As a fellow mom of multiples put it, a twin pregnancy is the one crazy time when you've never wanted to simultaneously stay pregnant and be done being pregnant so badly in your life.
I can handle the physical aspect of being big and slow (other than the daily contractions, but more on that later), but I hate how it's messing with my head. I'm not one to say "I can't," even when I should. I'm a pusher. It's what's gotten me through the awful times in my past, so it's an instinct I can't easily turn off. That's why it's so hard to suddenly feel useless and helpless--and even harder for me to ask for help or even take it when offered. I survived on grit alone for years, but now it's not healthy to do that. This is probably exactly why I've been given this challenge. I haven't learned these skills, but I literally cannot do all the things my brain tells me I can totally handle if I just suck it up. I need to stop, I need to lay down, I need to let others take over... But I can't shake that feeling of duty and responsibility that drives so much of my life.
What I need to keep reminding myself is, my duty needs to be all about these babies. Even my son can wait, because I am literally the only person who can take care of my daughters right now.
I was slapped with that reality today when I ended up in the hospital, again. I started having contractions around 10 p.m. last night (side note: Why must these things always happen after hours?). By 4:30 a.m. they were every 6 or 7 minutes, so I made my way into labor & delivery around 5 a.m.
The good news is it didn't look like the babies themselves were coming, but my body couldn't care less about that fact. The twins are healthy and doing just fine, I was only dilated to a 1, and the fetal fibronectin test that predicts imminent labor came back negative--but still, the contractions got to be just a few minutes apart and weren't slowing down.
My doctor put it this way: I may only be 31 weeks along, but with the size of my uterus and the weight of these babies, my body thinks it's 41 weeks along. It can't figure out why I'm still pregnant and is trying to do something about it.
And yes, all of this is common and even expected with a twin pregnancy. So yes, this could be my life for the next few weeks. Cue sad, self-pitying tears.
Around 7 a.m. I was given a steroid injection to help the babies' lungs mature, should they decide to come early anyway. I was also given a shot to relax the uterus and stop the contractions. It didn't work at first, but they couldn't give me another because it made my heart go crazy so I sat and waited for another hour. At long last, things settled down and the contractions, while still consistent, were down to 10 minutes apart. Finally, at 8:30 I got to go home.
The other blessing in this is that I'm not on strict bed rest, which I really feared. Some women are in such dire straits they are relegated to the hospital for months on end. Even though I only have 6 weeks to go and even if I could have take my bed rest at home, I still think I would absolutely go mad. Thankfully, my doctor says that while it can help you relax, there's no concrete evidence that bed rest prevents or stops preterm labor--and in fact, new studies are saying it can do more harm than good. So I'm in bed today and probably tomorrow, but after that I just need to take it easy. Which is ironic, because if I take it too much easier I might as well be on bed rest anyway.
I've already had to stop doing, well, pretty much everything I do around here on a daily basis. My husband has the house taken care of and Evan is pretty low-maintenance for a 3-year-old. But the biggest change is that I recently lost both of my jobs unexpectedly, for unrelated reasons that are beyond my control. This has been frustrating beyond compare and terrifying financially, especially right NOW just weeks before Christmas and before we become a family of 5. I don't have any clue how it's all going to come together, or if it really will, but I'm trying to just have faith and focus on the positive--mainly, the belief that this is God's way of telling me to let go.
I have been pushing and struggling for months trying to find a better way, trying to give us more of a cushion post-birth since there's no telling when I'll be able to work again, if ever (at least while the kids are young). I have tried about everything I could possibly think of, and all to no avail. And now to have this door slammed in my face, I have no choice but to finally take it as a sign that I need to put it down, all of it. You have no idea how hard it is for me to essentially be told, "Your job right now is to do nothing." But that's the only guidance I'm getting. It is all completely out of my hands now, so I need to let it be. I don't know what the answer is, but I know it's not me. It is not my job to come up with or be the solution. If it was, then something would have materialized long ago. It's cold comfort at best, but just another one of those things you have to wade through before you finally find the lesson and see the light. And hey, there's still time for a Christmas Miracle!
So that's where I am now: metaphorically waiting in the dark while literally sitting on the couch or sprawling out in bed. Frustrating? You bet. But I can still find plenty of blessings, and that's what I'm holding onto.
In the meantime, I'll just binge on Christmas movies and get all the Evan snuggles I can before two more tiny people need my complete attention. And I'll focus on the most important duty I have right now: to get these girls here safely. After all, no one else can do it but me.