Last Friday, at 34 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I had a false alarm.
After spending the whole day cramping, I called my midwife, and we decided it would be wise to go into the hospital to get assessed. I’m under shared care by a midwife and an OB, and it happened that my midwife was already at the hospital with another patient. It was great to know that I’d be able to touch base with her there even if she wouldn’t be the one calling the shots.
The weather was terrible on Friday evening; snow was falling heavily with no signs of stopping. That, too, figured into my decision to head into the hospital: the thought of having to rush off in the middle of the night on unplowed roads and to have our babysitter do the same to reach us didn’t seem like a worthwhile risk. That said, labour also didn’t feel imminent, so my husband stayed home with the kids, and I took a taxi in.
The nurses and doctors were fabulous. They put monitors on the babes, and the heart rates looked good. An internal exam showed I was about 2.5 cm dilated.
The question became “What now?” Part of me definitely wanted the doctor to say, “OK, I think it’s time to induce you.” I am very tired of being pregnant: it hurts to walk, I’m exhausted, and I want these babies out. The other part of me knew that it didn’t make sense to induce me unless medically necessary. My most recent ultrasound showed the boys had dropped off their growth curve, meaning an induction was possibly on the horizon but not for a few more days until I could get another ultrasound. (Updated: Babes grew! No induction on the horizon yet!)
The doctor decided she wanted to reassess me in a couple of hours to see if labour actually progressed. This was fine with me: I headed down to the hospital cafeteria to enjoy an uninterrupted meal! Having forgotten my headphones, I watched episodes of The Good Place on Netflix on my phone while I waited.
After about two hours, they monitored the babes again and found I hadn’t dilated any more. I was still having irregular contractions, but nothing else had changed. In part because of the weather and in part because honestly, I was totally game, they decided to admit me overnight.
Now, before you launch into a chorus of sympathy about having to stay at the hospital overnight, let me assure you that I had a great time. Seriously! I got to sleep on my own, uninterrupted, in a bed that I could adjust to the perfect recline. I got breakfast (albeit lackluster) in bed, served to me on a tray, and I didn’t have to move or share it with anyone.
By coincidence, it was my OB on duty that morning, so he was able to come in to assess and ultimately discharge me. My cramping had subsided, and I wasn’t any more dilated than the night before.
So since then, I’ve been trying my best to do nothing except rest, which is extremely difficult with two kids at home. Miss Cub has become extremely clingy, sensing that her days as the baby are numbered. She follows me everywhere, clinging to the back of my shirt and resting her head on my thigh whenever I sit on the toilet (which is fairly often). When I’m sitting on the couch, she needs to be on me, no matter how many times I try to move her off so I can breathe.
With the possibility of birthing these twins in my 35th week, I’ve started to read up as much as possible on late pre-term babies.
I have been operating under the optimistic assumption that the babies will come out ready to be popped onto my chest for skin-to-skin and their first attempts at suckling. My first two were on the breast within minutes of being born. I also optimistically expect to bring them both home with me in a couple of days. I know from talking to other parents of multiples and of preemies to at least be aware of the possibility that they may not be able to stay with me at all, or perhaps only briefly, depending on their vitals. They may have anything from a few days to a few weeks in the NICU. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll be able to have some good cuddles as soon as they’re born, but given Twin A’s smaller size, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did have to visit the NICU for a bit. My obvious hope is that whatever NICU is in store for either of them will be brief.
My mom has moved in with us indefinitely and my husband has a generous paternity leave, so we’ll work together as a team to care for the two bigs at home and the very littles who may or may not still be in the hospital!
Do you have any advice for a possibly-soon-to-be NICU mom?