At 25.5 weeks pregnant, I’m currently a full-time resident in the “Ante- Partum” section of the hospital, a place I had no idea existed. It’s like a purgatory between the labor and delivery and post-partum sections of the hospital- though don’t get me wrong- I’m intensely grateful I’m not in those rooms yet. Every single day I can hold these babies on the inside gives them just a little more chance.
I’ve been at the hospital since Thursday night. T and I were watching TV when I felt a small “bubble” from “that” area. When I got up to go to the bathroom, there was blood. Not much, but bright red.
I came out of the bathroom, my face white. “Blood.” I told T, shaking.
T, lucky guy, somehow is still oblivious in the range of “bad things that can happen when you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.” So he wasn’t overly concerned.
“Just call the doctor and let her know,” he said. As if this were just another Thursday night.
Of course I was already calling her, my hands shaking.
On the line, the doctor confirmed my fears, that the bleeding was likely from my placenta previa, telling me we had to go to Labor and Deliver immediately.
I burst into tears and handed the phone to T. He spoke with the doctor while I stood in shock, crying.
It was 10pm. Our daughter was sleeping upstairs. We have no family near by. T ran out the front door and started knocking on neighbors’ doors to see if someone could stay with E while we went to the hospital. Thank goodness we have such good neighbors; T found someone and we were off to the hospital. No hospital bag packed yet of course. We were quiet in the car, for the short three-mile drive. My fears were too big to even begin to share with T.
I walked gingerly from the car, holding my belly as if I could protect the babies by holding them to me in there. Realizing just how small my belly still is, even with twins- how small and vulnerable these babies still are.
Checking in at the Labor and Delivery front desk, I felt faint as I answered their question about my due date:
Still so many months away.
In the room, I changed into a hospital gown, along with the hospital-grade giant maxi pad and underwear they provided. The bleeding had increased, watery and bright red when I sat on the toilet.
The nurses gave me an IV and hooked me up to the monitors for the babies’ heartbeats and for contractions. The babies’ heartbeats were reassuring, strong and happy sounding.
I had told the nurses that I wasn’t feeling contractions, but after monitoring me they said I was having contractions every four minutes. They explained that each contraction, even small, could squeeze my placenta and cause more bleeding.
The team of doctors and MFMs came in and gave us the chilling worst-case scenarios. That if I started to hemorrhage, they would need to do an emergency c-section. They asked if we wanted them to do everything they could for the babies, explaining all the potential long-term health implications if the babies were born at 25 weeks.
T gripped my hand and we looked at each other full of fear for our babies. Their existence was such a miracle already. We knew we wanted to do everything possible to give them the best chance whenever they arrived in the world.
We signed the paperwork for the c-scection and for the steroid shot to give the babies’ lungs a boost. I hated to think about my babies already getting all these drugs in their system but I knew they would need every advantage they could get if born so early.
It was a long night. The bleeding while not fast, wasn’t stopping. Every time I tried to close my eyes to sleep, the monitors would fall off and the nurses would come in to adjust them again.
The next morning, T dropped E off with some friends and met me at the hospital for a parade of high risk doctors coming through our room. The neonatologist gave us the cold statistics of survival rates and risks for premature babies. They assured us the NICU at this hospital has some of the very best outcomes in the country.
The ultrasound showed that both babies are almost two pounds each, growing well. I remind myself of this, and take solace in the sound of their strong heartbeats on the monitor.
The doctors answer my questions, carefully balancing optimism with caution as they do so well. They say that I might be able to go home in a week if the bleeding stops, but there’s 100% chance I’d be back with another bleed soon that likely would be worse. With twins, the uterus is stretching so much more, so the risks are greater. Even the five minutes it takes to get from my house to the hospital (and we are lucky we live so close) could be too long if there’s a bad bleed. So they tell me to make myself at home at the hospital.
On Saturday night they moved me out of labor and delivery room to this “ante partum” room. It felt good to know they no longer thought I was at imminent risk of labor, but they made it clear this could be my home for a long while, giving me the largest room with a view of the garden below and lots of trees outside the window.
The precariousness of the situation is so hard. Being away from T and E, grieving over the small summer plans and preparations for the babies that would not happen now, and of course, how our babies’ start in life would not be ideal, as even in the best case scenario they are likely to arrive much too early.
All I can do is take it one day at a time. Hoping we can get as far as we can. Wednesday the babies will be 26 weeks.
I’d like to say I’ll be blogging more during these long days in my ante-partum room, but to be honest, dwelling on all this isn’t the most helpful distraction. So I’ll check in when I’m feeling up to it. In the meantime, know that no news is good news, and all your support is so appreciated.
Whatever positive thoughts, wishes and prayers you can send our way- we can use them all.