would be doing a growth ultrasound on Tuesday, when they’d know more about what was going on. And not to worry anyway, because she’d scheduled my c-section for next Friday, the 21st, so the end was in sight.

Uh. What? First of all, what c-section? I was still holding onto the thought that we were going to get me to 34 weeks. The 21st would only be 33 weeks and 2 days. Second of all, if I made it to 34 weeks, Dr. G. and Dr. P. said we could talk about a vaginal delivery and avoid the c-section. I knew Dr. M. wouldn’t do a vaginal delivery, so she and I had never discussed it, plus I nearly never saw her during my pregnancy, so it just hadn’t occurred to me to discuss this with her. But what do you MEAN it was scheduled for the 21st? Worse, the 21st was right before Yom Kippur, which was just NOT going to fly with me, unless I went into labor and just didn’t have any way around it. No way was I going to PLAN to deliver my three babies just hours before my husband would be completely unavailable to me for a full 25 hours. No possibility.

The most horrible part about it was that she told me this on a Saturday when I couldn’t call anyone, I couldn’t talk to my husband (he was sick, so he didn’t make the walk down to see me…it’s about 2 miles, so it’s completely doable, but when you’re not feeling well, it’s sucky). I was in a blind panic that they were going to make me do this on the absolute worst time. Dr. M. was convinced that the real reason I was upset about it was that there was a date on the table and that it was hard to imagine the concrete-ness of it all. While it’s true that there was probably some element of that, it’s really hard to describe how horrible it would have been for me to have delivered three babies and had them in the NICU with me recovering from major surgery after three months on bed rest and not have my husband even remotely available to me. Even if he skipped out on shul and stayed with me at the hospital (which would have been hard for him to do because remember there was still J at home to take care of), he would have been fasting, and Seth is not terribly functional when he’s fasting. Yom Kippur is a full 25-hour fast. No food, no water, no nothing, so it’s not pretty. While I would have been exempt from the fast, he would not have been. Delivering on the 21st would have been miserable and horrible at best.

I spent the entire day in tears, absolutely panicking. Two friends came to visit and I burst into tears the second they walked into the room (the first friend was the one to break the news to me that Seth wasn’t going to come visit that day, which was the last straw for my nerves that day). I had put up with an awful lot of discomfort, an awful lot of pain, an awful lot of fear and uncertainty through 7 months of pregnancy. And dammit, I’d mostly done it with a smile on my face. I had been fairly graceful about it all, looking back, but that day I absolutely hit my limit.

Finally, the sun set, and I called Jess and completely lost it. Jess had been commenting in all our conversations about how unflappable I’d been. When I was admitted and they started talking about preeclampsia and cholestasis and delivering and whatever, I’d really been okay. I was calm, I was at peace. I was just trying to hold onto my babies. But poor Jessica didn’t know what to do with me that night. She listened to me blubber and she told me it was okay to be upset and she told me she understood, even though she was probably thinking that it was a mistake to have ever given that total nutjob her phone number. I sobbed and sobbed into the phone and told her it just couldn’t be and I couldn’t let it happen and how I just felt so completely out of control and I begged her to find a way to stop it, even though I knew there was nothing she could do.

Poor Jess. Jess had never heard me so out of control. Jess had absolutely no idea what to think of me that night. She calmed me down. She told me she understood why I was upset. She told me that she would be upset too. She told me it would be okay. She told me that it was okay to tell the doctor that I was NOT okay with having a c-section the day before Yom Kippur if it was elective. Going into labor and not having a choice? Okay. Doing it on purpose? Not okay, and it’s okay to tell the doctor that. And then, poor Jess had the misfortune of having to update my blog. The poor dear had no idea what to say. She didn’t want to betray my state of mind and tell the whole world that I’d completely lost my shit, but she couldn’t very well say that I was completely okay either. She did a pretty good job

I remember I was having horrible, uncontrollable migraines and headaches while I was in the hospital. Percocet wasn’t helping them, and there wasn’t much else we could do for them. The itching from the cholestasis/preeclampsia was nearly unbearable. I could hardly move, which wasn’t so bad because I wasn’t really allowed to move anyway. The contractions were fairly regular, but that wasn’t the end of the world once they took me off the qshift monitoring. So long as the nurses weren’t freaking out about it, I was okay with it. I still dream of having a pregnancy where I don’t know what it’s like to have 12 contractions an hour every hour for three months. I still remember having a doctor tell me he wasn’t worried about me having 12 contractions an hour. “That’s not what labor’s like… When you’re in labor, you won’t have that many contractions. You’ll have contractions about every 4-5 minutes.” Uh, yeah, you do the math, okay? I’ll wait. See my point? Yeah.

Anywhozit, the days passed and blurred one to the next. Sunday, the 16th, was J’s 4th birthday. Seth brought him to the hospital to open presents and have cupcakes in my room. I broke the rules and curled up on the couch with Seth while J played with the adjustable bed (it goes up! AND down!) and watched cartoon network (seriously! there are NO kid-appropriate shows on that channel!) It was quite possibly the best birthday J has ever had. He loved that adjustable bed! 🙂 The nurse was pretty amused by his jumping around, which I was pretty happy about, because it distracted her from scolding me about being out of bed. But, eventually it was bed time for J and I was alone again.

The lack of internet at the hospital was definitely getting to me, and when Seth and J left that day, I felt more alone than I did on most days. For some reason, the emptiness of the room resonated more than ever, perhaps because J’s exuberance at turning four was so clear… He was so excited to turn four, because, you see, now it meant that at his NEXT birthday he’ll be FIVE and five is his VERY FAVORITE number. So now he’s even closer to his very favoritest birthday EVER. What more could a boy ask for? But when they left… oh it was beyond quiet in the room. The silence was deafening. Even the TV didn’t help. Monday was even worse. I looked forward to Tuesday because I was scheduled for ultrasounds on Tuesdays and Fridays.

And so, Tuesday came and they brought me down for an ultrasound…

There was a student nurse at the ultrasound and she asked permission to stay for the ultrasound and I said, sure what the hell. I mean, everyone else and their sister has seen my insides, why not someone else? And really, how many sets of triplets was this student going to get to see while she’s in school? How cool am I? I remember I freaked out the nurse because my legs and feet were really swollen and I guess my hands must have been too. I might have been more freaked out about it myself had the ultrasound itself not have been cause for so much activity the rest of the day. Baby C hadn’t grown at all. Again. Baby C was a very small baby. They estimated the baby to be about 2 pounds, 14 ounces at best, compared to baby A, who they thought was 4 pounds, 4 ounces (in retrospect, they were a little optimistic on both counts, but really not that far off, actually. I can’t remember what they estimated Baby B at, but I think it was 3 pounds 14 or 15 ounces, which was the closest to accurate). The sonographer disappeared to talk to the doctor, but it was clear that she was worried. I chatted with the student nurse for a long, long, long, long time. Eventually she got pretty nervous and she disappeared to figure out what was going on with the doctor and sonographer and they all came back to talk to me.

Dr. M. came in, took a look at the pictures, poked around at the babies, and said, “I want to deliver you. Today or tomrorow at the latest.” And yeah, a vaginal delivery was out of the question. Baby C (who I now know is Abby) would not have done well with a vaginal delivery. While she might have survived the delivery, she probably would have ended up with a prolonged NICU stay as a result. It wasn’t worth the risk of course. I was despondent, but I obviously wasn’t going to put my baby’s life in danger.

I went back to my room and called Seth and told him he needed to take the next day off of work. And I called my dad and gave him the news. And I called a couple other folks, including Jess and my mom of course. And then I quietly freaked out. Remember how I wanted NOTHING TO DO WITH A C-SECTION? I still wanted NOTHING to do with a c-section. I was still utterly terrified of having an epidural. I was still utterly terrified of not being able to feel my lower half. I still didn’t want to have my babies whisked away from me without the joy of a normal delivery. I was angry. And worried that something would get forgotten or overlooked or whatever.

AND OH CRAP.

WE HAD NO NAMES! Well, clearly we could NOT have these babies! Seth was given directions to get a babysitter (my mother) for after J went to sleep that night so that he could come to the hospital to go through the baby name books AGAIN to look for names (AGAIN) to see if THIS time we could come up with SOMETHING that seemed like a reasonable list of names that MAYBE would work for our babies when they arrived. As it turned out, we weren’t terribly successful, and this was probably largely due to the fact that we didn’t know what we were having. It’s amazing how hard it is to make a list of names when you know you’ve got three babies coming, but you don’t know what flavor of babies you’ve got. Impossible, really.

I was convinced that I couldn’t possibly deliver the babies if I didn’t at least have a list of possible names, so we did make a list of possible girl names, but we never did come up with a list of boy names. For this reason, I was absolutely certain that we were having three boys. I was also convinced, by the way, that I could not deliver my babies until I was done knitting my three hats for them… but I finished the three hats I was knitting and needed to sew one last seam, but Seth accidentally threw out my needle… so I said I would NOT deliver those three babies until he found me another needle. Suffice it to say, he didn’t find me another needle, I didn’t finish the hat before I delivered, the doctor wouldn’t delay the surgery for something that dumb, but the hat got finished when they were a few days old. Sigh.

But I digress…

Seth and I did NOT come up with three perfect names that night. Seth and I came up with a list of about 15 girl names that I didn’t hate, but nothing in combination (in other words, they were just random names, not first-middle complete names) and ZERO boy names. I had NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING for the possibility of having a boy. Eventually, my poor, weary husband had to go home, knowing that he had to be back at the hospital early the next morning so as not to miss the main event, names or no names.

This post is long enough, so you’ll just have to wait for the story of the birth itself! But rest assured, I AM actually working on it.

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I've been promising to write about my hospitalization and subsequent delivery for the last six months now. I haven't pulled together the story of the actual deliveriy yet, but here is the VERY LONGWINDED story of my hospitalization… and this is just the readers' digest version! I've been writing this since the end of February, but just in tiny little chunks, so bear with me if it's not entirely coherent!

I’m on my way out to Winchester, VA to visit with Jess and her husband and their Five Little Monkeys. Since Jess was one of my biggest supporters in the latter part of my pregnancy and through my hospitalization (even going so far as to post updates for me while I was internet-less in the hospital), I figure there is no better time than now to finally start writing my epic post about my last few days in the hospital and my subsequent delivery at 33 weeks of my 3 little miracles, Abby, Ellie and Sam.

So, to recap, I was admitted to the hospital on September 11, 2007 (which happened to be my admitting perinatologist’s birthday), because my blood pressure was creeping out of control, my liver enzymes were elevated, the contractions weren’t getting any better, home monitoring wasn’t helping, and the terbutaline, procardia, and indocin weren’t keeping things at bay any longer. While the contractions in and of themselves weren’t that worrisome (I was far enough along that they weren’t going to stop labor if it happened), the elevated liver enzymes were worrisome, as was my blood pressure. I went to my check up knowing full well that I was likely to be admitted that day. We’d been playing this dance for weeks, really. They’d been offering to admit me for a while, and I had almost taken them up on it several times. If I hadn’t had an almost-four-year-old at home, I would have been in the hospital a couple weeks before, because I was having such a hard time managing at home. What I hadn’t been expecting was to hear my doctor suggest that if they monitored me for a day or two and felt it was necessary, they’d deliver me. DELIVER ME? WHAT? As far as I was concerned, I still had at least two weeks left! And here my doctor was talking about delivering me in the next day or two. Gah!

Anywhozit, I got all checked in, and my nurse got me hooked up to the dreaded monitor because the perinatologist that admitted me had ordered non-stress tests (NSTs) qshift. That meant that at least three times a day, they strapped on three fetal monitors plus a toco monitor to my enormous belly for about an hour in order to get at least 20-30 minutes worth of readings for all three babies. Suffice it to say, that was all sorts of fun. The good news is, I was having so many contractions (at least 10 per hour) that the nurses FREAKED OUT every shift even though I tried to assure them that it was totally normal for me. So every single shift they would call my doctors to make sure that it was okay to do nothing. Needless to say, when Dr. G. came on call a day or two later, he put a stop to the NSTs real quick. He asked me if I felt like I was comfortable judging for myself if things changed significantly enough so that I could alert the nurses. If I wanted to continue with the NSTs, he was fine with it, but he thought it was probably a little silly. I agreed, particularly since they were waking me up in the middle of the night to deal with the stupid NSTs. He ordered Percocet for pain because the contractions were really painful, and they also ordered Ambien to help me sleep if I wanted it, though I don’t recall ever actually taking it while I was there.

I wrote in my notes on 9/12:

5:30am– nurse took me off the monitor finally. Now I’m wide awake, b/c it’s pretty close to normal wake up time anyway.
6:10am– Babies are kicking away, just as awake as I am. I’m still in a lot of pain fr. contractions, but I could care less, which is essentially what Percocet does for me, which is why I don’t really bother. I know it’s fantastic that I made it to 32 weeks, even though my goal was (and IS 34. Still, I’m scared about it. I did not want this. I went to my appt. yesterday completely prepared to be admitted to the hospital, but absolutely UNPREPARED to hear the word ”deliver,” let alone when grouped with “in the next day or two.” That left me completely incapable of processing anything else.
I am supposed to have a “NICU Consult” today. Hopefully that will help ease my fears, but I worry it will only solidify them. I know logically that triplets born at 32 weeks do really well. And I also know that it’s not a sure thing that I’m going to have to deliver yet. But I’m completely freaked out nonetheless. Hopefully the neonatologist will be able to help calm those fears somewhat. I know that we’ve already passed the point of serious concern re: intraventricular hemorrhage (IVH). And I got my 1st of 2 betamethasone shots yesterday, so that should help with concerns re: lung development. So we’re in good shape.
Dr. G. should be coming by this morning. I should apologize for having him woken up at 4:30 in the morning. I do hate waking doctors up- it makes them less alert during the day to do things like c-sections! (Speaking of which, I think I’ve pretty much kissed my chances of avoiding a c-section goodbye) Anyway, I’m curious what he’ll have to say about the game plan. He seems to be the most cautious and conservative of the three doctors in the practice. My guess, though, is that at this point, all three doctors would pretty much havce the same approach given what’s been going on. At any rate, it’ll be good to see him. I had thought I’d be seeing him at my appt. yesterday, but it was Dr. M.
Much Later-Dr. G. came in at 7:30am. Asked what was going on last night [I’d had tons of contractions through the night and he’d been called a couple times about me]. I told him the number of contractions was fairly consistent with my normal rate, but the intensity/pain level of each contraction was much higher than usual- except for the night my terbutaline pump hadn’t been working. Dr. G. suggested that we might re-start the pump for the sake of my comfort level. He isn’t looking to hold off labor at this point – if it happens, it happens, but there’s no good reason for me to be in that much pain. Fair enough.

My notes over the next several days are really sketchy because it was Rosh Hashana and I couldn’t write anything or use the computer. It was weird to be in the hospital on Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. I couldn’t use the phone or electricity or anything. I did have some visitors, because fortunately, the hospital is walking distance to my house and my community, so it could have been a lot worse. Also the hospital arranged to have Yeshiva students come in to blow the Shofar for the Jewish patients. I was at a Catholic hospital, so it was a little surreal to have a nun come into my room to ask if I’d like to hear the Shofar, but it was great that they did that for us. Also, Pastoral Care Services made sure that apples and honey were on my dinner tray every night.

I had a sonogram on 9/14, with a BPP. They didn’t do growth measurements, but the sonographer could tell from the Doppler that Baby C was smaller than the other two. She seemed worried, but Dr. G. was running off to an emergency procedure, so I didn’t get to talk to him. I assumed that if it were anything to worry about, he would let me know after he reviewed the pictures later in the day. I didn’t hear from him, so I assumed all was well. I asked Dr. M. about it the next day (Saturday) and she said that particular sonographer is very jumpy and that she and Dr. G. talked about it and looked at the pictures and didn’t think they needed to be too alarmed just yet. They would be doing a growth ultrasound on Tuesday, when they’d know more about what was going on. And not to worry anyway, because she’d scheduled my c-section for next Friday, the 21st, so the end was in sight.

Uh. What? First of all, what c-section? I was still holding onto the thought that we were going to get me to 34 weeks. The 21st would only be 33 weeks and 2 days. Second of all, if I made it to 34 weeks, Dr. G. and Dr. P. said we could talk about a vaginal delivery and avoid the c-section. I knew Dr. M. wouldn’t do a vaginal delivery, so she and I had never discussed it, plus I nearly never saw her during my pregnancy, so it just hadn’t occurred to me to discuss this with her. But what do you MEAN it was scheduled for the 21st? Worse, the 21st was right before Yom Kippur, which was just NOT going to fly with me, unless I went into labor and just didn’t have any way around it. No way was I going to PLAN to deliver my three babies just hours before my husband would be completely unavailable to me for a full 25 hours. No possibility.

The most horrible part about it was that she told me this on a Saturday when I couldn’t call anyone, I couldn’t talk to my husband (he was sick, so he didn’t make the walk down to see me…it’s about 2 miles, so it’s completely doable, but when you’re not feeling well, it’s sucky). I was in a blind panic that they were going to make me do this on the absolute worst time. Dr. M. was convinced that the real reason I was upset about it was that there was a date on the table and that it was hard to imagine the concrete-ness of it all. While it’s true that there was probably some element of that, it’s really hard to describe how horrible it would have been for me to have delivered three babies and had them in the NICU with me recovering from major surgery after three months on bed rest and not have my husband even remotely available to me. Even if he skipped out on shul and stayed with me at the hospital (which would have been hard for him to do because remember there was still J at home to take care of), he would have been fasting, and Seth is not terribly functional when he’s fasting. Yom Kippur is a full 25-hour fast. No food, no water, no nothing, so it’s not pretty. While I would have been exempt from the fast, he would not have been. Delivering on the 21st would have been miserable and horrible at best.

I spent the entire day in tears, absolutely panicking. Two friends came to visit and I burst into tears the second they walked into the room (the first friend was the one to break the news to me that Seth wasn’t going to come visit that day, which was the last straw for my nerves that day). I had put up with an awful lot of discomfort, an awful lot of pain, an awful lot of fear and uncertainty through 7 months of pregnancy. And dammit, I’d mostly done it with a smile on my face. I had been fairly graceful about it all, looking back, but that day I absolutely hit my limit.

Finally, the sun set, and I called Jess and completely lost it. Jess had been commenting in all our conversations about how unflappable I’d been. When I was admitted and they started talking about preeclampsia and cholestasis and delivering and whatever, I’d really been okay. I was calm, I was at peace. I was just trying to hold onto my babies. But poor Jessica didn’t know what to do with me that night. She listened to me blubber and she told me it was okay to be upset and she told me she understood, even though she was probably thinking that it was a mistake to have ever given that total nutjob her phone number. I sobbed and sobbed into the phone and told her it just couldn’t be and I couldn’t let it happen and how I just felt so completely out of control and I begged her to find a way to stop it, even though I knew there was nothing she could do.

Poor Jess. Jess had never heard me so out of control. Jess had absolutely no idea what to think of me that night. She calmed me down. She told me she understood why I was upset. She told me that she would be upset too. She told me it would be okay. She told me that it was okay to tell the doctor that I was NOT okay with having a c-section the day before Yom Kippur if it was elective. Going into labor and not having a choice? Okay. Doing it on purpose? Not okay, and it's okay to tell the doctor that. And then, poor Jess had the misfortune of having to update my blog. The poor dear had no idea what to say. She didn't want to betray my state of mind and tell the whole world that I'd completely lost my shit, but she couldn't very well say that I was completely okay either. She did a pretty good job

I remember I was having horrible, uncontrollable migraines and headaches while I was in the hospital. Percocet wasn't helping them, and there wasn't much else we could do for them. The itching from the cholestasis/preeclampsia was nearly unbearable. I could hardly move, which wasn't so bad because I wasn't really allowed to move anyway. The contractions were fairly regular, but that wasn't the end of the world once they took me off the qshift monitoring. So long as the nurses weren't freaking out about it, I was okay with it. I still dream of having a pregnancy where I don't know what it's like to have 12 contractions an hour every hour for three months. I still remember having a doctor tell me he wasn't worried about me having 12 contractions an hour. "That's not what labor's like… When you're in labor, you won't have that many contractions. You'll have contractions about every 4-5 minutes." Uh, yeah, you do the math, okay? I'll wait. See my point? Yeah.

Anywhozit, the days passed and blurred one to the next. Sunday, the 16th, was J's 4th birthday. Seth brought him to the hospital to open presents and have cupcakes in my room. I broke the rules and curled up on the couch with Seth while J played with the adjustable bed (it goes up! AND down!) and watched cartoon network (seriously! there are NO kid-appropriate shows on that channel!) It was quite possibly the best birthday J has ever had. He loved that adjustable bed! 🙂 The nurse was pretty amused by his jumping around, which I was pretty happy about, because it distracted her from scolding me about being out of bed. But, eventually it was bed time for J and I was alone again.

The lack of internet at the hospital was definitely getting to me, and when Seth and J left that day, I felt more alone than I did on most days. For some reason, the emptiness of the room resonated more than ever, perhaps because J's exuberance at turning four was so clear… He was so excited to turn four, because, you see, now it meant that at his NEXT birthday he'll be FIVE and five is his VERY FAVORITE number. So now he's even closer to his very favoritest birthday EVER. What more could a boy ask for? But when they left… oh it was beyond quiet in the room. The silence was deafening. Even the TV didn't help. Monday was even worse. I looked forward to Tuesday because I was scheduled for ultrasounds on Tuesdays and Fridays.

And so, Tuesday came and they brought me down for an ultrasound…

There was a student nurse at the ultrasound and she asked permission to stay for the ultrasound and I said, sure what the hell. I mean, everyone else and their sister has seen my insides, why not someone else? And really, how many sets of triplets was this student going to get to see while she's in school? How cool am I? I remember I freaked out the nurse because my legs and feet were really swollen and I guess my hands must have been too. I might have been more freaked out about it myself had the ultrasound itself not have been cause for so much activity the rest of the day. Baby C hadn't grown at all. Again. Baby C was a very small baby. They estimated the baby to be about 2 pounds, 14 ounces at best, compared to baby A, who they thought was 4 pounds, 4 ounces (in retrospect, they were a little optimistic on both counts, but really not that far off, actually. I can't remember what they estimated Baby B at, but I think it was 3 pounds 14 or 15 ounces, which was the closest to accurate). The sonographer disappeared to talk to the doctor, but it was clear that she was worried. I chatted with the student nurse for a long, long, long, long time. Eventually she got pretty nervous and she disappeared to figure out what was going on with the doctor and sonographer and they all came back to talk to me.

Dr. M. came in, took a look at the pictures, poked around at the babies, and said, "I want to deliver you. Today or tomrorow at the latest." And yeah, a vaginal delivery was out of the question. Baby C (who I now know is Abby) would not have done well with a vaginal delivery. While she might have survived the delivery, she probably would have ended up with a prolonged NICU stay as a result. It wasn't worth the risk of course. I was despondent, but I obviously wasn't going to put my baby's life in danger.

I went back to my room and called Seth and told him he needed to take the next day off of work. And I called my dad and gave him the news. And I called a couple other folks, including Jess and my mom of course. And then I quietly freaked out. Remember how I wanted NOTHING TO DO WITH A C-SECTION? I still wanted NOTHING to do with a c-section. I was still utterly terrified of having an epidural. I was still utterly terrified of not being able to feel my lower half. I still didn't want to have my babies whisked away from me without the joy of a normal delivery. I was angry. And worried that something would get forgotten or overlooked or whatever.

AND OH CRAP.

WE HAD NO NAMES! Well, clearly we could NOT have these babies! Seth was given directions to get a babysitter (my mother) for after J went to sleep that night so that he could come to the hospital to go through the baby name books AGAIN to look for names (AGAIN) to see if THIS time we could come up with SOMETHING that seemed like a reasonable list of names that MAYBE would work for our babies when they arrived. As it turned out, we weren't terribly successful, and this was probably largely due to the fact that we didn't know what we were having. It's amazing how hard it is to make a list of names when you know you've got three babies coming, but you don't know what flavor of babies you've got. Impossible, really.

I was convinced that I couldn't possibly deliver the babies if I didn't at least have a list of possible names, so we did make a list of possible girl names, but we never did come up with a list of boy names. For this reason, I was absolutely certain that we were having three boys. I was also convinced, by the way, that I could not deliver my babies until I was done knitting my three hats for them… but I finished the three hats I was knitting and needed to sew one last seam, but Seth accidentally threw out my needle… so I said I would NOT deliver those three babies until he found me another needle. Suffice it to say, he didn't find me another needle, I didn't finish the hat before I delivered, the doctor wouldn't delay the surgery for something that dumb, but the hat got finished when they were a few days old. Sigh.

But I digress…

Seth and I did NOT come up with three perfect names that night. Seth and I came up with a list of about 15 girl names that I didn't hate, but nothing in combination (in other words, they were just random names, not first-middle complete names) and ZERO boy names. I had NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING for the possibility of having a boy. Eventually, my poor, weary husband had to go home, knowing that he had to be back at the hospital early the next morning so as not to miss the main event, names or no names.

This post is long enough, so you'll just have to wait for the story of the birth itself! But rest assured, I AM actually working on it.

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Okay, so my last entry was rather abrupt and seriously lacking in detail. It was a rather visceral reaction to a not-very-good appointment which frankly captured my mood, but not so much of the specifics. So let me esplain! No! There is too much. Lemme sum up… wait. This is my blog, I can take all the time I want. So here it all is… or at least as much of it as has remained in my brain since then:

Sunday
Sunday evening, as you’ll recall, I was having about 4 contractions per hour and I paged the doctor on call. Dr. M called me back pretty quickly and she told me that if it continued, I should definitely come in to L&D to be monitored, but agreed that if I could sleep through them that coming in to my already-scheduled appointment at 10am was probably fine. She said that if I could sleep through them, the contractions were probably not so worrisome, but that if they were keeping me awake, I should definitely come in, get monitored, get IV fluids and probably terbutaline. She told me that I’d be seeing Dr. R in the office if I was able to hold off until morning. I wasn’t thrilled to hear that. I’d never met Dr. R and I love the other three doctors and I just didn’t want to meet another doctor. I couldn’t, after all, possibly like a fourth doctor, could I? I don’t deal well with change. At all. I get very set in my ways, so adding a new variable was definitely not something I was loving. Still, I definitely didn’t want to spend all night in L&D and laying down for a few hours did slow my contractions back down to about 2-3 per hour, even if I didn’t really sleep through them (Seriously… who was I kidding? I don’t sleep through the best of nights!)

Monday
Monday morning I got up, took J to camp, hung out in my recliner for a bit and then headed over to my 10am appointment. I was of two minds about this appointment. On the one hand, I was a bit worried about the fact that my cervix had started to act a little wonky last Wednesday, but on the other hand, I really didn’t expect that there would be any significant change, either. Other than taking J to school, I’d been pretty much continually sitting/laying down on my tush since Thursday afternoon. I hadn’t done any moving around to speak of, everything had been going really well. I expected, really, to hear from the doctor “gosh, I don’t know what Dr. G. was so worried about, everything’s looking great.” Or at least to hear, “Well, I see why he was concerned about the change, but there’s not been any additional progress since Wednesday, so you’re still doing fine.”

Instead, one look at the ultrasound, before a single measurement was taken, and even I could tell that it wasn’t good. Wednesday’s measurement had been around 3cm. There was no way that it was still that long. Worse, as we were watching, we saw it start to funnel and shorten even more. The doctor froze the image and measured. 1.5cm. A few more measurements revealed that it shifted between 1.5 and 2.3 cm. This is called a “dynamic cervix”. I never google this stuff, but if you DO happen to google the term “dynamic cervix” you’ll see it referred to often as a precursor to an incompetent cervix. However, the doctor said that she sees a dynamic cerix a lot with high order multiples in general.

I told her that I’d been having 4+ contractions per hour the night before but they had slowed to 2-3 per hour through the night. I asked what my guideline ought to be…how long I should put up with them occurring 4 per hour before I call, etc. She said that if I’m getting 3-4 per hour for 2 hours or more after laying down, drinking water, etc. I should absolutely call. She said also that in light of my noticeably shortened cervix, I needed to “limit my activity” as much as possible. It wasn’t until later that I realized I didn’t know what the hell that meant. I did ask whether I could still drive J to and from day care and she said she would get someone else to do it.

She said that we could consider doing a Fetal Fibronectin test which might be one indicator of my risk of going into labor due to a cervical issue in the next two weeks. But, we couldn’t do it then, because you can’t do the test if you’ve had any sort of vaginal exam in the last 24 hours, including vaginal ultrasound. She also wanted to research whether the test was valid with triplets. She knew it was with twins, but wanted to check with triplets.

So we left things at: 1. Limit activity as much as possible; 2. No driving J. to and from day care; 3. Call if contractions increase to 3-4 per hour persistently; 4. Return for a re-check in a week – and we could consider doing the fetal fibronectin test then before the ultrasound. I waddled off to get my weight and blood pressure checked (down a pound, but didn’t hear what my BP was). The doctor wandered back in to let me know that she found an article written by John Elliot about fetal fibronectin tests with triplets and quadruplets, which seemed to indicate that test results are valid even with HOMs, so she was comfortable recommending that we go ahead and do the test before my next ultrasound. Fair enough. She made a bit of friendly chatter and as I was leaving asked if the triplets were the result of IVF or IUI. Interesting that it didn’t occur to her that they could have been spontaneous, but regardless. I told her that they were from a last-ditch IUI and that in fact, I’d been pushing for IVF for some time specifically to avoid the triplet scenario if possible, but here we are. I mean, I am now very excited about my triplets, don’t get me wrong. But I’ll tell you what, all the excitement this week was excitement I could have lived without. So she said, “Yeah, if I had needed fertility treatment, which I didn’t, I’m quite fertile with three children and no need for more, thankfully, I would have done IVF because I wouldn’t have wanted to risk it with IUI.”

What. The. Heck? Did she seriously just say that? Yeah. She really did.

Basically I left the appointment in a haze. I made a couple calls to make sure I could arrange to have J picked up from camp that afternoon. I let my husband know what was going on. And I IM’d Jess and FREAKED THE HECK OUT. And she, good calm friend that she is, listened. And told me I really needed clarification on what “limit my activity” really means, which was true. I’m a girl who follows directions very well, if they’re very specific. You tell me I may never get out of my chair ever again and I won’t do it. You tell me to “use my judgment” and that’s where we’ve got a problem. I’m not objective enough. I fully admit this character flaw. So I called my nurse to clarify. She gave me more specifics, which didn’t sound terribly restrictive to me, considering that I’d already been pretty restricted in the first place. Outside of going to and from work, up until this point, my activity level has boiled mostly down to sitting my tush in my recliner and staying there, with only occasional trips into the kitchen and whatnot. So the only real difference seemed to be that I shouldn’t take J to and from daycare/camp and that I shouldn’t go to work anymore. I was told I needed to use my judgment about working from home, but I decided I didn’t want to risk the stress of it. I was given permission to go into my office for an hour on Thursday because my coworkers were planning a “surprise” party for me (I’ve since cancelled that). But otherwise, trips out should be pretty much restricted to doctor’s appointments.

“What we really need,” the nurse said, “is to keep these babies in at least a few more weeks.”
“I’m rather hoping for another 8 or 10 weeks!” I said.
“Well, I don’t know about 10 weeks. Right now, we need to get you to at least 28 weeks, and we’ll take every week after that as a bonus.”

I. Freaked. Out. This was the first time I’d ever heard anyone from the practice ever say anything about 28 weeks being even remotely in the picture. They get most of their triplet patients to 34 weeks. It never occurred to me that I could or would be the exception to that rule. I didn’t know whether she was speaking from her own experience with the practice. Or if she was speaking from specific knowledge of my case and details. Or if she was speaking based on her discussion with another doctor (she’d had another doctor review the notes from the visit before calling me back). I didn’t know where it was coming from, all I knew was that I’d never, ever, ever wanted to hear those words. The whole reason I never wanted triplets was because I never wanted to hear the words, “We’re hoping to get you to at least 28 weeks” or anything of the kind. I spent the rest of the day completely freaked out. How was I supposed to go an entire week without knowing what was going on? Why was waiting a week prudent? What was I waiting for? To lose another cm? I couldn’t afford to lose another cm on my cervix! Ack, the stress!

I exchanged several emails with several triplet mamas who gave me some good advice, recommended I look for more agressive advice from the doctors in the practice that I know better (I did NOT come out of that appointment liking the new-to-me doctor one bit). I worried a lot. I spent a LOT of time thinking about that 28 week remark. I could not get that out of my head. That’s only 4 weeks away. It can’t be. There’s no way that could be real. She couldn’t have meant it. Could she? Eventually, I wrote my blog entry here, spent some time with S and J, and then went to bed. I was exhausted, anxious, and frankly, tired of thinking about this anymore. I would just see how I was feeling in the morning and take it one day at a time.

Tuesday
Things were going less well in the morning. I was in a blind panic most of the morning, not made any easier by the fact that the contractions had increased a lot, both in intensity and frequency. I kept thinking about that 28 week remark. I kept wondering what would happen if I waited a week. I continued to wonder when I should call the office about the contractions. I didn’t want to be alarmist, but I didn’t want to miss anything either. I have a tendency to second-guess myself when it comes to calling doctors because I spent a number of years getting called a hypochondriac as a kid (when all along, it turned out that, in fact, I really was sick all the time). The contractions did me the courtesy, though, of striking on the hour, every hour. Which made it easier to notice that they were every fifteen minutes. At first I thought that was crazy; it seemed a bit too coincidental. The next hour, I realized that they were closer together; almost exactly 10 minutes apart. And so I called and left a message for my nurse. And waited. And I emailed Jess and apparently freaked her out, because she immediately jumped on IM and told me that I shouldn’t wait too long, I should just go straight to L&D if I didn’t hear back soon. At 11:58, I called back, figuring I’d better try to catch them before they closed for lunch. My nurse said she’d talk to the doctor and call me back. Tick tock. Tick tock. Jess IM’d a list of items I should pack in a bag to take with me in case they sent me to L&D. She reminded me to call my husband (I had remembered to call him, but admittedly, it wasn’t that long before Jess told me to call him that I’d realized that it hadn’t occurred to me up until that point!).

My nurse called back and told me to go in to the office where they were waiting for me, so they could reevaluate me. This meant I had to see Dr. R. again, which wasn’t really what I wanted given how uneasy I’d been with her the day before. But, in I went. I am nothing if not compliant. And I’m really glad I did, and very glad I saw Dr. R. in particular, because it gave me a chance to revise my first impression of her completely. She was thorough. She took a lot of time with me. She clarified a number of things. She talked me through what was going on, what the plan was, why they were going to do what they were going to do that, and this was all during her lunch break.

She went ahead and did the fetal fibronectin test before she did anything else, since it had been more than 24 hours since my last ultrasound. Then she did an ultrasound to check my cervix, and miraculously, it had lengthened since Monday! It was, at its shortest 1.7cm and at its longest it was 2.5, but it spent MOST of its time in the 2.x range, whereas on Monday it spent most of its time in the 1.x range, so this was quite the improvement. You could SEE the relief cross over the doctor’s face immediately. This obviously still means that it’s significantly shorter than it was last week, and even moreso than two weeks ago, so I’m not saying that I’m out of the woods or anything, but it is AWESOME. Unfortunately, this didn’t get around the problem of the contractions which were coming one on top of another. “Contractions by themselves are not the enemy necessarily,” she said. But when you put it all together you have to start thinking about the impact they have. So the first goal is to calm down the bulk of the contractions with a tocolytic. So I’m now on Procardia (Nifedipine) extended release tablets. That should calm most of the “background contractions” which will allow them to concentrate on the breakthrough contractions which are more likely the ones that they need to worry about. And for those, I’ve got immediate-release Procardia.

I will also be using a Home Uterine Activity Monitoring Service (HUAM). There are mixed reviews on whether HUAM does any good. The possible benefit that comes from HUAM is debated… some researchers believe the benefit actually comes from the close contact that patients have with a medical professional on a daily basis. Some researchers, in fact, believe that there may be a possible negative effect on patients because it could cause additional anxiety. Dr. R. said that this practice does frequently use HUAM, but that she came from a background of practices in which they did not frequently use HUAM. She wanted to make sure that I understood that I should not allow the monitoring to cause any additional anxiety. I told her that as far as I’m concerned it’s nothing more than a datapoint to help piece the puzzle together. She agreed that this is precisely how it should be viewed.

She then took some time to really talk about what I can and cannot do. She said that whenever possible, I should do nothing, but recognized that I have a four year old in the house and sometimes that’s not 100% possible. However, I should avoid anything that involves prolonged standing, excess stairs, I should do no lifting, no reaching, no cooking. I can get up to go to the bathroom, I can get up to get a sandwich. Combining trips would be good. I can stay in the recliner instead of bed if I am sufficiently reclined. Sitting upright is bad. Doing nothing is good. “You need to understand, however, that if you get up for a sandwich and your membranes rupture, you did not cause it to happen. It did not happen because you stood up, it did not happen because you wanted a sandwich. It will not be your fault.” She said the truth is they don’t know how much, if at all, bed rest helps, but that that it certainly seems that bed rest does a lot more to prolong pregnancy with higher order multiples than it does with singletons. (I realize as I’m writing this that I failed to ask about showers…)

She said that the next ten weeks were going to be a very long and tedious ten weeks for me and I said, “do I have another 10 weeks in me?” I told her about the 28 week remark that had so freaked me out the day before and she explained that a bit to me. First of all, on Monday they really had been worried. But more significantly, the nurse who said it comes from a NICU background and with preemies, the 28 week mark is a SIGNIFICANT milestone. The difference between a 24 weeker and a 28 weeker is astounding, she said. (A pediatrician friend of mine explained even more explicitly… she said with a 24 weeker, you spent the first week in electrolyte hell, and the next 6 months worrying about whether electrolyte hell caused brain issues, but when you get to or at least closer to 28 weeks, more of the prematurity issues you’re dealing with are growth and development issues, rather than brain issues) She emphasized that it is absolutely still the goal to get me to 34 weeks, but that definitely the first milestone they want to get me to between now and then is 28 weeks. Then they’ll be looking to 30 weeks, 32, and if I get to 34, she’ll bring me a cupcake (which actually, she won’t because she’s moving back to Boston before I get to 34 weeks, but the thought is there). I felt a LOT better about the 28 week remark after that.

She also talked a little bit about the possibility of bringing me in-house for hospital bed rest. This isn’t something they normally like to do for triplet patients if they can help it, but it’s definitely under consideration for me. I bought myself some time, though, since my cervix lengthened a bit. They’re going to keep a pretty close watch on me, but will continue to keep the idea under consideration and we’ll just have to see how it goes. I continue to be astounded at just how quickly things change in this pregnancy. I am very grateful to have a team of truly excellent doctors. Yesterday it became clear that a lot had gone on behind the scenes within the practice that I didn’t know about. Clearly my case had been discussed more than once among the practice members between my two visits (which were only about 26 hours apart). It’s good to know I’m more than just a name and Patient ID number.

More good news… she called me at 6:30pm to let me know she’d gotten the fetal fibronectin result and it was negative, which is great. It means I’ve got a low likelihood of going into labor in the next two weeks due to a cervical issue. We can repeat the test in two weeks and continue to do so. They’ll try to use the test as one way to help determine when to give me steroids to mature the babies’ lungs. They don’t want to give them too early, because they don’t want to have to repeat treatments too many times before the babies are born. They’ll give the steroids to me at 30 and 32 weeks regardless, but they’ll give them to me sooner, if they need to.

Anyway, all in all, I feel a lot calmer. It was a much better visit. Although I don’t love that I was having that many contractions, I feel like a lot of good came of having to go into the office, so I’m not sorry about the result. And in our next episode, I’ll describe Wednesday’s antics of getting the home monitoring set up. All I have to say is that this bed rest thing is seriously harder work and more stress than just going to the office!

Sorry for the novel, but a lot has happened in a short period!

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Okay, so my last entry was rather abrupt and seriously lacking in detail. It was a rather visceral reaction to a not-very-good appointment which frankly captured my mood, but not so much of the specifics. So let me esplain! No! There is too much. Lemme sum up… wait. This is my blog, I can take all the time I want. So here it all is… or at least as much of it as has remained in my brain since then:

Sunday
Sunday evening, as you'll recall, I was having about 4 contractions per hour and I paged the doctor on call. Dr. M called me back pretty quickly and she told me that if it continued, I should definitely come in to L&D to be monitored, but agreed that if I could sleep through them that coming in to my already-scheduled appointment at 10am was probably fine. She said that if I could sleep through them, the contractions were probably not so worrisome, but that if they were keeping me awake, I should definitely come in, get monitored, get IV fluids and probably terbutaline. She told me that I'd be seeing Dr. R in the office if I was able to hold off until morning. I wasn't thrilled to hear that. I'd never met Dr. R and I love the other three doctors and I just didn't want to meet another doctor. I couldn't, after all, possibly like a fourth doctor, could I? I don't deal well with change. At all. I get very set in my ways, so adding a new variable was definitely not something I was loving. Still, I definitely didn't want to spend all night in L&D and laying down for a few hours did slow my contractions back down to about 2-3 per hour, even if I didn't really sleep through them (Seriously… who was I kidding? I don't sleep through the best of nights!)

Monday
Monday morning I got up, took J to camp, hung out in my recliner for a bit and then headed over to my 10am appointment. I was of two minds about this appointment. On the one hand, I was a bit worried about the fact that my cervix had started to act a little wonky last Wednesday, but on the other hand, I really didn't expect that there would be any significant change, either. Other than taking J to school, I'd been pretty much continually sitting/laying down on my tush since Thursday afternoon. I hadn't done any moving around to speak of, everything had been going really well. I expected, really, to hear from the doctor "gosh, I don't know what Dr. G. was so worried about, everything's looking great." Or at least to hear, "Well, I see why he was concerned about the change, but there's not been any additional progress since Wednesday, so you're still doing fine."

Instead, one look at the ultrasound, before a single measurement was taken, and even I could tell that it wasn't good. Wednesday's measurement had been around 3cm. There was no way that it was still that long. Worse, as we were watching, we saw it start to funnel and shorten even more. The doctor froze the image and measured. 1.5cm. A few more measurements revealed that it shifted between 1.5 and 2.3 cm. This is called a "dynamic cervix". I never google this stuff, but if you DO happen to google the term "dynamic cervix" you'll see it referred to often as a precursor to an incompetent cervix. However, the doctor said that she sees a dynamic cerix a lot with high order multiples in general.

I told her that I'd been having 4+ contractions per hour the night before but they had slowed to 2-3 per hour through the night. I asked what my guideline ought to be…how long I should put up with them occurring 4 per hour before I call, etc. She said that if I'm getting 3-4 per hour for 2 hours or more after laying down, drinking water, etc. I should absolutely call. She said also that in light of my noticeably shortened cervix, I needed to "limit my activity" as much as possible. It wasn't until later that I realized I didn't know what the hell that meant. I did ask whether I could still drive J to and from day care and she said she would get someone else to do it.

She said that we could consider doing a Fetal Fibronectin test which might be one indicator of my risk of going into labor due to a cervical issue in the next two weeks. But, we couldn't do it then, because you can't do the test if you've had any sort of vaginal exam in the last 24 hours, including vaginal ultrasound. She also wanted to research whether the test was valid with triplets. She knew it was with twins, but wanted to check with triplets.

So we left things at: 1. Limit activity as much as possible; 2. No driving J. to and from day care; 3. Call if contractions increase to 3-4 per hour persistently; 4. Return for a re-check in a week – and we could consider doing the fetal fibronectin test then before the ultrasound. I waddled off to get my weight and blood pressure checked (down a pound, but didn't hear what my BP was). The doctor wandered back in to let me know that she found an article written by John Elliot about fetal fibronectin tests with triplets and quadruplets, which seemed to indicate that test results are valid even with HOMs, so she was comfortable recommending that we go ahead and do the test before my next ultrasound. Fair enough. She made a bit of friendly chatter and as I was leaving asked if the triplets were the result of IVF or IUI. Interesting that it didn't occur to her that they could have been spontaneous, but regardless. I told her that they were from a last-ditch IUI and that in fact, I'd been pushing for IVF for some time specifically to avoid the triplet scenario if possible, but here we are. I mean, I am now very excited about my triplets, don't get me wrong. But I'll tell you what, all the excitement this week was excitement I could have lived without. So she said, "Yeah, if I had needed fertility treatment, which I didn't, I'm quite fertile with three children and no need for more, thankfully, I would have done IVF because I wouldn't have wanted to risk it with IUI."

What. The. Heck? Did she seriously just say that? Yeah. She really did.

Basically I left the appointment in a haze. I made a couple calls to make sure I could arrange to have J picked up from camp that afternoon. I let my husband know what was going on. And I IM'd Jess and FREAKED THE HECK OUT. And she, good calm friend that she is, listened. And told me I really needed clarification on what "limit my activity" really means, which was true. I'm a girl who follows directions very well, if they're very specific. You tell me I may never get out of my chair ever again and I won't do it. You tell me to "use my judgment" and that's where we've got a problem. I'm not objective enough. I fully admit this character flaw. So I called my nurse to clarify. She gave me more specifics, which didn't sound terribly restrictive to me, considering that I'd already been pretty restricted in the first place. Outside of going to and from work, up until this point, my activity level has boiled mostly down to sitting my tush in my recliner and staying there, with only occasional trips into the kitchen and whatnot. So the only real difference seemed to be that I shouldn't take J to and from daycare/camp and that I shouldn't go to work anymore. I was told I needed to use my judgment about working from home, but I decided I didn't want to risk the stress of it. I was given permission to go into my office for an hour on Thursday because my coworkers were planning a "surprise" party for me (I've since cancelled that). But otherwise, trips out should be pretty much restricted to doctor's appointments.

"What we really need," the nurse said, "is to keep these babies in at least a few more weeks."
"I'm rather hoping for another 8 or 10 weeks!" I said.
"Well, I don't know about 10 weeks. Right now, we need to get you to at least 28 weeks, and we'll take every week after that as a bonus."

I. Freaked. Out. This was the first time I'd ever heard anyone from the practice ever say anything about 28 weeks being even remotely in the picture. They get most of their triplet patients to 34 weeks. It never occurred to me that I could or would be the exception to that rule. I didn't know whether she was speaking from her own experience with the practice. Or if she was speaking from specific knowledge of my case and details. Or if she was speaking based on her discussion with another doctor (she'd had another doctor review the notes from the visit before calling me back). I didn't know where it was coming from, all I knew was that I'd never, ever, ever wanted to hear those words. The whole reason I never wanted triplets was because I never wanted to hear the words, "We're hoping to get you to at least 28 weeks" or anything of the kind. I spent the rest of the day completely freaked out. How was I supposed to go an entire week without knowing what was going on? Why was waiting a week prudent? What was I waiting for? To lose another cm? I couldn't afford to lose another cm on my cervix! Ack, the stress!

I exchanged several emails with several triplet mamas who gave me some good advice, recommended I look for more agressive advice from the doctors in the practice that I know better (I did NOT come out of that appointment liking the new-to-me doctor one bit). I worried a lot. I spent a LOT of time thinking about that 28 week remark. I could not get that out of my head. That's only 4 weeks away. It can't be. There's no way that could be real. She couldn't have meant it. Could she? Eventually, I wrote my blog entry here, spent some time with S and J, and then went to bed. I was exhausted, anxious, and frankly, tired of thinking about this anymore. I would just see how I was feeling in the morning and take it one day at a time.

Tuesday
Things were going less well in the morning. I was in a blind panic most of the morning, not made any easier by the fact that the contractions had increased a lot, both in intensity and frequency. I kept thinking about that 28 week remark. I kept wondering what would happen if I waited a week. I continued to wonder when I should call the office about the contractions. I didn't want to be alarmist, but I didn't want to miss anything either. I have a tendency to second-guess myself when it comes to calling doctors because I spent a number of years getting called a hypochondriac as a kid (when all along, it turned out that, in fact, I really was sick all the time). The contractions did me the courtesy, though, of striking on the hour, every hour. Which made it easier to notice that they were every fifteen minutes. At first I thought that was crazy; it seemed a bit too coincidental. The next hour, I realized that they were closer together; almost exactly 10 minutes apart. And so I called and left a message for my nurse. And waited. And I emailed Jess and apparently freaked her out, because she immediately jumped on IM and told me that I shouldn't wait too long, I should just go straight to L&D if I didn't hear back soon. At 11:58, I called back, figuring I'd better try to catch them before they closed for lunch. My nurse said she'd talk to the doctor and call me back. Tick tock. Tick tock. Jess IM'd a list of items I should pack in a bag to take with me in case they sent me to L&D. She reminded me to call my husband (I had remembered to call him, but admittedly, it wasn't that long before Jess told me to call him that I'd realized that it hadn't occurred to me up until that point!).

My nurse called back and told me to go in to the office where they were waiting for me, so they could reevaluate me. This meant I had to see Dr. R. again, which wasn't really what I wanted given how uneasy I'd been with her the day before. But, in I went. I am nothing if not compliant. And I'm really glad I did, and very glad I saw Dr. R. in particular, because it gave me a chance to revise my first impression of her completely. She was thorough. She took a lot of time with me. She clarified a number of things. She talked me through what was going on, what the plan was, why they were going to do what they were going to do that, and this was all during her lunch break.

She went ahead and did the fetal fibronectin test before she did anything else, since it had been more than 24 hours since my last ultrasound. Then she did an ultrasound to check my cervix, and miraculously, it had lengthened since Monday! It was, at its shortest 1.7cm and at its longest it was 2.5, but it spent MOST of its time in the 2.x range, whereas on Monday it spent most of its time in the 1.x range, so this was quite the improvement. You could SEE the relief cross over the doctor's face immediately. This obviously still means that it's significantly shorter than it was last week, and even moreso than two weeks ago, so I'm not saying that I'm out of the woods or anything, but it is AWESOME. Unfortunately, this didn't get around the problem of the contractions which were coming one on top of another. "Contractions by themselves are not the enemy necessarily," she said. But when you put it all together you have to start thinking about the impact they have. So the first goal is to calm down the bulk of the contractions with a tocolytic. So I'm now on Procardia (Nifedipine) extended release tablets. That should calm most of the "background contractions" which will allow them to concentrate on the breakthrough contractions which are more likely the ones that they need to worry about. And for those, I've got immediate-release Procardia.

I will also be using a Home Uterine Activity Monitoring Service (HUAM). There are mixed reviews on whether HUAM does any good. The possible benefit that comes from HUAM is debated… some researchers believe the benefit actually comes from the close contact that patients have with a medical professional on a daily basis. Some researchers, in fact, believe that there may be a possible negative effect on patients because it could cause additional anxiety. Dr. R. said that this practice does frequently use HUAM, but that she came from a background of practices in which they did not frequently use HUAM. She wanted to make sure that I understood that I should not allow the monitoring to cause any additional anxiety. I told her that as far as I'm concerned it's nothing more than a datapoint to help piece the puzzle together. She agreed that this is precisely how it should be viewed.

She then took some time to really talk about what I can and cannot do. She said that whenever possible, I should do nothing, but recognized that I have a four year old in the house and sometimes that's not 100% possible. However, I should avoid anything that involves prolonged standing, excess stairs, I should do no lifting, no reaching, no cooking. I can get up to go to the bathroom, I can get up to get a sandwich. Combining trips would be good. I can stay in the recliner instead of bed if I am sufficiently reclined. Sitting upright is bad. Doing nothing is good. "You need to understand, however, that if you get up for a sandwich and your membranes rupture, you did not cause it to happen. It did not happen because you stood up, it did not happen because you wanted a sandwich. It will not be your fault." She said the truth is they don't know how much, if at all, bed rest helps, but that that it certainly seems that bed rest does a lot more to prolong pregnancy with higher order multiples than it does with singletons. (I realize as I'm writing this that I failed to ask about showers…)

She said that the next ten weeks were going to be a very long and tedious ten weeks for me and I said, "do I have another 10 weeks in me?" I told her about the 28 week remark that had so freaked me out the day before and she explained that a bit to me. First of all, on Monday they really had been worried. But more significantly, the nurse who said it comes from a NICU background and with preemies, the 28 week mark is a SIGNIFICANT milestone. The difference between a 24 weeker and a 28 weeker is astounding, she said. (A pediatrician friend of mine explained even more explicitly… she said with a 24 weeker, you spent the first week in electrolyte hell, and the next 6 months worrying about whether electrolyte hell caused brain issues, but when you get to or at least closer to 28 weeks, more of the prematurity issues you're dealing with are growth and development issues, rather than brain issues) She emphasized that it is absolutely still the goal to get me to 34 weeks, but that definitely the first milestone they want to get me to between now and then is 28 weeks. Then they'll be looking to 30 weeks, 32, and if I get to 34, she'll bring me a cupcake (which actually, she won't because she's moving back to Boston before I get to 34 weeks, but the thought is there). I felt a LOT better about the 28 week remark after that.

She also talked a little bit about the possibility of bringing me in-house for hospital bed rest. This isn't something they normally like to do for triplet patients if they can help it, but it's definitely under consideration for me. I bought myself some time, though, since my cervix lengthened a bit. They're going to keep a pretty close watch on me, but will continue to keep the idea under consideration and we'll just have to see how it goes. I continue to be astounded at just how quickly things change in this pregnancy. I am very grateful to have a team of truly excellent doctors. Yesterday it became clear that a lot had gone on behind the scenes within the practice that I didn't know about. Clearly my case had been discussed more than once among the practice members between my two visits (which were only about 26 hours apart). It's good to know I'm more than just a name and Patient ID number.

More good news… she called me at 6:30pm to let me know she'd gotten the fetal fibronectin result and it was negative, which is great. It means I've got a low likelihood of going into labor in the next two weeks due to a cervical issue. We can repeat the test in two weeks and continue to do so. They'll try to use the test as one way to help determine when to give me steroids to mature the babies' lungs. They don't want to give them too early, because they don't want to have to repeat treatments too many times before the babies are born. They'll give the steroids to me at 30 and 32 weeks regardless, but they'll give them to me sooner, if they need to.

Anyway, all in all, I feel a lot calmer. It was a much better visit. Although I don't love that I was having that many contractions, I feel like a lot of good came of having to go into the office, so I'm not sorry about the result. And in our next episode, I'll describe Wednesday's antics of getting the home monitoring set up. All I have to say is that this bed rest thing is seriously harder work and more stress than just going to the office!

Sorry for the novel, but a lot has happened in a short period!

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Okay, so my last entry was rather abrupt and seriously lacking in detail. It was a rather visceral reaction to a not-very-good appointment which frankly captured my mood, but not so much of the specifics. So let me esplain! No! There is too much. Lemme sum up… wait. This is my blog, I can take all the time I want. So here it all is… or at least as much of it as has remained in my brain since then:

Sunday
Sunday evening, as you'll recall, I was having about 4 contractions per hour and I paged the doctor on call. Dr. M called me back pretty quickly and she told me that if it continued, I should definitely come in to L&D to be monitored, but agreed that if I could sleep through them that coming in to my already-scheduled appointment at 10am was probably fine. She said that if I could sleep through them, the contractions were probably not so worrisome, but that if they were keeping me awake, I should definitely come in, get monitored, get IV fluids and probably terbutaline. She told me that I'd be seeing Dr. R in the office if I was able to hold off until morning. I wasn't thrilled to hear that. I'd never met Dr. R and I love the other three doctors and I just didn't want to meet another doctor. I couldn't, after all, possibly like a fourth doctor, could I? I don't deal well with change. At all. I get very set in my ways, so adding a new variable was definitely not something I was loving. Still, I definitely didn't want to spend all night in L&D and laying down for a few hours did slow my contractions back down to about 2-3 per hour, even if I didn't really sleep through them (Seriously… who was I kidding? I don't sleep through the best of nights!)

Monday
Monday morning I got up, took J to camp, hung out in my recliner for a bit and then headed over to my 10am appointment. I was of two minds about this appointment. On the one hand, I was a bit worried about the fact that my cervix had started to act a little wonky last Wednesday, but on the other hand, I really didn't expect that there would be any significant change, either. Other than taking J to school, I'd been pretty much continually sitting/laying down on my tush since Thursday afternoon. I hadn't done any moving around to speak of, everything had been going really well. I expected, really, to hear from the doctor "gosh, I don't know what Dr. G. was so worried about, everything's looking great." Or at least to hear, "Well, I see why he was concerned about the change, but there's not been any additional progress since Wednesday, so you're still doing fine."

Instead, one look at the ultrasound, before a single measurement was taken, and even I could tell that it wasn't good. Wednesday's measurement had been around 3cm. There was no way that it was still that long. Worse, as we were watching, we saw it start to funnel and shorten even more. The doctor froze the image and measured. 1.5cm. A few more measurements revealed that it shifted between 1.5 and 2.3 cm. This is called a "dynamic cervix". I never google this stuff, but if you DO happen to google the term "dynamic cervix" you'll see it referred to often as a precursor to an incompetent cervix. However, the doctor said that she sees a dynamic cerix a lot with high order multiples in general.

I told her that I'd been having 4+ contractions per hour the night before but they had slowed to 2-3 per hour through the night. I asked what my guideline ought to be…how long I should put up with them occurring 4 per hour before I call, etc. She said that if I'm getting 3-4 per hour for 2 hours or more after laying down, drinking water, etc. I should absolutely call. She said also that in light of my noticeably shortened cervix, I needed to "limit my activity" as much as possible. It wasn't until later that I realized I didn't know what the hell that meant. I did ask whether I could still drive J to and from day care and she said she would get someone else to do it.

She said that we could consider doing a Fetal Fibronectin test which might be one indicator of my risk of going into labor due to a cervical issue in the next two weeks. But, we couldn't do it then, because you can't do the test if you've had any sort of vaginal exam in the last 24 hours, including vaginal ultrasound. She also wanted to research whether the test was valid with triplets. She knew it was with twins, but wanted to check with triplets.

So we left things at: 1. Limit activity as much as possible; 2. No driving J. to and from day care; 3. Call if contractions increase to 3-4 per hour persistently; 4. Return for a re-check in a week – and we could consider doing the fetal fibronectin test then before the ultrasound. I waddled off to get my weight and blood pressure checked (down a pound, but didn't hear what my BP was). The doctor wandered back in to let me know that she found an article written by John Elliot about fetal fibronectin tests with triplets and quadruplets, which seemed to indicate that test results are valid even with HOMs, so she was comfortable recommending that we go ahead and do the test before my next ultrasound. Fair enough. She made a bit of friendly chatter and as I was leaving asked if the triplets were the result of IVF or IUI. Interesting that it didn't occur to her that they could have been spontaneous, but regardless. I told her that they were from a last-ditch IUI and that in fact, I'd been pushing for IVF for some time specifically to avoid the triplet scenario if possible, but here we are. I mean, I am now very excited about my triplets, don't get me wrong. But I'll tell you what, all the excitement this week was excitement I could have lived without. So she said, "Yeah, if I had needed fertility treatment, which I didn't, I'm quite fertile with three children and no need for more, thankfully, I would have done IVF because I wouldn't have wanted to risk it with IUI."

What. The. Heck? Did she seriously just say that? Yeah. She really did.

Basically I left the appointment in a haze. I made a couple calls to make sure I could arrange to have J picked up from camp that afternoon. I let my husband know what was going on. And I IM'd Jess and FREAKED THE HECK OUT. And she, good calm friend that she is, listened. And told me I really needed clarification on what "limit my activity" really means, which was true. I'm a girl who follows directions very well, if they're very specific. You tell me I may never get out of my chair ever again and I won't do it. You tell me to "use my judgment" and that's where we've got a problem. I'm not objective enough. I fully admit this character flaw. So I called my nurse to clarify. She gave me more specifics, which didn't sound terribly restrictive to me, considering that I'd already been pretty restricted in the first place. Outside of going to and from work, up until this point, my activity level has boiled mostly down to sitting my tush in my recliner and staying there, with only occasional trips into the kitchen and whatnot. So the only real difference seemed to be that I shouldn't take J to and from daycare/camp and that I shouldn't go to work anymore. I was told I needed to use my judgment about working from home, but I decided I didn't want to risk the stress of it. I was given permission to go into my office for an hour on Thursday because my coworkers were planning a "surprise" party for me (I've since cancelled that). But otherwise, trips out should be pretty much restricted to doctor's appointments.

"What we really need," the nurse said, "is to keep these babies in at least a few more weeks."
"I'm rather hoping for another 8 or 10 weeks!" I said.
"Well, I don't know about 10 weeks. Right now, we need to get you to at least 28 weeks, and we'll take every week after that as a bonus."

I. Freaked. Out. This was the first time I'd ever heard anyone from the practice ever say anything about 28 weeks being even remotely in the picture. They get most of their triplet patients to 34 weeks. It never occurred to me that I could or would be the exception to that rule. I didn't know whether she was speaking from her own experience with the practice. Or if she was speaking from specific knowledge of my case and details. Or if she was speaking based on her discussion with another doctor (she'd had another doctor review the notes from the visit before calling me back). I didn't know where it was coming from, all I knew was that I'd never, ever, ever wanted to hear those words. The whole reason I never wanted triplets was because I never wanted to hear the words, "We're hoping to get you to at least 28 weeks" or anything of the kind. I spent the rest of the day completely freaked out. How was I supposed to go an entire week without knowing what was going on? Why was waiting a week prudent? What was I waiting for? To lose another cm? I couldn't afford to lose another cm on my cervix! Ack, the stress!

I exchanged several emails with several triplet mamas who gave me some good advice, recommended I look for more agressive advice from the doctors in the practice that I know better (I did NOT come out of that appointment liking the new-to-me doctor one bit). I worried a lot. I spent a LOT of time thinking about that 28 week remark. I could not get that out of my head. That's only 4 weeks away. It can't be. There's no way that could be real. She couldn't have meant it. Could she? Eventually, I wrote my blog entry here, spent some time with S and J, and then went to bed. I was exhausted, anxious, and frankly, tired of thinking about this anymore. I would just see how I was feeling in the morning and take it one day at a time.

Tuesday
Things were going less well in the morning. I was in a blind panic most of the morning, not made any easier by the fact that the contractions had increased a lot, both in intensity and frequency. I kept thinking about that 28 week remark. I kept wondering what would happen if I waited a week. I continued to wonder when I should call the office about the contractions. I didn't want to be alarmist, but I didn't want to miss anything either. I have a tendency to second-guess myself when it comes to calling doctors because I spent a number of years getting called a hypochondriac as a kid (when all along, it turned out that, in fact, I really was sick all the time). The contractions did me the courtesy, though, of striking on the hour, every hour. Which made it easier to notice that they were every fifteen minutes. At first I thought that was crazy; it seemed a bit too coincidental. The next hour, I realized that they were closer together; almost exactly 10 minutes apart. And so I called and left a message for my nurse. And waited. And I emailed Jess and apparently freaked her out, because she immediately jumped on IM and told me that I shouldn't wait too long, I should just go straight to L&D if I didn't hear back soon. At 11:58, I called back, figuring I'd better try to catch them before they closed for lunch. My nurse said she'd talk to the doctor and call me back. Tick tock. Tick tock. Jess IM'd a list of items I should pack in a bag to take with me in case they sent me to L&D. She reminded me to call my husband (I had remembered to call him, but admittedly, it wasn't that long before Jess told me to call him that I'd realized that it hadn't occurred to me up until that point!).

My nurse called back and told me to go in to the office where they were waiting for me, so they could reevaluate me. This meant I had to see Dr. R. again, which wasn't really what I wanted given how uneasy I'd been with her the day before. But, in I went. I am nothing if not compliant. And I'm really glad I did, and very glad I saw Dr. R. in particular, because it gave me a chance to revise my first impression of her completely. She was thorough. She took a lot of time with me. She clarified a number of things. She talked me through what was going on, what the plan was, why they were going to do what they were going to do that, and this was all during her lunch break.

She went ahead and did the fetal fibronectin test before she did anything else, since it had been more than 24 hours since my last ultrasound. Then she did an ultrasound to check my cervix, and miraculously, it had lengthened since Monday! It was, at its shortest 1.7cm and at its longest it was 2.5, but it spent MOST of its time in the 2.x range, whereas on Monday it spent most of its time in the 1.x range, so this was quite the improvement. You could SEE the relief cross over the doctor's face immediately. This obviously still means that it's significantly shorter than it was last week, and even moreso than two weeks ago, so I'm not saying that I'm out of the woods or anything, but it is AWESOME. Unfortunately, this didn't get around the problem of the contractions which were coming one on top of another. "Contractions by themselves are not the enemy necessarily," she said. But when you put it all together you have to start thinking about the impact they have. So the first goal is to calm down the bulk of the contractions with a tocolytic. So I'm now on Procardia (Nifedipine) extended release tablets. That should calm most of the "background contractions" which will allow them to concentrate on the breakthrough contractions which are more likely the ones that they need to worry about. And for those, I've got immediate-release Procardia.

I will also be using a Home Uterine Activity Monitoring Service (HUAM). There are mixed reviews on whether HUAM does any good. The possible benefit that comes from HUAM is debated… some researchers believe the benefit actually comes from the close contact that patients have with a medical professional on a daily basis. Some researchers, in fact, believe that there may be a possible negative effect on patients because it could cause additional anxiety. Dr. R. said that this practice does frequently use HUAM, but that she came from a background of practices in which they did not frequently use HUAM. She wanted to make sure that I understood that I should not allow the monitoring to cause any additional anxiety. I told her that as far as I'm concerned it's nothing more than a datapoint to help piece the puzzle together. She agreed that this is precisely how it should be viewed.

She then took some time to really talk about what I can and cannot do. She said that whenever possible, I should do nothing, but recognized that I have a four year old in the house and sometimes that's not 100% possible. However, I should avoid anything that involves prolonged standing, excess stairs, I should do no lifting, no reaching, no cooking. I can get up to go to the bathroom, I can get up to get a sandwich. Combining trips would be good. I can stay in the recliner instead of bed if I am sufficiently reclined. Sitting upright is bad. Doing nothing is good. "You need to understand, however, that if you get up for a sandwich and your membranes rupture, you did not cause it to happen. It did not happen because you stood up, it did not happen because you wanted a sandwich. It will not be your fault." She said the truth is they don't know how much, if at all, bed rest helps, but that that it certainly seems that bed rest does a lot more to prolong pregnancy with higher order multiples than it does with singletons. (I realize as I'm writing this that I failed to ask about showers…)

She said that the next ten weeks were going to be a very long and tedious ten weeks for me and I said, "do I have another 10 weeks in me?" I told her about the 28 week remark that had so freaked me out the day before and she explained that a bit to me. First of all, on Monday they really had been worried. But more significantly, the nurse who said it comes from a NICU background and with preemies, the 28 week mark is a SIGNIFICANT milestone. The difference between a 24 weeker and a 28 weeker is astounding, she said. (A pediatrician friend of mine explained even more explicitly… she said with a 24 weeker, you spent the first week in electrolyte hell, and the next 6 months worrying about whether electrolyte hell caused brain issues, but when you get to or at least closer to 28 weeks, more of the prematurity issues you're dealing with are growth and development issues, rather than brain issues) She emphasized that it is absolutely still the goal to get me to 34 weeks, but that definitely the first milestone they want to get me to between now and then is 28 weeks. Then they'll be looking to 30 weeks, 32, and if I get to 34, she'll bring me a cupcake (which actually, she won't because she's moving back to Boston before I get to 34 weeks, but the thought is there). I felt a LOT better about the 28 week remark after that.

She also talked a little bit about the possibility of bringing me in-house for hospital bed rest. This isn't something they normally like to do for triplet patients if they can help it, but it's definitely under consideration for me. I bought myself some time, though, since my cervix lengthened a bit. They're going to keep a pretty close watch on me, but will continue to keep the idea under consideration and we'll just have to see how it goes. I continue to be astounded at just how quickly things change in this pregnancy. I am very grateful to have a team of truly excellent doctors. Yesterday it became clear that a lot had gone on behind the scenes within the practice that I didn't know about. Clearly my case had been discussed more than once among the practice members between my two visits (which were only about 26 hours apart). It's good to know I'm more than just a name and Patient ID number.

More good news… she called me at 6:30pm to let me know she'd gotten the fetal fibronectin result and it was negative, which is great. It means I've got a low likelihood of going into labor in the next two weeks due to a cervical issue. We can repeat the test in two weeks and continue to do so. They'll try to use the test as one way to help determine when to give me steroids to mature the babies' lungs. They don't want to give them too early, because they don't want to have to repeat treatments too many times before the babies are born. They'll give the steroids to me at 30 and 32 weeks regardless, but they'll give them to me sooner, if they need to.

Anyway, all in all, I feel a lot calmer. It was a much better visit. Although I don't love that I was having that many contractions, I feel like a lot of good came of having to go into the office, so I'm not sorry about the result. And in our next episode, I'll describe Wednesday's antics of getting the home monitoring set up. All I have to say is that this bed rest thing is seriously harder work and more stress than just going to the office!

Sorry for the novel, but a lot has happened in a short period!

Read Full Post »