We started off the third trimester by heading out to the beach to spend the weekend with Dan's dad's side of the family. We got married the same summer as most of his cousins, so we're all at somewhat the same stage of life although we're different ages. His older cousins already have kids, so it was great for us to spend a weekend hanging out with them and interacting with little ones. The family had rented out a guest house for the weekend, attached to a motel where his family has been coming for generations. Some people stayed in the house, and others rented rooms. We rented a room because I sleep so restlessly and have to get up so much, but we spent most of our time in the living area of the house, catching up with his grandparents, aunts and uncles and hanging out with the kids. The drive both ways was long, but it was still nice and relaxing to get out of town for a few days. Overall, we had a really fun time and I'm glad we got to go!
I was even more glad we'd gone once we got back. Once I got back to work, I knew my time was limited as far as getting ready for maternity leave. Officially, I had a little over three weeks left, but there was so much I needed to do and teach, it felt like I'd be gone in a few days! Needless to say, my stress level peaked, and with it the number of contractions I'd been having. On April 18th, I went to work in the morning, planning to leave around 11. Dan's boss had surreptitiously planned a surprise baby shower for him at work during her visit to his office. Since she lives in the Midwest and only comes out here once a year or so, it was a pretty big deal. I had known about the shower for a few weeks, and had managed to keep it a complete secret. I also managed to leave right on time and get to his office before anyone would see me and give away the surprise (phew!). He was shocked when he came downstairs and saw me standing with all his coworkers! We had a great time and received lovely gifts.
After the shower, I realized I still had some things to take care of at work, since I had the following day off. I could either go back and finish or come in on my day off. I decided to go back and finish, although it would mean a very long day when I was already tired. I compromised by taking a short nap before driving back. I finished my tasks at work in about 3 hours, and was exhausted but very relieved that I would have a whole day off to recover.
The contractions had intensified throughout the afternoon, but I'd been too busy to really pay attention. Once I got home and sat down, however, it was clear that they were coming regularly and often. By 9:30, about 2 hours after I'd gotten home, they had been coming every 8 minutes for over an hour. I called my doctor's office to see what I needed to do. As luck would have it, my doctor was on call, and she said that if I couldn't get them to stop, I needed to go to the hospital and get evaluated.
Water, a warm shower, changing position, and distracting myself made no difference. I continued to contract every 8-10 minutes, so regularly that I could watch the clock and know when a contraction was coming. They were uncomfortable enough that I couldn't sleep. All I could think about was my friend's preterm labor with her twins, and how it had started so similarly. About 11:40, I woke Dan up and told him we needed to go to the hospital. We drove out, checked in, and I got admitted.
Lying on the bed in the triage room, the contractions continued, though they weren't getting longer or stronger as I'd heard they should when you were in labor. I knew, however, that there was still danger that I could become prematurely dilated from the contractions. Most importantly, I was only 29 weeks pregnant, and was nowhere near ready to go into labor! Hooked up to a machine that measured both of the girls' heartbeats as well as my contractions, I worried with Dan about whether or not I'd get to go home. Around 2 am, the nurse said my contractions had spaced far enough apart that she was going to call my doctor and find out if I could leave. I was released and we were allowed to go home. By the time we got there, it was almost 3 am. Poor Dan had to drag himself out of bed just four hours later to go to work. I got to sleep for most of the day, luckily. The contractions had subsided some (clearly I needed the rest) but still picked up whenever I got up. I called my doctor's office and the nurse on duty said I needed to stay on bed rest and not go back to work until I'd been seen by my doctor, who wouldn't be there until Monday. I confidently called my boss and told him I'd be back Tuesday. He sounded a bit skeptical, but said he'd wait to hear from me.
On Monday, I drove out to the doctor's office and was seen by my doctor. Again, I was hooked up to the monitor and checked for dilation. I also had an ultrasound to check my cervical length. When my doctor discovered it was just about 2 cm, she said I was done with work. She called the hospital to confer with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist, who recommended that I be given steroid injections if it got any shorter. My fears of preterm labor were evidently justified.
I called my boss to tell him I wouldn't be coming back, and began my second round of bed rest. This time was more difficult than the first time. I was supposed to spend as much time as I could lying on my side, and my belly had gotten big enough that I couldn't stay comfortable for too long. I alternated my time between reading and watching TV. Some days I stayed in bed all day, others I would switch between the bed and the couch. My mom spent a lot of time helping us grocery shop and cook, which was a wonderful blessing. Dan did a great job keeping up with housework along with working all the time. Weekly doctor's appointments assured that I at least got to be outside one day a week. The rest of the month passed without much excitement, although I did get a reprieve to attend my baby showers (very fun!). Every day I was able to spend without a lot of contractions was another day the twins got to keep growing, so I focused on eating lots of protein to help them grow and drinking as much as I could to stay well-hydrated and lessen the contractions.
|30 weeks pregnant|