Bed rest.

Well. Today was not the kind of day I thought it would be. All those times in the past month that I’ve been wondering how to slow down, wondering if I’ve been overdoing it? All signs point to yes – either that, or this was completely inevitable. I’m not sure which it is.

Here’s how it happened. First of all, I’m measuring at 23 weeks and 3 days. We had our ultrasound at 8:00 this morning. They were spending time on the babies’ hearts. Everything looked perfect. Babies weigh 1 pound 4 ounces (“Goat” – the girl) and 1 pound 8 ounces (“Bug” – the boy). Their hearts were “so pretty” according to the doctor. Everything was fine, textbook and perfect. I was going to go back in another month. But at the end of the appointment, given my recent Braxton Hicks, my knowledge of overdoing it, and my frank paranoia, I asked if my cervix would be checked. The nurse told me the doctor hadn’t ordered it because last time, a month ago, it was long and closed. But she said she would check with the doctor, who said she wouldn’t mind giving me one if it made me feel better.

So I got one. And I knew right away that something wasn’t right. Thank god I asked for it. My cervix has shortened in the last month. I’m guessing by a lot, but I don’t recall an exact measurement. Interestingly enough, in the past month I started getting tired more quickly, I got the stomach bug and probably contracted while throwing up, and work got crazy.

I was monitored for contractions for about an hour, and apparently I had 2 or 3. I felt NOTHING. How am I supposed to know when to call a doctor if I don’t feel anything? So frustrating. We sat there for that hour and I tried to talk myself out of a breakdown. I was told by the hospital doctor to go on modified bed rest for one week, no going to work. I asked her if there was a difference between sitting and laying down and she said no. She said I could still do things, for example go to a graduation, as long as I sat down the whole time. She didn’t seem panicked and I therefore tried not to be either. I’m to return in one week. I asked what would happen if the cervix got better. She responded that we could conclude bed rest was helping and therefore I’d likely…. Be on more bed rest. If the cervix got worse, I’d be in the hospital.

After many hours to process all of this, here are my thoughts.

– On the one hand, if this were bad, like really, truly an emergency, wouldn’t I be on hospital bed rest, or at least strict bed rest at home?
– As much as I’m not happy about not going to work, I have a wonderful team who will help out, and my plans for next week are done at least. I even wrote a note to my students explaining the situation (very generally) so they won’t be shocked when I’m out for a week. (I’ll cross that bridge if it turns out to be longer.)

– On the other hand, I’m panicking about my possible treatment options. I can’t have the steroids to develop their lungs yet because I’m not 24 weeks. I can’t have the cerclage, I don’t believe anyway, because I’m too far along. Many of the medications that someone pregnant with one baby would get in this or a worse situation, I was told I would not receive because it’s dangerous for twins. The only thing I can do is put my feet up. And that doesn’t make me feel very good.
– I still don’t know what is normal to feel and what isn’t. I still do get what I think are Braxton Hicks. Are they? Or are they contractions? I was crampy very low in my pelvis, but after eating. Which seemed to be related to digestion, constipation and gas. Are gas and constipation-related problems a sign of preterm labor? They just sent me home this morning.

I wasn’t going to google anything, and then I did and almost felt a little better. So many people have had a shortened cervix around this time and been okay. Tomorrow I’ll be speaking with my regular doctor and getting more details.

Until then, I’ve put myself on a stricter than modified bed rest. Get up to pee, stand no longer than 2-3 minutes, and then back on the couch with my feet up. I’m aiming for a gallon of water a day. But honestly, this seems terrifying. I feel like there’s nothing anyone can do and this bed rest is a shot in the dark. I feel like I want to put a stop to every baby preparation activity going on right now, because the thought of certain possibilities makes me feel faint – I can’t even comprehend it. And because I don’t know why this happened, I’m having a hard time not believing that this is my fault.

In short, I’m reclined on the couch, bumming around on my Ipad and watching tv with my husband. Inside, I’m a wreck. There are a lot of horrible worries in my head, and I have a whole week (as long as nothing more severe happens) to wait it out and see some results. My first immediate goal is to make it to 24 weeks, a few more days, so I can at least get the steroid shots.