I’ve been a bit frightened.
Now I’m less frightened and more frustrated.
Joel’s pregnancy was truly idyllic. When we discovered we were pregnant a bit sooner than we’d expected we were absolutely thrilled. But we were also a little concerned. My only sister who has children becomes very ill when pregnant, and we had no idea how my body was going to react to its new passenger. My due date was just three weeks after my scheduled graduation from law school so I would be under incredible stress the whole pregnancy and any complications could quickly derail completion.
I’m a silly worrier. I felt great. As long as I kept munching every few hours the first trimester went quickly and without incident. I’d occasionally be nauseous in the evening, but that passed in just a few weeks. My schedule that term included a mid-day break and I’d head out to my Grand Cherokee for a nap when I needed one. I had a pillow and sleeping bag ready; it felt ridiculous but it worked perfectly to keep me functional and mentally sharp as I hammered my way through my final year.
I exercised with vigorous walks for nearly the entire pregnancy. It was truly free of worry and distress for both Joel and me. Being a research addict, (most lawyers are, it’s what they do, contrary to prime time tv) I knew exactly the possibilities outside of our experience. And every time I spoke of our little monkey I would state our immense gratitude for the simplicity and bliss of our complication free pregnancy. I couldn’t believe how well he was tolerating the intense pressure of my education, but he was. It was amazing.
When Dr. Incredible first saw those two little Peppers tucked away and growing, she sat me down for a lecture. “This,” she said, “is not that.” And went on to tell me the program we’d be following (based on the extensive research of Dr. Barbara Luke ), and warned me that a majority of multiple pregnancies result in bedrest at some point or another. She also engrained in me the realization that everything is different with twins. It isn’t just a few more pounds - the body reacts differently, is under intensely different pressure, and things can change in literally moments. This, is indeed, not that.
During a normal singleton pregnancy Braxton Hicks contractions are your friend. They are your body preparing for labor, and a healthy part of what needs to happen. I had them all the time when exercising while pregnant with Joel and saw them as my body doing its job to perfection. They are not your friend in a twin pregnancy. Because the cervix and uterus are under such increased strain, any indication that labor preparation is occurring is taken very seriously and put to an end promptly. Braxton Hicks are to be avoided, the cervix is closely monitored at more frequent appointments and women are encouraged to look for any possible signs that things just aren’t right. Any sign can mean pre-term labor; intuition is highly regarded in multiple pregnancy.
Over the last week or so I’ve been exhausted. Intense pain began to surface in my hips and Braxton Hicks went from a few a week to a certainty every time I stood up. I went back to the books and the research and realized it was time to listen to my body. Right. Now. So I intentionally cut my work schedule in half, cut my expectations of myself and put myself in a position to rest far more during the course of every day. But when I saw the chiropractor last night she confirmed the nagging thoughts in the back of my mind. The increase in symptoms over such a short amount of time should at least be checked out, so I called and saw a doctor this morning.
This led to a long day of checks, appointments (2 pants off, UGH), and a very stern lecture. My cervix is great, the Peppers look perfect, labs have not yet returned that are looking for chemical changes that occur immediately prior to labor. But the Braxton Hicks are not ok. There is no telling when things could change and those contractions I once saw as perfect preparation now make me scowl. The good news is that they stop when I stop. The bad news is that they are a certainty if I am mobile. So the doctor is not certain I should remain mobile. She has not yet given me the final word about how much I am going to be allowed to continue to do. Given Dr. Incredible’s initial lecture I’ve been preparing for restrictions, but I doubt a person is ever ready to relinquish their life for complete rest. Especially a person who is running a life and a business by herself.
I can’t tell you how discouraging it is to feel that tightening every time I stand up. I’m not used to this. I know I am spoiled. I know we were so incredibly blessed with Joel. I know that these babies are worth every worrisome moment and most certainly a few months confined to bed. I’m just discouraged. I want to make it stop, I want to that confidence back that this is all going to work the way it should. I keep expecting if I just take this nap or drink this much more water the next time I let the dog out they won't start again. They always do.
I’m grateful to be in this predicament, but that doesn’t make it easy. I was just really glad to see two cute faces peeking out at me today, kicking and growing and preparing to meet the world. Let’s just make it not for another 11 weeks or so, ok Red and Green?