Our Story – Part 3

So it’s May 19th, I’m 28 weeks and 5 days pregnant, and we’re thinking we’re moving in the next two weeks. Phone calls have been made to housing. Doctors have been researched, and a good friend who used to be a NICU nurse in the area gave me ideas of hospitals and doctors to look into. It was happening.

Then on Saturday night, May 21, at just barely 29 weeks pregnant, I woke in the middle of the night with a contraction. I thought it would go away, so we waited and I pulled out my phone to time the contractions. Less than 6 minutes later I had another. I’d been having Braxton Hicks for a while, and always told that if they were 6 minutes apart or didn’t go away by lying down that we needed to call, so I did. At first, the nurse sounded very relaxed with it, and suggested water and laying down. Then I reminded her that I was only 29 weeks, and having triplets, and lived an hour away. She told me to start driving. On the way, the contractions seemed to lessen (though it was likely that I just wasn’t paying as much attention to them), and I tried to get Steven to turn back home. He laughed at me (As did the 4 year old in the back seat). We got to the hospital.

Now for the fun part. The door straight into the L&D area is closed at night. So you have to go through the ER, across the hospital, up an elevator, then back across again. Probably a half mile of walking. I don’t even think I’m exaggerating there. So I get to L&D, they check me in, and we get started. First, we have to move rooms because I need two monitoring stations (Each monitor only handles one baby). Then they start trying to find babies. And keep the monitors on them. If you’ve ever been monitored in a hospital, you know how hard it is to keep one squirming baby under the monitor, much less 3. Eventually we ended up with me and two nurses manually moving the monitors to keep up with the babies. And they wanted to do this 24/7. Um, that’s gonna be fun!

So we decided I was in labor. They got me the steroid shots for the babies’ lungs. You have to have two shots, 24 hours apart, so I knew I was in the hospital for at least 48 hours. On top of that I was starting to dilate (3cm, 50%), so they started magnesium to stop the contractions. I wouldn’t wish magnesium on my worst enemy. I would imagine that the hallucinations are akin to being on LSD, but on top of that you feel like it’s 100 degrees in the room and can’t breathe. It’s miserable. Thankfully I only had to be on it for 24 hours. On top of that, while on it, you can’t eat or drink.

Long story short, we got the contractions under control. We got the babies settled in with the steroids. And we did a growth scan to make sure they all looked okay (which they did). So then came the discussion. I lived an hour away, across a giant bridge (of which there was no other way across quickly), and there were no NICUs on my side of the water. The combination led to them not wanting me to leave. I was officially a resident of 3 South in Madigan Army Medical Center.

I started off in a room with another roommate. She was sweet, same gestation as me (only 1 baby though), but it still could be tiring. Our monitoring wasn’t always synced, so we’d get woken up by the other person’s monitors, etc. But it was doable. And we got decent food in the hospital. I highly recommend the french toast with strawberries (it’s not on the menu, but if you ask they’ll oblige!).

So that was the story of my life for the foreseeable future. We talked them into 8 hours of sleep at night, and instead of constant monitoring we had a Biophysical Profile (mini-ultrasound to check cord, position, fluid, etc) every morning. We fell into a routine. At 6am the docs would do rounds. I’d order breakfast. I’d eat. Dr. L. would come in to do the BPP, and we’d joke while watching Fresh Prince of BelAir (without theme song… one of my only complaints) and doing this. Every day.

I’ll admit, I was pretty cranky at times. Wouldn’t you be if you were measuring over 60 inches around with 6 arms and 6 legs kicking various internal organs and having contractions all day. Every day. ?? Yes. Throughout this I’d end up with contractions about every 10 minutes all day every day. We ended up determining that I had an irritable uterus. Fancy way of saying, “your uterus is measuring more than 40 weeks pregnant and it’s not happy.”

Each day we’d check of another calendar square. Steven would bring Aiden down after work (50 miles each way). I finally got hospital privileges, so I was allowed to be wheeled around the hospital for a couple hours when they came (3 year old boys get cooped up in a hospital room). I had amazing friends who came to visit. And I even got day passes to go out to the mall/dinner at times. That was a big hit to the ego when we went to dinner and I couldn’t fit in the booth.

It became status quo. We discussed going home when I got to 32 weeks. But at that point I decided the paperwork to go through the L&D wing again would be more work than it was worth, plus I’d lose my fancy air-mattress bed (did I tell you about that?? I still wish I had that back. I almost didn’t want to go home because I would lose it!).

Big events came and went. Aiden finished preschool. The boat held our hail&farewell (thanks to another awesome lady for videotaping it for me so I could laugh). We would joke every morning about the numerology and if it was a good day for a birthday (I’m the 18th, Aiden’s the 19th, Daddy’s the 20th, so we were thinking that 6/7 would be fun because 7*3=21… and so on). And then father’s day came. June 19th.

I was told by one of my favorite nurses over the weekend that I couldn’t have the babies until Monday morning because she was off for the weekend. As had happened two or three times before, contractions started hard that night. We’d use the monitor and they were up there with full on labor contractions. But basically, I wasn’t allowed to be touched until my water broke. They decided checking me could do more harm than good, so the nurses would check on me, L&D had my name on their screen, and Steven knew that if I called again he needed to start driving. But we suffered through that evening and night, sleeping little, and then it was the morning. 33w1day.

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