Saturday, July 02, 2005

They Test Kids Earlier and Earlier These Days . . .

Yesterday we took the kids to their Week 32 check-up and non-stress test.

Have we explained a non-stress test? Basically, Terri lays down on a bed, and a nurse hooks up three sensors to her stomach. Two of the sensor monitor the kids' heartbeats; the third monitors the uterus for electrical signals that indicate contractions.

Terri is monitored for at least 20 minutes. Within that time, the babies' heartbeats need to stay within a certain range consistent with their developmental age. Anything too high or too low on either baby could signify that one baby is starting to grow at the expense of the other, etc. If that were to happen, they would think about taking the babies out early.

The third sensor is monitoring contractions on a scale of 0-100, with "0" being no contractions, and "100" meaning the babies are on their way! Anything above 20-25 is cause for concern.

(What was interesting to learn is that all mothers-to-be have contractions throughout pregnancy, and not just Braxton-Hicks contractions. However, it's only when there are consistent contractions over a 60 minute period that there is cause for concern.)

Three weeks ago, Terri was registering contractions on the non-stress test consistently in the "20's", which prompted her work stoppage and modified bed rest.

This tests since then, including yesterday's, contained better news: No contractions higher than 15-17, and most in the 5-6's (which are common at this stage, we were told).

The kid's tested right at average for Week 32 babies, meaning their heartbeats were strong and healthy. We are so proud of them! They also seem to be sharing the nutrients and oxygen equally, for which we are also grateful.

There will be another non-stress test next week, and hereafter every week until the babies are born. With twins, a non-stress test every week after Weeks 28-30 are common -- many singlet mothers never have to get even one, unless there are issues. But for twins this is just a common precaution to make sure the kids continue to do well.

Non-stress tests really are "non-stress" for all concerned! Terri just lies in the bed and reads a magazine for 20 minutes. David sits in a chair at the foot of the bed. After an initial 5 minute reassurance in listening to the heartbeats (you can hear the "whoosh-whoosh" on the monitor), the rhythmic nature of the sound of the heartbeats makes David fall asleep!

Talk to you all in Week 33. Have a happy 4th of July.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Going back and reading all your entries. Do you know I never had a non-stress test done, and one of my babies was definitely in stress--I delivered at 33 weeks due to irregular blood flow to the placenta of Baby B. Essentially, he was getting no nutrition. He was born an entire pound smaller than his sister.