The Not-So-Sexy Infertility Adventures of a Girl in the Big Apple

Thursday, September 6, 2012

31 Weeks and a Pre-Term Labor Scare

A warning that this is going to be a whiny, complaining post, reflective of some recent stress and lack of sleep!

As I get further into my third trimester, I've gone from feeling relatively relaxed and reasonably prepared to stressed out and totally behind in my preparation.  It started with my last ultrasound a couple of weeks ago, where both babies were measuring in the 80th percentile (!) in terms of height/weight.  On the one hand, it's great that they are growing so well, but I was worried that their size is related to the effects of GD.  It also made me worry about them getting too big too fast and pushing me into pre-term labor earlier than I want.

The following week I had an appointment with my OB, who was generally very happy with my progress.  She was relieved that I made it to 30 weeks, because according to her, at this point I could deliver tomorrow and while things wouldn't be ideal I would be okay.  But she spent most of the appointment talking as if I would be delivering in the next few weeks, and that totally stressed me out!  I'm not ready yet to go into labor - we are only halfway through our preparation for the nursery.  I haven't yet bought everything we need to buy.  We have a closet being installed in two weeks and new windows being installed in 4 weeks.   Not to mention the fact that I'm not just mentally prepared to go yet!

She also said that both babies are heads down, my blood pressure looks great, and assuming things don't change that I could be a good candidate for vaginal delivery.  This also threw me for a loop.  When we first met she cautioned me that I would most likely be delivering via C-section, and that I should prepare myself for that outcome.  Even if both babies were heads down there was a risk that in the process of delivering vaginally I could end up delivering one, having the other one flip around, and THEN having to do a C-section.  That prospect horrified me enough to scare me off of vaginal delivery.  Hence I've taken no birthing classes, read no books, hired no doulas - I feel totally underprepared mentally for a vaginal birth.

But now I am having to rethink the C-section plan, and I honestly don't know what to do.  On the one hand, the recovery time is so much better with vaginal delivery.  But that risk of having to do BOTH vaginal and C-section delivery still scares me - she estimated it at about a 10% risk.   So I'm still flip-flopping around about this, and at some point we will need to make a game-time decision.  At this point I think I'm going to throw my hands up in the air and make an impulse decision when the time comes - I'm too overwhelmed at the moment to do anything else.

Yesterday I had the biggest scare of all.  I went in for my first Non Stress Test (which I will be doing weekly from here on out).  The babies were very active and did great, but unfortunately they recorded 3 contractions in the space of about 1/2 an hour!  Based on this, they sent me over to Labor and Delivery to ensure that I wasn't going into pre-term labor.  Needless to say, this scared the pee out of me.  I then had to wait close to 3 hours to be admitted to triage - they kept having to put more urgent delivery cases before me - and by the time I was seen I was thoroughly exhausted and stressed out.

Thankfully, they determined that the contractions were NOT the start of Labor - my cervix was still closed and the babies were doing great.  So after taking up my entire day I was sent home.   I was feeling really relieved until last night when I got into bed.  Shortly after arranging myself into position I felt about 6 contractions over the course of an hour.  That freaked me out and I woke my husband up.  However, we were both so exhausted (neither of us have gotten much sleep recently for various reasons) that I couldn't mobilize to do anything about it.

So after yet another crappy night of sleep I must admit I'm feeling rather cranky and stressed.  I am going to spend the day taking care of stuff we need to do for the babies, and then will monitor myself for contractions.  Now that I've gone through the NST I can much more definitely point to when I'm having one - before I was never sure.  The drag is that I'm now going to be paranoid about this every day for the rest of this pregnancy.  So much for that relaxed, energetic pregnancy glow I was sporting for a few months there!

I am praying that I make it at least another month with these babies inside me, but I know I really don't have any control over this.  If you all have any thoughts to share with me on C-section vs vaginal delivery or any of these other issues I welcome them.  In the mean time, I'm going to try to get a nap in while I still can!


  1. Which hospital are you delivering at if you don't mind my asking? I'm going to Columbia - NY Presbyterian. :)

    3 in 30min? That's nothing! I get 4 in 20min on a regular basis on those NSTs. But that's my baseline. I've had the doctors (not MY OB, just other drs) freak out multiple times about it and I always tell them that this is normal for me, it's been like this for months, and it is completely pain free (and often I don't know it's happening). I ended up in triage at 30 weeks also, same symptoms, and they ended up sending me home. (I ended up there at 32 weeks and the ended up admitting me, yikes). Also, remember stress can cause contractions, so sometimes sitting in triage makes them worse. One thing that helps me immensely is making sure I am super hydrated. I now fill a jug with around 8 cups of water and try to finish it before dinner time, plus have more water in the evening.

    But yeah, I am now paranoid every day, too. Tomorrow is 34 weeks for me and I have been to triage / L&D twice for potential preterm labor. One piece of advice is to bring an overnight bag with you from now on to any dr appointment that could end up in going to triage. My 32 week appt ended up with me being admitted for 4 days, and I didn't have my toothbrush or contact solution or anything with me. My husband stayed the night and then in the morning ran home to get supplies, but from now on we always go with my toiletries and a change of clothes just in case. OH! And snacks / peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Just in case you're waiting in triage forever.

    1. I am at Cornell - NYP. Thanks so much for sharing your story - you have made me feel a LOT better! Good advice about bringing an overnight bag and snacks with me next time...I guess we just have to be prepared to be admitted at any time!

      My contractions are not totally pain free, which worries me a little. One out of every, say, 5 or 10 is painful. Not doubled over grabbing your ankles pain, but enough for me to say "ouch." But I'm glad to hear that it's possible that even fairly regular contractions are normal, because I am now having them much more often!

      I hope you avoid L&D for another few weeks - you are doing great at 34 weeks already!

    2. Painful or just super tight? Also does it feel like your belly makes a hard turtle shell or are you feeling it in your back? There are different kinds of contractions and I think the turtle shell ones are less concerning than the ones that start in the back.

      I hope you are able to stay out of the hospital for a while more!!!

    3. Super tight to the point of being painful I guess is the way to put it. Sometimes it just feels tight, sometimes it feels tight and painful. But I am not feeling it in my back which is good - it's definitely more the turtle shell variety. Thanks for the insight, you really are making me feel much better!

    4. Yeah I'm not 100% about the turtle shell vs wrap-around ones (which I've never had, just heard about), but that's what I hear :) My contractions used to be more uncomfortably tight but I was apparently chronically dehydrated. Since being more on top of my water intake they have definitely become less tight / uncomfortable. Last time I was dehydrated the nurses told me that with twins I'm supposed to drink 10-14 glasses of water a day, which is a LOT!! Most days I get around 10-12.

      Good luck! Week by week!

  2. I hope those babies stay put for at least another four weeks or so. Try and relax as much as you can - it will all work out.

  3. Well, I have no experience with birth yet so I can't help you on that. I can understand your confusion and your stress regarding the sudden possible change in plans. That's a lot to think about for sure. I'm hoping that you still have plenty of time to make that decision. Hang in there, I have a feeling you will do just fine and that you will be happy with whatever decision you make because it will be the decision to bring YOUR babies into this world. How cool is that?

  4. newbie, wow! a lot going on! so sorry you had that scare but glad it turned out to be nothing. I've only got a singleton cooking in here and already am starting to worry about her making a surprise early arrival, or my health condition necessitating that. Not what I anticipated. And we are nowhere near prepared for her arrival, have purchased not a single item : ) So I hear you.

    Also...can you email me offline - one nyc'er to another? i'm at i don't see an email address for you...and i have a question...

    thinking of you, and wishing for as stress free a next several weeks as possible.


  5. Oh my....I can only imagine the worry and stress. I hope you can get some sleep since that may make things a bit less overwhelming. I don't have any words of wisdom about the c-section vs vaginal but I would be worried about that 10%. I hope that everything calms down and you can get back to being relaxed and glowing :-)

  6. Oh, I do hope you make it several more weeks, and I hope you get your relaxed pregnancy glow back until it's game time! I think I would be scratching my head regarding a vaginal birth for twins, but what do I know, if I ever get that far, I know it's a c-section for me because of prior uterine surgeries. Just hope it becomes obvious what you should do before the big day. Take care, and enjoy that nap!

  7. I think it's great that your doctor is offering you the choice of a vaginal birth! Even if you opt for a C-section, at least you know *you* made that decision.

    Looking up birth stuff on the internet is very confusing and pressured. Just remember it's OK to go with what you're comfortable with, and if that's the C-section you're mentally prepared for, then you might just want to stick with that. It's not like you're not going to have enough on your plate anyway!

    I had two vaginal births, so can't speak for C-section, but I know the recovery time for the C-section always freaked me out. My daughter was in the 90th percentile for size, so C-section was recommended to me though my doctor was fine letting me try for vaginal which worked out. Obviously, slightly different when you're looking at two deliveries in one labour.

    Anyway, may you have several weeks yet to think it over, and figure out what you (and your husband) want. You're doing a great job keeping those twins comfy!

  8. I too was thinking c-section the whole time, then the night my water broke the doctor on call gave me the possibility of vaginal. Then after I considered it and got both freaked out and excited she changed her mind. In the end the c-section was not that bad. The first few days of recovery was hard but as long as I stayed ahead of the pain with pills I was fine. I was terrified of a double whammy and that's probably what motivated me to not fight the suggestion of a c-section, that and being worried about my babies. There's nothing wrong with choosing a c-section when especially when there is so much out of your control.

    I found those non-stress tests to be incredibly stressful. One thing that made me feel better was a nurse told me if it was true labor then it couldn't be stopped. It made me feel like there was nothing I could do to cause it, which just made it easier to remain calm. Having contractions doesn't always mean labor is on its immediate way. Having twins makes your uterus more irritable and that is completely normal.

    Hang in there!

  9. Newbie, i had BH all the time at 32 wks, it's worrisome when they say you shouldn't have more than 4 in an hour. So glad your cervix is holding up. I was gung ho for natural birth and ended up a c-section. The recovery was not that bad - it would have been better if I hadn;t been so freaking exhausted because I went through 24 hours of trying to deliver naturally. at this point, if I had another pregnancy, I would not want to attempt VBAC. Good luck with your decision. Glad the babies are doing well and I hope they stay put for another month at least!

  10. I had that same thing at 33 weeks, hope those babies can hang in there for a few more weeks! My birth was almost like TurtleMama's. I tried to have a natural birth, 27 hours later we had a c-section. I too was so exhausted after the whole process. I don't know what I would do if I were having twins, easy to say natural birth when you are having only one but if you doc things you can do a natural birth, then I think I would try it. I am not going to lie that first day after the c-section, it's pretty painful, but after that you do heal really quickly. Good Luck with your decision!

  11. I was JUST thinking of you Newbie while preparing supper. Ugh...the dreaded pre-term labour scares! Hoping your heart makes the decision soon as to which delivery plan you will choose. Take care!!

  12. Hey! I read this forever ago but have been on my phone mostly so commenting is painful! So glad you and babies are hanging tight! I can't believe you are already 32 weeks now! You are doing amazing! Hope that it doesn't get too uncomfortable from here on and that you get that further month you want. I think you should do whatever you're comfortable with for birth - but I've heard that even if they have to reach in and turn baby B it's not that bad seeing as you just birthed a baby! Nikinikinine who's blog is on my blog roll had a vaginal birth with her twins that she blogged about - may be worth checking out!

  13. I'm so glad for the update. It sounds like things are going well even with the lack of sleep and the scare. I love hearing about the two babes and I hope they decide to stay and bake for a few weeks longer.

    Hang in there!! I know the decision to c or not to c is going to be hard, but I know you'll do what feels right!