Just Lying Around
My high-risk triplet pregnancy, plagued by all-day morning sickness, hung in the balance at 24 weeks—and that’s when babies A, B and C decided it was a good day for a birthday.
So I was put on bed rest to delay delivery.
Hours before my 25th week I was at a regularly scheduled—and seemingly routine—visit with my obstetrician in Syracuse. Following the visit, I made the 30-minute drive back home, but by the time I got there I was phoned by the doctor’s office and told I needed to pack a bag and get to the hospital.
I was three centimeters dilated.
In a panic I called my husband, Rob. I’m not even sure if I was crying or laughing.
“They want me to go to Crouse, now. I have to pack a bag.”
It was a gorgeous day in March, just about mid-month. I remember sitting in the Honda CRV with the sun streaming through the window, warming my face and my giant belly. For a moment, I felt a kind of quiet calm.
That was all about to change.
When I arrived at Crouse Hospital, I was whisked up to Labor and Delivery and greeted by a host of specialists: surgeons, obstetricians, neonatologists and angels disguised as nurses. In front of them I surrendered my maternity outfit and traded it in for a hospital gown. I was rolled onto each side so steroid shots could be administered to my posterior to encourage the maturation of the babies’ lungs. I was also given magnesium sulfate1 via IV to slow the delivery. The word “deliver” was one I was not prepared to hear as my actual due date was in June.
If the babies were born at 24.6 weeks, they’d have a 60 percent to 70 percent chance of survival. It would also mean an extensive stay for them in the neonatal intensive care unit, better known as the NICU. And the mere thought kept me up for three nights straight, later telling the nighttime nurses, “Ambien2 is a joke.”
On that third day, giving in to exhaustion, I rested. And settled into what would be my home for the next 23 days.
Hello, bed rest3.
I’d like to rest my heavy head tonight
On a bed of California stars
I’d like to lay my weary bones tonight
On a bed of California stars.
1 Magnesium sulfate is given to women at risk of delivering between 24 and 32 weeks in an effort to slow delivery. According to the Mayo Clinic website, magnesium sulfate may also reduce a specific type of damage to the brain for babies born before 32 weeks gestation.
2 Ambien is used to treat insomnia and is considered a class C drug for pregnant women. The benefits (in this case, sleeping) outweighed any side effects. Ambien has been known to cause users to engage in activity that they later don’t recall. In my case, I was only on Ambien a few nights.
3 Bed rest isn’t recommended unless there is an extreme case such as in a high-risk pregnancy like mine or for women who have experienced preterm labor in prior pregnancies. Be sure to talk to your doctor to weigh your options and determine what is best for you and your baby.