Tuesday, October 26, 2010


A year ago last Wednesday, I left Richard in Dakar and was on an emergency flight home to Portland Maine.
Little did I know, I would be checking in to a hospital where I would lay flat for 3 months.

At just 22 weeks pregnant, my pregnancy was in serious danger as I was in pre-term labor and had almost no cervix left. 22 weeks is just over half the length of a pregnancy... and not even considered to be 'viable'. That meant for 2 weeks, I layed flat and was simply monitored without medical intervention; doctors were not able to put me on any medications until I hit the 24 week mark (viability).

Checking in to a hospital this early during a pregnancy was traumatizing as most on the floor were in the latter weeks of their pregnancy. I, however, was just starting to 'show' as I spent 18 weeks engulfed in severe morning sickness. The physical size comparison of our bellies made me realize how long of a journey I had to go. It was time to fight.

3 times during my 3 month stay, I was prepped to deliver the babies quite early. Once at 26 weeks, 28 weeks, and 32 weeks. Ultimately, Laird and Dylan hung on until 34 weeks (to the day). My water broke a few hours before the stroke of midnight...which officially marked week 34.

To be honest, I don't know how I survived the 3 months of stillness. Some friends and family suggested reading books, knitting, learning french, crosswords, etc... as it would make sense to catch up on these great hobbies that you never have time for in 'normal life'.

However, once you are confined to a hospital bed (a scary environment in itself) so early in a pregnancy, you are completely unable to do anything... but pray, and worry, and pray, and worry, and pray, and worry, and pray. Concentration on anything longer than 2 minutes is nonexistent as your mind will always find it's way back to worrying. Several times, I opened books to read...and after a sentence a two, no matter how gripping, my thoughts wandered back to my present situation. Thank goodness for mind-numbing television.

This certainly was the biggest test of my life. And how ironic it was to lay flat and still, but have a mind that was doing somersaults and racing 200 mph in complete fear.

My routine... Wake up at 6 am when doctors come in to examine me and cross off a day in red crayon off my calendar. Then, I would spend most of the morning staring at this calendar...looking at my x's...counting, adding.... wondering, and praying for hours. Absolute mental torture.

I cannot explain to you the connection I had with some of my nursing staff. They saw and heard it all... every mood, every tear, they were there for every good day and every bad one. They were my caretakers, they were my counselors, and they were my friends. They comforted me during the darkest of times...they listened patiently and treated me as if I were their only patient on the floor. They took care of my body, mind, and spirit. I had their schedules memorized and would even request my favorites days in advance. They gave me countless pep talks... but most of all...they gave me hope. My daily mantra 'I can do this' was written on my wall in giant letters.

My room was flooded with mail, incredible bouquets of flowers from loved ones, care packages cards and letters, and pictures... The support from friends and family was astonishing. Looking at the walls of my decorated room, made me realize how loved and supported I was. After just a few weeks time, my room looked as though I had been living at the hospital for years. During Christmas, I was lucky enough to have a tree and some twinkle lights too! (but don't tell hospital security that!)

Having your soul mate 1500 miles away during most of this time was extremely difficult. However I was blessed with such loving support from friends and family. Phone calls, emails, and visitors were my saving grace (besides for the mindless soap operas that kept my brain from thinking too hard). Friends that I had not heard from in years contacted me with loving emails and well wishes.

There were family members that made it in almost EVERY DAY. I don't know how you did it...but you did. I am forever grateful. Life gets busy, errands need to be run, appointments happen, work runs late, snowstorms and weather, sickness, etc... But there are some of you in my life that made it in to see me 'no matter what'. I know how difficult it was for you at times. Your visits kept me going; they kept me strong. Whether it was a 5 minute visit or a 3 hour visit, you helped me from falling apart. I couldn't have survived this journey without you. Thank you for all you did...for your meals you brought in, for the countless loads of laundry you washed, for your help with my Christmas shopping, for the errands I couldn't do from my hospital bed, for wiping down my room everyday with bacterial wipes so that I would not get sick... Thank you, thank you, thank you.

But most of all, thank you for simply being there. Thank you for listening to me on days when all I could do was cry. Thank you for listening to my worries over and over again... Thank you for helping me stay strong.

People always ask, 'How did you do it'?
All I can say, is 'I am blessed with amazing friends and family that were right there with me'.

I am sitting here with my perfect angels... listening to them laugh and giggle with one another. Dylan is holding on tight to Laird's right ear as he is trying to pull himself up, and Laird is giggling uncontrollably like it is the best thing in the world.

I am so blessed.

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