On Tuesday night, the eve of 28 weeks, I went to bed feeling hopeful that we were finally inching away from the scary precipice of a micro-preemie birthday. While there are many amazing stories of babies born at 24-27 weeks who survive and thrive, the odds for survival increase dramatically after 28 weeks, so I wanted to be on that side of the odds if possible.
Three weeks ago when I arrived at the hospital and signed the consent form for a c-section that scary night, I could hardly imagine I’d make it to 28 weeks.
I woke up early on the morning of 28 weeks feeling some fluid leaking, and went to the bathroom assuming it was “just” more amniotic fluid…..I’ll spare you the more graphic details from here and just say there was a lot of blood and a huge “apple sized” clot (as the nurse later described it.)
T was staying over that night and I called out to him, my voice trembling, asking him to call the nurse.
Soon my room was full of doctors and nurses, hooking me up to monitors to find the babies’ heartbeats, my blood pressure and temperature being checked, and then I was wheeled out of my ante-partum room back to Labor and Delivery for the third time since I arrived at the hospital three weeks ago.
In the Labor and Delivery room, the nurse adjusted the heart-rate monitors for the babies, along with the “TOCO” monitor for contractions. Then they started the magnesium, not for contractions (if I had any that would be an automatic ticket to an emergency c-section anyway because of my condition) but for neurological protection for the babies if they had to be delivered this early.
From my Twitter friends, I already had heard how terrible it felt to be on magnesium. The nurses explained that it would make me feel hot, weak and woozy- and not in a good way. My mouth was so dry, but I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything in preparation for a potential c-section. The little slivers of ice they let me have were most delicious things I’ve ever tasted.
After the magnesium began its work, I barely had enough energy to say more than a few words. The nurse placed cool washcloths on my face and neck and set up a fan by my bed.
That day passed in a haze. That night, so exhausted, I tried to sleep, but every time I made even a slight adjustment to get comfortable, the monitors slipped off the babies and the nurses would rush back in to adjust them, waking me up again. In the morning, I was stiff and sore and tired. But the babies were still on the inside, and everyone assured me their heartbeats looked beautiful- not at all distressed by the events that were causing me so much distress.
Around noon on Thursday, the doctors finally decided the babies and I were stable enough to stop the magnesium. Soon after that, they wheeled me back to my ante-partum room. I lay on the bed, completely limp. So grateful to finally sleep without the monitors and IVs.
Today is 28 weeks, 3 days.
I miss sleeping next to my husband. I miss my daughter. I miss my house and the way the sunlight filters through the prisms on the front door, casting rainbows around. I miss walking and being outside. I miss all the things we were planning to do this summer.
When I think of spending another two months in this hospital room, I have to admit I sometimes cry big ugly gulps. And then I feel selfish. Of course I want these baby girls to have every extra day growing inside before they meet the big world. Even with all its faulty parts and precariousness, I know my womb is the best place for them at the moment.
There’s nothing easy about motherhood. And at least in my experience, there hasn’t been anything easy about becoming a mother either. Going through infertility, multiple IVF cycles, multiple miscarriages, finding the courage to try again, and then a terrifying pregnancy and hospital bed rest- all this requires a depth of love, determination and sacrifice that is beyond anything I could have imagined I’d be willing to do in my “younger years.”
It’s amazing to love two little people I’ve haven’t even met this much.
I saw them on the ultrasound on Friday, both snuggled so close to each other on my right side that the left half of my tummy is empty space. They weigh 2 pounds 4 ounces and 2 pounds 8 ounces. Tiny, but growing.
So I keep on going- one day at a time.
Thanks to you all for your support. I couldn’t do this without you.