Go Big or Go Home

When we first got pregnant, I thought I would journal about the entire experience. However, I soon realized that there wasn’t much to write about. Pregnancy is fascinating to the person who is going through it. For the others who have to listen to her drone on and on about it- not so much. I have often felt like a walking science project. I was keenly aware of every uterine twitch. (felt like someone opened bag of Pop Rocks in there.) I’ve been fascinated and sometimes disgusted by the physiological changes to my body. (I’ll be spending a lot of time and money at the Dermatologist post partum.)  While there are plenty of bloggers who could wax romantic about their pregnancies for 9 ½ months- I’m not one of them. I’ve enjoyed most of the journey. The third trimester has been a bit challenging. If I’d blogged every day, it probably would have turned it to a rant at some point. I’m so grateful for the experience, I don’t ever want to complain about it.

Of late, this pregnancy has become more interesting. Apparently, I’m a pregnancy Diva and only know how to do high risk/high maintenance. We were forewarned that a twin pregnancy might get complicated- and it did.  I will spare you the gory details but you can follow the links if you want more info. Here are the Cliff Notes. At 27 weeks, after a very mellow, non-eventful day- things got a little complicated and I was admitted to the hospital. The primary concerns were placenta previa (in my case- marginal) and pre term labor. I was treated with increased fluid via IV, steroids for the babies’ lungs and Nifedipine for contractions. The primary complications subsided in about 24 hours but then I experienced the secondary complication of pulmonary edema. (Like I said, Total Diva!) We were pretty shaken up by the possibility that we might deliver that early and both did our own internet research on viability and complications in preemies by gestational week. While all of these pregnancy complications are serious, most are entirely treatable when identified immediately. Many of the articles I’ve linked to include worst case scenarios. Every pregnancy carries some risk. I’m just a multi-tasker.

We stayed in the hospital for week. That “we” includes Michael, who spent most nights on the couch in my hospital room.  He went home to shower and occasionally grab a nap in a quiet environment.

I spent the next five weeks alternating my time between the recliner and bed. I was also allowed bathroom and shower privileges and light meal prep. Since Gillian is relatively independent these days we managed to partner through her morning routine. My sister in law Joy came out for a week to help prepare meals as I was settling in to the new rules. We are so grateful to her! Michael’s parents are always so good to us. They help with taking Gillian to school and assisting with homework most afternoons. Lately, they’ve also added laundry service and kid bathing to their resume.  I even got to have my baby shower!

Michael has been the biggest blessing. He takes me to my doctor’s appointments. He’s seen all the ultrasounds and likes to be there with a second set of ears when I talk with the doctor. He does our grocery shopping (always has) and prepares a lot of meals. He’s kept the house clean and brought in a housekeeper for deep cleaning.  He’s also taken Gillian to social and school events and will host her birthday party this weekend. He keeps me supplied with ice water, runs for prescription refills and makes sure that we always have a selection of desserts- half of which are homemade. He and his parents decorated the nursery and shopped for all the remaining essentials at Babies R Us. In short, he’s done countless things to alleviate any and all stress for me and he’s never complained.  I will have to remember all of this the next time he has a cold or flu. I owe him a huge debt of selfless pampering.

Tuesday Sept 27th around 5:30am, placenta previa reared its evil head again. We packed Gillian in the car and headed to the hospital. Thank goodness women’s intuition told me that such a day was imminent and we’d prepared her for such an “adventure” at dinner the night before.  My travel bag was packed. We called Grandma and Grandpa Smith and they met us at the hospital to pick up Gillian and get her ready for school. After an initial exam, I was admitted. Although this incident was more extreme than the last, I was greatly comforted to recognize most of the nursing staff. My doctor was actually on the phone when we walked in to admitting because he had another patient on the floor. He gave some initial instructions to the nurses, I was admitted and he came in a little later. This time it was made clear that I’d remain in the hospital until delivery.

So far, we are all doing fine. Once again, the initial complications are in check. This time, we anticipated the edema and dealt with it before my lungs were impacted. The nurses all remember me and vice versa. Both babies are monitoring well. We met with the doctor who runs NICU. He was very informative and helped us to feel comfortable about what we might expect if we deliver this week versus a little later. Our current goal is to get to 34 weeks. (October 8th) If we can push even further, we will. We are taking it one day at a time and truly appreciate all of your prayers.

Michael’s Take…

I thought I should chime in as well…  But first off: “aw shucks!”

That first visit to the hospital, it seemed like every time I would go home to get rest something would happen.  The worst being the day that I got back to the hospital and she had gained over 10 lbs almost over night, suddenly had tree-trunk legs (her words), and was having trouble breathing.  So I did a lot of sleeping on that couch bench because I felt like if I was there with her I could advocate for her a little bit, make sure she’s correctly understanding what the doctor said, and just hang out with her. And the food wasn’t too bad either.  But I also think it’s important to point out that through that whole visit we stayed completely positive.  I never really worried about Shannon or the babies…. well… until one night sleeping at the house I decided to google the viability of preterm babies at 27 weeks. That one did put some fear in me.

I had assumed because of the route we took that we had (most) all the bases covered.  I can honestly say that even at the first ultrasound I always expected to see two. Maybe it was ignorant bliss or maybe it was faith, but every time we went back in for another ultrasound I was never surprised. I always expected to see two normal healthy growing babies. However, at 27 weeks that google research did rock me a little bit. This was a risk that I hadn’t really considered and hadn’t ever researched.  But still it didn’t rock me too much. Because I’ve always said that “people don’t make babies – God makes babies” (ask Shannon) and I stood on that truth during this whole process. It’s really out of our hands and in God’s hands.

Then there was the bed rest.  I will say that I really enjoyed having Shannon… um… “in captivity”.  I didn’t let her do much at all.  Although twice a week we’d venture to the doctor’s office for fetal heart monitoring and ultrasound checks… and picking up 5 Guys on the way home.  During the bed rest time we spent a lot of quality time together.  We watched tv shows and did a lot of visiting.  It’s great having you’re wife also be your best friend.  It was like a mini-vacation and we had a great time.

And now we have the new hospital visit. This time we know the drill. Shannon is advocating for herself a lot. She’s asking the nurses to ask the doctor for certain things. And the staff listens and tries to accommodate. I feel like she’s in great hands and I’m more at ease knowing that she’s there being looked after than if she was at home.  It’s an amazing hospital and the staff is wonderful. This is the way a hospital should be.

Sometime in the near future these two guys will be in our lives.  We’re holding out hope that it won’t be before the 8th.  Anything can happen with a high risk pregnancy like this, but I’m honestly not worried.  We’re at 33 weeks on Saturday (Gillian’s birthday) and then we’ll glide through the next week.  It’s entirely possible that mid-october we’ll still be giving updates and wondering when Declan and Darcy will come join the party.

8 thoughts on “Go Big or Go Home

  1. My dear gorgeous fabulous multi-tasking pregnancy Diva! You amaze and astound me and I am in awe of your grace. Truly, you are blessed. Can I get a witness? Amen!
    Mr. Smith is a paragon of virtue, and should be inducted immediately into the Husbands’ Hall of Fame. There is one of those, isn’t there? And long-suffering G. She sounds like she is being very grown-up about this and will be an awesome big sister.

    I disagree, however, with your assessment, Shannon, that your readers would not be interested in every last daily grimy gory detail. All the movements and even the tears, fears and frustrations—because you are you and watching you overcome such a difficult situation would be an inspiration to us all. Remember, Job didn’t complain, as such. But he didn’t keep his mouth entirely shut, either! Otherwise, we wouldn’t have the story at all.

    As Leonard Cohen said:
    Ring the bells that still can ring
    Forget your perfect offering
    There is a crack in everything
    That’s how the light gets in.

    So, my dearest, I am here offering prayers of love, support and healing for you, your family, your doctors and everyone involved in this great adventure. May the little boys bake a bit longer in this gentle autumnal season, and may your eventual and perfectly-timed harvest be bountiful and full of mirth!

    Much love from me, mom and the rest of my family. I’ve put a call in to them to join in the prayers.


    • Love you my friend. I appreciate your interest, encouragement and prayers. I’m also enjoying your post script editing. ; )

  2. Also, my apologies for mixing the “baking” and the “harvesting” metaphors. Did I mention I’m excited? Love you! Kiersten

  3. WOW 🙂 Can I just say that I enjoyed reading that 1) because I was really interested in hearing how things were going & how exactly you ended up at the hospital as opposed to bed rest at home & more importantly 2) I love the way you write! And Michael too! It is inspirational as well to see the Holy Spirit working in you two through the experience & giving you both the strenth you need to support each other & power through these scary episodes. I think one day you will look back and read this & say, WOW as well 🙂 As I said before, I am going to be praying every day for good health all the way around! God bless!

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