I don't like April 1 - never have. I think it's cruel to play tricks on unsuspecting people. Two years ago I experienced the worst April Fool's Day imaginable. As much as I would have liked it to be a trick and for someone to yell "April Fool's!", it was no trick; I was in pre-term labor at only 23 weeks pregnant. I don't believe I have told the story on here of how it happened, so here's how it all began on April 1, 2010.
I had taken a sewing class that morning. After class, I went to the bathroom. (Sorry if the following is a bit too much information, but you can't avoid it when telling a story like this.) In the bathroom, I noticed a small amount of discharge. I didn't think much of it. It wasn't enough to raise a red flag. I stopped to get a sandwich from Subway. When I got back to my car, I started thinking more about the discharge I had noticed earlier. I went back and forth in my mind deciding if I should call my doctor just to be safe. I kept thinking they would just tell me that some loss of bladder control is completely typical in a twin pregnancy. I didn't want to call; I didn't want to be the paranoid pregnant lady who calls for every little thing. Something - call it intuition - continued to push me to make that call. Looking back, that decision probably meant more than I care to even fathom. I can't go to that place of wondering what would have happened had I not made that call.
I spoke to a nurse, and she told me she would talk to the doctor and call me right back. I sat in my car eating my sandwich calmly. It's surreal to look back on that moment. In that moment, I thought everything was fine. They would call me back, tell me I was peeing on myself a little, and I would go on about my day and the rest of my pregnancy with no care in the world. How wrong I would be!
The nurse called me back and told me I needed to check into Labor & Delivery right away. "What?" They were the ones who were overreacting now - not me. I asked her if I could go pick up my daughter from preschool first. She said yes, but I needed to go straight to the hospital after that. I went to pick up Brenna, and we headed to the hospital. Denial is a gift sometimes. I didn't know how scared I should be. I told Brenna that I had a doctor's appointment. After all, I still figured they were going to tell me it was no big deal and send me right home.
When we got there, I headed upstairs to Labor & Delivery. At the front desk, I tell the nurse, "I'm here to check in." "Are you in labor?" she asks me. "No," I tell her looking at her like she is crazy. "Why are you checking in?" she asks me, confused as to why I would be checking into Labor & Delivery if I wasn't in labor. I told her my doctor asked me to come straight to L&D for an exam. She leads me into an observation room. We turn cartoons on for Brenna. She sits in the window seat tuned in to the cartoons oblivious to the situation.
A nurse comes in to place monitors on my belly. She can't seem to find both babies heartbeats on the monitors. Tears start welling up in my eyes. She walks out to get another nurse. They both come back in and adjust the monitors. Finally, we hear both heartbeats. Relief. I'm back to thinking they will send me right home once the doctor sees me. The doctor comes in and explains she will do a vaginal exam. She positions herself. She looks up from above the sheet with the most somber expression on her face. "You are dilated to a 2. You will be staying here," she says. "For how long?" I ask. "Until these babies are born," she replies. "You are in pre-term labor. How far along did you say you were?" "23 weeks," I say. She didn't have to say anymore. I could see it all over her face. This was bad, very, very, very bad. That's when I broke down. Tears that were only welling up before now came pouring down, uncontrollably.
A very nice nurse took Brenna out in the hallway. I have no idea what they did. I tried to call Jim but couldn't get him right away. I called my mom and attempted to tell her what was happening. I still don't know how she made any sense of what was going on through my tearful, sobbing explanation. She was at work an hour and a half away. She told me she was leaving right away and would be there just as soon as she could. I can only imagine how horrible that drive was for her not knowing what was happening and wanting to be with me right away. I called Jim back and told him what the doctor said. He came straight to the hospital. Once he and my mom were there with me, I felt a lot better.
I was wheeled into a Labor & Delivery room that evening. There, monitors were placed on my belly for each baby and one for me, a catheter was inserted, leg compressors were strapped on, an IV was placed, magnesium sulfate was administered, and steroid shots were given. There was no doubt anymore that this was very serious. If we had had any doubts remaining of the severity of the situation, those would have been squashed when the neo-natalogist came in for a "visit". This "visit" consisted of him telling us that if our babies were born today, they would have a zero per cent chance of survival.
Even as I lay there with monitors, tubes, and drugs, I still thought I would not be delivering the babies any time soon. I had heard of women going on bed rest and still delivering full-term babies or at least, late-term preemies. I would be one of those women. The babies or my uterus had other plans. They were born just 4 days later at 24 weeks gestation on April 5, 2010.
We feel so lucky that Camdyn and Cade are doing so well. They sure have come a long way from the zero per cent chance of survival I was first told when I went into pre-term labor. We were so fortunate to get those 4 days more in the hospital before their birth. Those 4 days increased their chances of survival to around 40%, and the power of prayer carried them the rest of the way. This April 1, instead of thinking of that traumatic day two years ago, I'm going to look at my miracle little toddlers and count myself one very blessed mother.