May 2013 was a month of ups and downs. To start off the month, I had my next appointment May 2nd. I was 24 weeks at this point, so as per the routine for women having multiple children in a pregnancy, it was time to check the length of my cervix (lots of fun!) as well as a fetal fibronectin swab. Normally, at about 20 weeks into a pregnancy, the cervix measures 40mm. At 24 weeks, my cervix measured just 27mm. The significance of this is that the shorter the cervix, the higher risk of pre-term labor. Therefore, my OB was definitely a little concerned. She said as long as it is >25mm there is not too much to worry about, but I would need to be monitored closer from now on...so now I was up to every 2 week appointments. The fetal fibronectin swab checks for the presence of the protein, fibronectin, in the cervix. This protein helps attach the amniotic sac to the lining of the uterus. If the test comes back positive, there is an increased risk of pre-term labor. This test result takes longer to get back, so we would have to wait until later that day to know if it was positive or negative, and whether there would be restrictions placed on my activities. I also learned at this appointment that my blood count was getting lower and lower. My hemoglobin was down below 10 so I was to be referred to a hematologist for further blood work. I really tried to remain positive and not get worried too much about these results, but it seemed like my check up was all negative. Finally, late that afternoon, we got a call that the FFN (fetal fibronectin) was negative! Whew! At least one good result that day!
To help ease our minds a little, we decided to start working more on the details of the nursery and playroom. I had ordered a stick on phrase for the wall inside the changing table station that had just come in the mail. So, one Saturday, my mom came over and helped me attach it to the wall and make a curtain for the nursery to match the bed skirts on the crib. The curtain turned out a perfect fit for the calm nursery. The phrase on the wall was exactly what I wanted. It said "Sometimes miracles come in pairs." This was very fitting for our situation.
Next, Brad and I made a "swing shelf" modeled after one I found at pottery barn that I loved. However, instead of paying $170 we made a shelf with products from Lowes for $20!! I think it was just the perfect accent for the room. Lastly, we went to Brad's grandparents' farm one day and got some wood from an old barn that had started to collapse a while back. The original section of the barn was built in the late 19th century. There had been a couple of additions to the barn as the years went on. We took the wood home to my parents' house. My dad cut out two oars from the barn wood and sanded them down fairly smooth. Brad and I then painted the oars to match the nursery. Each one had one of the boys' name on them to hang over their cribs. These oars will have special meaning to us and the boys as time goes on.
Next, I went to see the hematologist at Tennessee Oncology at Baptist Hospital. He was very nice and easy to get along with. He confirmed the results of my hemoglobin and iron studies were not good. Basically, I didn't appear to be absorbing iron at the appropriate level despite taking an iron supplement religiously every day. So, he had me stay at the office and receive an IV iron infusion called Venofer. This infusion truly was not as bad as I imagined, but it was quite uncomfortable and awkward sitting in the treatment room with many cancer patients receiving chemo at the same time. There was an air of sadness about the room that you couldn't ignore. But, at least the infusion was only 30 minutes long and the only side effect I experienced from it was a bad taste in my mouth. I was to come back in one week and receive one more Venofer infusion.
Mother's Day came and I was feeling excited that I actually got to celebrate it this year. The year before I was so worried that I would never get to experience Mother's Day as a mom, but here I was 25 weeks along celebrating these two little lives inside me. My mom took my sister and me out for a relaxing pedicure and we took her to lunch at The Chocolate Covered Strawberry, one of our favorite local cafes. Brad was so excited for me to be able to celebrate Mother's Day he bought me a beautiful Pandora bracelet with 3 charms on it. One said MOM on it and the other two were cute teddy bears with blue ribbons symbolizing the two boys. I absolutely loved this bracelet and am excited about adding to it in the future as the boys grow!
At 26 weeks, I was back at the OB for another check on my cervix. My mom came with me to this appointment, as Brad had to work. I went into the appointment thinking negative thoughts that I would be told it was 23-24 and I would have to quit work and all activities at this time. But, good news! The result was 30mm this time. What a relief!! Another swab was done as well to check for the presence of FFN. Again, we would have to wait until the late afternoon/evening for that result. I think my mom thoroughly enjoyed going to this appointment with me. She got to see her future grandsons for the first time on ultrasound. They looked beautiful up on the screen and checked out completely normal in growth and development again. Baby A weighed 2lb 2oz and Baby B weighed 1lb 15oz. So, on to Tennessee Oncology again to get the last IV infusion (woohoo!). Again, the infusion was not bad and the only problem was the awful taste again:( I will never forget that nasty metallic taste. Later that afternoon, I got a call from my nurse that the FFN was yet again negative. Another good result!
My last OB check for the month was May 30th, 28 weeks. Again, the FFN swab test was done and the cervical length check was done as well. The week or so before this appointment I had noticed that I was feeling more and more pressure and having a harder time being on my feet all day at work even though I was only working 2 days/week at this point. At our meeting with my OB, she notified us that the cervical length had decreased drastically to 22mm. Yikes! As a result of this, she decided to send me over to the Women's Hospital to be observed overnight. She also informed me that from this point on I could no longer work and would be put on strict bed rest for the time being. What!?! This was not supposed to happen! Over we went to the hospital and got checked in and put on the monitor to see if I was having any contractions. In the span of the 4 hours I was on the monitor, I had maybe a total of 2 tiny contractions that I never even knew happened. Although that was good news, I was really struggling to keep my head up and remain positive. All I could think about was that these boys were going to be coming soon and they weren't done developing yet. I had visions in my head of them being born then and struggling to survive in the NICU. I was so afraid that my worst nightmare was going to come to life. Brad stayed with me overnight which was a huge help physically and emotionally. Again, he is always my biggest supporter and always looking out for me. I don't think I would have survived the night emotionally without him! One more time that night I was put on the monitor with a result of no contractions.
The next morning came and my OB rounded to see how I was doing. She said the monitor strips looked great and that the boys' heart rates were perfect. She wanted me to have an ultrasound to check my cervix before I could go home. She explained again that I was to go home on strict bed rest, only to get up to go to the bathroom every 2 hours and one shower a day. Luckily, though, she did confirm it was ok for me to attend my baby shower the next weekend as long as my follow up appointment with her the next week went well. Whew! This was a big worry for me! The baby shower meant so much to me and I knew my mom, mother-in-law, and sister had all been working so hard to make it special for me:) So, we waited and waited and finally about 1pm that afternoon, the sonographer came to do the ultrasound. Ok, I'm not one to complain about people in the medical field since I am one myself, but this woman did nothing to calm my nerves about the test. She lacked so much personality and complained about her day the whole time. Luckily, she was only in the room a few minutes and it was back to waiting for the results to be read by the doctor. Finally, the nurse came around and said the result was 21-22mm so we were ok to be discharged. I was so happy to go home even though I knew it would be only to lay in my bed for the next week at least. So began the wonderful experience of bed rest...