Today marks the milestone of making it officially "full-term" with twins: 36 weeks. Prematurity is most likely a worry of last month and I'm hopeful that these girls will get to come home with us in a reasonable amount of time. This is - big sigh- comforting news.
But why am I still waking up at 4 and 5 am with anxiety about the coming days? Looks like these little people will be coming out sooner than I expected.
I had a great ultrasound on Thursday morning at the high risk OB. Everything looked great- the umbilical cords, blood flow, heart rates, movement, etc. The world's greatest ultrasound tech decided it would be a good idea to get some current weights on these babies and the grand totals equaled just over 13 pounds. Holy schnikes. Baby A is estimated at 5lbs, 5 oz and Baby B at 7 lbs 12 oz. I was immediately alarmed by their size differences, but no one else seemed to be. The doctor kept joking about the 12-ish pounds of baby in me and how if I was his patient, I'd be in the OR in 20. Ha ha, not funny. That is why I am not his patient, although he is great at what he does. He told me me was writing a letter that day to my normal OB recommending these babies be born by next Friday, 6 days from now. However, he was fairly sure I'd be in labor by then anyway. He said that his recommendation was based on the fact that these girls are identical twins, sharing 1 placenta. Does my placenta look like it is aging? No, it still looks great. It's a caution thing....which I get, and I don't.....but mostly, I get.
It wasn't until later that night that I got a call from my regular Ob's nurse asking if I could come in at 9am (opening time), that I started to get quite nervous. We did a non-stress test, which we all 3 passed, and an internal exam before the doctor said a word about what he was thinking. I was surprised that my blood pressure could still be classified as "perfect." I honestly haven't been that nervous for a long time. I thought about yelling, "Oh shit!" and laying in the fetal position on the floor with a binky. But, instead I pulled my big girl pants on and acted like a mentally stable and mature adult ( it is usually more socially acceptable.)
He was quite calm and kind as we talked, explaining the thought process to getting to this conversation, including a late night talk between the 2 doctors. When they started to really look at the weights of the babies, even with the potential for 30% error either way, it was still enough to wonder if Baby A is still getting what she needs. She has only gained about 1 lb in a month, where her sister may have gained 3. So, Tuesday is induction day unless I can get this party started on my own.
Now, many of you have been induced and you were fine with it. I should be because I've been mentally preparing for this conversation for 30+weeks, but, I'm not. I've been known to talk about the induction and c-section conspiracy on occasion. I am familiar with "The Cascade of Medical Interventions." I know the increased risk that a twin birth brings and all these compounded things equal a very shaky situation which has a high probability of ending up in a c-section. (Cue another "Oh, Shit" here.)
Hear me here: I will do what is best for these babies. I care way more about their safe arrival than I care about scars and inconveniences. I am not looking to hear your c-section story; I've heard all that and have friends who would have babies no other way. When it comes down to it, Nick and I will make the best decision for these girls. Bottom line.
But there is the fear of the unknown and the total lack of control. When Owen was born at 40 weeks, 2 days, my water broke at noon and at 4pm the contractions started. He was born at 7:30pm that night. It was a very quick first labor and I opted for the tub instead of pain meds. Ella's arrival was even faster. My water broke, 5 minutes later my contractions started, 90 minutes later she was born. No meds and no time if I would have wanted them. My husband and my midwife almost didn't make it!
I immediately must clarify that I am not bragging or trying to sound like a super hero for not having drugs and having fast labors. My body was ready, fast labors run in my family and quick does not equal less pain. These were 2 intense experiences that were good experiences in the end and that is all I know. I don't know what happens when my body is pushed in to working with pitocin, an epidural and the inability to walk the room freely.
And so, the pressure is on. This weekend my job is to go in to labor on my own. Or at minimum, get this cervix ready to go so that I don't need much prompting come Tuesday morning. I am doing all the tricks I know and praying like crazy and manipulating my mind in to imagining everything going perfect. (my default is to imagine an emergency c-section. NOT HELPFUL!)
I haven't shared this publicly yet, but the high risk Ob's love to talk and laugh about my cervix. (in a good way) One doctor says my cervix is "deluxe," which meant each time they measured the length it was double the length they wanted it to be. The other doc said it was so long, it was practically falling out. Although disturbing this may be, it was a real blessing with twins. I felt like that crazy cervix was built for carrying twins to term. But, now, I'm hoping it thins and dilates quick and on its own. The deluxe-ness of the situation is no longer helpful; we've got to get this show on the road!
So, send your prayers our way. And your good thoughts, vibes and whatever you've got to spare. We will take it all. We want 2 healthy babies and I would love to go in to labor on my own. Assuming all is well, we will have these babies home by Christmas.
And I would like to address one other thing that many have asked about: the likelihood of having another child born with Pierre Robin or a cleft palate. We don't know the chances because we have never done genetic testing for Ella (scheduled for January in Indy). But, naively as it may be, have always felt that was more random than anything. These babies are identical and so if one did have it, so would the other. However, from what they can see on the 15+ ultrasounds I've had, their chins and faces look normal. Coincidentally, my 1 ultrasound with Ella looked normal too. We opted out of all the early tests and the 4D ultrasound in Indy for our own self-preservation. There was nothing that can be done anyway. So, after about 20 weeks, I just stopped worrying about it. If they have it, at least we know how to manage all the complications. If they don't I will cry with joy and consider the fact that 2 healthy babies have to be easier to take care of then 1 sick one.
I'm not quite sure when, but I plan on feeling in their mouths early on. We will also be able to spot a recessed chin immediately this time. I'm more curious than worried about it these days. I've felt peace deep in my heart for months surrounding this issue and all I can do is keep calm and carry on from here.
Probably won't be back here for a while, which may shock you after 3 posts in one week (and 3 in a year before that!) But, I'm preparing for having no free time for about 5 years. If you want to know what is going on, permission to Facebook stalk granted.
Oh yea, and if you come over at all in the next 2 years, you are bound to not judge my dirty house and are forbidden from letting your mind wander to the show "Hoarders" or from thinking it looks like a dirty version of the Babies 'R Us showroom. :)
the day of the Lord
8 hours ago