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People Watching

One of my favorite activities to pass some time here in the hospital is people watching.  Luckily, I’m not constrained to my bed so I sometimes venture down to the lobby to kick back and watch.

My favorite kind of people to watch are the new parents leaving the hospital.  Usually there’s a father (with both hands packed with baby swag) walking about 20 feet in front of a mother in a wheelchair with a baby.  The looks on their faces make it priceless!  Without fail both parents have looked like they are going to pass out!

The best one has been a mom and dad loading up the baby.  The dad has the baby in his hands (awkwardly at best) attempting to figure out how in the world to get this tiny little human into the car seat.  He struggled for a few minutes almost as if he was afraid he was going to break the baby if he sat them down.  Finally, the poor tech who was simply pushing mom and baby in the hospital mandated wheelchair had to step in to help.  I didn’t stay to watch how it all played out in the end, but assuming since that car is no longer in the loading zone I think they got the baby loaded and home. It makes me laugh because I’m sure that car seat has been loaded for a month and the reality of now putting a living being in the seat was so overwhelming for that new dad!

I don’t know why this is all so humorous to me.  I know before long that couple will be Chris and I making our way out with TWO babies, but hopefully we don’t have the look of sheer terror on our faces leaving.  I do know the UHaul will have to be parked out front just to get my things home!! ūüôā

If you’re ever interested in some entertainment in the hospital, check out the lobby & watch for the new parents most of them look something like this…ūüė≥

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Week 5: Hospital Observation

35 days down. This past week was relatively uneventful for hospital life. The “final day” is fluid at best… 35 weeks, 36 weeks, maybe 34 weeks. ¬†I think it depends on the day I ask the doctor when our estimated due date is going to be. ¬†So, I’m just accepting the fact that somewhere between 9 and 23 days from now two baby boys will be arriving. ¬†I want for them to AT LEAST make it 34 weeks when I’ve been told (read online) that a lot of the short-term problems that could happen are less likely – which is 9 days away. ¬†I think we are pretty much set on some sort of NICU time with any arrival… however at 36 weeks that could be significantly shortened & a chance of no NICU time. ¬†I think as any mom knows though, birth weight and complications aren’t something that we can predict with 100% certainty.

Saturday night I did start having noticeable contractions. ¬†Initially, this freaked me out when they monitored and they were showing up every 10 minutes. ¬†I had read that was early labor and I was not ready to have the babies. ¬†The doctor seemed less worried, which wasn’t surprising given his general demeanor that I have yet to figure out. ¬†I was just told “pre-term labor is common with multiples” – I wasn’t sure if he was telling me I was going into labor or what. ¬†They continued to keep an eye on me (like they do every day) with more questions about contractions and pushing what felt like gallons of water on me. ¬†They got better with the evening or spaced out and didn’t feel as intense so my anxiety subsided and I accepted that it was “normal”. ¬†I slept amazingly last night. ¬†I stopped taking the Ambien on Saturday evening as its effectiveness was noticeably lessening. ¬†Hubs was spending the night Saturday and between his snoring and the contractions I got no sleep at all, so I was weary not taking the Ambien again Sunday night, but I decided to try it out. ¬†It took forever to go to sleep with an overactive brain keeping me up. ¬†After two hours of fighting with falling asleep I finally fell asleep. ¬†I haven’t slept that hard and long in months… I only woke up once in the middle of the night and again for my 5am monitoring. ¬†It felt great!! ¬†The fact that I didn’t have to get up every hour was amazing in itself.

I’ve started to have my pre-baby anxiety. ¬†Granted I consider myself a parent already, but I was blessed with¬†those two kiddos when they were 7 and 4. ¬†I’ve never had a baby & pretty soon I’m going to have TWO! ¬†Life is going to get crazy! ¬†Going home… having 4 kids… two school aged who have to have their lives keep moving without pausing for babies! ¬†I have a wonderful family who I know will be there for us, but there are moments of reality setting in… any day (hopefully a week and a half or more worth of days) our lives are going to completely change… again… and I will have a brand new role of being responsible for two little lives! ¬†That’s a crazy thought.

HOSPITAL LIFE HINTS:
FOOD

UberEATS has been great for overcoming the not so great hospital food! ¬†The only thing I would caution is if you are on real bedrest (where you can’t walk out of your room) it won’t work. ¬†UberEATS here is curbside so I do have to go downstairs but they meet me at the closest entrance. My meal tonight went something like this…

I got what they claim was pot roast and potatoes and immediately pulled up my UberEATS app to order Terra. ¬†I’ve been holding that wonderful mediterranean gem in my pocket (since my husband and mother don’t share my desire of falafel). It was worth the wait.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK (if you can)

If you do know you will be spending some time in an antepartum unit (or any extended period of time in the hospital) I do suggest you go check out the hospital first. ¬†If I could go back that would be something I would have done. ¬†I assumed they were all similar and I didn’t have a choice, and while your doctor may affiliate with a certain hospital second opinions and KNOWING the entire picture is helpful. ¬†Of course, some people don’t have a choice and this happens without knowing. ¬†That is my two cents. ¬†Just as you would check out your L&D unit before having a baby, check out their long term arrangements as well!

Oh yeah, and I should note Valentines Day was in the hospital.  My family came and we ordered some Chinese and ate in the cafeteria.  Very romantic!  I even changed out of my usual oversized t-shirt and shorts for the dinner!

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Week 4: Hospital Observation

A whole month down. ¬†28 days in the hospital. ¬†I found out on Saturday instead of the 2 weeks more I thought I was going to be here – 4 more weeks. ¬†So, I guess I can officially say I’m halfway there (like I thought I was last week) ¬†I know that’s a good thing for the babies, and it means we have a chance of no NICU once the boys get here. ¬†But, it was an upsetting shock when I found out it seemed like SO MUCH time when I was already struggling with 2 more weeks. ¬†I got over it and am back on the positive side of things. ¬†So, now I’m going to say March 16th is the date per the doctor as long as the boys stay in.

On Saturday I also had a sonogram. ¬†Babies are measuring 3 pounds 12 ounces and 3 pounds 8 ounces. ¬†Growing like crazy still. ¬†Baby B is breech on my left side and Baby A is face down on my right. ¬†The doctor said these are probably where they will stay until they make their debuts. ¬†I already knew we would have a C-section, but Baby B being breech just kind of put the nail on that coffin. ¬†Fetal monitoring for cord compression has been going well for the most part. ¬†There have been more variables the last week than the previous 2-3 but nothing concerning. ¬†I am contracting (more so during morning monitoring) but nothing hurts too bad & most of the time I don’t even notice it. ¬†A few times contractions will take my breath away and it feels like there is a knot on my upper right quadrant. ¬†I think it’s a baby moving or doing a back flip, but it’s sometimes uncomfortable. ¬†I think I contract in the morning from lack of hydration overnight. ¬†Nurses and doctor aren’t worried about it.

I officially am the “longest staying patient” on the floor. ¬†There has been quite the influx of mommas to be up here. ¬†I think when I got to the hospital there were maybe 6 people, now I would guesstimate 15-18 on average. ¬†I don’t meet with any of the other moms, I think I’m one of the very few with the coveted privilege of activity ad lib. ¬†I have decided that we’re going to have to “home-ify” the room to keep me sane for the next 33 days. ¬†Some of the things I thought “oh I won’t do that it’s not that much longer” are going to happen now. ¬†Another month, I need my sanity & if it takes making people think I’m crazy for updating my room (more than I already have) oh well! ūüôā

What I’m Missing:

  • Clothes that fit.¬†I think being pregnant means destroying every piece of clothing that you own. ¬†At least for me. I have cut slits in my leggings, bras, shorts, everything. ¬†These babies do not like restriction on my belly (ok and neither do I)
  • My bed. ¬†I think that’s kind of obvious. ¬†If it were not for my low-dose Ambient at night I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t have slept the last month. ¬†Do not underestimate how different sleeping in a hospital room is from anywhere else. ¬†Lights, noise, and very limited room. ¬†I cannot stress enough BRING YOUR OWN BEDDING & an egg-crate or mattress topper. ¬†I’ve had it since day 1, and I can’t imagine not having them. ¬†It helps, but it’s not my bed.
  • TV at a normal height. This one I don’t understand. ¬†The TV is almost on the ceiling – on the right side of the room. ¬†It is very awfully positioned. ¬†I’ll blame this one on Texas Health design team. ¬†It is not made for someone who may or may not be limited to their left side for hours at a time, and it’s a SMALL TV that you almost can’t see at the angle it’s hung. ¬†One of those things I don’t understand.
  • The bathtub. ¬†Still.
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Week 3: Hospital Monitoring

21 days down.  25ish to go.  I’m counting it as halfway since we don’t have a definite delivery date.  I’ve just been told 34 weeks.  On Wednesday I’ll be 31 weeks.

Nothing much new to report as far as babies go.  Still monitoring.  Occasional deceleration (dependent upon the nurse I get).  No ultrasounds.  Human incubating progress successful!

Mentally, the last week was ok.  I got a little frustrated towards the end of the week.  I know no one is trying to make it more difficult but there are days that it’s like I wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or something happens early, and it’s all down hill from there.  Sunday was one of those days!  I’ll skip all the details, but losing your sense of control over situations is quite possibly the hardest part of being stuck in the hospital.  Especially if you were very controlling prior!! (Pointing at myself). There is very little you can control about this situation.  I can probably count myself lucky I’m not ordered to bedrest & have a little more freedom than others.  It’s still hard.  Food and (a little bit) of scheduling is all you can control, and when those things mess up – WATCH OUT!!  My advice, that I can obviously give better than I can take is this, you’re going to have bad days and everyone will tell you to think about the babies.  It won’t make it easier.  It will still be hard.  But, you’ll go to bed and wake up the next day and hopefully it’s a little bit better!

My Advice for Antepartum Nurses:

  • Don’t take it personally.
  • For the love of all things holy – do NOT put those straps on tight.  & don’t automatically start with ALL the straps. 

The picture below is how one nurse strapped me on the FIRST time.  The monitors were pushing so hard into my stomach because everything was so tight, each tiny movement from the baby was painful.  Despite my “they really do better if everything isn’t so tight” I was told “this will work”.  I ended up crying during this hour of monitoring because it hurt so badly & the babies came off about 7 times.  I promise, I’m not just saying things to be difficult.  I’m trying to make it easier on us BOTH!!


The next picture was another nurse who hooked me up loosely.  I even rolled back and forth, sat up to grab something and both babies stayed on the monitors.  I was barely pulling on the strap for the picture to show the “give” I had! Two straps got the job done!!!  Guess what, that nurse didn’t have to come in once to readjust!  Easier monitoring for us BOTH!!

  • Communicate!  Seriously, be clear and transparent with what’s going on with the patient.  Trust me this one goes with control and being in the dark exasperates the problem.
  • Be on time.  I get it, you don’t just have one patient, but if you’re supposed to do something at a certain time really try to stick to that – or see the above ‚ėĚÔłŹ 
  • Enjoy the fact you get to go home after 12 hours, and I promise we understand your job is hard, but we don’t get to leave and when someone new comes in and we have to figure out someone new and every detail of how they observe and do things differently, well sometimes it’s frustrating and we may take that out on you.  Enjoy your wine at home & ignore my attitude!!!! ūüėä
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    Week Two – Hospital Observation

     

    eat-sleep-monitor-repeat

    Another week has come and gone & I’m still here and the babies are still cooking! ¬†I’ve become a little more used to the routine here. ¬†Eat. Sleep. Monitor. Repeat. ¬†That’s my new saying for being here, because it really is just about all you do.

    I did get to have a growth ultrasound and see the babies which was exciting. ¬†Cullen is measuring 2 pounds 13 ounces and Jack is 2 pounds 14 ounces. ¬†Both boys are very big for twins and measuring a little ahead of their gestational age. ¬†Praise the Lord! ¬†I read that in the next 4 weeks, they will put on another 2-2.5 pounds on average… EACH. ¬†I can’t even imagine them doubling in size. ¬†Figuring out how in the world they are going to fit in there blows my mind!

    straightjacketFor the most part monitoring has gone pretty well in the second week. ¬†Nurses are looking¬†for decelerations in baby’s heartbeat. ¬†To be considered a variable deceleration the heartbeat will drop 15 BPM¬†over a period of 15 seconds. ¬†Our boys have had decelerations (but all babies do) but they recover quickly. ¬†None of the decelerations have lasted more than a minute. ¬†From what I’ve been told, that’s normal for all babies. ¬†Of course they roll on their cord, or grab it, and there will be various decelerations. ¬†They will recover. ¬†It IS frustrating when it happens on the monitoring because some nurses make me start the whole hour over again when they see it. ¬†I don’t like being on the monitors and neither do the boys. ¬†It’s very uncomfortable. ¬†Someone should really design a better system that doesn’t require tight straps and laying down. ¬†I end up feeling like¬†a crazy person¬†at the end of the hour… or even worse the end of two hours!

    Things I miss the most after two weeks…. or things I can’t wait to do when I’m out of here (besides love and cuddle my babies).

    1. TAKE A BATH. ¬†Seriously, this one has been hard. ¬†I took a bath every single night before coming here. ¬†14 days of no bath before bed, or when I’m bored – UGH. ¬†Sitting on the handicapped chair in the shower IS NOT the same!
    2. Sleep at 5:30am. ¬†Ok, this may be wishful thinking with two new babies coming home. ¬†But, I’ll pretend I’ll be able to sleep through this hour instead of waking up for monitoring!
    3. Eat fried catfish. ¬†Ha, this one is a craving right now. ¬†Guy’s DDD – Fried Food Edition didn’t help last night. ¬†I can’t order catfish from #UberEATS¬†(Get $10 off your first order with code:¬†eats-jaimew915ue) because let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be good. ¬†& I wouldn’t trust hospital seafood ever. ¬†I really want some good fried catfish!
    4. Not being asked about my… bowel movements. ¬†I really could do without this question every day.
    5. COOK.  I really miss being able to cook whatever I want, when I want, how I want.

     

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    Week One – Hospital Observation

    Well I made it through¬†the first week!!!! ¬†I can’t say I did it gracefully, but I did it! ¬†I cried a handful of times, probably got a little too snippy with some nurses, and I’m sure wasn’t the most peachy little thing to be around – which I’ll blame on hormones – while really knowing it’s a combination of my control issues, short fuse, and situation.

    28-weeks

    Hospital bedrest is something I do not think anyone can fully understand until they are living/lived it. ¬†It’s exhausting – as I mentioned before. ¬†Today was a wonderful day though, I actually advocated for myself… or at least asked some questions that resulted in big gains for this girl! ¬†My doctor entered orders for Activity Ad Lib which means I can do what I want – or at least I do what I want within the confines of the hospital campus (which is really big) and my vital signs only have to be checked once per day instead of hourly!! ¬†WOOHOO!! ¬†I took full advantage of that today – I walked around/sat in different places for almost two hours total today. ¬†I even put on some halfway decent clothes to do it. ¬†It was refreshing & I’m tired as all get out. ¬†Do nothing for a week then walk for almost 2 miles in total step, it’ll wear you out! ¬†The babies monitored well today. ¬†They really do well when they straps are loose and they aren’t being pressured down.

    do-what-i-want

    I think hubs has been having a difficult time adjusting to his new schedule at home. ¬†Trying to shuttle two kids 30 minutes away to school and back, working out in the field for the first time in months, having a wife who can do nothing, oh and a daughter with a broken arm is a LOT. ¬†Yeah, she broke her arm over the weekend to add excitement to our pretty dull story! ūüôā ¬†She’s doing well and we’ll check in with an orthopedic surgeon on Wednesday to get a better idea of what’s going on.

    So, seven more days down that little Cullen and Jack have gotten to cook. ¬†I will get a new growth scan at some point this weekend to see how much they’ve grown since two weeks ago! ¬†We hit the 28 mark which is officially THIRD TRIMESTER baby and a great milestone! No signs of preterm labor. ¬†Hooray for the end of week one.

     

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    Adjusting to Reality

    pregnancy-hormones

    I have been in the hospital for 3 days now and if anyone tells you it’s easy, well then I have a hard time believing that. ¬†I know being pregnant is a hormonal roller coaster to say the least, but take a pregnant woman, put her in a hospital 24/7 with fetal monitoring 4 hours a day and that roller coaster just got a lot more exciting!

    I wish I could sugar coat this for those that may be reading this knowing they are going to experience the same thing, but I can’t. ¬†I want you to know the reality. ¬†Yesterday was a VERY tough day for me – and sadly it was only day 2. ¬†I am a sleeper by nature, coming into this everyone was like “oh you’ll sleep away the first week or so” or “enjoy your time resting before the babies”, heck even I thought some sound sleep doesn’t sound half bad. ¬†I was sleeping rotten before anyway, and I got to make sure the babies were ok so I thought that would reassure my anxious side. ¬†This schedule is not a relaxing, restful one – it’s exhausting and I’m not even supposed to be out of the bed! (More on that later)

    screen-shot-2017-01-31-at-2-34-52-pm

    My morning starts anywhere between 5-5:30am with my first round of EFM (Electronic Fetal Monitoring) which means I get strapped up over both babies plus a contraction monitor then I have to sit or lay relatively still in order to keep the babies heartbeats readable for an hour. ¬†I get off that about 6-6:30, I attempt to go back to sleep once the monitors are off, and when I finally find the comfy position and just start to doze off one of two things happens… the doctors makes his morning rounds OR the breakfast meal will come neither of which I’m much interested in at 7:30am. ¬†After that point every hour to hour and half someone comes to take my temperature and blood pressure. ¬†At 10:30 we’re back on monitoring and this was the first breakdown point of yesterday, I think I had a very sweet young nurse who wanted to make sure everything was by the book, the last 15 minutes of my monitoring is always touch and go, these boys do NOT like being tied down (they sound like their Dad already) and that time they always come on/off, well they gave us hell… and since the nurse couldn’t get them to stay on the monitor the doctor ordered another HOUR of monitoring… she walked out and I just started crying. ¬†My back was already hurting for staying in the bed, and staying still for two hours seemed tortuous, oh all the while my lunch was delivered and just sitting there. ¬†I was too afraid to even sit up and TRY to eat for fear of knocking a baby off monitoring. ¬†So, I cried and lost it a little bit. ¬†We made it through the hour and I was taken off. ¬†The highlight of the day was my hubby and kiddos came up to visit – I knew we had a little window and I was going to use that wheelchair time, so we went to the cafeteria, it was strange and awkward and I hate for kids to have to “hang out” in the hospital, but it was my first time out of the room in two days. ¬†We got back at my 5:15pm time I told the nurse we could start the next round of monitoring, I got hooked up, the kids colored, hubby sat and watched some TV and then it was time for them to leave for dinner and school stuff. ¬†I sadly said goodbye and remained on the monitors. ¬†No issues this time and after an hour I was done, and dinner was here. Cafeteria food is a lot like school food… a lot to be desired which also adds to the mental adjustment. ¬†I ate and KNEW I wanted to go to sleep as soon as I could, which meant that one more round of monitoring needed to happen earlier than the 11pm time it had been. ¬†So, at 10:15pm they hooked me up – new nurse at this point and she’s apparently a fan of REALLY tight monitoring bands, so I was wrapped in about 12 of them the babies were off/on from the beginning and I knew I was in for a long round. ¬†I was talking to hubby on the phone during and Baby B popped off, after watching for 5 minutes and not getting him back up on my own, I just started crying – I told my husband it was too hard to do this. ¬†Note to any future bedrest husbands NEVER tell your wife to just remember THIS is the easy part. ¬†I promise, it doesn’t make it better! ¬†So I cried and cried and cried, and thought I was going to be on monitoring all night long. ¬†Luckily, we got the baby back on and the nurse didn’t make me go any longer than the hour. ¬†At the end of the hour I don’t know if she heard me on the phone or could tell I was exhausted but asked if I wanted anything to sleep… I finally took them up on the LD Ambien & I can say that was the best decision I’ve ever made. ¬†I fell asleep quickly and slept like a rock!

    Can’t get comfortable while monitoring

    Today has been a much better day, two rounds of monitoring done, no tears or anxiety – I’m certain to tell every nurse who comes in that the boys like the monitors loose, for my sanity and comfort, their sanity and everyone else involved. ¬†Both times we haven’t had an issue or had the boys kung fu their way out of the monitors.

    So, I’ll end this with telling you if you are in the hospital, going to the hospital, or have someone you know in the hospital – a mental breakdown will probably happen. ¬†It’s normal, well it was normal for me and I’m going to tell myself it’s a normal thing. ¬†Ask for something to help with sleep and don’t be afraid to cry.