Saturday, April 29, 2006

April 29, 2006

Greetings once again from my home computer! I'm still sans laptop and, thus, internet access, but I'm not as nuts without a machine as I thought I would be. It's kind of nice to be "free" of the internet for awhile, although I would not want to live like this forever. I'm not an animal. :)

Well, it's Saturday afternoon and the fact that I am writing this from home should be a good indication to you that things are going great at the hospital. The girls have been showing excellent heartrates and behavior and have earned me another couple of days of multi-hour passes. Ahh, the bliss.

We had a little snafu last weekend after my excusion out on Sunday afternoon. I returned to the hospital to get "hooked up" to the machine for my monitoring and Grace started showing some preliminary signs of distress. Nothing worth going to the Labor and Delivery department for (according to my favorite nurse, Paula), but something that needed to be monitored for more than just an hour.

Boy howdy, when they say "more than just an hour," they mean it. I was hooked up from 4:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. I was allowed a break here and there to pee (I spend half of my life in the bathroom) and stretch, but it was pretty awful. I ended up requesting a muscle relaxer because I was so stiff from lying on my back.

The great news is that despite Grace's misbehavior, all has gone back to normal. In fact, over the course of the last two weeks, we've gotten the opportunity to get to know the personalities of both of our little girls.

Faith has been nicknamed "Old Faithful." She can always be found in the same place (you'd be surprised how much babies can move around, even at THIS stage of the game) and always gives us a good, consistent heartrate. Her heartrate runs a little bit high (170 - 175/minute), but as we've gotten to know her, we've realized that it's not abnormal for her -- it's just a part of her physiology.

Grace, on the other hand, seems to take after her older brother in the "never stop moving" department. I would estimate that between the nurses and myself (I tend to do my own things after the nurse has left the room), we've spent at LEAST 12 hours searching for this kid or chasing her around my uterus (which I can't's not as though my uterus has corners). This kid can SQUIRM and she has made a legend of herself within the Antepartum department. Everyone knows that "Baby B Pruetz" is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to monitoring.

Grace also likes to "decel" her heartrate, which means that it drops below her baseline (usually around 150 or 155/minute) for more than 15 seconds. On more than one occassion, the nurse on duty has picked up the phone to call Dr. Harden, only for Grace's rate to go back to normal and stay there for the rest of the monitoring period.'s like she's testing us. I'd estimate she does this to us about every 36 hours.

Again, though, despite our goofy Grace, things are going very well. Dr. Higby came in to do a sonogram yesterday and proudly produced these results:

Faith: 2 lbs, 8 oz, measuring 28 weeks, 0 days
Grace: 2 lbs, 9 oz, measuring 28 weeks, 0 days
(At the time of the sonogram, I was 28 weeks, 5 days)

No signs of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome and although the cords are tangled, they seem to be in good shape. For now, at least. I still wake up every morning and think, "Will I end this day a mommy of three?" I still shudder at the thought, although I'm equally as excited as I am scared.

I'm settling into a routine, which anyone who is a good enough friend of mine to be reading this knows how much I love a schedule. I usually wake around 7:30, start the first monitor of the day. I eat breakfast (don't ask about the food -- it's not worth the conversation...) and take a shower. I try not to watch TV all day in an effort to save my brain from turning to mush, so I usually then move to the couch to read or do a crossword puzzle. Next monitoring session, then lunch. A nap, more reading or playing cards, maybe make a phone call or two or talk to a visitor. Next monitoring, watch the news, eat dinner, watch some trash TV (The Simpsons or Seinfeld) and talk to my family (Todd will bring Devin or ZZ will come up, etc...). I usually do my final monitoring around 10:30 or so and take my Ambien just as I am being hooked up to the machine. That way, when 11:30 rolls around, I'm good and sleepy. Luckily, Dr. Harden has told the nurses not to bother me when I'm sleeping, so I get to sleep through the night without monitors, blood pressure cuffs or any other stupid stuff...

All in all, it's not that bad. Again, I really want to be home, but I'm taken good care of.

Thanks for the prayers, the love, the thoughts, the cards, the calls, the emails (even though I haven't read them...I know they are there) and the support. This would be perfectly impossible without you all.

Until next week or until I get in-room internet access,

Saturday, April 22, 2006

April 22, 2006

Greetings from ... HOME!

That's right - I have been temporarily paroled from Methodist Hospital. I only have limited time here, so I'm going to make this quick. I haven't been able to establish an internet connection at the hospital yet (hopefully Monday...), so I'll give you the super-fast version of my week.

After many delays on Monday, April 17, I checked into room 159 at Methodist Hospital. I promptly (with Todd's help) moved into my room and made myself at home with photos, air fresheners and other homey touches. The monitoring started very quickly and I was soon settled in. The room was small, but adequate. What did I expect?

On Wednesday, though, it was announced that I would be moving rooms. Apparently, there is some multi-gozillion dollar expansion going on at Methodist and Room 159 was going to get the boot! So, they moved me into what's called a Deluxe Single. And wow -- deluxe it is! I mean, it's no five-star hotel, but as far as hospitals go, this is the cream of the crop.

I have my bed, plus an extra bed for Todd or ZZ or any mysterious, dark stranger who thinks I'm really sexy. Along with that, though, I have a living room (think fake leather here)/atrium area that looks out onto a courtyard, a small dining table with chairs and a mini-fridge. The extra room makes it a LOT easier to have Devin come visit. He can run around and play with Hot Wheels (and other such boyish toys) without the chance of accidentally knocking over some expensive piece of equipment or igniting the free-flowing oxygen. :)

So life at Methodist is good. I'm not as bored as I thought I'd be (although I am stiff from not moving around very much) and I actually have found that I don't have enough time in the day to get done what I need to get done. Specifically speaking, a number of you have called and I have not returned phone calls yet. I apologize profusely for that... The fact is, I really only get ten or 15 minutes at at time to talk because I'm either being monitored (and being monitored for twins is WAY different than being monitored for a singleton -- I usually spend an entire hour chasing them around my uterus, trying to get their heartrates to show up and spend another full hour sitting perfectly still so the heartbeat won't disappear again!), or having my temperature taken or being assesed or something else.

And as you all know, I like to talk, so ten or 15 minutes is really not enough. So I've put off a number of phone calls because I know I won't have the time I want to actually converse. Please accept my apologies and know that I WILL call you back. I promise.

The babies are doing great. Both are tracking along where they should. Grace has had some decelerations (where the heartbeat drops and stays below normal for more than a few seconds) and that has prompted my doctor to increase my monitoring sessions from every eight hours to every four. I'm not thrilled with that, but I have to remind myself that I am not there to be catered to with my own decisions, but I am there to watch my girls and get them here safely.

Aside from the decels, though, the girls couldn't be doing any better. I'm not having contractions (unheard of at 28 weeks with twins) and my blood pressure, temperature and everything else are right on track. I've had some back pain and stiffness, but I have been fed Flexeril (a muscle relaxer) a few times and that's more than remedied the problem. Of course, any problem is solved by a drug that keeps you asleep for 12 hours. No kidding.

There was some talk from Dr. Higby about getting me out of the hospital for good and doing in-home monitoring. At first I nearly kissed him on the lips, but the more I thought about it, the more I didn't like the idea. Again, the whole point of this is to get my girls here safely, and if I am at home, 15 miles from the hospital, and we detect distress, then what do I do? What if it's 5:00 in the evening? It'll take me 60-90 minutes to get to the hospital! So much can happen in that period of time and I don't like the "what ifs" of it all.

Dr. Harden agreed with me and spoke with Dr. Higby. Apparently, in-home monitoring and outpatient services are actually more expensive than in-patient monitoring, so my insurance company is happier anyway. Both doctors agreed that I'll just stay in the hospital, but be given passes to leave as long as the girls are looking good.

Hence, being home today! I have to go back in a little while for my 11:00 monitoring, but after that, I'm free for another four hours. Thank God for my ANGEL of a husband who is willing to drive me back and forth. Just being out of my room makes me feel like a new woman!

I'm signing off now. I have munchkin who needs to be tickled.

But before I go, thank you to all of you for your continued prayers, for your phone calls (even those unreturned) and for the visits. I just couldn't ask for a better circle of friends. God has blessed me so ubundantly and I'm having a hard time figuring out how to repay Him. It'll take a lifetime, but that's okay with me. It's worth it for friends like you.

I'll be back as soon as I can...

Until then,
Peace, love and blessings...

PS - Did I say I'd keep this short. Well, I lied. Remember, I LOVE to talk and typing counts as talking in my book...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

April 17, 2006

Happy Easter!

"The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you." -- Matthew 28:5-7

It's been ten days since I've blogged and I apologize for the delay. We've had so much going on with my leaving work, getting ready for the hospital and family coming in.

The great news is that everything is great! I saw Dr. Higby on Wednesday and got to see the girls, of course. They both look great, weighing in a 2lbs, 0oz (Faith) and 2lbs, 1oz (Grace). They are both measuring mid-26 weeks, which is right where I am. Good news all around with all of the other tests, too.

We discussed the use of steroids during my hospitalization and agreed that I would go ahead and have both rounds as soon as I got there. One dose on Tuesday, one on Wednesday. The steriods help to speed up lung development and brain function in the babies, but also only have a limited span of usefulness. If I am lucky enough to make it to 32 weeks, we'll likely have another two-day round of them again before the scheduled c-section on May 21.

I asked about side effects and what I could expect to feel after these shots. Dr. Higby replied, "A big surge of energy." I told him, "Why couldn't you have given these to be BEFORE I hit the hospital, when I really NEEDED the energy? What am I going to do with it when all I can do is sit in bed???"

My appointment with Dr. Harden was on Thursday and again, more good news. All looks well with the girls, my glucose test came back normal (no gestational diabetes) and my weight is fine (although I do not like what the scale has to say).

We sat and discussed the hospital and she told me that Todd and I would need to come into her office first to talk with her (presumably about monitoring sessions, c-sections and everything else) and then we would go over to the hospital, which is connected to her building.

So we set the time to meet her for 2:20. I kind of wish I had set it for the morning, though. I've been anticipating this stupid trip to the hospital for months now and I just want to get in so I can get out. Now I have to wait around all afternoon to go. I just want to get it over with...

Dr. Harden told me just to bring all of my stuff up to her office and we could just take it over to my room from there. HAH! This poor woman hasn't a CLUE what she just said!

In the interest of keeping myself sane during my incarceration, I have packed up more items than you could possibly imagine. A laptop (please pray that I'll be able to establish i-net access...), books, crosstiching (shut up), puzzles, movies and just about everything else.

My office gave me a going away party on Thursday and gave me a huge basket full of stuff to do from coloring books to trashy magazines. My dad and Jean came in for Easter and bought me a portable DVD player. ZZ loaned me about 15 movies from her extensive library. I have photos of Todd and Devin and little amenities to make it feel like home. I'm all set...if I get bored, it's my fault.

The truth is, though, I couldn't be less prepared for this trip. I am dreading it. In fact, dread doesn't even begin to cut it. I am loathing the thought of doing this. I know the end result will be two beautiful baby girls and that my risk of losing either or both of them comes down to just about 0% when intensive monitoring begins.

But that doesn't keep me from missing Todd and Devin. I think nights will be the hardest -- when the three of us usually have dinner together or play outside together. I will have a hard time when 7:30 rolls around and I should be giving Devin a bath and tucking him into bed. I'll be depressed when 9:30 or 10:00 rolls around and I know I should be going in to check on Devin (which is really just an excuse for me to coo all over him) and climbing in bed with Todd. I just hate the thought of being without them -- it hurts my heart to its very deepest core. Any mommy out there understands...

Thank you all for the prayers you've said for the babies thus far. They are doing great. I'd like to ask that you please continue to pray for them, but that you also pray for me, Todd and Devin. This is going to be a true test of our family mettle and I know I won't be able to survive my five weeks away from them without the help of good friends and divine intervention. I believe in God and and I believe God and I appreciate the prayers that you say on behalf of me and my family. In turn, I will pray for you too.

With a little luck, I'll be online quickly at the hospital. If something goes awry, though, I will have Todd post updates and messages here. I will have a direct line to my room, and I'll make sure that is posted, too. I have nothing more to do than talk on the phone, so please feel free to call.

Soon to be reporting from Methodist Hospital, the Medical Center, San Antonio, TX...


Thursday, April 06, 2006

April 6, 2006

*Note: As of this morning, the photo of me pregnant with Devin has not been scanned and is having some problems with photo uploads this morning, so you'll have to read below and get the visual tomorrow. I'm sorry. :)

You asked for it, you got it. Here are comparative photos of me during my pregnancy with Devin and this current pregnancy with the twins. I have even worn the same shirt so that no illusions are created and posed in the same position I did three years ago.

Side note: Yes, I am aware that the shirt makes me look like a gigantic peppermint, but it's one of the only things that still fits! Some might say that I look like a candy cane, but you have to be tall and thin to be a candy cane and I definitely don't qualify in that department. I'm much more of a peppermint -- short and round.

The photo of me wearing glasses is me yesterday, April 5, 2006, at 25 weeks and 3 days. The photos of me without glasses is me on July 10, 2003 at 37 weeks and 6 days.

Go ahead. Laugh. It's okay.

I saw Dr. Harden yesterday and what a mess it was! My first appointment in January had Todd and me sitting in the waiting room for over an hour waiting to see her. When we finally got in, she totally disarmed us by telling us that she does 80% of her own deliveries and that she tries not to keep patients waiting, but that the inevitable sometimes happens.

I'm glad she said that because yesterday was a lesson in patience.

My appointment was two-fold: To see the doctor as well as to have my gestational diabetes test (a test every pregnant woman gets between 25 and 28 weeks). The plan was simple and easy -- I was to go immediately to the lab, drink the wonderful beverage they provide (more later on that) and then head up to Dr. Harden's office for my appointment. At precisely one hour after I finished my drink, I was to return to the lab to have my blood drawn. Once all of that happened, I was free to go. Sounds easy...

So I get to the lab and they give me the drink. Imagine Orange Crush soda on steroids. This stuff is like the Jolt Cola of Orange drinks. Very sugary, very carbonated. You have to drink all eight ounces of it in less than five minutes (not easy) and within the hour, blood samples should indicate your tolerance or intolerance to sugar and decide if you could have gestational diabetes. If it comes back positive, there is another three-hour test that needs to be done.

So I chugged my drink (college was good for something...) and went down to Dr. H's office. I should have known there was a problem when there were like 15 women waiting in her waiting room.

I signed in and told the receptionist that I was due back at the lab at 11:14 (seriously -- they're that precise). She made a note and I had a seat.

And there I sat. And so did the rest of us. No one moved. No one was called back to the office, no one came out. No one.

A lady sitting near me got up to inquire about Dr. Harden's whereabouts and came back to report to the friend who was with her that Dr. Harden was on call the entire night before and was running late.

The woman seemed pretty irritated, but I just tried to put myself in Dr. H's shoes: Here is a professional who works very, very hard to be there personally for all of her patients. Because she works in a group (which I think is an enormous benefit), she's going to have "on call" times and some of those times will be very hectic. Yesterday was no exception and I just tried to be patient.

Around 11:10, I told the receptionist that I was due back at the lab and she said to just let her know when I would return. I went up, visited the vampire (ie - got my blood drawn) and was back down in Dr. Harden's office in less than five minutes. I let the receptionist know that I was back and sat down again. I called Todd to let him know how late I was running and asked if he could please pick up Devin (note: Todd had a 1/2 day off and Devin has to be picked up by noon).

This time, luckily, I only sat for ten or 15 minutes before I was called back. The usual stuff ensued: weight, blood pressure, battery of questions, etc.

I got into the room, answered a few more questions and then got undressed for my now-weekly cervix check. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Harden appeared and boy did she look tired. We spent some time talking about the babies and the hospitalization and she did the sonogram. All looked well with both babies, although they were moving so much it was hard to keep up with them. I told her that it's a no-win situation: I worry when they move and I worry when they don't move.

She checked my cervix (which is in great shape, apparently) and apologized again for being so late. I asked when she slept last and she said she'd been awake for nearly 36 hours. I told her that I couldn't believe that they would allow that to happen and she said, "Well, I won't be doing any delicate procedures today. I know my limits!"

With that, I was on my way. My original appointment was at 10:20, but I arrived at the lab at 10:05. By the time I got out of there, it was about 12:05. It was late, but like I said, I was trying to be patient.

As I checked out and pulled out my trusty calendar to book my next appointment, I looked down with horror: My appointment wasn't for April 5 at 10:20, it was for April 6 at 10:20!

I asked the receptionist and sure enough, it was there on her computer too: I had come on the wrong date. Through all of the overbooking and running late, they still worked me in and never said a word about my being there 24 hours early.

Go ahead. Laugh. It's okay.