Friday, August 31, 2007

A Hospital Visit Later

After lunch on Wednesday (August 29, 2007) I started feeling a little "off". My belly started feeling a bit achey, not really painful, but uncomfortable. I got nervous and called the nurse from my ob's office to describe what I was feeling. She recommended I got to the hospital because I'm pregnant with twins, and it was possible that I was having some contractions.

They checked me in quickly when I got there, and I sat in the "Early Labor Lounge" while they tried to assess me. I thought this was a misnomer, since there really wasn't any "lounging" going on. During the time I sat there, I'm pretty sure I heard at least 2 women in full blown labor and one (who sounded like she'd had a few too many drinks) talking about having blackouts. I was not in too much pain, but all the background noise and discussions going on in the room were stressful in and of themselves.

They hooked me up to the contractions monitor and ran a couple of tests. The monitor indicated I was contracting about every 3 minutes, but I was surprisingly comfortable. After discussing my situation with my doctor, the nurse returned and gave me a shot of terbutaline (sp?) to stop the contractions. They also conducted another test which I believe they called a fetal fibronectin test. They explained to me that they were looking for a negative result, which would indicate to them that I was unlikely to deliver within the next few weeks. While waiting on these results, my doctor sent orders to keep me overnight for observation.

I was wheeled to the Perinatal Intensive Care Unit where I was to stay for further observation. Later that evening, my doctor stopped in to check-up on me and update me on how we would move forward. We were still waiting for the results of the fetal fibronectin, but based on what I was feeling when I came in and the nurse's assessment he thought I could have gone into pre-term labor. He wanted to confirm his suspicion with an ultrasound the next morning, and he was still waiting to see the fetal fibronectin results. He told me that worst case scenario I would be sent home on a t-pump so that I could inject myself every few days to stave off future contractions. He also said I would be on bedrest from here forward. He told me he wanted to see the ultrasound results to see if my cervix was changing, and we would move forward from there.
The next morning I had my ultrasound, and the results were all positives. The babies were fine, continuing to grow as expected. As of the day of the ultrasound, the girl weighed 1 lb. 8 oz. and the boy weighed 1 lb. 9 oz. The ultrasound also indicated that my cervix was unchanged by the contractions I had experienced. I was encouraged, so now I just had to wait on my doctor to review the results. The on-call doctor showed up later that morning and had them remove me from everything (IV & contractions monitor). He had reviewed my ultrasound, and he said it was highly unlikely that I would deliver anytime soon due to the length and condition of the cervix. He also said I did not need the t-pump as he felt that he would rather not use it unless it was absolutely necessary. He released me to go home, and he had me schedule a follow-up to check my progress. I was, to say the least, completely relieved.

One important development that happened as a result of my visit was that he had them check my blood sugar while I was in the hospital. The nurse took a fasting blood sugar and found that I was marginally high (100 mg/dl). He said the terbutaline could cause a temporary increase in blood sugar but that I should schedule for a glucose screening in about a week. The idea of developing high blood sugar scared me a bit since I had not read much about gestational diabetes, so I did not know what the risks were to me or to the babies.

I started doing my research, and I was encouraged to find that gestational diabetes (GD) can usually be controlled by diet and exercise. It can necesitate insulin, but most patients are successfully treated without it. I did find that uncontrolled GD can cause complications, mostly during delivery and following for the babies. My own body could also suffer if I failed to control my blood sugar.

I went out later that week and bought a glucose meter. I started monitoring my blood sugar several times during the day to see how my body was responding to different foods. I read what I could about GD & diabetic diets, and I tried to cut the obvious "no-no's" (pop, candy, desserts, etc.). Amazingly, I found that in 3 days I lost 6 lbs. of water weight, so I knew this realization was an important part of making the rest of my pregnancy as healthy as possible.

I scheduled my 1-hour glucose test a week after leaving the hospital, and I was showing elevated blood sugar. They asked me to schedule a 3-hour glucose test, so they could confirm the validity of the 1-hour test. Sure enough, my test was positive. I failed by a point, but it was probably for the better since that will force me to eat better.

I have since met with a dietician to discuss my meal plan. I continue to be amazed that these changes have almost completely changed my outlook for the pregnancy. I have been able to have almost complete control over my swelling. I have lots of energy. I don't feel heavy (even though I am). I don't have the feeling of fullness I used to have, and I feel confident that I will make it to 30-something weeks. My only real concern is that I have lost 9 lbs. since I changed my diet, and I am at times concerned that the babies are getting what they need. My doctor has reassured me that the babies are fine, so I am just focusing on trying to eat well and take care of myself.

In retrospect, my trip to the hospital was probably one of the best things that could have happened to me. I think it opened my eyes to the seriousness of my physical well-being and how I have the power to change it.

1 comment:

Chatter said...

Hey Julie,
hope you are still feeling good and energetic (as energetic as you can that is). I tagged you on my blog. Copy and paste and fill it out yourself. It's kind of fun! Give JJ a kiss for me!

love, Chan