Wednesday, August 31, 2005

34 & 35 Weeks

Thirty-Four Weeks

Your baby gets bigger and bigger as each day passes. As of week 34, the baby weighs almost 5 pounds (2268 g), and is between 19 and 20 inches long (roughly 49 cm). There are lots of new developments in progress. The baby's skin is starting to be less wrinkled and while the hair covering the baby's skin (lanugo) is decreasing, the vernix white coating is getting thicker in preparation for the delivery.

If you've seen or felt something drip from your breasts, you're not imagining things. Pre-milk substance (colostrum) is in the making, thanks to the hormones from the placenta.

Thirty-Five Weeks

Nearing the ninth month, your baby weighs approximately 5 1/2 pounds (roughly 2495 g), and measures approximately 20 inches from head to toe. The baby will continue to grow, putting on about a half a pound per week until delivery.

Over the next few weeks, the organs (which are all present), are just putting on the final touches before birth.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

From the Father-to-Be

First of all, Jean wants to apologize for not returning phone calls oremails. I told her she was being silly for apologizing but she making medo it. Below is a summary of the last 5 days.

This is just from my memory, the days are starting to blend together. For me a Monday doesn't feel like a Monday anymore, it just feels like any other day. Also, Jean is not up for visitors. She is pretty darn miserable and is just concentrating on what she is going through. Jean and I went to the hospital Wed morning at 7:30am for a 'non-stress test'. Just a normal test to make sure everything is okay. At this time the nurses noticed that Jean was contracting every 2 minutes. We stayed in the emergency birthing dept for about 4 hours so they could continue to monitor the babies. The doctors then decided to admit Jean to the Labor and Delivery dept and give here an IV of magnesium sulfate (not fun) to help stop the contractions. The contractions started to slow around 4am on Thursday morning.

On Thursday they decided to move Jean to the antepartum dept because she was doing better. She stayed there all day Thursday. Her contractions were happening about every 8 min.

Friday morning Jean's contractions started getting closer together and more painful. So, the doctor's sent her back to labor and delivery for more magnesium. Jean's contractions were so bad on Friday night that the doc's gave her asleeping pill and morphine to help with the pain.

Saturday morning Jean was doing better, her contractions were every 8-10 min, so they sent her back to the antepartum dept. The doc's decided that since Monday (today) is exactly 34 weeks they were not going to give Jean any drugs to stop the labor. So, Saturday afternoon and Saturday night Jean's contractions were happening every 2-3 min. On a pain scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst pain you can imagine) Jean's pain was about 6-7. The doc's decided to give her pain meds to help with the pain and help her sleep. I was 99% sure that the babies were going to be born Saturday night. Sunday was very very similar to Saturday. A lot of contractions and a lot of pain. I spent the night at the hospital Wed, Thur, Fri, and Saturday. The funny thing is that with all of the contractions, Jean is only dilated to 2 cm. Maggie is extremely low and in perfect birthing position, but Jean is still not dilating any further. Also on Sunday night the doc's didn't want to give Jean any paid meds. Finally, around 12 midnight they gave Jean morphine for the pain but it didn't help much, she only ended up getting about 2 hours sleep.

So, that's pretty much it. Jean and I were positive that the babies were going to be born over the weekend. However, the doctor's will not perform a c-section, no matter how much pain Jean is in, unless the babies are in danger. That's about it. It is killing me that I have to be at work while Jean is going through this, but there isn't much I or anyone else can do for her at this time. I will keep everyone posted.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

33 Weeks

Your baby continues to fill out and gain weight. The organs are maturing and she is passing water from her bladder. Her skin has turned from red to pink and is also becoming less wrinkled. Your baby has started preparing for life outside the womb by storing iron in her liver. Your baby's skull is still quite pliable and not completely joined, in part so she can ease out of the relatively narrow birth canal. But the bones in the rest of her body are hardening.

Baby's full height is approximately 19.4 inches (49 cm). Weight is about 4.4 pounds (2000 grams).

Your baby should already be getting ready for delivery by turning upside-down -- her head should be pointing down. Your doctor or midwife will be paying careful attention to your baby's position in the coming weeks -- some babies do decide to turn back around.

If you're a first-time mother, your child's head may move into the pelvis this week and press firmly against your cervix. (This happens for about half of all first-time mothers.) If you're a second-time mom, you can expect this to happen a week before labor -- and for some this won't happen until the advanced stages of labor.

Last ultrasound??

This morning we had what was probably our last ultrasound! Yippee! We were unable to get photos of the babies b/c they are so big right now but we did get weights...Maggie is 4 lbs. 11 oz. (which is 1 lb. 4 oz. larger than she was exactly 3 weeks ago) and Audrey is 4 lbs. 4 oz. (which is 1 lb. 1 oz. larger than she was 3 weeks ago). Also, the technician was able to see some hair on Maggie's head! Awww!!! I can't wait!!!! Maggie is still head down, and Audrey is "mostly" head down...looks like she's curved and headed that way. No wonder I feel so much heavier!!!!!!

I'm 33 weeks 1 day today, which is further than I thought I'd be on July 25th! I'm thinking 2 more weeks, because I just really feel uncomfortable and immobile lately. More so than usual...feels like they are headed south and ready to arrive. Even their movement isn't as frequent because they are running out of room. Any guesses? I'll be shocked if I make it to 36 weeks (Sept. 5) but who knows!!! It's whenever they feel like finally meeting us, I guess!

That's it for now! I have my non-stress test tomorrow and doctor appt. on Thursday, where it will be interesting to see if I've dilated any more. The contractions are still coming but thankfully the medication is working!!!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Labor & Delivery

Everything after that happened really fast. I was placed in a private L&D room, which was fully equipped to handle just that – labor and delivery. I think that it was good that it all happened so fast, because I didn’t have the time to think about what was actually happening.

I was hooked up to the monitoring system again and an IV was placed in my hand. The IV is probably the worst of the pain that I had felt at that time. It hurt so bad! Dr. P finally came in and explained what was about to happen to me. I was to be put on magnesium sulfate to slow the contractions for 24 hours at least. At that time, I would be reevaluated to determine the next course of treatment. The nurse warned me that the mag would make me feel miserable in the beginning, like I was having tremendous hot flashes. She wasn’t lying – I was miserable. I had never felt that hot before, I felt like I had a temperature of 120! I was also given a shot of steroids in my rear (the second most painful event of the evening). The steroids are administered to women in pre-term labor to assist the babies in more rapidly developing their lungs, in case they were born soon.

My nurse told me that I was only allowed ice chips and was not allowed to use the bathroom. Yes, that means that I had to use a bedpan the whole time I was in L&D. Let me tell you, when you plan on having a baby, you need to check your modesty at the door, because there is no way to avoid some of the awkward situations you find yourself in. And everyone sees EVERYTHING. I was uncomfortable, embarrassed, hungry and scared and I just wanted everything to be okay for my girls.

A little later in the evening, I was given a shot of morphine to help to alleviate the pain of the contractions. The morphine caused an immediate reaction for me, I felt like my throat was closing and that someone was lifting my chin and choking me. It only lasted about 30 seconds, but it terrified me. After that, I couldn’t tell if and when I had a contraction. This lasted for almost 24 hours! But I still couldn’t get any sleep because I was constantly being monitored and my vitals were being checked every hour on the hour.

J stayed the night with me because we were still uncertain if the babies would be delivered that evening or soon after. But eventually, my contractions went from every two minutes, to five minutes, to 10 minutes and finally every 15-20 minutes. I was on the mag until Wednesday morning, when they took me off the IV because four contractions an hour was controllable with an oral medication. Later that day, I was transferred to Antepartum, the division of the Birthing Center that houses the women with high-risk pregnancies and pre-term labor.

32 Weeks!

By the eighth month, your baby is becoming her own little person. The baby weighs around 4 pounds (1800 g) and measuring about 16 inches long (40 cm). She is almost ready to make an appearance. The baby has red, wrinkled skin but would likely survive outside the uterus at this point in time. The baby will still continue to grow inside your uterus with every body part still maturing.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

At Triage in the Birthing Center

As I was leaving the doctors’ office to head towards the hospital, I called J, my mom and sisters to give them an update of the situation. I began each phone call with, “Don’t panic but…” It didn’t work. My mom called my dad and basically informed him that I was about to give birth and J was terrified of the thought of what was to come.

I picked up J before heading towards the hospital, because we had been carpooling for several weeks due to my exhaustion, and going directly to the hospital would leave him stranded at work.

When we got to Triage, my blood was taken and I was placed on the monitors. They monitored each baby’s heartbeat and my contractions (which, at the time, I did not realize I was having). Everything seemed fine, if not a little boring for both me and J, just sitting there, listening to the girls’ heartbeats. After about a half an hour on the monitor, I began to feel really uncomfortable cramps in my uterus. But, since I had no idea what a contraction actually felt like, I just assumed it was partly just the pregnancy and the uncomfortable way that I was laying, strapped to the machines.

After over an hour of monitoring, the nurse came in and looked at the results. She informed us that the babies looked wonderful, and asked me if I had felt any contractions. I told her that I just felt really crampy, and the cramps felt like menstrual cramps. She then told us that I was contracting every two minutes and she had to get a doctor in to see me. When she left, the knowledge that I was in labor finally sank in. I was in labor!!! I was so upset, I immediately thought, the girls aren’t ready! If they survive, they will be in the hospital for weeks, and may suffer long-term repercussions of an early birth at 30 weeks! J tried to calm me down but I know that he was terrified as well. But all we could do was wait for the doctor.

Soon, the doctor came in to see me. She was a resident and looked no more than 23 years old. She reviewed the results of the monitoring, felt my abdomen and checked my cervix. I was still dilated to 1 cm and was effaced 50%. But the contractions were still coming. She advised us that I would have to be admitted to labor and delivery and that they would administer medication to slow the contractions as well as an IV to keep me from becoming dehydrated. The nurse gave me a hospital gown to change into and soon we were whisked away to Labor and Delivery.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

30 & 31 Weeks


Your baby continues to grow taller and fill out as you near the end of your pregnancy. By now, he weighs approximately 3 pounds (1400 g) and measures about 17 inches (38 cm) in total length. Your baby is continuing to grow rapidly now. In preparation for the journey to the new world, the baby is making movements that represent breathing even though the breathing inside remains the amniotic fluid. Sometimes at this point the baby may get hiccups and you may feel that happen!


Only 31 weeks, your baby weighs in at about 3 pounds 5 ounces (1590 g), and measures over 18 inches (46 cm) tall. Thanks to the deposits of white fat underneath the skin, the baby's color is changing from red to pink. At this point, the baby's irises dilate and contract in response to light, and his fingernails may extend to the end of the hands.

The organs are also in a growth period. Don't worry: Even if your lungs (and heart) make you feel breathless when you climb a flight of stairs or walk around the block, your womb mate is getting plenty of oxygen from your placenta.

The beginning of the end...

On Monday, July 25, 2005, I woke up reluctantly and began what I hoped would be my last week of work. For about three to four weeks before that, I had progressively become more and more uncomfortable and exhausted from my eight-hour days at the office. I kept telling J and my family that at the next appointment, I would ask to be released from work. At that time, my next appointment was scheduled for Wednesday, July 27, 2005. But, I did have something to look forward to that morning: we were scheduled for our latest ultrasound at the hospital at 8:00 a.m. that morning.

While going to the bathroom that morning, I noticed a slight tinge of blood…I didn’t panic like last time, because I was 30 weeks that day and I knew from experience that there wasn’t enough to worry me, that it could be another broken blood vessel. I mentioned it to J and he, being the ever vigilant and overprotective father and husband, demanded that I contact my doctors as soon as possible to report this finding. I was tempted to brush it off, since I was feeling fine (well, fine for any other woman in her third trimester with twins during one of the hottest summers on record in Michigan) and already had my appointment scheduled for Wednesday. But I conceded to ease his mind and on the way to the hospital I began trying to contact my doctors.

The ultrasound was quick and uneventful. The girls are too big to be able to clearly see on the screen at this point, and they were so active that they weren’t cooperating well for measurements. Eventually the technician was able to get the correct shot and informed us that Maggie was 3 lbs. 7 oz. and Audrey was 3 lbs. 3 oz. Right on track, according to the technician. She told us that these were good weights and that we shouldn’t be concerned about the slight difference between the two girls. Good weights!! I was shocked! The last ultrasound was on July 1, so that meant that Maggie had gained 1 lb. 1 oz. and Audrey gained 1 lb. 2 oz. in 24 days!!! Unfortunately, we only got one shot of Audrey (which will be posted at a later date) because of the cramped spaces they are living in at this point.

When I got to work, I continued to try to reach my doctor’s office. For some reason, the answering service kept picking up, even though it was well past the time that they opened. I considered forgetting about it and just waiting for my Wednesday appointment, but I thought about how concerned J was and about J&A’s experience and I continued dialing. By 10:00 a.m. I had been to the bathroom several times and hadn’t noticed any more blood at all, but still tried calling to get a hold of someone at the office. Finally, at around 10:30 a.m., I was able to reach the office, but then had to leave a voicemail for my nurse. One of her assistants called me back a few minutes later, took down my symptoms and decided that I should be seen on Monday rather than Wednesday, just in case anything else was wrong. I made my appointment for 1:40 p.m.

When I left the office, I told Sharon that I should be back in a couple of hours. She told me that I should just go home, because what was the use of coming back to work for a couple of hours and then turning around and leaving again. I was tempted to, but then I remembered that J and I were carpooling now and I couldn’t just go home, like I would have done before. I told her I planned on seeing her at around 3:30 p.m. and to let Lynn know where I was. She wished me luck and off I went, completely confident that I would be back.

The appointment was pretty typical of all of the other appointments I’d been having every two weeks since 20 weeks. I did mention to Dr. M that I would prefer to be taken off work this week, if possible. She agreed that I should go off, if I was okay with it financially. I told her that I have short-term disability and was unconcerned about that, but more concerned that I couldn’t really make it through an eight-hour day anymore. So, she wrote up a note, dismissing me from work from that date until delivery. Already, in my mind, I wasn’t planning on turning in the note until Tuesday morning, so I could get all of my projects reassigned, straighten up my office and conduct a little training for the women that would be filling my shoes while I was out.

The last thing Dr. M did before the end of the appointment was check my cervix. I had quite a shock when she told me that I was 1 cm dilated. I immediately became terrified!! What does that mean?!?! I had been reading my pregnancy books in weekly increments, never reading ahead to what to expect during labor and delivery. I think it was denial or fear of what was about to happen to me that kept me from reading the most crucial chapters of the books….My eyes welled up as I began to imagine going into labor right then and there and the thought that my babies are way too small and underdeveloped to come out TODAY!!!

Dr. M calmed me a bit by saying that it could be nothing and I could be dilated like this for weeks. She asked if I was feeling any pain and discomfort and I thought back to the past few days. I really hadn’t noticed anything significant except for my backache, beginning on Saturday night when J and I went to see ”The Wedding Crashers”. Other than that, I chalked my aches and slight cramping up to growing pains and the simple fact that I’m 30 weeks pregnant with twins, I am going to be a little uncomfortable now and then!! Had I just read further in my books, I would have been able to detect some of the early signs of labor.

Dr. M instructed me to go directly to Triage and told me that I would likely be monitored for a few hours and would then be sent home for rest. She indicated that she would notify my on-call doctor, Dr. P. and the hospital would be ready for me to arrive.