Sunday, November 21, 2010

First Trip to L&D

Yesterday marked my first trip to Labor and Delivery. Let me start by saying, I'm so glad Joe didn't go on his annual fishing trip to Erie at the last minute. I don't know what I would have done if he wasn't home with me.

I started feeling mild cramps around 2 p.m. They felt similar to what I would normally feel before getting my period. By 3:30 the cramping was accompanied by sharp stabbing pains, something that I can only describe as RLP. I haven't had much RLP this pregnancy so I thought that was weird. I tried drinking water and laying on my left side. When the cramping and pain was still happening at 4:30 I called Joe and we agreed it was time to call the OB.

The first thing she asked me is can you describe your contractions. This shocked me because, honestly, I didn't feel like I was contracting at all. I just felt "weird". She told us to head to L&D and told us we could expect a battery of tests (and took time to describe them all) and she also told us that she was ordering an internal exam and a betamethasone series.

We left for the hospital around 5:30 and got to L&D by 6. They immediately hooked me up to a monitor and IV and put fetal heart rate monitors on the twins, which was no easy feat since they were moving around like crazy. Once the monitors were on they started with the registration paperwork which was crazy long (and we had even pre-filled out most of the paperwork at a childbirth class offered by the hospital!).

During the hour it took to register me, I was contracting frequently and heavily. The IV seemed to help slow the contractions down. Note to self: drink more everything. Once the registration paperwork was complete the NMW came and did an internal exam and took samples for an fFN and Group B Strep. I was only a fingertip dilated, which she said was a good sign.

By 8 p.m. my contractions had slowed down and I had no "measurable" pain. It took another hour for the results of the fFN to come in and during that time they just had me rest and a nurse came in to administer a shot of betamethasone, which is a steroid that helps reduce the incidence of respiratory distress in premature newborns by speeding up lung maturation.

Once the results of the fFN came in (negative), they sped up my IV line and gave me discharge instructions. I was still contracting at that time, but the contractions were irregular. This combined with the negative fFN and the limited dilation enabled me to go home.

Even while I was contracting in the hospital and I was watching the contractions happen on the monitor I wasn't "feeling" them. The nurses told me this is common especially with multiples - so much going on in there and a uterus already stretched beyond normal limits, it becomes hard to tell what's what. Apparently contractions are normal as long as they are not accompanied by bleeding, pain or excess fluid and that they are happening with some irregularity.

I go in again tonight for a second shot of betamethasone and I have another OB appointment in the morning to check on my cervix. I wish tomorrow's appointment was a growth ultrasound (that doesn't happen until next week). I would feel a lot more peace of mind if I knew how big the babies were right now.

My last cervical length check was on Monday and it revealed my cervix was shortening and funneling. That news combined with this preterm labor scare has made me so angry with the new OB from our practice. I thought it was important for me to meet with all of the OB's in the practice so I scheduled my 28 week appointment with one of the doctors I hadn't met. When writing out orders for my 30 week appointment she cancelled my cervical length check and ultrasound and told us that there was no medical necessity to continue getting checked with such detail and frequency.

I challenged her advice during the appointment and she made me feel stupid. So I left the office and called again and got the same answer. But I never gave up. I insisted on speaking with my regular OB and I badgered the OB office until they put me through to her. My regular OB immediately changed her partner's orders and scheduled me for another cervical exam at 30 weeks. She is amazing and I am so thankful for her. I trust her inherently and I'm only scheduling appointments with her from now on. She's taken our pregnancy so seriously and I feel like we're in good hands. I just hope when I go into real labor that she's the on-call doctor.

My next goal is getting these babies to 32 weeks, although I'll say that's not much of a goal. Ideally they'll get to 36 without anymore problems. As for me, I'll be on the couch drinking water until then. Wish me luck.

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