I woke early, the past few days caught up with me, and feeling alone I cried. I cried that at best they thought the babies would be born within a week. I cried that my pregnancy was ending before it really got going. I cried that we had no idea if the babies would survive, and if they did what their quality of life would be. After a few moments I pulled myself together, washed away my tears and got ready to face another day of trying not to give birth.
The midwives came in for a morning check of me, and the fetal heart monitors were attached. I had felt both babies kicking, so I wasn't that worried when as usual they could only find one heart beat. But the next thing I know I was being rushed down to Radiography to have an ultrasound (I was booked to have one later that day). The radiographer was pretty sweet and told me straight away they were both alive. The head radiographer came in as well as I had been rushed to the top of the list. Apparently the midwife had told them they thought one of the babies was dead! My bravery slipped and my tears returned. Rob and my Doctor (who they had obviously sent for too) appeared and I felt so relieved to see them both. She reassured us that although both babies were still doing well, the fluid imbalance was building up again, so she would try another amnio reduction the next day. She also decided to have a chat to the midwives and ask them to stop trying the heart monitoring as it was causing everyone more stress than it was worth. She was happy if I could feel the babies moving.
I was returned to maternity to rest and eat lunch. Rob took a few photos of me, I almost look term for a single pregnancy. They would be the last photos of my pregnancy. I could feel the pressure returning. My parents and sister came to visit. After they left I realised I had been having contractions all afternoon, not very frequently but they were noticeable. I hadn't attended any prenatal classes so it took me awhile to work out what was happening. Rob and I had been trying to watch some TV before he was going to head home, I didn't want him to go if I was about to give birth, so we called in a midwife. She sat and timed them with me for awhile, and when they didn't stop they called in my Doctor and moved me back into a delivery room.
Of course they couldn't help themselves and attached the heart rate monitor! They also inserted two new cannulas, one in my hand for saline and one in my left forearm to administer magnesium sulphate, which is thought to protect the babies underdeveloped brains during birth. They warned me that the magnesium would be very painful. I would describe it as an intense burning sensation that moved up my arm, as the drug worked its way into my bloodstream. They applied ice to my arm to help with the burning. Lastly they gave me another injection to stop the contractions. My Doctor arrived and examined me to find I was 2cm dilated. She decided to wait and see if the injection would work. So we sat and waited, the midwife counting my contractions, Rob holding my hand, and my Doctor sitting in a corner looking very serious. Given how much time I had been spending with her the last couple of days we knew she had her game face on. Naturally smiley and bubbly, she was obviously running through the next steps in her mind. I really thought that we would be rushed off for a caesarean that night. I felt unbearably hot and flushed thanks to the burning heat of the magnesium.
After half an hour, my contractions had calmed down, and I was no further dilated. My Doctor decided not to go to theatre, and went home. I was allowed to stay in the delivery room. It did feel a little strange, to be in a delivery room, and constantly be trying to stop labour progressing. We had all sat so silently we could hear other women down the corridor crying out as they birthed their babies. We even heard those first lusty cries of a newborn. I was surrounded by all that a birth was meant to be, whilst we lived in limbo wondering if today was the day we might meet our own babies, however tiny and fragile they might be.
They set up a fold up bed for Rob again, I was given another sleeping tablet, and with Rob gently stroking my forehead I fell asleep almost immediately.