24 weeks came along and we had our regular fetal specialist appointment with all my stuff for a hospital stay in tow. It went normally and we had one more sonogram to check the babies’ growth. Beckett was 1 pound 5 ounces and Foster measure 1 pound 7 ounces. Doing good, everything was going well and development was according to schedule. The encephalocele still had no brain tissue in it. Yay!
The rest of the day after was awful. There is no sugar coating it. I have tricky veins that like to disappear in different directions. It’s a curse. The first stick hit a nerve and my arm felt like it had gasoline and a Zippo lighter igniting my veins. That was fun. I shook it off because it happened to me in the past. My veins are fun like that.
Once the IV was in came the magnesium sulfate. Originally, doctors started to use this as a muscle relaxer to prevent contractions. Studies revealed that it helped more specifically with protecting the tiny blood vessels in babies’ brains. Considering Foster’s neurosurgery after birth it was an important and proactive step in prenatal care. That stuff should come with a warning label though.
Imagine you are sunbathing. Like full on Kansas heat of the day, sunbathing. Ok now imagine you have no water nearby, or anything cooling like shade or a fan. Ok, now imagine you would love to get out of this heat but all of a sudden your muscles feel a bit like jelly. Ok, not a bit. A LOT. You are a jello salad, my friend. Your eyeballs can’t even focus on the mid day rerun episode of your favorite show. They just kinda drift around but not enough to make you sleep. The nurse comes in, and she’s very sympathetic. She has done this enough times to know you are uncomfortable. She brings you a fan and some ice water.
She asks you to roll on your side. Ok sure. She says that you’ll be getting a steroid shot. Sure, whatever. She says she’s going to have to give you this shot in your butt. WHAT? EXCUSE ME? There is no other muscle that will do the job? Fantastic. You’re pretty loosey goosey after the IV fluids so you just kinda take it. You joke that for goodness sake quit asking you if you’re ready and just shoot it. Talking about it does not help the situation. She laughs and give you the shot. You flop back over a little more sore than you were a moment ago.
These kids better freaking love you. I’m talking like flowers every Mother’s Day and daily chores no matter what.
She then takes these hockey pucks with cords attached, and squirts blue goo on them. The hockey pucks stick to your protruding belly skin and you almost squeal with surprise at the cold goo. It feels lovely on your indoor sunbathing session. One heartbeat comes through, strong and regular. Then another hockey puck with the same goo. Another heartbeat strong and clear. A third hockey puck, sans goo. You’re a little disappointed by the lack of goo. It felt so cool. She sticks that hockey puck to the top of your belly and straps them all on with blue and pink velcro straps.
Those are your babies. She’s monitoring their heartbeats to make sure they are taking the magnesium sulfate ok. Strong heartbeats between 110 and 170 are a good thing. They take it like champs at a solid 130 average heartbeat. You’re absolutely relieved.
But then, your ornery little boys shift and they move off the monitors. They don’t like being listened to and strapped down. The nurse comes back in and patiently searches around your belly for the missing heartbeat. You have a slight moment of panic until she finds the beat again. She leaves and night falls. Your poor husband is passed out on the couch snuffling as nurses come back in to move the monitors around again. However, he sleeps more than you do. A sore butt and a dizzy head didn’t make you sleepy as you’d hoped.
By morning, you’re exhausted from no sleep and ready to rest. The nurses send you up to a different floor. The room you came from was Labor and Delivery. There is medical equipment everywhere and a massive window that pours in light. The bed is hard because it’s designed for women in labor who don’t care what a bed feels like.
The new floor, is different. Instead of being monitored 24/7 they monitor you three times a day for 20-60 minutes each time. You have a softer more cushy bed and your room looks like a nice dorm. No medical equipment and you’ve got a private bathroom and mini fridge. The nurses on this floor come in and check on you every couple hours and lab comes to draw blood every few days. Housekeepers and food services come in and clean and deliver meals. It gets kinda lonely after your husband leaves but you draw the shade and sleep for a good portion of the day. Finally, you’re here.