Sunday, August 16, 2009

Day 25: T-13

I really thought about making it T-27 instead and just shifting to 28w as the next goal (since it is the bigger of the two), but mentally, I cant... Not yet. And 26w is a big goal. The survival rate of twins born at 24w is 30% (and of that 30%, 70% will have a medical concern or hardship due to their prematuity). At 26%, the survival of both twins is 50% (with a 50% chance of hardship). At 28w, the survival rate is listed as 85% of both twins (with a 15% of hardship) and each day beyond that brings better and better results. So, 28w really is a super place to be. But, 26w is nothing to bat the eyes at either... So, T-13 it is.

We (well, Peter) spent the morning straightening our room, changing linens, etc. It's something he's done since the beginning. The nurses think he is not only a sweetie but, especially on days like today when they are understaffed, he is a gift to them. (It's been a rough day for my favorite weekend day nurse...)

Why do some people just not listen??? The nurses I see all the time are GREAT. Just wonderful. But some of the subs they send from other areas when they are understaffed... They are nice and mean well but they arent used to antepartum. Today, my nurse is being assisted and, while nice, the spare nurse isn't a regular...

For example, yesterday the resident said that the babies needed to be monitored for an hour 3 times a day (non stress test or NST). At 24w, most babies arent reactive (which is the result you are looking for in a NST) so it is pointless. Now, that being said, ours are (yay!) but still, they are small and have room to play, which means a solid hour is a nightmare. It takes 2 just to get 60 fairly consecutive HB tones. Not fun, for the nurses or me. We discussed this with Dr M on rounds and expressed that there is no reason, when the babies are this small and this active, to do an hour 3x day. She agreed. We compromised on 30m twice a day, which is a huge help. So, it took our regular nurse an hour and a half for that 30m because they were just everywhere. They had to strap me in so tight that my belly was sore all day and I thought I was going to vomit all afternoon. I had a breakdown yesterday, the first "I dont know if I can do this" because I was just so frustrated. It passed quickly, but still. I was not looking forward to the evening.

Our evening nurse was the nurse who came after Alex was born and baptized him, so we have a history. She is very sweet and she always comes in even when she is not my nurse to check on us. She asked how I was feeling and I was honest about the earlier nightmare monitoring (even with a nurse I love) and she said, not to worry. She had an idea. So she took out what they call a belly band (which looks like the belly bands you buy almost, sort of like a tight tube top). She helped me slide into it and it fit like a second skin. Then, instantly, she found the heartbeats and the second skin (along with a roll of tape between the monitors and band for a tiny bit of pressure) kept them in place. She slid the TOCO in as well and, even though I was on my back, I only had 2 very mild contractions, only one of which picked up. The 30 minute monitoring took 35 minutes- and that's because of getting them on the monitor and me getting comfy on my back! It was wonderful. Just wonderful. I wanted to cry. I wasnt frustrated or in pain and the babies were happy that stuff wasnt pressing against them and trying to constrict their movement. Because they were free to move, they relaxed. It was great. (And then, this morning, she gave me my steroid shot and I didnt even feel the thing she was so fast. Now, afterwards... but the heat did it's job in 10 minutes. So yay.)

So, this morning... New nurse... And it is the sub. She comes in, does my BP and temp, and all is well... Until the monitoring. Now, I tell her about the belly band and she's cool with that. But let's just say she hasnt used a HB monitor in a while. She squirts the gel on my belly instead of the unit which, as you can assume, meant the units werent picking up the HBs as well. And I was a mess. In my last (quasi) clean clothes before Peter picks up stuff tomorrow night before coming back to the hospital. Yeah. Great. So, she tries and tries for almost 40 minutes and rarely gets a good tone on them. I kept telling her where they were and where they never are (which she insisted on trying anyway- hello? I live with these babies 24h a day, every day... I know where each of them is at any given time even when they are sleeping, and I know for a fact that neither of them has ever, ever been on my sides!!!). So, it was a nightmare and after the clean up I was frustrated and couldnt even pee in spite of a full bladder. She gave up and said that my real nurse would be in to do it later. By the time she came in, I had calmed down a little and asked about the gel on the belly. She said that no, they dont do that, and that I was right. Poor girl... She has to have this "help" all day. (Dont get me wrong; the subbing nurse is really nice, but since I've been here so long and know the other nurses, it is hard to let nice take the cake sometimes.) So, in 5 minutes, both babies have been found and the belly band is doing it's job. Half an hour later, we are done and everyone was happy. I realize that my standard nurses know the babies by now and know where they are, but the babies are active and the standards are the ones that dont go looking for someone who isnt lost. They may move around slightly, but they stay in the one place and the babies come back. If Maya is flipping over, moving isnt going to get her heartbeat; hanging around will. The nurses who take care of us regularly know this. I guess I just expect that everyone will. (I know... Me and my expectations...)

But, overall, it has been a good day... A day of breathing a little easier because we are in the third trimester and the babies have a real chance. Every day is a blessing... A day closer... I love feeling them inside and being pregnant with them (even though pregnancy is nothing like I planned or ever thought it would be and brings with is immense fear and terror). But I wouldnt take it back. Not once. It's the mommytime with them. I do wish for the next 11w5d to go quickly so that I can "know" they have more than a fighting chance. But, as any orphaned parent knows, the womb time is only the beginning. I think of the moms and dads who lost babies full term or through SIDS (or an unexplained post-birth infant stage)... There is no safety in laboring a full term baby for them. They know the side that I dont. They know that a live baby moments before birth or months after birth doesnt gurantee a happy ending. But nothing does. I look at my brother-in-law, who was a happy seven year old, who died of neuroblastoma. I'm sure that once labor and delivery were over, everyone thought things would be great. We just dont know... So everyday is truly a blessing. For all of us. I dont want my pregnancy to end but I also want it to end. I dont wish the days away but I am glad when they go quickly. But it is just another aspect of having had the day. And being so very grateful for that.

And, on a very happy note, please pop over to my friend, Carrie's, blog. She is carrying triplets and today is her 24w milestone!!!


Catherine W said...

Thank you for your comments Michele. I'm finding it hard coming up to the twin's birthday. You always say such beautiful things and your words really comfort me.

It is so good to see those numbers just getting better and better. It is just amazing how rapidly they improve once the 24w passes. Roll on 26w. And the rest! I hope that Bobby and Maya hang on in there for a lot longer yet.

It is so true, there is never any 'safe.' All we can do is appreciate the moments that we have. You are right, every day is a blessing.

I'm terribly sorry to hear about Peter's brother. xx

Kate said...

I can't wait for the two weeks to fly by. *hugs* Thanks for providing information on the weeks and what delivering at each milestone means.

Carrie said...

I think I feel the same way. I WANT 28 weeks sooooo badly, but counting to 26 seems much more manageable so I will be counting with you. You are SO close again!

I am grateful for those kind hearted nurses and wish all were that way. I am sorry for the crankier nurses who don't listen to you who know your babies best.

Many prayers and hugs for the next two (and then four) weeks. WE CAN DO IT!!!


Baby Smiling In Back Seat said...

I had the belly band at my NST earlier this week, strange they haven't thought of it before for you. Glad it's working though!

The nurse pulled out what looked like a child's tube top, so much smaller than my actual belly bands, and reassured me, "It doesn't look like it will possibly fit, but it will." And it did.

May said...

Oh man, the nurses. It really is all about the nurses. Glad you're finding some you like! Have you got their scedules memorized yet so you can ask the charge nurse to assign them to you?!?

bankshot said...

so happy that you have reached this point! and I sympathize completely with the not wanting the pregnancy to go so fast, and yet wanting it to be done.... wanting to spend every last second feeling the babies aquiggle inside , kick and squirm and build that bond, yet wanting things to go faster so that they are safe and so I can meet them.

They are truly gifts though! we have no control over when or how they come or go! we can only do the best we can, enjoy every second we get, and be thankful of that precious time!

I am so proud of you! YAY! keep going.... I have no doubts that you can make 28 wks, or more! see ya at the finish line...

~~Michelle "your pregnancy twin"

k@lakly said...

I hope th egood nurses are around much, much more than the not so good ones! And YAY, for you and the milestones you keep making! I hope you do get 11 more week of pg time with them and then a very long lifetime of them laughing and loving you and the life you have fought so hard to give them.

quadmom said...

aw i can't imagine how frustrating having to go through an hour for what should only be a 30 minute scan must be. especially since you know if you had your usual nurse it wouldn't happen that way. but i am glad to hear the twins are so active!

hang in there!

Busted Tube said...

I don't know where you find all your inner strength, but I am in awe of how well you've done through so many trying days. I hope you have a good week with easy monitoring sessions!