Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Last Few Days-A View From The Hospital Bed

Okay…so I guess the final stage of this pregnancy has officially begun. First of all, thank you to all of you who are praying for me, our babies, and my husband right now. I’ve been told that we are on prayer chains across the country, including in some other countries like Australia, New Zealand, and the Philippines. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there are over 1000 people praying for us. Sean told me there were a couple of times that he pulled up his main News Feed on Facebook over the past few days and just about every status update that he saw was from friends asking their friends to pray for us. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you! We know that prayer goes so far in scary situations like this. Please continue to pray for us over the next few weeks as we stretch this pregnancy (and me! Hehe!) as far as possible.

I know my wonderful husband, Sean, has been fielding phone calls, text messages, and trying to update the blog since I was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday evening. Forgive me if I rehash a few details from the last few days. Hey, at least you get my side of the story this way. :)

Wednesday morning I woke up and felt pretty normal in terms of how I’d been feeling up until that point. However, every time I stood up and tried to move around, I felt really heavy pressure on the lower half of my uterus. I thought this was probably due to all of the babies that I’m carrying. At my last doctor’s appointment a week earlier (the one that I said I would blog about and never got around to), the doctor said that everything looked great. The sonogram tech also said that the babies were about one pound and a foot-long each. That almost sounds like a Subway commercial! So my rationalization on Wednesday said, “Gee, I have four feet of baby crammed between my rib cage and bladder. Obviously, I’m going to feel some pressure.” I spent most of the day on the couch because it was so uncomfortable to stand up. I felt a couple of contractions during the day but nothing out of the ordinary. Around 4pm though, the contractions started to increase, and by 5:30 or 6pm, they had become more frequent and heavy. I fixed dinner, but Sean ended up cleaning the messy kitchen because I needed to lay back down. By 7:45pm, he was giving me the look that said he thought something was wrong. I started timing my contractions and they were between 6-12 minutes apart. At 8:45pm, Sean had me call a wonderful lady (thank you, Cheryl K!) from my parents’ church who knows a lot about preterm labor, birth, and high-risk pregnancies to run my symptoms past her. She immediately said it was time to head to the hospital. I called the 24 hour Nurse Line for the Obstetrix Group, and they said they would alert Labor and Delivery that I was in route. By 10pm, I was laying on a table with a contraction monitor hooked up to me showing contractions 4 to 5 minutes apart, and by 11:30pm, I was told I wouldn’t be going home that night.

It’s funny, but after getting off of the phone with Cheryl K and the Nurse Hotline, all I could think about was taking a shower before going to the hospital. :P Ah, the things we fixate on when stuff starts to get scary! Sean insisted on packing an overnight bag for me even though I kept saying I wasn’t going to be staying the night. I should stop right now and say that I have a really, really wonderful husband. He’s the one who had me call the appropriate people when I did and took care of packing a bag. If it had been me, I would have continued to operate with the “it can’t be that bad” mentality, and the evening could have been quite a bit scarier.

I don’t remember much of what happened for the first 48 hours after I was admitted. They put me on a magnesium drip to stop the contractions and 48 hour bed rest with no bathroom privileges (I’ll let y’all figure out what that means). The magnesium really wreaked havoc on me. The total time-lapse between when they started the magnesium drip through my IV to when the side effects started was about 90 seconds. It’s highly effective at stopping contractions but is really evil for the person who is having it injected. I got really, really hot, nauseous, a bit disoriented, and my always normal blood pressure took a serious nosedive. I couldn’t focus my eyes on anything or process much of anything mentally until they lowered the drip Thursday evening. On top of that, they don’t let you have water or food while on the drip! No water was the WORST part of it! With magnesium, you can actually end up with water in your lungs if you try to drink anything which is really dangerous. I finally got a little bit of water on Thursday evening along with some food. It was seriously Christmas on a tray. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated water quite like I do now. They still severely limited my water intake, but even those few sips were amazing. Needless to say, once the magnesium was completely turned off on Saturday morning, I drank a TON of water.

I was still pretty groggy yesterday as I tried to come back from the magnesium. The babies had hardly moved during the entire time I was on it as the medicine was affecting them as well. So I was happy to feel them start to wake up yesterday afternoon. By yesterday evening, I was feeling a little more human as I had bathroom privileges back, a shower (see? It is a good thing I insisted on taking one before coming to the hospital!), and all the water I wanted.

This has really been a hard few days for me. Between the magnesium and the unrelenting back pain, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve wished they would just take me back to surgery and get the babies out. On Friday morning, I laid in my bed and just cried because I hurt so bad while I told Sean I didn’t think I could do this anymore. Sean held my hand and told me that I could keep going and not to give up. I’m definitely more optimistic off of the magnesium, but would appreciate prayer specifically for my back as it hurts almost constantly. Thankfully, the pain is under more control now between muscle relaxants and the permission that I have to sit upright in a chair for a little bit. I honestly don’t think it will go away until after the babies come, so I’m just trying to accept that for right now.

The labor contractions have stopped, although I still experience some contractions throughout the day purely because my uterus is stretched to capacity. They are keeping a close eye on the type of contractions I’m having, my blood pressure, and temperature to let them know when I go back into labor. I know it coming, it’s just a question of whether it is tomorrow, next week, or next month. How quickly it starts up again will determine whether they put me back on the magnesium, try another drug, or decide to take the babies right away. Currently, I’m on a Motrin/Ibuprofen regimen that is meant to help keep the contractions at bay.

Every day they run a 30 minute strip test on each baby to check how their heart rates are holding up. The monitor can only take up to two babies at a time, so we run them through in batches. This can be really difficult since they are all jumbled up together in there and more so when they are as active as they were today! My job is to lay as still as possible during the test so that the monitors don’t lose the babies heartbeats. Again, that can get rough on my back. However, the good news is that the heart rates on each baby are really good! Today they were throwing a dance party in there. The monitors they hook me up to were bouncing all over the place. Both the nurse and the on-call resident said today that the heart rates are surprisingly good for 24 week old babies; normally they don’t look like this at this gestational age. This is the type of news that I live for these days!

They’ve also done a sonogram on the babies twice since I’ve been here and the fluid around each baby is also good. The doctors can’t tell which sac is leaking (not for lack of trying. Ouch!!), but the fluid doesn’t seem to be decreasing around any particular baby. We are praying that the Master Surgeon will go in and heal the rupture in the problem sac and keep all potential infections due to it far away from our babies.

I’ve set goals for myself throughout this pregnancy to help me keep going. So far, I’ve passed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and January 1st while on my feet. My next goal was to see 24 weeks. We walked into the hospital on Wednesday only 2 hours short of 24 weeks. For a quad pregnancy, that is seriously amazing! I’m now on bed rest, with occasional time spent in a chair, and in the hospital until the babies come. My next “big” goal is 26 weeks. Statistically, that means our babies would have an 80% chance of survival. However, at this point in my pregnancy, I’ve had to develop mini-goals in order to stay motivated to keep going. My next mini-goal is simply tomorrow. Every single day counts. While I can’t rely only on statistics when I know we serve a much bigger God, I also know there is a reason He set up pregnancies to last 40 weeks. So tomorrow is my next mini-goal, and I’m going to keep going with
“tomorrow” until the babies come.

We have been so greatly encouraged by the number of prayers being lifted up for our precious children and ourselves right now. We would ask that you continue to keep our babies in your prayers because we truly believe that is the most effective thing that can happen at this point. We are at the end of the pregnancy, and know that the most painful and difficult part is ahead of us before the babies come. Please pray for grace and peace for both Sean and I as we keep going. I don’t want to give up, but know that prayers are needed to keep me in that mindset.

Thank you for loving on our family, for asking your friends to pray for us as well, and for the encouraging words that you have left for us. We wish we could respond to and thank every one of you individually as you care for our family in the most effective way possible. Thank you so much!

--Posted by Rebecca


  1. You are doing such a fantastic job, Rebecca! All six of you are in our prayers.

  2. praying ya thru the minutes and hours.....step by step...may God's grace abound in granting you comfort and rest....

  3. God bless you Rebecca! (And Sean!) May you feel God's peace and sufficiency very strongly during this time.

  4. Thank you for sharing this latest adventure with us! I was on Magnesium for 2 weeks when I was pregnant with Cohen-Michael and I really feel for you. The side effects are yucky, but it really is an amazing drug - the longer those little ones "bake", the better. Praying for all of you. Love, Candace

  5. rebecca... stay strong... i cant imagine what youre going through though this blog helps and the fact that you are so honest helps... but i still am not in your shoes but can tell you that you are doing so well and staying strong... dont be too hard on yourself. hang in there... you will soon be able to look back on all of this and see how far you and the babies have come... we are praying for you...

  6. I just prayed for you and the babies. May the Lord continue to fill you with His strength and peace.

  7. You and the four babes of course have my prayers and those of other people that I have shared your story with.

    Hang in there and know that God is with you!



  8. Hello Rebecca, my name is Jenny. I go to church with your momma. It wasn't that long ago I was visited by your mom while I was in the hospital as you are now. I have cried everyday for you and want you to know I have been praying with every ounce of my being. I won't go into details of my situation but I truly can relate to you situation. Magnesium truly does suck, nessacary evil but evil nonetheless. I also want you to know that there are some really wonderful people there that will take care of you and your babies. If you aren't already in one, ask for a rotating bed. Its a bed that shifts every so often to help with back pain and pressure sores. They will get you one if you ask.

  9. Aw Girl! What a traumatic past few days!

    You are such a rockstar! Glad the four little buns are doing well and getting stronger each day! I know each person that knows you will be pulling for the next "tomorrows".

    Hang in there!
    Bless you!

  10. Nevernevernevernevernevernevernever give up! And like my mom told me, think through to when you and Sean are holding those babies--(well baby, in my case, three of them, separately!)--don't focus on what comes before, that too, shall pass! You are both in my prayers and so are the little Ishums!

  11. We've got Austin, TX praying for you too! Glad to hear the good news!

  12. Rebecca,
    I know friends of yours in Las Cruces, NM. We have been praying for you and she just sent out an update and your blog link so we all knew what is going on right now. We will continue to pray for you. I can't even imagine having 4 babies at once (I have 3, but from 3 different times!). I read about your back pain and I don't know if it would help you, but my mother-in-law made a rice pack for me for my last 2 labors and it helped me tremendously. She made it out of an old sweater. You just heat it in the microwave and if it's made heavy enough the weight helps also (my husband would also help by pressing it on my back). Just thought I would pass that along in case you are interested in trying it and have someone that could make one for you (they are very easy). Hang in there!

  13. Hey, you don't know me, but I know your SIL Sarah and I've been following your blog and keeping you in my prayers.

    Rebecca, I'm also specifically saying prayers for your back. I only carried twins and the last two weeks or so were awful on mine. I can't imagine it with four! So from one MOM (mother of multiples) to another, many many special prayers for some relief. :)

  14. Praying, praying, praying. . .hang in there!

  15. You are your family are in our prayers continuely. I check FB numerous times a day for updates.
    I can't imagine what you are going through but I will continue to pray.
    Perhaps I am overshooting, but I am still praying that you make it to at least 30 weeks.
    BRBC is here if you need anything. Oh, and I agree, Cheryl K is awesome. She was an amazing encouragement when I had cancer. I would want her on my team every time.

  16. Hello, I just want you to know that you and your family are in my prayers. Stay strong, I know it gets hard at times but remember God is with you! What a wonderful husband you have and lots of support. God Bless!

  17. I think it is a cruel joke keeping a pregnant woman in pain on her back. I know it's necessary, but OUCH! When I was in labor, sitting up straight literally made the pain go away. I can't imagine the pain you feel with 4. You will definitely be in my prayers.

  18. Rebecca and Sean:
    Please know that our continued thoughts and prayers are with you! We know that our God holds you and your little ones in His hands! We love you guys and wish we were there to give more support!~

    ~Andrew and Elizabeth


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