Although I’m not really being called to write as I was so frequently after my Sweet Pea left me, I know I will look back in a week or a month or years from now and wonder about some certain detail so I’m writing our story. Read or don’t read as you see fit…these are the only earthly memories I’ll have with my sons. It was so vastly different from my experience with Greyson’s birth, but so ultimately the same.
On Tuesday, September 10, I felt a little weird. I was weepy for no reason and I’d had a small bout of diarrhea. I was so tired and cranky that I didn’t take my little evening walk as I had been making a habit of doing. I now believe something was already happening, maybe on a hormonal level.
At about 2am Wednesday I am awakened by a trickle of something running down my leg. When I get up there’s a gush of blood. This is the fourth time something like this has happened and although I’m still very scared I know it’s probably ok. I talk to the doctor who can tell me nothing except to get to the hospital. On the way there, I’m pulled over for speeding. When I tell the cop I’m five months pregnant and having an emergency, he lets me go but I get the feeling he thinks I’m lying. He doesn’t offer an escort. Then, I take a wrong exit. It takes me over an hour and a half to get to the hospital. Later, I find out that when I parked I left the lights on and the engine running. The last time this had happened I had promised my mother that I wouldn’t take off for the hospital by myself again. It’s clear I should have kept my promise but something crazy comes over my mind when these things happen and all I could think about is getting to the hospital as quickly as I can.
When I get to the Pregnancy Assessment Unit they right away show me the babies on ultrasound, moving around and looking good. I breathe a sigh of relief. Then, I wait a very long time in a very cold room. I really want to get dressed and head home. I figure the crisis is over for now. Finally, a very young looking doctor questions me about my history and gives me a pelvic exam. When he asks me about the D and C I had in 1999, I wonder if he was even born then.
When he does the pelvic exam, something he sees clearly scares him and he blathers on about not being very experienced before he scurries off to get another doctor. He comes back with a doctor who doesn’t look too much older. She does another exam and asks the younger one what he thinks he sees. He murmurs something about membranes. She tells me that although the cervix is closed, some of the amniotic sac is peeking through. She tells me that unfortunately when any part is exposed to the vaginal canal, bacteria is introduced creating a high likelihood of infection. She blathers on and on basically telling me it’s over, for all of us. When she finally leaves, I begin praying as I’ve never prayed before. I actually try to make one of those stupid bargains with God, even though I know God doesn’t work that way. My thoughts and feelings careen out of control and I can’t seem to come up with anything that seems substantial enough to trade for my sons’ lives.
Dr. Shanks comes in and tells me the same thing adding that there is a very slim chance I could lay there in the hospital until the babies are viable and that the best thing for now is watchful waiting. I feel something go dead in my eyes. He leaves and the nurses scurry about getting ready to move us to Labor and Delivery.
Finally, they settle me into a room and I think I get another pelvic exam or two. These are getting more and more painful each time. Dr. Shanks comes in again with one of his minions and says the same thing again. I believe he actually is it was unfortunate we chose the wrong treatment. I don’t believe any different treatment would have had a different outcome. I ask him if all the poking around during the pelvic exams is doing harm. He gets a little defensive and says they are doing the bare minimum. I thank him for his time and he is clearly relieved to be dismissed.
I lay there for the rest of the night feeling desperately scared and worried. Around dawn the nurse starts asking me if someone is coming to be with me. I lay there for a while more, wondering who to bring into this nightmare first. I want to spare my mother as much as I can because I know she will bear the brunt of it with me and because once this cruel nightmare starts for someone…it starts…there’s no going back. Soon it seems the nurses are starting to freak out because I have no one there, so I call Em.
I cry with Em for hours. I can’t believe this is happening. Hours later, Dr. Macones who seems to be a big wig doctor comes in and says the same thing. I ask him over and over if he’s sure there’s nothing they can do. I tell him I’ll do anything to keep my babies safe. Finally, I ask him to leave because if he stays I’ll just keep asking him the same thing over and over. I ask about shoving it back in and stitching it up again and I’m told that “they” used to do that but in most cases it will make the sac break for sure. I ask about some artificial means of covering it up or making it stay somehow and I’m told there’s not anything like that. It is impossible to believe that in these modern times nothing can be done about a little membrane showing. Although I keep turning it over and over, my mind won’t comprehend it.
Em has asked me several times if I’m going to call my parents. I finally call my dad around noon. He surprises me by telling me he already knows I’m in the hospital. Even though I had texted my principal and another coworker that I was in the hospital and not coming to work, I guess they didn’t get them. Unfortunately, a well meaning, busybody coworker had called my mom when I didn’t show up for work. Mom went to my house and sees bloody pajamas and that my car and purse are gone. I’m horrified they had to wait in fear like that. I remind my dad that he’d said “it could still all blow up for you” a few days ago. I tell him that it has and give him the short version of what’s going on. He asks what he can do. I tell him to take care of Mom because she can’t come down to the hospital by herself and also to take care of my animals. He says he’s on a tractor and asks if he should call Mom or go tell her in person. I tell him I don’t care and says he’ll tell Mom and they will head down there.
It seems like a long time before my parents get to the hospital. I don’t understand why Mom doesn’t call me. I know she must be worried sick by now and I’m filled with guilt that I didn’t call her right away. I picture Mom and Dad screaming at each other on the phone because neither of them hear too well on cell phones. I wonder aloud to Em if Dad zeroed in on taking care of my animals rather than bringing Mom down here. I might have called Mom during this time but I’m not sure. Finally, they get there and I start to cry again. I don’t want my babies to die.
Calls and texts come in all day long from coworkers and friends. I don’t answer any of them, it’s too much to handle. Apparently, the busybody friend at work has also FBed one of my yayas. I think by now they all know the bare bones of what is going on but I can’t remember how. I think at some point I spoke with SC and told her what had happened. In the evening, I even get a text from Stretch saying she hopes everything is ok. I wish I could tell her it was.
Before she leaves, Em tells me she still has a good feeling about this. She thinks there’s a chance. I feel that dead thing in my eyes again. I cry and thank her so much for being with me. I tell her I tried my best.
Mom and Dad mill around the room. We try to make small talk. The anxiety is palpable in the air. The nighttime doctor, a cute, chubby, black woman named Dr. Carter, comes in and does a good job explaining what’s happened. She draws a picture and then has to leave to deliver a live baby but she comes back. She pumps my parents up with rah rah “there’s a chance” bullshit. She says positive thinking is strongly related to a positive outcome and talks on and on about how 24 week babies have a 10% chance verses 28 week babies who have a 90% chance. We’re only at 21 weeks but I want to believe her so badly. My parents both eat what she’s saying up like it’s candy. I can tell they have both actually believe there’s a chance. They seem rather pepped up about the situation. Dad starts firing questions at the doctor which have nothing to do with me or our situation like it’s Career Day or something.
My parents hang around for a while after Dr. Carter leaves. I finally send them on their way home. I’ve been checked a few times throughout the day and things seem stable for now and there’s no reason to have them just hanging around all night long. It is clear they both think I will be laying in this hospital for the next few months leading up to a successful delivery. I want to believe it. I want so badly for it to be true. I pray and pray for it with everything I have. Dad tells me to keep my chin up or something and Mom promises to bring me a stack of books and my computer the next day.