How My Husband Carried Me and Our Micro-Preemies When They Were Born
For nine months, you waited patiently beside me as we awaited each pregnancy test to find negative result. You never judged me and the amount of tests, ovulation kits and fertility books I purchased.
You never laughed at me when I tried to convince myself there was a pink line on a pregnancy test. Instead, you got out your flashlight and microscopically stared at the test with me, even though you knew it was negative.
Each time you said, “It’s going to happen next time.”
When my doctor suggested we go through infertility testing, you never once questioned it. You went along with every test. Waited with me in the waiting rooms. Held my hand. Comforted me. Always telling me, when the time was right, God would give us a baby.
After three rounds of Clomid, when a pregnancy test finally revealed a second, bright pink line, you made me get a “digital yes or no” test to prove it. Neither one of us could believe it had actually, finally happened.
We sat in the doctor’s office, smiling ear to ear, on cloud nine, but anxious to know our baby had a heartbeat. The screen revealed, not one, but two heartbeats. Twins. I could see the panic wash over your face. I heard you nervously mutter, “Oh wow. Two colleges. Two cars. Two of everything.”
I suddenly felt guilty and that I had pushed too much on you, too soon. The feeling was washed away quickly because you grabbed my hand and promised me you’d always take care of all three of us.
And you meant it. Every single world. From then on out, you always took care of the three of us.
I am not quite sure you realized in that time how much we were actually going to need you. In fact, we were going to need you a lot.
I’ll never forget the day I was terrified I was losing our twins. Cramps. Bleeding. You calmly called the doctor and she told me to take it easy the rest of the day. You tucked me into bed and surprised me later with a tray full of noodles — the only thing my 16 weeks of morning sickness could handle.
There was the scary day when I realized I had not felt the twins move much that day. I went to the doctor alone. I told you to stay at work because you had big meetings. I sat alone, panicking, nervous. After 45 minutes, I finally had an ultrasound and saw and heard the twins. After walking out of the hospital, I lost it. I was so relieved. But, I was also so scared and I desperately wanted you there. I looked up through my tears and saw you driving up. You were there because you knew I needed you.
There was a second scary day when at a routine doctors’ appointment, I found out I was in labor and having contractions at just 23 weeks. Our pregnancy was going so perfectly “normal” that I didn’t skip a beat that you would be absent due to a work trip. Even though I told you to take your time and get to me safely, you sped down the interstate and were right there with me, holding my hand in the hospital room. My doctor broke the news that I would have to go on bedrest.
Panic set in big time. I wondered how we would afford our bills. What this meant for my maternity leave I longed for — that I dreamed of. I was scared my employer wouldn’t understand and desperate to work from home so we could stay afloat. You calmed and assured me you had it all under control. That we would be OK. That everything would be fine. I knew you were unsure and making promises you were desperately hoping you could keep. You held all your fear inside to keep my calm.
Two weeks later at a high-risk specialist appointment, we held on to each other as we were told if our twins were born this early, they would most likely have life-altering disabilities. You promised me you would love our children no matter what.
You told me I could do this. You told me you believed in me and were proud of me. Your confidence assured me every single day.
You made sure I had round-the-clock care for the next few weeks on bedrest. Someone was always there. You wanted to make sure I always had someone near when I started to panic. Started to worry. You made sure snacks, movies, coloring books were always near. You planned tailgate parties, movie nights and game nights in our bedroom to keep me smiling. You calmed my every fear. You wiped every tear.
Five weeks later, at 3:30 a.m. in the morning, my water broke. In the most calm, stoic and heroic manner ever, you got me my shoes and into the car. You assured me everything was going to be OK even though, once again, I knew you were unsure and hiding your insecurities to be brave for me.
I was only 28 weeks pregnant and we were so uncertain on what the future would hold for our family.
Thinking back on that car ride gives me goosebumps. The twins were born just 45 minutes later, safely at a hospital, because you calmly got us there. Your calmness in the midst of my storm is the reason our twins were delivered safely. Time was of the essence. Had we both panicked, had they been born at home or in the car, I am not sure our twins would have made it. My mind cannot physically even go there.
The twins took their first, assisted, breath and were whisked off to the NICU. When I saw our blue, tiny, fragile babies for the first time, I was scared. I was terrified. You told me they were beautiful. You called me a rockstar. You told me it was the best day of your life because I made you a dad. You told me “we had this” and that everything was going to be OK, no matter what.
That calmness and confidence carried forward everyday for the 76 days we were in the NICU. You were there for every tear. Every panic. Every worry.
You went to work every day and still came to the NICU with me every evening for hours. You were there for the first times I held each baby, fed each baby, changed my first diaper on our fragile little loves. You cheered me on.
When the twins finally came home, you again, selflessly were there for me when I went through my post-traumatic stress and trauma. You continued to listen, to care. You followed my isolation and preemie-anti-germ rules. Without question, even though, looking back, they may have been slightly strange.
I will forever be grateful to you, my love, for selflessly giving yourself to me in the most desperate and scariest times of my life. I never imagined we’d be living out the “for better or for worse” and “in sickness and in health” part of our vows just four years into our marriage. I never imagined entering motherhood would be so difficult, so scary and such a selfish journey that constantly caused you to put your feelings aside to keep me going.
Yet, you never complained. You held it together on so many occasions, so that I could lose it. The most selfless gift I have ever been given. You were everything I needed. Perfect in every moment.
I never imagined I would have learned to be a mother from you. Being a micro-preemie mommy was an experience no other mother, not even my mother, could have taught me. I learned to become a mother on my own, step by step, with your love and support. In my own way, with your hand always in my hand.
You once told me, I will always have a more special bond with the twins because I carried them. Darling, that is where you are wrong. So wrong.
I may have carried them. But darling, my love, you carried all three of us — every single day.
With my deepest gratitude, thank you for carrying us through the most traumatic adventure of our lives. I wouldn’t have made it without you.