This week has been a little out of the ordinary. For a woman who spends 90% of her waking hours laying on the couch, this can either be a good thing or a bad thing.
It started last week when I began to have more contractions than normal in my monitoring session. If there are 5 or less contractions in an hour, everything is considered good. If there are 6 or more contractions, I am required to get a drink, have a snack, etc. and re-monitor to see if the contractions go down. Until last week, I had not had to re-monitor in about a month and a half. But last week I started having to re-monitor almost every day. Fortunately the contractions always went down the second hour, but things were definitely changing for me. Over the weekend, the nurses at Matria (the company that does the monitoring), called the doctor on call and they decided to increase my anti-contraction medicine to see if that would help. It did seem to help for a day or two, but then I was back to re-monitoring at least once a day. Sunday evening I had 13 contractions in an hour during my monitoring session. When I re-monitored, the number only went down to 8, so the nurse told me that I needed to go to the hospital to get checked out.
I had been dreading this happening because I thought that the next time I walked through the hospital doors, they were not going to let me out until after the babies were born. Already my doctor had told me that I had managed to stay out of the hospital longer than any other quint patient he had had, so I figured I had already used up my "get out of jail free" cards. So, I hurried and packed my bags and prepared to stay for the long haul.
At this point, it was 10:00 pm on Sunday night. My aunt had been sick with the flu all day and didn't feel up to driving me to the hospital. My uncle had just left that afternoon for a business trip to Israel. Even my husband was on a plane to Germany, so I couldn't even call him for encouragement! So, I called my Uncle Lloyd and Aunt Kathy who live in Mesa, about 20 minutes from here and asked them to take me. Despite the fact that I woke them up, they agreed.
I arrived at the hospital at around 11:00 pm. After filling out all the paperwork (I actually have to fill out paperwork for me and each of the five babies every time I go to the hospital), they sent me to OB triage where I was hooked up to various monitors. They also brought in the ultrasound machine to make sure that all the babies were alright. As it turned out, I was still contracting, but the contractions were small and not doing anything. The nurse said that they were nothing to be concerned about. She gave me a shot of some anti-contraction medication, monitored me for another half hour and then came in to tell me I was being discharged. I was so excited!!! Being able to go home was totally unexpected. My aunt and uncle had graciously stayed with me the whole time, so they were there to take me back to my Aunt Jeanie's house.
When my doctor saw the report of my middle of the night adventure the next day, he ordered a terbutaline pump for me. The pump, and a nurse to show me how it all worked, showed up on Tuesday morning. Basically how it works is that a small needle (shaped somewhat like a tack) with attached tubing is placed into my leg and a small pump continuously injects a very small dose of the medicine into my body. Every 4 hours, I get an extra boost of the drug. Administering the drug this way, as opposed to the oral pills which I had been taking, makes it so that the level of medicine in the blood stream stays more stable over time. It also makes it so that overall, less of the drug has to be used. I have been using the pump for about 2.5 days now and it seems to be working much better than the pills did. So far, I have had about 2 contractions per hour, on average, and have not had to re-monitor at all.
Yesterday I had another doctors visit. All the babies look great and despite my adventures over the past week, the doctor used the words "fantastic" and "amazing" to describe how I was doing. I am so grateful for my excellent progress thus far, and I know that in large part it is because of the many of you who have included us in your prayers. THANK YOU!!!!!