Right around this time of year I find myself getting a bit nostalgic about several things. As a couple of my past posts have referenced, I didn’t exactly have the easiest pregnancy and almost two years ago to the day, I was hospitalized for being at a dangerously high risk of going into preterm labor and losing my twins. Perhaps the nostalgia was also aroused by our recent trip back to a hospital, but this time to bring in one of our sons for a routine outpatient procedure. Hospitals had never really made me too nervous before. This changed however after my own hospitalization, and now the times I have had to visit one, I am left with a knot in my stomach.
I was 23 weeks and 2 days into my pregnancy when I went in for my routine 2-week appointment with my maternal & fetal medicine specialist. As I mentioned before, twin pregnancies place you in a “high risk” category by default, so I saw a specialist more often than I saw my regular OB/GYN. That day I was pleasantly surprised that the doctor was only running an hour late and that meant my mom could come with me to the appointment and see her grandbabies on the monitors, since my husband had to work that day. It was the only appointment he had missed. I went in prepared to further discuss going on disability from work, since during my last visit he had mentioned it was a likely possibility. What I really wanted from him that day was to get a signed note stating I was cleared to fly for our upcoming “babymoon” trip, which was only 5 days away.
After only a few minutes of him doing the detailed ultrasound and examining me, I knew something was wrong. This doctor is a brilliant man of very (VERY) few words who hardly spoke to his patients or discussed details with them during the appointment, and so when he started explaining what he was seeing I immediately felt my heart drop. I still vividly remember him looking at me in the eyes and saying that I had three options, and I still feel my heart race when I remember him explaining those “options” to me.
Option one was to terminate my pregnancy and “start over again”; option two was to put me on meds and strict bed rest, but that in my case and from what he saw, it was likely my water would break in a matter of days and I would still go into preterm labor; then he says that option three would be to do a cerclage and put me on hospital bed rest for the duration of my pregnancy. He looked at my mom and then back at me and said that if I were his daughter, the only option he would recommend is option 3. It was as if someone had just slammed a bucket of ice water in my face. I didn’t know what to say, I gave my mom a blank and confused look. I could see her trying to be strong and positive for me, but the distress in her eyes was clear.
I wasn’t going to terminate my pregnancy! Days before while at a BBQ with both of our families, we had all found out that we were expecting two baby boys; we had listened to their strong hearts multiple times; our last ultrasound picture (that I carried with me in my purse) captured perfect little feet; we had a list of options for names for them; and more importantly, they already held a huge place in our hearts.
I was scared of doing nothing and living in utter fear every day hoping that I would somehow escape the preterm labor. Had I not gone in to see the doctor that day, it was almost certain that I would’ve gone into preterm labor. At 23 weeks pregnant, my doctor could not assure me that my identical twins would survive.
I decided that the only viable option was to undergo a procedure to stitch my cervix closed with string almost “as thick as a shoelace” and then go on hospital bed rest, with 24/7 monitoring and most likely on medication for 10-12 weeks. My husband had been patiently waiting for me to send him word or a picture of the ultrasound, and began to worry when he did not hear from me. When I called him to try and explain to him what I had just been told, I couldn’t get a single word out. This was a decision I could not wait to discuss with him.
I had one last event booked and it was my biggest wedding of the year. Luckily I had everything ready and confirmed, but I now needed my team to take the reigns and step in for me as the lead for the day. I was nervous to contact my clients and tell them just 3 days before their big day that I would not be at their wedding.
After throwing a few things in a bag, my husband and I arrived at the hospital not really knowing what to expect. I clearly remember hesitating to press the elevator button to go up to the Labor & Delivery unit. My husband gave me a confused look, and I told him I was scared to go up that elevator. What was going to happen? When would I be coming back down? Would I be coming back empty handed or would I bring two healthy lives into this world?
I was devastated, terrified, and feeling completely helpless. As a planner by nature, everything I had been looking forward to do as a first time expecting mom changed in an instant. I may not have realized it at the time, but being put on hospital bed rest was a true blessing from God.