Tuesday, June 24, 2008

E-Mail Update #7

Only three days since the last update. . . . I bet you're thinking that something must have happened! Well, the babies are still all inside, but I just have more to report now.

At midnight on Sunday night or Monday morning, whichever you want to call it, my water broke. More specifically, Rosemary's water broke. (When is it not that child causing trouble?) It was about as shocking to me as you can imagine. I've also now learned how to get every nurse in the unit in your room immediately -- just hit the little buzzer and tell them that your water broke. It was almost funny how fast everyone moved.

Now, in the movies, once the water breaks -- it's all over and the babies are born. Believe it or not, that's not necessarily the case in real life. At UAB, if a pregnant woman is 34 weeks or farther along and her water breaks, the babies are born. If a pregnant woman is less than 34 weeks along and her water breaks, it is called PROM (premature rupture of membranes) and the babies are born ONLY if the woman goes into labor -- and labor is no longer stopped at that point. Considering that I've spent the last 7 weeks in the hospital battling preterm labor, I was positive that my water breaking would send me into full-blown labor. Not so. For some reason, once my water broke, my cervix decided to stay stuck at 3cm. Of course, now it is even more likely that I'll have these babies sooner rather than later, but not much is happening now.

Most people have never heard of the baby staying in after the water breaks, and have in fact been told that the baby must be born in 24 or 48 hours to avoid problems with the baby, so I'll tell you what our doctors have told us. For a term baby, that is the case. For a premature baby, that is not necessarily the case. There is still some fluid around the Rosemary and more continues to build and then come out of the sac all the time -- but fluid is not absolutely necessary to babies at this point in the game. If the water breaks very early (around 16-24 weeks), then there is a high risk to the baby of lung development problems and also of deformities to the baby for not having as much cushion, among other risks. The risk of deformity is extremely low for us at this point because Rosemary is fully formed now. There is still a risk of lung development issues, but only if Rosemary stays in for longer than 2-3 weeks from the time the water broke (which no one really thinks will happen anyway). There is indeed a greater risk of infection, so I'm on antibiotics and being watched very closely for any infection. The babies' heartbeats are now more closely monitored, and the doctors are on the lookout for any placenta or cord issues with Rosemary. Around 32 weeks, they will start checking my amniotic fluid for lung development, and will deliver me as soon as lung development appears to be complete. So far, Rosemary, Piper, and Henry all look great.

One would think that the most shocking moment of that day was when my water broke. Not so. Later on, after I was transferred to Labor & Delivery, the doctor was doing an ultrasound to see which baby's water broke (I, of course, already knew it must be Rosemary). Then the doctor said, "It looks like your little boy on the bottom had the membrane rupture." And I said, "Oh, it's a little girl on the bottom -- her name is Rosemary." The doctor's response: "Well, Rosemary has a penis and is peeing right now." WHAT?!!! Seriously -- what part of that statement is not disturbing?!! I spent the great part of the rest of that night and yesterday strung out on drugs, wondering what gender babies I actually had in there, and hoping that we hadn't already scarred "Rosemary" for life. I was also planning to have my Mom immediately exchange the ladybug comforter for the frog comforter so that the poor child wouldn't come home to an inappropriate cribset. We have now this morning learned that was a MISTAKE and that Rosemary indeed is a girl (and Piper is a girl and Henry is a boy). Now that the babies are so cramped for space, it's hard to see what belongs to who, and apparently it was a shot of Henry peeing (yes, apparently they pee in there) close to where Rosemary's legs are. Just when you think you've heard it all. . . .

I will have an ultrasound next Monday for growth, and I will make sure the tech checks between the legs just once more to make absolutely sure that we know what we have in there. . . .

Tomorrow is 30 weeks!

I hope you're all doing well and having a great summer.

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