Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Into the threes

As of yesterday, I'm 30 weeks along. It's such a relief to be into a week that starts with a 3, even if I still have several more goalposts I want very much to pass. 32 weeks, not that far away now, and we'll be past the "very preterm stage". 34, and we're into late prematurity. 36, and I'll feel reasonably confident about avoiding NICU time. One more week after that, we'll be into the fabled land of the full-term baby.

I can't really imagine what it's like to actually have a full-term baby. The girls were born at 35w6d, late enough to avoid any serious morbidity, but early enough that they were still clearly "not done". They were a good size at birth, 5 lb 7 oz and 6 lb 4 oz, but both lost over a pound in the first few days, and Claire didn't reach 5 lbs again until she'd been home nearly a week. I remember thinking their chests looked deformed, because they didn't have enough fat to cover their ribs the way a baby's should be. They were sleepy, and we only just scraped by without phototherapy for the jaundice. They wore preemie clothes and preemie diapers for weeks, and were three months old before I finally put away their newborn-sized stuff.

Of course, 30 weeks, or 32 weeks, is a whole lot scarier than almost-36 weeks. Still, it seems a much shorter distance now than 30 weeks did from the vantage point of 28.

It's strange to think that I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy. In some ways, I feel so much less pregnant than I am -- I've gained less than 20 lbs, and measure several weeks behind. I actually even think my belly's shrunk in the last few days, as the baby seems to have finally gone head-down for good, and his head has settled into my pelvis, rather than poking out in front. I worry that this is the prelude to cervix change, though. I haven't had many contractions the last few days, but I'm more aware of the baby's weight in my lady business even when I'm not contracting. I've got an ultrasound scheduled for the morning, and I won't be surprised if there's shortening/funneling going on.

I don't miss the bladder fandango of a breech baby, but the crippling heartburn and nausea is beginning to make its appearance. I have heard other women with hyperemesis talk about the dreaded third-trimester relapse, and I was miserable at this point in my first pregnancy too (despite almost never being sick in the first trimester that time). It's more a mechanical issue, rather than the all-over constant seasickness of first-tri HG, but the result is the same. I lost 10 lbs in two weeks because of this in the last pregnancy, and somehow I don't think I'll be putting on much weight from here on out either. Thankfully, I am not suffering the joint pain I did last time, which is good because the joint pain came with permanent soft-tissue damage. I guess there are some upsides to having had most of the poorly-behaved joint removed and/or reworked. I do notice some extra joint laxity, especially in my fingers (no joke when you're double-jointed to begin with), but at least it's painless. No carpal tunnel, though, thank goodness, and no ridiculous swelling either.

Aside from the contractions, I really feel pretty good, especially in comparison to a twin pregnancy. I'm so glad I'll never have to go through a third-trimester twin pregnancy again, though in all honesty, I'm not sorry about the idea of being done with pregnancy, period. Assuming all goes well with the Lagniappe, G and I both feel like our family will be the right size, and God knows neither of us want to go through another pregnancy like this one. The infertility chapter of my life is very nearly over and done with, and I'm not sorry to be bidding it farewell.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A good week

I've made it a full week without having to go in since getting out of the hospital last Friday, a first since the preterm labor started. I had a couple runs of contractions this week, but they subsided before I felt like it was time to go in. There's a reason I wait until I've been having them more than every five minutes for 2-3 hours (though I wouldn't do this if I weren't also getting frequent cervix checks and in possession of negative FFNs). Sometimes they will slack off on their own, no matter what I do, and sometimes they will continue and get worse, no matter what I do. Likewise, I don't think that making it a week without a PTL admission is a sign of improvement, just the way it randomly worked out this week. Still, I'll take it.

I finally ordered a crib and crib bedding today. We'd seen the style at our local baby store, but in a finish we didn't care for, and stopped at a baby store in Birmingham while on our vacation in June and saw it in another finish we did like. I'd meant to order it the week we got back, but when I got admitted that Wednesday at 24 weeks, I got spooked. Now that I'm 29+ weeks, I'm a lot more reassured about the odds of making a few more weeks without delivering, and making it out with a live baby if I do. At this rate, the baby is likely to be here before the crib, but as we'll be keeping him in the co-sleeper for the first couple months anyway, it doesn't matter much. The bedding set I picked out for him is cute, even if it's not as cute as the quilt I'd planned to make, and includes a valance for the window, so that's something. I had seen it in the store a while ago, and liked the colors of it so much I used them for the fishie blanket I'm knitting.

Unsurprisingly, I have been doing a metric ton of knitting. The fishie blanket is half-done (ends woven in and strips crocheted together, even, as I go along!), and my Clapotis is complete except for blocking. I finished one pair of socks, started on another, and acquired yarn for three more -- I have a little sock problem, can you tell?. Of course, I also hate doing plain socks, and while the Monos Locos lace pattern is quite easy, it's not post-mag-sulfate easy. I am usually pretty much useless for about 12 hours after I get off the mag, and plain stockinette is about the limit of my abilities. So there's a Wicked sweater in progress, in bulky-weight wool I dyed a nearly-solid forest green a while back. I'm skipping the pocket, so other than a little waist shaping and collar/hem, it really is just straight knitting, easy enough for the mag aftermath. Finally, there is a Snowdrop Shawl (PDF) in progress, if you count "sitting at the bottom of my knitting bag under the needlepoint I also restarted" as being in progress. Yeah, project monogamy isn't my strong suit lately, but given the overall state of crashing boredom that exists around here, I think I can be excused for not putting up with knitting boredom too!

If you ever get put on 12 weeks of bedrest, I highly recommend being a knitter, or a crocheter, or a needlepointer, or a hand-spinner, or *something* -- thank the gods and little fishies I'm a handworker. Or, really, thank my mother for being a handworker, and for teaching me to cross-stitch when I was six. I look forward to teaching the girls to knit and embroider in a few years (and Lagniappe too, if he wants to learn). Claire, I think, has the makings of a knitter, and already loves to play with my yarn and needles, often to the detriment of whatever project she gets a hold of.

So, not a very exciting week around here, but those are the best kind I can ask for lately.

CODA: or it wasn't, until poor Claire slipped and fell on the hardwood floor just before I got around to posting this. She landed smack on her face, and immediately spouted blood all over everything from her nose. I'm actually somewhat concerned that her nose may be broken -- nothing feels out-of-joint, but the bridge of her nose is swollen, as is her upper lip, and one of her eyes looks like it might be blackening. The pediatrician said that as long as she's not having trouble breathing, give it the weekend to let the swelling subside, and see if there's any crookedness (they won't do anything for it if it's not). I iced it a little and gave her ibuprofen, and then sent her off to Nana and Pops for the weekend as planned -- I came thisclose to keeping her home, but decided there was no rational reason for doing so, as Nana and Pops are perfectly able to apply ibuprofen and kisses and popsicles. She didn't seem like she was in that much actual pain, so much as very scared and upset about it, poor girl.

See? Boring = good!

Friday, July 11, 2008

In and out

More contractions yesterday sent me back to L&D -- for those of you keeping score at home, that would be the SIXTH visit in one month, since my first admission on July 11. Sedate-and-hydrate worked, and after keeping me overnight for observation, I got to come home this morning, grateful to have avoided the mag. Still no dilation and a negative FFN to boot, though the baby can't seem to make up his mind about whether to be breech or vertex).

BTW, I have tried DIY sedate-and-hydrate at home, with adult beverage of choice. I did that toward the end of my last pregnancy, when I was past the point of tocolysis but wasn't continuing to dilate. Lagniappe has all his important bits by now anyway, so it's not like a drink or two will hurt him. I was having contractions Wednesday night -- in retrospect, usually a sign the next day will be bad -- and I got a really dirty look from my husband when I cracked open a Blackhook Porter, but he quieted right down when I told him to think about it as being like five minutes of mag sulfate. I mean, hey, I give the baby Stadol all the darn time, a little alcohol isn't going to do much on top of it.

Why, yes, I *am* a prime candidate for Mother of the Year, now that you mention it.

Anyway, the beer worked on Wednesday night, but not on Thursday. I tried a Phenergan after that (mixing alcohol and heavy-duty prescription drugs! the good parenting just keeps on coming!), but all it did was make me groggy for the three minutes in between contractions. I laid around for a while and felt sorry for myself, and then realized it was probably time to go in -- when I start getting miserable enough to cry, it's time to call it. The contractions don't hurt that bad, but when they're coming right after each other, it gets upsetting, as does the realization that I'm going to have to go in AGAIN.

For real, y'all, I know all the nurses at L&D by name now, as well as all the OBs. I also know the hospital admission clerks, and the lady at the front desk, and the night security guard recognized me the last time I came in after hours. The nurses even know my "good" veins now -- like it's hard, you just look for the marks from the previous IVs that aren't also surrounded by old bruises. It is to laugh, because crying is the only other reasonable alternative.

On the bright side, I have survived four weeks of bedrest, so I'm one-third of the way to my 36-week goal.

52 days to go.

Friday, July 04, 2008


My uterus decided to kick off some fireworks of its own, so it was back to L&D last night. Sedate-and-hydrate calmed things down partially, but they started back up again this morning, so I'm getting magged again. They started it at about 11 am, and as of 8:45 PM, I'm still not quiet enough yet to be weaned off it. Hopefully that will happen at some point over the night.

Two pieces of good news: cervix measured 3.8 cm (down from 4.8 at 21 weeks, but still a good number), and baby had flipped himself head-down. If I do start dilating, it's not so worrying with a vertex baby. Of course, that's assuming he stays vertex -- he was amusing himself doing somersaults this afternoon, and I think he turned back to breech for a bit before rolling over again.

59 days to go.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Big-girl bed night #1

We wound up only converting Claire's bed, because I can't really sit up and watch the children for longer than a few minutes. G took the girls up to see, and great fun was had climbing in-and-out-and-in-and-out. At bedtime, there was more crying than usual, mostly from Katherine -- I really think she wanted a bed too.

Both girls quieted down after about 5 minutes of crying, and we didn't hear any rumpusing. We heard a thump at about 10:30, and Claire cried a little bit, so we thought she might have fallen out. When G went up to check on her, though, she was still in her bed. Unfortunately, that woke both children up, and there was a few minutes of more crying before they calmed back down. At the final check of the night, both girls were asleep, and amazingly enough, Claire was still in her bed.

She was up at the nursery door this morning, of course, but didn't seem to have done anything other than play happily. Of course, we basically stripped the nursery of anything get-into-able, so there wasn't much she could have done. (Our nursery is upstairs, so it is literally just the room they sleep in -- all clothes, toys, diapering materials, etc. are downstairs.) Still, it seems to have gone well enough for a first nursery night.

We'll see how naptime goes in a couple hours.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The end of the cribs

Claire was standing at the door of the bedroom this morning, so it looks like the age of the cribs has drawn to a close. We bought convertible cribs for them which turn into daybeds and later double beds, so when G gets home this afternoon, I'll be sending him upstairs with a screwdriver. Tonight, the girls will go to sleep in "big girl beds". Trouble is, I don't have the faintest idea of how the mechanics of this are going to work, either at naptime or at bedtime.

We don't have an ironclad naptime or bedtime. The nanny feeds them lunch at noon, and then takes them upstairs when they seem to be getting tired -- one baby first, and the other a little later. If the first girl is very tired, she will be asleep by the time the second one is obviously ready for a nap. On many days, though, they go up together or in such short order that they're awake together. At bedtime, some days Katherine will outlast Claire by a substantial margin, but on other days she demands to go night-night as soon as Claire gets taken upstairs. (Naptimes are variable, but Claire is almost always ready to go to bed first.)

Whenever both babies are awake together, there will be talking. They will often spend half an hour or more talking to each other from their separate cribs, reading the books we let them take to bed, and playing with their "babies". I have no doubt whatsoever that if they're not confined to the cribs, they won't stay in bed even as long as it takes us to walk out the door.

What do you DO when multiples are too young to be reasoned with, but too old to be restrained? If they were a little older, we could perhaps explain to them about how we stay in our beds at night, and institute rewards/consequences, but they're not. I think it will be a long time before this will happen -- we have to teach them to resist not only their own impulses, but also the persuasions of Sister, which at just short of two is THE prime directive. With a singleton, we could create a quiet and boring environment which is conducive to sleep, but with multiples, there is always a built-in playmate.

Me, I'm thinking that we just lost naptime. At bedtime, they can play in the semi-dark for a while, and they probably will eventually fall asleep. I'm sure this will happen on the floor, but we can always go up later and move them back to bed. At naptime, I don't think this will work so well, because it's harder to fall asleep in the daytime, and the shorter duration of naptime means they're not likely to be moved into bed easily. I have thought recently that Claire is preparing to drop her nap -- she skips it at least once a week, or fights it hard and takes a very short one -- but she still can't really make it through a full day without one.

I've had the luxury of not having to worry about sleep issues for a very long time now, but I think that just got thrown out along with the cribs.