This story starts at 5am on Wednesday morning. We got up and took Chris to the airport. He had to go to Florida on business for a couple days. So we dropped him off, then came back home for a bit until registration was open at the school Ian will be going to in the fall. I took the boys and registered Ian for kindergarten, then we came home and had some lunch. Then I had to take them to my friend Beth's house because she was going to watch them while I was at the doctor since Chris was out of town.
So then I went in for my first biophysical profile appointment at 1:15. It started with an ultrasound where the tech was looking for each baby to have certain kinds of movements within an allotted amount of time. She was looking for big body movements as well as small motor movements such as hands opening & closing. Both babies passed and got the maximum 8 out of 8 points. Baby A weighed 3 lbs 9 oz and Baby B weighed 3 lbs 7 oz. So nice and big! The doctor was impressed at their sizes and said whatever I've been eating/drinking, to keep it up!
Next was the NST (non-stress test). They hooked up a monitor on my belly for Baby A. I had to squeeze a trigger whenever I felt her move and the monitor tracked her heartrate in conjunction with my clicks. She did great and got her 2 out of 2 points for that. Baby B kept moving away from the monitor when it was her turn, but she did great as well and got 2 out of 2. So both babies got the maximum 10 points!
Lastly, my doctor did a cervix check. This is where it gets crazy and from this point on my day was like a blur. 3 weeks ago I had a cervix check and was totally closed and firm, all that good stuff. Well Wednesday I was 2cm dialated and soft. Lots of women can walk around for weeks at 2cm dialated, but my doctor seemed to be concerned the most that I had no idea this was occurring. I couldnt think of any one particular time within the past 3 weeks where I had any more discomfort or pain than usual. I've actually felt great, so this was a huge shock to me. She didnt want to jump the gun and send me to the hospital unnecessarily, so she conferred with another doctor at the clinic and she agreed that I should come in for a steroid shot for the babies in case they are born early, and some monitoring for my contractions (I had been having up to 4-5 an hour in the evenings for weeks now but they never hurt), and then the FFN (fetal fibronectin) test to see if we were looking at labor within the week or not.
She wanted me to check in right after dinner that night. So I start to freak out a bit. Chris is out of town and where were my kids going to go for a couple days? I dont know that many people in MN yet since we haven't lived here very long. Luckily my friend Beth said she would keep them for the couple of days, so I knew they would be in good hands. So we went home and I ordered us a pizza, then we got their bag packed and my bag packed and I took them back to Beth's. Her husband drove me to the hospital since it was downtown and I had never driven there before. That was definitely a load off my mind!
I got checked in and the first thing they did was give me a betamethasone shot, which is a steroid for the babies' lungs. It matures them more quickly so if they are born early, they can breathe air much easier. The nurse said that while in the womb, babies lungs are full of surfactant which makes them kind of sticky and they stick together which would make it more difficult for them to breathe once they were out in the air. Another surrogate I know who is a nurse said she has seen first hand that the shot is incredible for any baby born early. So that made me happy. I think the whole stressful situation had me contracting quite a bit that night. I had 6 within an hour, and the another 6 within the next 30 minutes. So they gave me a shot of terbuterline which was basically like a big ol shot of muscle relaxer just for the uterus. The contractions stopped immediately, although while I slept they came back to about 4-5 an hour overnight which everyone was fine with. I slept decently that night, which was actually better than I had been sleeping at home. I was so tired after being up since 5am that day, and then the excitement of the day, so I slept well and only woke up to pee once.
Yesterday was pretty quiet. I was down to 2-4 contractions an hour...and keep in mind that none of these have ever hurt. They have all been just a tightening of my stomach and nothing more. So even when they were more frequent, I felt fine. I also have no other signs of pre-term labor. No bleeding, cramping, back pain, discharge, pelvic pressure, rectal pressure...nothing. So they moved me to the long term bedrest part of the hospital since things were looking fine. I have a bigger room with a shower, a LCD TV, DVD player, microwave, table fan, and the bed is comfy. Also included in the rate of the room is Integrative Care, which are things like massages, aromatherapy, accupuncture, accupressure, reflexology, etc...based on what you need. They thought I could use an aromatherapy massage to bring my stress levels down and relax me. So I had a lovely massage with lavendar oil and relaxing music, and then she left me with a little envelope with a tissue in it that has the lavendar oil on it, for a refresher whenever I need it. She recommended that someone come in the next day to give me another one. I can live with that! I was only hooked up to monitors twice yesterday...no contractions at all each time, and both girls still doing great. I received another betamethasone shot last night..and let me tell you..that shot HURTS! Big needle, lots of meds, and it stings going in. Not fun! But totally worth it, of course!
Last night was wonderful. I turned the fan on and had it blowing on me (I get hot VERY easily) and turned the TV to the relaxation channel which has relaxing music and scenery. This was around 11pm or so. And I was knocked right out. I slept until 5am and got up to pee, then went back to sleep until 8am. I really needed this good sleep! I had my breakfast, then they hooked me up to the monitors again...no contractions, babies doing great, and then I got to take a shower! Chris will arrive back into MSP around 1pm and he will bring the boys up here to see me. So I am glad to be all showered and have makeup on. At some point they still need to give me the FFN so we can see what the next step is. If its negative I can go home and do bedrest or modified rest there because it means 99% chance of no labor within the next week. If its positive they will keep me here for bedrest because it indicates 30-50% of delivery within the week...which we dont want! I am pretty sure it will be negative...I mean despite the dialation I dont have anything else going on with my body. No contractions, no pressure, nothing. So we will see.
Now, M&B have been awesome through this. I dont know how they have stayed so calm...I think if the situation was reversed I wouldnt be as calm! I think it definitely helps that I am NOT actually in labor though! LOL. If the FFN comes back negative, they will come out here next Sunday...so still moving up their original plans by a couple weeks. If it comes back positive they will come immediately. I am so thankful that their jobs are so flexible and they can work from here if they end up being here an extended amount of time. Right now the first goal is to keep the girls in until 34 weeks and my ultimate goal is at least 36 weeks! I have a friend who was a surrogate and carried twins, and she was in the hospital at 29 weeks with possible pre-term labor issues, but ended up needing to be induced at 37 weeks anyways! So its definitely possible the same will happen here. I just do NOT want them born pre-term at all. I've read that 35-36 weeks is full term for twins, since they mature more quickly in the womb that singletons, so thats what I really want to get them to. And this is mainly of course for their health, but also because nobody wants to be labelled with having a pre-term birth. In the surrogacy world you are labelled as damaged goods basically, and I want to have the option of doing this again in the future. Of course I am nowhere near ready to think about doing this again yet! But I want to have the option just in case. I've had such a great experience so far with M&B and their babies, and the whole pregnancy so far (besides this little speedbump!), so I would be afraid that it wouldnt go so nicely next time! So we'll see.
Well here is the 31 week developmental update for the girls:
- The rate of physical growth slows down just a bit, but even though she doesn't get much longer, she will gain a lot of weight the rest of the pregnancy.
- Fat continues accumulating. This layer of fat turns her skin from red to the rosy pink she will have as a newborn.
- Calcium, phosphorus and iron are being stored and her bones are growing and hardening.
- Baby is 16.2 inches (41.1cm) long and weighs 3.3 pounds (1502gm)
- Her brain enters another period of rapid growth, producing hundreds of billions of new nerve cells! Amazing!
- She may move to the rhythm of music. Studies with heart rates show that she also prefers some types of music to others -- already!
- Lungs are the only major organ left to complete development. Remember, that while you may be anxious to meet your little one that these last few weeks can be vital - with each day increasing your baby's ability to breathe on her own.
Obviously I dont have a belly pic today since I didnt bring my camera with me to the hospital! I do have my cell phone but the picture wouldnt be very good. So I will do that later.
They just came in and gave me the FFN test so I should know within an hour whether or not I get to go home, and whether or not M&B will need to get here ASAP. The doctor is pretty confident that it will be negative at this point, so thats wonderful news.
I will update once I know anything else. But so far so good!