I received a voicemail the other day from a nurse at Women & Infants. She received a call from my doctor and wanted to schedule me for a tour of the NICU and a consultation with a NICU specialist.
The last three letters of that acronym stand for intensive care unit.
I needed a couple days before I called back.
I’ve heard all throughout this pregnancy, from the first ultrasound, that these babies will be in the NICU. The goal is to get me to 34 weeks for a scheduled c-section. Yes, plenty of babies have survived being delivered long before that, but the risks and complications are exponentially greater the earlier a baby is delivered. Some preemies do end up “catching up” so to speak, and at some point end up meeting developmental milestones when their peers do. But for some, complications can last a lifetime.
I am only slightly relieved by the daily fetal monitoring I have. But even the doctor warned us that twenty minutes a day of monitoring still leaves over twenty-three hours for something to go wrong. The greatest risk is that they will get tangled in each other’s umbilical cords. It’s nerve-wracking to see the ultrasound each day and realize how much they have moved. They are very very active girls and it terrifies me when they start flailing about. Normally they reside with their heads side by side, sometimes up, sometimes down, sometimes sideways. But today, one was very low and sideways, and the other was head in my rib cage.
I do my best during the day to not think about what could happen, and focus on just making it through the day. I am almost twenty-eight weeks but look and feel like I’m just about full term. It is getting increasingly harder to play with Evie (the little crawling/standing terror that we nicknamed destructo-baby), to carry her up the stairs and to get her in and out of the car. Changing her is becoming a nightmare because I can’t seem to get my belly out of the way of her flailing feet and it’s like a knife in my uterus every time she kicks me.
Now that I am out of work and unpaid, my wonderful and amazing husband has been picking up more lessons each night which means he only makes it home for bed/bath time two nights during the week. Needless to say, evenings are the toughest part of the day.
To say I am becoming overwhelmed is an understatement. Driving to Providence each day for monitoring that takes between one and three hours, having to keep Evie entertained while I am hooked up and can’t reach her, and getting stuck with ridiculous wait times for my doctor and at the ER are causing my stress levels to shoot through the roof. My pulse has been averaging in the 120s, and peaked at 142 last week.
I keep telling myself that there are only 6-7 weeks left, but it’s really not helping the anxiety.
I’m not worried about having twins at home. If I need to, I will send Evie to day care so I can focus on the two new ones. Yes, it will be harder than having just one, but I am confident that I can manage and still find a way to shower and eat each day.
What I am worried about is having babies with lasting health complications due to an early delivery, or babies that need to spend a lot of time in the NICU after birth. I’m worried about missing a mortgage payment because I’m not working, and/or never seeing my husband because he’s trying to pick up the slack. I’m worried about not seeing Evie when I am in the hospital. I’m terrified of the fact that I only have my standard eight weeks and then I have no choice but to go back to work or lose the rest of my salary for the year (it’s a new job so I don’t qualify for FMLA). In short, if I don’t return for the remainder of the school year, it’s as if I quit. I’m worried that I don’t have an affordable day care plan for where to send the babies when I do go back to school.
More than anything I’m wishing that my mom was still around because I know she would be my go-to and she would have the answers I’m looking for. I also wish that my two best friends were closer for that moral support I know I desperately need. And of course, that my husband didn’t work so much so he could be here with me.
And for the love of God, I wish I could go at least two solid hours overnight without having to pee. Being exhausted from lack of sleep each night is just icing on the crap cake.