On Wednesday, September 4, 2014, I had an appointment with Dr. MFM for an ultrasound. Everything looked ok, except for the babies’ fluid levels. Normally, the MVP (maximum vertical pocket) of fluid is between 2 and 8. Baby A had 9 something, and Baby B had 4 something. I was 24 weeks and 1 day along. Dr. MFM came in and said that the fluid discrepancy could be the result of Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, but he would have me back in about two weeks for a follow-up ultrasound. I wasn’t too concerned, because he didn’t seem to be.
The next day, I took one of my first pregnancy pictures. I felt like my belly finally “popped” so I didn’t just look fat, I looked pregnant. As the days went by, I just felt huge, and I was having trouble feeling the babies move.
On Monday, September 8, 2014, I called Dr. OB because I wasn’t feeling the babies move as much as I usually did. He sent me to Labor and Delivery at the local hospital, where they hooked me up to the monitors for a non-stress test (which measures the fetal heart rates). The heart rates looked fine, so I was cleared to leave. Before I left, the doctor on call came by, stood at the end of the bed, and literally spent 5 seconds asking if anything else was wrong. He didn’t shake my hand or offer sympathy or any other words of encouragement. I couldn’t believe how little interaction he had with me when I had concerns about my babies. We’re still fighting the bill for that visit.
The next day, Tuesday, September 9, 2014, I went to see Dr. OB. My fundal height (uterus) measurement was 40. Typically, that number corresponds to the number of weeks pregnant you are, although with a twin pregnancy, it’s common to measure 8 weeks ahead. I was still not quite 25 weeks, so 33 should have been the maximum amount. I was in pain and feeling so much pressure, and Dr. OB reasoned that it was because I was measuring full-term. He reiterated that the babies’ heart rates looked fine at the hospital and I probably felt less movement because the babies shifted positions. He did not want to minimize my feelings if I felt something was wrong, so he said he would order an ultrasound for me if I wanted one. I said that I trusted his judgment and if everything else looked fine, he was probably right that they just shifted. I would give anything to go back to that day and demand the ultrasound.
As that week went on, the pain in my tummy and back increased so that I was constantly in pain. I had difficulty completing assignments for work. I drank a lot of water and tried to rest as much as possible. On the plus side, I passed my glucose test!
On Tuesday, September 16, 2014, I visited Dr. OB again. I was measuring 43, and I had gained 5 pounds in a week (which is significant, as I had lost weight initially and was only a pound over my pre-pregnancy weight). He prescribed a maternity belt and some muscle relaxers to help alleviate my back pain. He also wrote another note for work so that I would only be working half-days for the remainder of the pregnancy. I immediately went to a medical supply store and got the maternity belt. It seemed to help for a little bit, but I was so uncomfortable and had such a hard time sitting with the computer on my lap to do work.
On Wednesday, September 17, 2014, at 26 weeks pregnant, I really had a hard time feeling my babies move. I could only feel Baby A; Baby B was just silent. I called Dr. OB, who sent me to Labor and Delivery again. When I was hooked up to the monitors for the non-stress test, they discovered that I was having contractions. I was not dilated, thankfully. An ultrasound was ordered, and the babies did not pass the test, because Baby A had a pocket of fluid that measured 16, and Baby B had very little measurable fluid. Baby B also was not yet showing signs of breathing, which could be normal depending on the situation, and she had no visible bladder. I was admitted to the hospital, and one of the nurses said that I might be there until I delivered. I was so upset, in part because I rarely spent a night away from my sweet toddler, and I couldn’t imagine spending 8-12 weeks away from him. I also had no idea what was going on with the babies, and whether this was TTTS or not. Dr. OB came in around 6 p.m., and the first thing he said was, “Don’t freak out.”
“Have we met? Of course I’m freaking out!”
He explained that the hospital’s ultrasound machines weren’t that great, so it might look like there’s an issue and there isn’t. He wanted me to stay overnight for monitoring and be discharged in the morning to see Dr. MFM for a high-level ultrasound, because Dr. MFM doesn’t come to the hospital to see patients. Dr. OB surmised that I should be able to be on bed rest at home for the rest of the pregnancy if Dr. MFM agreed that was the right course of action. He did mention that if this was TTTS, Dr. MFM would be able to send me to the surgeon in Miami who performs the TTTS surgery. I would have no answers until going to Dr. MFM the following day, so I had no choice but to wait. My parents, husband, and toddler came to visit, and I told a few friends where I was and why. Mostly, I was so stressed out that my babies might not be ok. Baby B was way up in my right ribs, and Baby A was free-floating around in the rest of the space.
My husband’s company was having a welcome lunch the following day where they were to meet some of the executives from the home office overseas (the company had recently been purchased by an international company). I told him to go ahead to work, because I didn’t want him to miss too many more days and not have time available when the babies were born. Luckily, he did not listen to me. He came to the hospital in the morning after dropping the toddler off with the babysitter, and we waited to hear when our appointment with Dr. MFM would be.
I was discharged from the hospital to see Dr. MFM at 11:30 a.m. We were nowhere near as nervous as we should have been going into the office.
To read about the rest of our TTTS journey, click here.