I get asked every day several times a day how Casey is feeling and my typical answer is that "she's hanging in there." Lately though, I've had to hesitate before I can say that. It's becoming more and more difficult for Casey to hang in there as her body just continues to grow and change so rapidly and the babies run out of room in her womb. She has been experiencing near constant Braxton-Hicks contractions and sleep is very difficult to come by these days (thank God for the Ambien she gets to take every other day!). Despite all of this, her spirit does remain strong and she continues to amaze me with her positive attitude!!
We went to see Dr. Berry today and check in on the quints and as usual, all went very well. The babies are all growing as they should be and Casey's body is doing as well as can be expected. However, Dr. Berry put me on notice that I am officially waiting for the call, probably an anxious one from an anxious wife (and hopefully not a panicked or hysterical wife) telling me that it's time to go to the hospital. Don't get me wrong, delivery is not imminent, but a hospital visit is expected soon.
Let me explain. Dr. Berry fully expects that Casey will go into active labor in the next 2-1/2 weeks. We will know this because she will start having serious contractions, she may start bleeding, her water may break, or any of the other normal signs of active labor will appear. The only problem with this is that we are by no means ready for her to deliver. So, when I get the call, I'll drop whatever it is I'm doing, I'll head home to pick her up (assuming I'm at work), and we'll be headed to the hospital for what will hopefully be an extended stay.
Assuming her water hasn't broken (we really do not want that to happen), we do not expect the visit to the hospital to qualify as an emergency per se, but it will be a very tense time as we wait for the drugs that are administered to stop her labor from progressing to take effect and quiet her body back down. Because it is so critical to get the babies to at least 28 weeks, we will all be tied up in knots until things settle down and labor is stopped. Dr. Berry said that once labor has been stopped, it is typical for the body to relax for about two weeks before it tries to labor again. From that point on, Casey will reside at Seton on 34th until her body decides it will be put on hold no longer and the babies are evicted.
So, the good news is this: we expect that making it to 28 weeks will not be a problem at all. 28 weeks is the second major goal we've had (the first coming at 24 weeks) and it means that the babies likelihood of survival is very high and the risk of defects is very low. Week 28 arrives on New Year's Eve!!
And here is the challenge: we really don't want the babies born before 32 weeks and the time Casey spends in the hospital will be incredibly difficult for her. Every day that the babies stay in her womb removes three days of time they will have to spend in the NICU. However, the drugs that they will administer to prevent the progression of labor will exact a painful toll on Casey's short term health. On top of all of that, being away from home will make it much more difficult for Eliot and me to be with Casey to love on her as she is going to need through this incredible battle.
So as I wait for the call, I also ask for you to pray for Casey and the babies and the rest of the people involved with the big event. We are excited, we are anxious, we are a little scared of what lies ahead. No matter how you slice it, this is a tough hill to climb, but we're not alone in the fight and we are confident of the good life that awaits us when we get to the other side. Please pray for Casey's body to remain calm and for her spirit to remain strong as we enter the final phase of the pregnancy! Please also pray that we can stay out of the hospital until after Christmas - this has also been one of our major goals!! Thank you all so much for your love and support throughout everything we've been through!!