Hanging In There: A Scare and Modified Bed Rest, But Very Healthy Babies
Thursday, December 13, 2012
The past couple of weeks have been interesting, mostly in the sense of the Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times." A week ago on Monday I had the worst scare of my pregnancy to date and probably one of the bigger ones in my life. Sunday afternoon my hands started to swell and feel uncomfortable but I didn't worry about it because that's normal pregnancy stuff. By midday Monday my usually thin, agile fingers were clumsy little sausages and I couldn't feel my arms or hands from the elbow down. Very, very scary. I called my OB practice and the calmest doctor of the bunch told me to get my butt in there. NOW. Even scarier.
And of course I was at work. One of my coworkers confiscated my car keys and insisted on driving me the half hour to the doctor's office. (I live in the Maryland suburbs of DC, near my doctor, but I work in the Virginia suburbs so my commute is 40 minutes on a good day.) My wonderful colleague correctly surmised that I was not safe to drive but too stubborn to admit it, so she decided to simply take away my keys. Lovely lady! I walked into my boss's office to tell her that the two of us were heading out with a possible medical emergency and before I could even speak she said, "Oh my God, your hands!" I told her what was going on and she told me to just go.
I knew that the swelling could be caused by either pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel or dangerously high blood pressure. And there was only one way to find out - go see the doctor. I called my husband from the car and he met us at the office. We tried to pay for my coworker's cab fare back to the office but she wouldn't take it; I plan to repay her in Christmas cookies.
So we sat and waited, trying to pretend that everything was okay and we weren't worried. Finally they were able to fit me in. My blood pressure was on the high side of normal and I wasn't showing any other signs of toxemia. The doc diagnosed me with pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel, told me to drink less water to ease the swelling, and wear wrist braces 24/7. I was skeptical of the advice to drink less water, because all us Sparkies know that water helps to ease swelling, but I did it anyway. And it actually helped a lot! My body let go of the water to the point that I regained feeling in all but my hands and lost a pound of water weight over night.
Tuesday morning I had a regularly scheduled sonogram and doctor's appointment, which I now do weekly. I saw the same doctor as Monday and he was very pleased with my progress. The sonogram showed 2 very healthy, nearly 5-pound babies practicing fetal breathing. Woo hoo! That means that no matter what happens from here on in the babies are very likely to be healthy, and although there are never guarantees, the doctors are no longer worried about the babies' health. Now they're focusing on me and getting me to carry for as long as possible, preferably another month.
I mentioned to the doctor that I have administrative pre-approval at work for time off for bed rest and that I wondered if I shouldn't take it because of the state of my hands. He said I should give the braces more time to do their work and he wants me to stay active, so he'd rather I kept working. Sigh. Little does he know that I'm way more sedentary at work than at home. But I didn't fight him and kept working for another week. And man, was it tough. Finding a position to hold the wheel that didn't make my hands fall asleep during my commute proved impossible. And I was breathtakingly unproductive at work since typing is so hard.
This Tuesday I saw a different doctor. The sonogram was very quick because both babies were moving and practicing their breathing just as we got started. The doctor actually used the word "awesome" to describe them. Once again, my blood pressure is on the high side of normal - just barely below the worry zone - and I mentioned how nonfunctional my hands are and the difficulties and safety issues that's causing. He agreed that it's time for modified bed rest - he was impressed that a mom of multiples managed to work as late as 34 weeks. The less stress we put on me and my body the likelier I am to carry to full term, which is just around the corner. So he filled out the bed rest paperwork and I've been home since Tuesday.
"Modified" bed rest means, at least in my case, that I can move around and do stuff at home and leave the house if someone else drives, but no working. So far this has been very nice. I'm more relaxed and rested and my hands have improved a bit. The biggest downside is that most of the things I ordinarily do to entertain myself at home - email, computer games, knitting, cooking - either I can't do at all or only in limited quantities. Thus my recent disappearance.
At each of my last three visits the doctor has said we'll schedule the c-section next time. So we still don't have a date. DH and I plan to demand a date next week if they haven't called us with one by then. I'll let you all know what the big day is supposed to be. There's about a 50/50 chance that the girls will decide to come early and I'll definitely post a status update, blog, or photo as things unfold. Otherwise my Spark time will be pretty limited. I'm still checking email fairly regularly, and I'd love updates from you on my Spark Page or Spark Mail - it's much easier for me to keep up with you that way than via friend feed.
I hope you all have wonderful, healthy holidays!