Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A week can change your world

This past week started like any other. I got home on Monday and since I was sporting a new maternity top and had a fresh 'do thanks to my sister in law, I had Mr. BKL take my photo for my belly progress series. I got changed and was about to head out on a walk, and saw I had missed a call from my Dad. To keep things succinct, he basically told me my Grandpa (mom's dad) was not doing well and was not expected to make it through the night. He hadn't been doing great in recent weeks, but this was still unexpected. I of course had a hard time hearing this news, but started praying and hoping for him to be in comfort. My parents did not want me driving to see him "in my condition" and at first it was hard to not drop everything to get there, but I eventually saw their reasoning.

The next morning my Mom said that he had passed over night. I immediately wished I could have been there to say goodbye, but had to let go. Fortunately work was busy and provided distraction. I had started my weekly appointments the week before and had a series of them on Thursday, but planned to go to the wake that afternoon and the funeral on Friday. The best laid plans...

At my appointment, we watched the babies via ultrasound in what is called a biophysical profile. The babies have to pass certain "tests". They both did great and we even saw baby girl has some hair on her head. I can't wait to see it. After that, I had a non-stress test. In this one, fetal monitors are hooked up to my belly to watch heart rates and movement as well as for contractions. Again, things went well. The babies did great. A few contractions were detected, but just the usual Braxton Hicks type I had been having hear and there for a while now. Finally, after all this, I saw my NP for the usual blood pressure, measuring, etc. I had asked her to make sure it was okay for me to travel the hour+ to the wake and funeral that day, and it wouldn't be a problem. She also did a cervical check. After how well things were going I almost didn't hear her say there was a lot of pressure from Baby A and I was effaced and had to go on bed rest immediately.

I am sure I turned white with terror and tears came to my eyes easily. It had been an emotional week already so, I was already on edge. I asked if I could still go to the funeral if I promised to sit...she said no, you have to lay down. She was comforting and consoling, but I was a bit of a mess. I tried to hold it together. I went straight home and once I got there let the tears really fly. I couldn't fathom missing my Grandpa's funeral and being with my family at such an important time. I worried about how to tell my Mom because of all she was dealing with and with what I know is constant worry about me and the babies. I worried about work - how is anyone possibly going to take over for me already? So much has to be done. I worried about money. I was upset at the prospect of losing my planned 12 weeks of leave with my babies by having to spend some of it on the couch alone instead of caring for them starting our journey as a family of four.

Once I had calmed down enough, I called my Mom. Of course, she was a pillar of strength and helped me by reassuring me that everything will be okay. Grandpa knows this is best and he is watching down on us now. As time went on that afternoon I did a lot of praying. My Dad always knows the right things to say. He told me that everything happens for a reason. The appointments I had that day were a sign that something was happening and we had to try to slow it down for the babies sake. It took me a while, but I am starting to see it now.

I think I was in denial that I hadn't been feeling great that day. I had more pressure than usual, more contractions and back pain than usual, was more nauseous and uncomfortable. I can't help but wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t had those appointments.

On Friday, I had a follow up test called a Fetal Fibronectin test. Fetal fibronectin attaches the amniotic sac to the uterus. If it's present near the cervix, it can indicate preterm labor is eminent 60% of the time. Not exactly a sure thing, but a positive test indicates again, that something is happening.

You know where this is going, right? Yep, my test was positive. I was also now 1 cm dilated. When I got the call back that my results were positive, I had to go back to get part one of a two course steroid shot intended to give the babies' lungs more maturity. It's often given any time pre-term labor has started before 34 weeks from my understanding. I was also given a prescription to help calm down contractions.
Once again, the emotions were overwhelming. I was suddenly scared that my babies could be arriving, and all too soon. I finally felt good on Saturday despite some trouble sleeping. I am hoping it's the shots and drugs that are waking me. My body is definitely responding to the rest it's finally getting. Part two of the shot was given on Saturday at the hospital. We also did another non-stress test and all was well with the babies' heart rates.

My spirits were lifted on Saturday as well as my parents came to visit as well as some amazing friends. They brought me the best care package ever. See if you can guess the theme:

Picture 117 258

My friends are awesome.

So, what next? Well, I lay around and do nothing which is mentally the hardest thing I've had to do. I would rather run a 1/2 marathon every day then be forced to lay around and not help around the house, cook, clean, earn money aka work, and generally prepare for our babies' arrival.

There is no real research that indicates bed rest slows down impending labor. A lot of doctors and health care professionals use it because it's really all that you can do and really, what can it hurt? Gravity can be your enemy sometimes. Of course I have thought about the petty things like how this will affect my own body and how much harder it will be to get my physical strength and endurance back. I was hopeful that my walking was giving me some cardio benefits. I try not to think too long on that though. Right now, my body is not mine and I have the rest of my life to get back into shape. It's sole purpose for the next few weeks is growing two babies.

I know that in time, everything that has happened this past week will seem like a small part of time in my life. I can never get back being able to say goodbye to my Grandpa, but I have a feeling he had something to do with what happened to me this week. I think he was looking out for us. And I know he is still watching over and will continue to watch over the whole family - in utero or not. I was lucky to have grown up close to my grandparents so we saw them often. They babysat us all the time. Grandpa pushed us on the swings, played ball with us, taught me how to play solitaire, built me beautiful toys with his woodworking skills including my beloved doll house, and he set an example of what being a true Christian means. My Grandparents were at almost every dance show (my early years...don't laugh), piano recital, and sporting event of mine growing up. Besides my parents, they were our biggest fans. My Grandpa loved sports. He hardly missed a Minnesota Twins game. He was a mechanic his whole life and loved cars. When he retired, he would transport cars between dealerships around the region. Him and my Grandma would often make day trips out of his drives. He loved being on the road. There is more I could say about what a great man my Grandpa was, but he touched so many lives and has a large family to be proud of.

I know this post is rather unorganized, but I guess my thoughts are also a bit scattered this week. I am sure I will have more musings on bed rest and the rest of this journey that is carrying and birthing twins as time goes on.