Andrea Pike

Preventing Premature Birth: 'I Can Cry Or Laugh. I Guess I Choose To Laugh'

Andrea has been  in the hospital for four days, as doctors work to prevent her twin girls  from being born too soon. Here, she and husband Jeff have a "hot date"  with ice cream at the hospital cafeteria. i i

Andrea has been in the hospital for four days, as doctors work to prevent her twin girls from being born too soon. Here, she and husband Jeff have a "hot date" with ice cream at the hospital cafeteria. Courtesy of Andrea Pike hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Andrea Pike
Andrea has been  in the hospital for four days, as doctors work to prevent her twin girls  from being born too soon. Here, she and husband Jeff have a "hot date"  with ice cream at the hospital cafeteria.

Andrea has been in the hospital for four days, as doctors work to prevent her twin girls from being born too soon. Here, she and husband Jeff have a "hot date" with ice cream at the hospital cafeteria.

Courtesy of Andrea Pike

Update: On Friday night, Andrea was allowed to leave the hospital, and is now at home.

Thirty-three weeks and three days. That's how far along Andrea Pike is with her twin girls, Natalie and Elizabeth. She hopes to stay pregnant for at least another week or two, and her doctors are doing everything they can to make that happen.

Andrea was admitted to the hospital Monday after she started having contractions. After a relatively smooth couple of days, she began having long and intense contractions last night, she said, and she wasn't feeling well enough to type. So this morning, we gave her a call.

When we spoke to her, she hadn't seen her doctor yet and was in the midst of a routine, 20-minute monitoring session.

About Andrea

Andrea Pike, 31, from Union, Ky., gave birth to twin girls Natalie and Elizabeth on Aug. 3. She and her husband, Jeff, also have two young sons who were adopted.

The girls are a good size: Natalie is 5 pounds, 2 ounces; Elizabeth is 5 pounds, 4 ounces. But if they were born today, they might not be able to regulate their own body temperatures or be able to breast-feed.

They're in a good position for a vaginal delivery, though. Doctors only really needed the first-born, Natalie, to be head-down, but both girls are. If there are no further complications, Andrea shouldn't need a cesarean. "This [pregnancy] has been 10 years in the making," she says, "so having a C-section would be kind of a letdown."

To prevent Andrea from going into premature labor, her doctors put her on magnesium sulfate, or the "mag bag." She went off of that drug, and is now taking an oral medication called Procardia. It's often used to treat chest pain or high blood pressure, but can also be used during preterm labor to decrease contractions. She takes it every four hours, and so far, so good. The contractions have stopped, and she hasn't experienced any unpleasant side effects.

The Pike boys, Andy (right) and Benny, are seen on Easter.

The Pike boys, Andy (right) and Benny, are seen on Easter. Courtesy of Andrea Pike hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Andrea Pike

Her two boys, Andy and Benny, are with their grandparents. They'll be coming home tomorrow, and she hopes to be home by then, too. She could be released as early as today. The switch to Procardia will allow her to self-administer the drug, and hopefully allow her stay pregnant just a little while longer.

Being at the hospital hasn't been easy on her. "After four days," she says, "you'd go a little nuts."

For one thing, her window overlooks an orange, brick wall. And except for the "bathroom privileges," she's mostly confined to her bed.

But there are some benefits. The staff has been wonderful, she says. "The lunch lady brings me an extra orange every day," because she knows how much she likes them.

And before this week, Andrea says, she had never seen an episode of All in the Family — every time she'd click past it on the TV, she thought it looked boring. But now, stuck in her hospital bed, she says the show is making her crack up so much, she's afraid to go into labor.

"Even though I'm still in the hospital, I'm enjoying every minute of it," she says.

Her husband, Jeff, is with her as often as he's allowed to be. The other day, he gave her an extra-special treat: After she climbed into a wheelchair, "we had a little jailbreak — a hot date at the hospital cafeteria."

"I can cry or laugh," she tells us. "I guess I choose to laugh."

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

About