A year ago today, the game changed. My normal twin pregnancy suddenly got a lot more complicated when my water broke at 32 weeks and 2 days gestation. It had been a fairly normal day for me, but in hindsight I recognize that the ebb and flow of my aching back was likely actually contractions. I was in interviews for a good portion of the day and due to a late meeting, I didn’t get home from work until almost 7:00. I was exhausted, my feet were massive and all I wanted to do was sleep. I ate dinner, and Jeremy and I rested on the couch until I went to bed around 9:00 when he left for work. No sooner did I start to doze off, when I awakened suddenly by what I thought was my bladder giving up and just emptying on its own. I quickly waddled to the bathroom and briefly thought that this was the best, most productive emptying of my bladder I’d had in a long time…then I looked down, saw blood, and quickly realized that I had a problem — my body had officially given the babies their eviction notice. Knowing that Jeremy was at work and couldn’t leave until he got a replacement, I called my parents. No answer. I then called my sister-in-law. She answered and I told her my water broke and I needed a ride to the hospital. Thankfully, my brother was in town, so she could leave and not disrupt Jake; she grabbed her breast pump and headed out. I called Jeremy, told him what was going on and that he needed to meet us at the hospital. He needed directions. We just weren’t ready for this. We thought we had more time. I calmly gave him directions to the hospital in Southern Indiana, where my doctor and midwife practiced. I got myself dressed, grabbed a towel, and saw Meredith’s car swing around the corner onto our street. We made the 9-mile journey to Clark Memorial Hospital and eventually made our way to the labor and delivery unit where the nurses confirmed that my water was indeed broken and I was able to hear the babies’ heartbeats, which was a huge relief. My blood pressure was through the roof (still, no one will tell me how high I went) and I was hyper reflexive – both of which are symptoms of preeclampsia. While I never was officially diagnosed, we wonder if I was brewing it up.
After exchanging text messages with the doctor on call, it was determined that I was to be transported back across the river to a hospital better equipped to handle preemies. I “enjoyed” my 2nd ambulance ride ever and I learned that I wouldn’t be having tax day babies (yeah!). We had a plan. I would be in the hospital until the babies were born, which was hopefully not until at least April 26th when I hit 34 weeks. As long as I wasn’t in labor, not showing signs of infection and the babies were not in distress, they would keep cooking sans water. To help mature their lungs faster, I would get the pleasure of two steroid injections that were the most painful shots I’ve ever endured. We met with a neonatologist who discussed the NICU and potential issues with 32 weekers and met with one of the maternal fetal medicine specialists on call, who made my night when she told me I could get up to use the bathroom and wasn’t going to be subjected to the bedpan.
I remember so many little details about that night. I remember leaving the house looking like a crime scene with spots of blood an amniotic fluid everywhere (my favorite flip flops are still stained). I remember Meredith putting her car in park anytime we had to stop so it wouldn’t stall (note to my brother – don’t put off car work). I remember her asking me if I could feel the babies moving as she merged onto the bridge; the answer was yes, as Grant shoved his head under my rib cage. I remember emailing a co-worker who I knew would be checking email late and told her to let a fellow co-worker know I wouldn’t be picking her up in the morning; she promptly replied that she was praying for us. I remember Meredith gently cleaning up my swollen ankles and legs from the aforementioned bodily fluids. I remember the EMT who accompanied me in the ambulance and her, how should I say it, butch appearance. She was much more gentle and calming that I would have anticipated. I remember the nurse changing out the bedding under me and knowing precisely why I didn’t go into that profession. I remember asking the nurse if it was normal for the room to spin after getting a steroid injection. It wasn’t. I just needed to sleep. I remember the look on Jeremy’s face when he made it to the hospital; it was a look of realization and perhaps slight panic that our lives really were going to change…just a little sooner than we anticipated. I look back on my life and remember certain days and events like they were yesterday. This night will most definitely be one of those times. While this wasn’t the way we thought things were going to go, I look back and know that everything happened just the way it was supposed to happen and God’s hand was on us the whole way.