Friday, January 18, 2008

When bad news starts sounding like good news

A few weeks ago, I posted an update on my friend H, who is pregnant with twins again after losing her twin son and daughter to PPROM and preterm labor at 19-20 weeks last spring. When I posted, everything with the current pregnancy was looking good. She was on bed rest as a precaution, but everything was holding steady, with no signs of trouble.

Three weeks ago, that all changed. She went in for a weekly cervix check at 23 weeks and found that she had lost most of her cervical length, and that what was left had started funneling. She is also having regular contractions, so she is once again officially in preterm labor. She was given various meds and sent home to try "complete bed rest" (no showers even).

The good news is that the meds seem to be working. She hasn't lost any more cervical length, and the babies are still growing. She's now at 26 weeks, and her doctor thinks there's a very good chance that she'll make it to 28 weeks (when the chances of survival are much higher).

The bad news is that our standards for good news have dropped dramatically. When last I spoke with H, she said that she and her husband have stopped even worrying about minor disabilities resulting from prematurity. They will just be grateful if they get to take two living babies home. It's hard to argue with that. I just wish that things had gone differently, and that she could be happily decorating a nursery together and making a birth plan, rather than stewing in her own juices (that's four shower-free weeks now) on her left side in bed, praying that her babies survive.

They're little girls, by the way. Is it too much to hope that one day in the not-too-distant future, H and I can sit and watch our healthy children play together?

P.S. In response to the anonymous poster's question, no, this is not the tragedy that I was referring to, but since you asked, I thought I'd post an update. Thanks for thinking about H. She needs all of the positive thoughts that she can get.


Rachel Inbar said...

Oy. Yes, it is terrible to have to lower one's standards for good news that far... Then again, many preemies born that early don't have any lasting problems.

I hope that your friend makes it beyond 28 weeks. I've followed some stories lately in which pregnancies have lasted far longer than anyone could even have hoped.


Not exactly related, but it's been bugging me for a while - I always have trouble hearing about people celebrating viability at 24 weeks. Survival rates then are at about 90%, meaning a 10% chance that the baby won't make it. If, G-d forbid, someone were to tell me that my child had a 10% chance of having DS, I would be frantic. It seems so odd to celebrate just a 90% chance that your baby may even survive... Then again, that's one of the problems with statistics - that we view good statistics and bad statistics completely differently. So a 90% chance of survival sounds pretty good.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update - I have been thinking about H alot... My sister went into preterm labour at 24 weeks with twins too, and the birth was held off until 26.5 weeks. I am happy to report that they are healthy and happy almost 8 year olds. Both had minor, repairable heart problems. Both were VERY sick as newborns and one nearly died. But after three months of excellent hospital care, they went home and grew like weeds and have meet all the minor preemie problems they live with (weak lungs etc). I know this is not the most common end case for labour at 26 weeks, but it certainly does happen and I am hoping very hard that H has an even better outcome (no NICU scares or infections or heart problems). Please keep us posted...
Thanks, the anonymous poster

Mands said...

This is so not fair and very difficult to hear about without becoming amotional.
I really hope and pray that H is able to hold it together until at least 28 weeks, and that your wish of your and her healthy children playing together becomes a reality.