Thursday, January 28, 2010

It Will Be Here Before We Know It!

I had my last doctor’s appointment before the birth of the babies today! Interesting side note for those interested in some of the different ways NHS handles healthcare from the States. I never saw the doctor weekly throughout the pregnancy. I arrived 12 weeks pregnant but did not receive an internal exam until I was considered full term for a twin pregnancy, the doctor’s appointment today. I requested a Group B strep test, performed at 35 weeks in the U.S., but was told that it was only done by request if an internal exam was taking place and because I happened to be having one next week I could request one then. The NHS deems it unnecessary. Today at my appointment I requested a Group B strep test and was told that it wasn’t performed here. Taking the advice from my UK friends, I was kindly assertive and said that I was aware but had heard that I could make the request to have one and would feel more comfortable if it was performed. The doctor looked hesitant but did it anyway and didn’t treat me any differently. I do know, however, that it wasn’t performed as thoroughly as it is in the States.

Ultimately, I was told today that conditions for labor looked favorable and she was very pleased with my progress. The consultant said if she had to guess she would give me four days, which would be Monday and booked me in for an induction on Tuesday, 4th Feb. I did my best to convince her that 28th Jan. sounded like a lovely birthday and even asked if I groveled, cried and begged if it would help. She said “I would very empathetically tell you no.” I really enjoyed this consultant. She is not on duty the day that I am scheduled to be induced until the evening and I am booked in for 9 AM. Due to the fact that they like to monitor twins periodically throughout the entire labor, if I have any signs of labor (regular contractions or water breaking) I am to go in immediately.

I will have to physically give birth in an operating room (called a “theater” here.) The reason for this is there is a chance that the second twin will find the long labor too difficult and there is a greater chance of a need for emergency C-section. If I go in on Tuesday, they will start by applying a gel and the consultant believed that with the state I am in currently that would be all it would take. However, if my waters hadn’t broken in 6 hours, they would go ahead and do that for me. If this didn’t begin labor, I would be put on a drip. The whole time I am in that early phase of labor I will be without pain medication and in a relaxed labor and delivery room. Once labor progresses I will be moved to an operating theater. I am not really looking forward to laboring in a highly technical environment but have no qualms about it as it is the safest thing for the babies. It is strongly recommended that I have an epidural due to the fact that a C-section is more likely to become necessary (although I wasn’t making arguments when it was offered) so I don’t have to be put under general anesthetic in the event of an emergency.

On a personal note, Trey and I still can’t believe that we can say “OK, sometime between now and Tuesday we will have babies.” There is a part of me that still doesn’t completely believe that after the pregnancy I will be a Mom and have two babies at home. The whole concept of birth still seems so foreign that I don’t truly believe my body will do it. I was in absolute shock when I found out today that I had progressed towards delivery (dilated, etc.) I don’t know when it fully becomes real and I imagine it takes time after coming home from the hospital even. I find myself full of babies that I can see on an ultrasound, hear on a Doppler, surrounded by things that go on babies or babies go in but that has been the case for months and now the realization is setting in that those things are actually about to become useful and those strangers are about to become family. I am sure this is the experience of many parents out there, I just never expected the sense of distance from reality after all the months of preparation.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Jan Term is Over and Braxton Hicks Have Begun

Today we sent a total of 84 students and professors home from winter term. We had 10 helpers stay to clear out the rooms and get the laundry to the laundry service. There were a total of 21 garbage bags of laundry that went out and came back today. When it came back we had to put mattress pads back on all the beds and the bed spreads into the armoires in the rooms then get the rooms ready for the spring students. Tomorrow we have a cleaning service come in and have the carpets cleaned. Sunday we have a real day off with an empty house and then Monday we will have contractors around for estimates on work that needs to be done.

Monday is also a big day for Trey because he has his 6 month review. He has finished the first 9,700 words of his thesis and he will get to go over it with his advisor and second reader.

Two nights ago I started getting Braxton Hicks contractions. They continued until this afternoon getting more regular but this afternoon slowed down again. The babies did seem to drop so hopefully they are getting ready to make their debut close to their due date next week!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Our Nearest Green Patch

Trey and I ran out today while the sun was shining (for the first time since October) and got some shots together before the babies aren't in my tummy anymore. Seeing as how we are having twins, who knows if I will ever be pregnant again and we wanted to remember this special time as a couple. I have been so blessed to have a husband with a servant’s heart who has gone above and beyond to take care of me during our pregnancy. He gives me back rubs, makes sure I take my prenatal vitamins, cooks dinner and goes to the store now that standing that long means sleeping less at night from the strain, has me hold his arm when we're walking down the street, goes to doctor appointments, carries the laundry downstairs if I am going to be washing that day and just generally goes out of his way to take some of the weight off of me. I am so grateful to the Lord for my husband and best friend.

On another note, we had an ultrasound on Friday (15 Jan.) Ellie has been breech since 20 weeks. I was so sure that we would go in for this scan and she would still be breech and we would leave the hospital with a date that these babies would be born. Well, just to surprise us all, she has turned and now we are going to be playing the waiting game as nature intended. I was really ready to have a light at the end of the tunnel. They are growing great. Ellie was two ounces away from being 6 pounds and Tate was one ounce from being 5 pounds. This is a great weight for a singleton pregnancy at this point so the doctors were very pleased.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hospital Bag

When thinking about pregnancy, one thing I had always heard not to worry about was the hospital. You just show up with a few necessities and creature comforts and everything else is provided for you. The advice from my friends was even to bring extra bags to take home everything from extra diapers to nasal aspirators because hospital policy is not to reuse anything that has been in your room. Packing for the hospital seemed to involve throwing some P.J.’s, sleepers, slippers, music, snacks and maybe glasses or contacts into a bag and having it ready to run out the door.

Upon learning that, like most things, it is just a bit different here I began researching what people take to the hospital. I compiled a list and it included the following. Some may be the same as the states but some I am still shocked that people are expected to provide themselves such as diapers, formula (the hospital won’t provide it unless you have attempted to breast feed and couldn’t for medical reasons) water.

Hospital Bag
*Pack one bag for you and one for the babies
• Ear plugs (you’re in a ward with up to 5 other women and their babies.)
• Old night dress (to give birth in… no hospital gowns.)
• 2 P.J. Sets
• Old underwear
• Your own large fluffy towel (have heard tons of stories of people drying of with the paper towels because no clean towels were available)
• Pillows (You get one flat one.)
• Overnight pads
• Toiletries
• Wet Wipes (To clean out the shower… can’t make myself think about it but because you are sharing a shower with the women on your ward they aren’t always cleaned out when you are able to shower and I have heard horror stories of bloody floors women have had to wipe down)
• Shower Shoes
• Breast Pads
• Journal to keep track of changes and feeds and pens
• Snacks (the cafĂ© is only open during the day.)
• iPod with Audiobooks (no internet or cable T.V. folks)
• Water (there is a water cooler and Dixie cups should you become thirsty. Otherwise, better bring your own.)
• Camera
• Birth plan and hospital notes (Notes = records)
• Phone numbers
• Plastic bag for really dirty clothes
• Glasses
• Contacts
• Lanolin cream
• Change of clothes for Trey

Baby Bag
• Diapers (New Baby)
• 10 sleepers (extra for twins and sometimes they stay in the hospital longer.)
• 2 baby blankets
• Cotton balls
• Wipes
• Nappy sacks
• Going home outfit

Now, you can only bring what you can fit in your little area of the ward but, fortunately, your husband has to go home when it isn’t visiting hours so he should be able to make plenty of trips home to restock your diaper supply and bring in extra water should you need it.