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Shannon's twin pregnancy journal

Week Ten
~ Reality Check

Shannon's twins!March 23 ~ Monday morning at 9:45 am couldn't come soon enough. I sat in the doctor's waiting room working on a baby afghan and glancing side-ways at the other patients. They seemed to be in various stages of pregnancy. I wanted to stand up and scream, "I'm pregnant with twins and I don't want to lose them!" just to see what reaction I would get. Instead, I waited impatiently until my name was called.

We went through the history-taking, pelvic exam (bleeding down to spotting again), and bloodletting (6 tubes for various tests). Then Dr. A. took me into his office for a "chat." He apologized for being out of town the week before and told me he'd read the full report on my hospital visit. He told me that there'd be no more of the "nothing we can do" talk and now that he was aware of the situation, he was going to take good care of my babies and me. I asked him why I was bleeding and he told me they couldn't know for sure but it could be the placenta (first I'd heard there was only one placenta) implanting deeper, or a small tear in the placenta. When I asked what I could do, he gave me a long list of things NOT to do: no lifting, no bending, no exercise, no extensive walking, no standing for long periods, NO SHOPPING!, no stress (yea, right). My list of things TO do was short, in comparison: Rest, rest and more rest. I asked about medications to stop preterm labor and he told me it was way too early for that. If I had anymore episodes like the cramps and contractions Saturday night, I was to go straight to the OB floor at the hospital to be admitted. He would start me on IV fluids and possibly something to "relax" my uterus. He felt "super-hydration" and hospital bedrest might help until I was farther along for other measures. He started calculating and said something about 26 weeks. "Twenty-six weeks? What about 26 weeks?" THAT'S TOO EARLY! THAT'S TOO FAR AWAY! He explained that when I reached about 26 weeks, we could discuss possible medications and other strategies for keeping my babies in as long as possible. I translated his "when" to "IF." IF I reached 26 weeks . . . I didn't want to think about all that could happen in the meantime.

Fortunately, he wanted to do another ultrasound (I would have begged him if he hadn't), and I had something else to concentrate on for the moment. My babies were moving and their heartbeats were still very strong. I was never so glad to see anything in my whole life! Their gestational age was measured at 9 weeks, 6 days which was right on target. I was told to come back in four weeks.

I left Dr. A.'s office feeling only slightly relieved from seeing my babies still hanging on. Reality was finally beginning to sink in. I had TWO BABIES inside me! I should be happy but things weren't going the way they should. We made it through the weekend! We had at least six more months to go. TWO BABIES! I'm bleeding. They're STILL alive! I'm STILL bleeding. I felt like an egg with a cracked shell, desperately trying to keep my contents from leaking out.

Mid-week ~ Peter and I wrestled with whether or not to tell the rest of the kids about the twins. There was a possibility (probability, in my mind) that we might lose them. I argued that it would be even more painful for them if they knew there'd been two, rather than one. Peter argued that they would better understand why I had to be so careful and would be more accepting of helping out. Since they already knew I was pregnant and knew from my trip to the hospital there was something going on, Peter won. My heart sank when I saw how excited the younger kids were. It would be so hard for us all to lose the babies. I didn't know how to prepare them for the possibility. David's response to the news made me laugh, "I thought you were just KIDDING about having more than one!!!" So did we, Dave, so did we!

The weekend ~ I spent Saturday and Sunday mostly in bed, feeling lousy. I had aching in my back, pain low in my belly, and chills on and off. My temperature hovered around 100 degrees. I just knew this was the end of my pregnancy as I waited for the rush of blood that would sweep my babies from my body, but it didn't come. I refused Peter's worried offer to take me to the hospital. "I can hold out until Monday, I can hold out until Monday."

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