Thursday, August 04, 2005

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.

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