Welcome to the Blue Butterfly Blog

Thousands of families suffer in silence from the loss of a pregnancy or an infant. My struggle is just beginning. I carried twins to term knowing that only one would survive. This is the story of my journey through shock, devastation, grief, anger, and hopefully someday acceptance. I know that other families are desperate to know that they are not suffering alone. This is for them.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Meds Alone Can't Stop Labor

Last Thursday was the most scared that I have ever been in my life. I started the day going to my regular prenatal doctor's appointment and ended it in a delivery room at Grant Medical Center. The middle is a bit of a blur.

Here's what I remember.

I was 29 weeks and 2 days along in my pregnancy. Without being too TMI, I went to my regular appointment and mentioned the possibility that my maternal fetal medicine doctor had introduced about getting steroid shots to help the babies' lungs develop in case they were delivered early. Shortly thereafter I was on the road to Grant, having measured 3 cm dilated.

After about an hour monitoring contractions, which I did not feel at all, I was admitted to the labor and delivery ward and had my own dark room complete with IV magnesium and a Barry Bondsesque steroid shot in the tookus. I felt absolutely fine (at least until the "mag" kicked in.)

At that point, I didn't know how scared I needed to be. I had Brad en route from a workday in Ironton, and my parents were already on the road from Cleveland. No one could tell me how much my family needed to hurry. Everything was unknown.

Upon everyone's arrival, sometime between noon and two, I was still not feeling any contractions, though the monitor was showing them rolling along. Brad's parents arrived a short time later, only to learn of the same uncertainty we all faced.

Time went on and the contractions got more frequent, and yes, I did start to feel them by late afternoon. They were painful enough by evening that I got a dose of pain killers and the nurses made plans for me to meet with the anesthesiologist. At their closest, my contractions were two minutes apart. Everyone braced for an eminent delivery.

The most amazing and wonderful team of doctors and nurses filed in, each with their own specialty. One of our main goals was to quickly develop a birth plan for Spyder with the labor and delivery team and our counselor and guide from Nationwide Children's Hospital, Kamil. A meeting had been on the schedule for the following week, but we didn't have time to wait. When the neonatologist, Dr. Haplin, came to discuss not only what would happen with Spyder but also with Poppy, it finally hit me that I could lose both of my babies.

I remember crying that I wasn't ready yet. I wasn't ready for my son to die. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep was on call to take photos of him after he passed. The chaplain was ready to calm me. But I thought I had more time.

I also wasn't prepared for Poppy to be taken from me and whisked to the NICU. Dr. Haplin, who I liked very much, said that she would need IV nutrition and perhaps a ventilation tube and pressure on her chest to help her breath. I wouldn't get to hold her when she was born.

At some point in the night, I got another type of medicine called Indocin, a muscle relaxer, as the doctors were "throwing everything they had" at me. But, they told me to get rest because I'd need energy to push.

The next couple hours are a complete blur, other than remembering looking into Brad's eyes as he sat close to me in an uncomfortable armchair and telling him we'd make it through this because we had to. I know he was as terrified as I was. That was until 7 am when Dr. Corley, one of my OBs, came in and told him that my contractions were slowing, they were taking me off the magnesium, and we'd be able to get that second steroid shot which Poppy needed so desperately.

To this day, no one understands why my labor stopped. There is no denying the power of so many people out there thinking of us, praying for us, and sending us their best wishes. One nurse explained that the medicine cannot truly stop preterm labor. She said something bigger was in play.

We aren't out of the woods yet. Today I am 30 weeks and 1 day along. I'm still at the hospital on bedrest and will be here until the babies come. The doctors can't say when that will be - it could be later today, it could be four weeks. The odds lean toward sooner than later, but so far, my contractions are irregular and not indicative of labor again. The important factor, according to the people here, is that I got two steroid shots to help boost Poppy's lungs.

Now, everyday is a gift with Spyder and a bit more development for Poppy. I am still terrified day and night. I don't know how strong I really am alone, but with Brad, our families, and all of you out there, I know that we will survive this. Please keep praying for us and thinking of us and remember that every life out there is such a miracle.


  1. You're doing awesome! You are stronger than you think... just reading this I can feel your love and dedication and strength!

  2. As a fellow mom of multiples, this post struck very close to home for me. I spent weeks on hospital bedrest with a constant IV influx of mag. Magnesium Sulfate, while a miracle drug for what it can do, is also likely to make you feel like you are dying. Those weeks on bedrest were the most humiliating, boring, painful, invasive, and terrifying weeks of my life. My pregnancy started as a triplet pregnancy, and completed as a successful twin delivery. I am praying for you, that G-d may grant you the grace you need to face what you must.