In 2007 we decided to try for a baby before looking into adoption. By November I was expecting and I was convinced that it was a boy. This time the pregnancy was complicated and after 6 weeks of bedrest I miscarried at 16 weeks.
We agreed that we would give it one more try before exploring adoption, and several months later I was pregnant again . . . this time of twins! My prayers for a girl and boy were answered and we made plans to welcome Zoe and Jean-Marc Jr. into our lives.
Things took an unexpected turn on November 30, when our baby boy’s water broke and I was admitted at Baptist Hospital of Kendall, where I stayed in strict bedrest, with my feet higher than my head, receiving plenty of fluids through an IV to help Jean-Marc Jr. regenerate the amniotic fluid.
I was scared of leaking more fluid, scared of moving, scared of all the things that could go wrong. Three times a day I was monitored for contractions, and the babies’ heartbeats were checked. I prayed every time that they would be fine. Baby A, the boy, was easy to find, but baby B, the girl, moved around so much it was a challenge to find her. I held my breath until the beautiful sound of her little heart came through, just like the sound of a wild horse gallopping freely through the meadows. Those were the only moments I was in peace, knowing that they were there and that they were alive.
A week went by. Every day I prayed for more liquid. The next sonogram revealed 5 cl of fluid instead of 2.4 cl. “I knew it,” said my mom. “See? Everything will turn out right, you’ll see. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
I gave thanks to God and started to believe that maybe, twin A would make it. I allowed myself to fantasize with how life would be with Jean-Marc Junior and Zoe in our lives. My mom and I discused when I should travel to Buenos Aires with the twins, and started planning the logistics of having the twins in my parents appartment. I was afraid to get my hopes high but on the other hand, I wanted to believe that they would both be born healthy.
Then the fluid started to drop. The sonogram during the second week revealed 3.8 cl. “It’s still more than what you had when you were admitted,” said my mom. “Next week it will go up, for sure.”
Another week passed. My mother spent most of the day with me, keeping me company, lifting my spirits. My dad visited me every afternoon, distracting me with stories from his volunteer job. Either my mom or Jean-Marc stayed with me every night. We counted the days to reach week 28. I tried to read or watch TV but I was too worried to focus. I cried. I prayed all the time. Every evening we crossed out a day on my big calendar on the wall where a picture of Sophie looked back at me.
A third week came to its end. Jean-Marc bought me a small pink Christmas tree with pink lights and decorated the room. For the first time, he took care of printing and sending our family Christmas card, which we taped on the side of my nightstand together with other cards and drawings that Julia and my nephews made for me. I spent so much time looking at them that I learned every little detail by heart.
My sister Ceci visited often. “When will this be over?” I asked her one day. “I can’t deal any more with the waiting, the fear, the uncertainty of what might happen.”
She dug into her oversized purse and took out a big leather bound book. A keychain and two pens fell out.
“I selected some scriptures that might help you,” she said.
She opened the Bible and looked for a verse.
“Here it is. ‘The Lord is my shepard, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul’,” she read solemnly.
“This one is perfect for you . . . you have to lie down and you need lots of water . . . “ she added.
That set me off laughing. I wiped off some tears of laughter and realized I couldn’t remember the last time I had laughed like that.
“Seriously now,” she said. “God is in control. He has a plan for you. We don’t know what it is yet, but rest assured that it will be good for you.”
It certainly sounded nice, and I wished I could fully believe it.
Some days later I had a couple of contractions. Then nothing. The fluid for twin A dropped to 3.2 cl. The bed was more inclined with the feet higher than the head. My IV had to be changed every 3 days, and we soon ran out of easy-to-find veins. Many times the IV was placed on the top of the hand, which made it very uncomfortable to move the wrist. The antibiotic I received twice a day burned when it went in. The physical discomfort grew by the week, but it was nothing compared to the anxiety I felt, the uncertainty of my babies lives.
On the night of December 25 my contractions started. I was exactly 24 weeks pregnant. A full term pregnancy is 40 weeks. Babies are considered “viable” at week 24, although 50% of children born so early have significant medical conditions associated to their prematurity.
“Try to relax and drink more water,” the nurse said. But the contractions grew stronger and closer, unstoppable as a tide. A couple hours later, they were coming every three minutes, and very painful. The doctors arrived and a sonogram was ordered.
“We’re doing a c-section now,” Del Boca said in a loud and authoritative voice.
The nurses started to prepare me. “Come on, we don’t have time, go!” he said to them. I was afraid, and crying. I barely had time to kiss my husband good-bye.
Ceci, who had just arrived, was the only person smiling in the room. “Everything will be fine,” she said, and all of a sudden a sensation of tranquility came over me. Yes, I thought, what was meant to happen would happen, and it would happen now.
They rushed me through the hallways and into the operating room. “We don’t have time for an epidural,” said doctor Del Boca in a rushed tone. “We’re going to intubate you to put you down in seconds.”
“Hurry, we don’t have time,” he said to the anesthesiologist. I was smiling as I lost consciousness.