This week started out great until the very last day, one day short of 24 weeks. It was a normal evening, I cooked dinner, did the dishes and gave our toddler son a bath. I noticed some minor Braxton Hicks contractions which didn’t concern me at first.
Then I started to mentally take note of them because they seemed to be getting stronger, longer and more frequent. I told Matt I didn’t feel so well and that I needed to lay down for a bit and asked him to watch our son who would be going to bed soon. I laid down on our bed for about 15 minutes but they didn’t subside at all and I started to get scared. They weren’t particularly painful; they were just coming fast and seemed to be getting worse not better even after resting a bit.
I guiltily decided to call my OB’s pager and felt bad bugging him afterhours. He called back promptly, not more than five minutes after I left my number. I described my situation and he told me firmly to go to labor and delivery at the hospital. He said, they were the ones with the medications to help stop labor if I was indeed headed that way.
I shyly emerged from our bedroom and told my husband that I had just talked to my OB and needed to go to labor and delivery. I burst into tears mid telling him this information. My young toddler looked at me confused and alarmed to see me crying. He ran to me and I just hugged him as my husband got my parents on the phone and asked them to come pick up Sterling. Thankfully they live close and in 15 minutes my dad was at our house picking him up. This is the first time I have ever spent a whole night away from him!
I was super uncomfortable the whole car ride to the hospital. I couldn’t believe I was headed into labor and delivery at only 24 weeks (not quite 24 w, though I was only hours away from being officially 24 w). I kept thinking, this is too early, they cannot be born yet. Technically the week for fetal viability outside the womb is 23 weeks, but most babies born that early who survive, have pretty sever lifelong disabilities.
Once checked into L&D, I was asked to give a urine sample and hooked up to two fetal monitors and one measuring contractions. The nurse had a difficult time getting two heartbeats. She was worried she was just getting a reverberation of the first baby when she finally thought she might have the second baby. This was because the heartbeats she was getting were exactly the same and that’s very rare.
She ended up calling in an ultrasound machine so that she could get eyes on both babies and make sure she truly was getting two heartbeats. The ultrasound revealed that they were both head up and spooning. She had in fact found two heartbeats but the babies had synced up as they were nestled together in my womb.
They preformed a fetal fibronectin test by swabbing my cervix which was also still tightly closed. This test is a pretty good indicator of whether a woman will go into labor within the next two weeks. If it is negative, I was told, there is about a 90% chance I will NOT go into labor within the next two weeks. If its positive, its merely a 50-50 toss up. From what I understand, fetal fibronectin is a protein that helps glue the baby to the uterus. As the body prepares for labor, the protein breaks down and leaks out of the cervix. Thankfully, this ended up coming back negative.
When I got the lab results back though, they also informed me that I was very dehydrated. This was a shocker. I drink lots of water. I’m that girl who always has a giant water bottle on her and who makes constant trips to the restroom even when she’s not pregnant. The urine sample that I gave the was also fairly clear, not dark like you would expect a dehydrated patient’s urine to be.
The nurse repeated that I was “severely dehydrated.” Apparently, there was all kinds of junk in my urine that shouldn’t be there unless you’re super dehydrated, things that as a non-medical professional, went in one ear and out the other. She told me that my doctor told her to give me a scolding about hydration and to send me home and he’d see me at my appointment the next morning. The timing was quite convenient that I was already scheduled in his office the very next day for my 24 week check up. I was surprised they didn’t give me IV fluids, but I was relieved to be headed home with my babies still inside me.
Lesson learned, twin pregnancies require much hydration and that even if your urine is clear, its still possible to be dehydrated.