Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Birth of the Sprouts Part Two

Following all the excitement of Part One, we arrived at the airport in about an hour and 45 minutes and went by ambulance to the Maternal/Fetal ICU area, where I was unhooked and hooked up to monitors etc. again. They had us in a room designed for delivery with one of those two-piece beds and it was seriously uncomfortable. There was a constant hammering noise in the vents, apparently due to the cooling system trying to keep up with the late July heat. The doctors at Hospital D had a field day with me. It is a teaching hospital, so we had doctors and doctors and doctors, all looking up me every five minutes. They decided to just try to stop any contractions with continued Mag Sulfate and keep an eye on The Princess to be sure she wasn't getting distressed. They said it was possible that we could just leave things as they were for several more weeks, as long as the babies didn't start showing signs of distress. That was fine with me, since I had done my research and knew that the longer they could stay inside, the better chances they had, both for good health and for normal development later.

It was burning hot in there (to me) so I kept making Nigel turn down the thermostat. He was freezing his ass off the whole time. One of the nurses, feeling sorry for him, brought down some scrubs to use as another layer of clothing. He called my mom, who was leaving her house to drive to Hospital D first thing in the morning with my dad. She agreed to bring him some of my step-dad's sweats to wear while I froze him to death. We tried to sleep, but with the uncomfortable bed, the three monitors on my belly, the gnomes in the vents hammering away, and poor Nigel exhibiting signs of frostbite, it wasn't easy.

The next morning, Sat. the 28th, they moved me into another room with a regular bed, which was much more comfortable. However, I began to feel lots of pain. The contractions were back with a vengeance and were getting worse. I had had a cerclage placed at about 20 weeks, and they decided it would have to come out in case my cervix opened up and tore the stitches. They called the anesthesiologist, who wouldn’t be able to come until late afternoon. I got the two other steroid shots that morning and later that afternoon as well. Nigel called his best friend whose sister was attending the nearby university to get her phone number and she picked him up and took him to a local store to get him toiletries and some clothes.

My mom and dad showed up around noon, and we all talked with the attending drs. about what our options were. If The Princess started to look bad, they could try to deliver her and leave the boys. It might work or might not. We thought this sounded like the best option, since if it worked, the boys would stay inside longer. Still, we were holding out to see if the contractions would stop with the epidural later that day.

The anesthesiologist showed up around 6pm and we got the epidural set up and the cerclage removed. I inadvertently insulted the anesthesiologist by asking if his accent was German, when he really came from Russia. Oops. Later that night, I started feeling terrible pain again and nobody could figure out why. They kept increasing the dose into the epidural. By the next morning, I was crying constantly and they finally had me sit up and found that the epidural had fallen OUT! The bed was soaked with anesthetic. Coincidence? Or did I piss him off that badly? Maybe he had family members in Stalingrad during WWII. I’ll never know. Another dr. had to replace the epidural.

Sunday, the 29th, as far as the kids went, was just more of the same, except they wanted to know more about a surgery I had had back in 1988 for an ectopic pregnancy. I was able to tell them the doctor’s name and the hospital where it was performed and the date, then they faxed the hospital for the records. Everything seemed to be going well. They weren’t able to stop the contractions, and I eventually dilated to 4, but they weren’t concerned, since we were going to go ahead with our plan to deliver The Princess and keep the boys in. I, however, started to develop pulmonary edema – fluid was building up around my lungs, making it very difficult for me to breathe. I started getting oxygen and breathing treatments from an R.T. every two hours. It didn’t really help. I swelled up like a balloon, and they had to put these cool thingies on my legs that puffed up and massaged my legs automatically to keep the circulation going. If I still had those things, I'd be wearing them right now.

Monday, the 30th, it hit the fan. They did an ultrasound on my heart, and found that I had a problem there, too. Apparently, when the volume of blood increases with any pregnancy, but especially with multiples, there is the possibility that the heart can’t handle the volume. Lucky me, mine wasn’t able to handle it. The freaking-out began. They got a fax back from the hospital where I'd had surgery and freaked out even more. Now, I had been told by the surgeon in ’88 that there would be absolutely no problem with any future pregnancies. But, apparently, multiples were a different matter altogether. All my doctors knew of the surgery, even before we started fertility treatments, so it never dawned on me that it would cause any problems. The attending was freaking out all over the place telling us that they would have to do a c-section right away and not risk anymore contractions, because I could rupture my uterus and bleed to death in 5 minutes. It was pretty exciting, in hindsight. I was so doped and swollen and uncomfortable, that I would probably have agreed to just about anything.

Part Three to follow.

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