This seems to be a popular time of year for reflecting on the past. My twin mom friend Vanessa has been blogging about her pregnancy experience in several posts throughout the year. My friend Jennifer has been celebrating their 1 year anniversary of coming home from the NICU with her precious 24 weekers after a grueling 3 month stay. And my cyber friend and fellow AMOMer Christel has recently been reflecting on her twin girls’ impending third birthday, realizing it is all going by much too fast.
March is our birth month! Yes, our little Babes were born almost a year ago, and I can’t believe the first year has gone by so fast. But the story did not start on that day. March holds a bevy of memories about my pregnancy, complications, work, stress, guilt, excitement, anticipation, depression, discomfort, worry, and best of all, blissful ignorance about what was to come.
At this time last year I was 28 weeks pregnant and feeling 52 weeks pregnant, even though many people told me that I still looked small for having twins. Good for my ego, but not ideal for my little seedlings. At 29 weeks I went to see my OB, Dr. Binford, and had a few concerns, mainly the fact that I had put on 14 pounds in the past 7 days. The nurse even weighed me again when she saw how much I had increased. That was combined with a high blood pressure reading, traces of protein in my urine, and an ungodly amount of swelling in my legs and feet – not at the end of the day; I’m talking by 10 o’ clock in the morning. You could press your finger into my leg and the indention would stay there for several minutes. (Funny side story – I had a vertical scratch on my leg from one of the cats, and I went up to Christian and said, “Look! My legs are swelling so much my skin is splitting open!” The look on his face was priceless!) All signs pointed to preeclampsia, or pregnancy induced hypertension, and I was ordered to go straight to Walgreens, buy a digital BP monitor, go straight home, do not pass go, do not collect $200, do not even so much as sit up for the rest of the day. Or the rest of the week. The only good news was that my blood tests came back showing that my liver and kidneys were still functioning appropriately. I was, however, in danger of having a stroke if my BP got too high, or my placenta could dislodge from the uterine wall. So bed rest it was.
Bed rest sucked. Sucked with a capital S. I had to monitor my BP at least three times a day, but glutton for punishment that I am, I did it more like every hour, freaking out at every high number. Like that helped. Christian was awesome, getting me breakfast in the morning, making sure that I had everything I needed near me: my computer, books, magazines, plenty of water, the remote. But no matter how “relaxing” it sounds, it’s damn near impossible to enjoy laying around when you feel as big as a house and can’t get comfortable no matter how you lay due to two little babies (who didn’t feel all that little) pressing against all of your vital organs. My belly was too heavy for me to lay on my back. If I laid on my left side, the preferred side for preeclampsia and all around baby circulation, I could not breathe at all due to the babies pressing against my lungs. My right was a little better, but after an hour or so, my hips would get sore and I would have to move. So it was between having sore hips, being able to breathe, or being crushed by my own body weight. Group all of that together with a constantly sore neck from laying down uncomfortably all the time.
I cried. I was depressed. I was thrilled not to have to go to work, but upset that my FMLA was starting before the babies were even born. 29 weeks pregnant at this time, I was hoping to hold out until 36 weeks, which would mean 7 weeks of boredom and discomfort. I don’t mind being alone, it was being alone and not being able to do a single thing that really got to me. The weather was so nice, and all I could do was stare out the window. I was told not to even do mundane things like gather up a load of laundry. Luckily I have good friends and an awesome husband. My friend Reba came to see me while she was on spring break from teaching, kept me company, and helped me get some things done in the babies’ room. She also made us dinner and dessert for Christian’s birthday, since I was unable to really put anything together, much less take him out to dinner like I had originally planned. Christian came home to have lunch with me a few times, including on his birthday. He brought ME lunch on HIS birthday, along with some nice, relaxing aromatherapy products from Bath and Body Works. And our good friends Chris and Lori came by and brought us beef stew to freeze, and Lori, one of my true soul mates, brought me a huge stack of Statesman crosswords to occupy my time.
When I posted to the chat site of my multiples group, I admitted that I was having a hard time on bed rest. Some other moms wrote to me, offering their support, and told me to enjoy being waited on hand and foot, but it was so much harder than that. I am a true do it yourselfer, and being waited on is hard for me. Every time I got a high reading from my BP monitor, I would get all upset, especially when all I had been doing was laying perfectly still, trying to get through Atlas Shrugged (and no, I still have not finished it and probably never will).
My parents came that weekend and helped us get one of the cribs set up in our room, and my mom had decided to stay that next week to keep me company and come with me to Monday’s doctor’s appointment. As we walked out, I said goodbye to Sammy and didn’t look twice behind me as I shut the door. The usual routine at the doctor’s office…until she looked at the blood pressure log I had been keeping while on bed rest the previous week. I knew some of the readings were high, but I thought I had been doing pretty good. Until she said five words that I totally did not expect and totally did not want to hear: “I’m going to admit you.”
To Be Continued…