And so life continued. I began to have less and less long cries but there were no days without tears. I was still so full of confliction and felt bipolar at times. As more and more people learned what had happened it became just slightly easier to leave the house each day. My first experience telling people face to face what had happened was brutal though. It was two couples from ‘back home’ that I had not seen since the weekend I found out I was expecting twins. It was a moment that caught me off guard as I assumed these people knew about our situation but a minute into the conversation it became apparent they hadn’t heard. I did my best to explain but basically I ran from the table with tears in my eyes and then spent a miserable evening trying to keep it together (unsuccessfully) for my boys.
It just hurt me so much to tell them. It really was the first time I'd had to tell anyone in person I guess. ....it's a lot different to do it over email or facebook. I said to Geoff after that I wondered if it would always be this hard and that I just felt so jipped for the rest of time. I hated the looks on people’s faces because I knew it was the look on mine that put it there. I didn’t know how to tell them and yet I knew I couldn’t just not say anything. I was so tired of trying to keep it all together and so tired of letting it out too! But, I knew I couldn’t shelter myself forever and also knew that I was going to have to tell people over the next few months and for the next....well rest of my life.... as a way to honour my wonderful little angel.
I plugged along, taking small steps one at a time, wondering how I would make it another 10-12 weeks without losing my mind. I figured all that could go wrong had gone wrong so I should be good to go. How wrong I was…
Early in the morning of January 3rd I rolled over in bed and felt a popping sensation and felt, well, wet. I got up to check it out and went back to bed thinking it was nothing….til it happened again. Eventually I could ignore the reality no longer, something was wrong and I needed to go the hospital.
After many hours, being sent back home because they couldn’t find anything wrong and my symptoms not subsiding I ended up being admitted to labour and delivery and prepared for a transfer to a hospital with a level 3 NICU. Unfortunately or fortunately there were no open beds at the closest hospital to us and so I was placed in a system to be ‘accepted for transfer’ to whichever hospital had openings. The doctor who was looking after me was awesome but was not optimistic on how far from home I’d be as the only hospital with openings so far was Ottawa. I begged her to call Mt. Sinai and see if they’d take me. She agreed but told me it was doubtful as they were reporting no openings either.
God was obviously taking control of this situation too as not only did they call Mt. Sinai but Dr. Ryan was the high risk doctor on call and actually requested I be transferred there. And so, after a very fast ambulance ride (that scared the crap out of me) I was back at Mt Sinai on 7 South under Dr. Ryan’s care again.
The relief we felt at this news was almost impossible to describe. Knowing that we would be back in the care of the man we considered our hero filled us with confidence. Knowing we would be delivering our very tiny and very premature Cameron, in the place where his life had been saved not once but twice filled us with a reassurance that he would be okay. Knowing that we would be returning to the place where Cole had gone to meet Jesus, and where, surely, some of his spirit would remain always was comforting somehow.
Dr. Ryan scanned me later and said Cameron looked amazing....that he was recovering from the TTTS and surgery well. He weighed 1 lb 8 ounces now and had no issues with any of his organs. Dr. Ryan concern was the reason for the fluid as there was still lots around Cameron and also Cameron’s size as he was still 10 days behind where he should have been.. He said the most important thing right then was that Cameron stayed in at least one more week as 28 weeks was a much safer time to deliver. I was told that I would be on full bed rest, they would be doing a round of antibiotics to prevent infection and 2 steroid shots to help develop the lungs before Cameron arrived. No one seemed to think it would be an ‘if’ but rather a ‘how soon’ on the arrival time.
It was strange for me to back at Mt Sinai again. I thought it would be so hard, I mean it was the place where my son lost his life. But strangely I wasn’t as emotional about our loss as I had been just days before. I think that was what being in crisis mode did to me.
So many times in my life I had heard that when faced with a crisis, when in fear for your life of the lives of someone close to you, that you develop super human strength, that you seem to be able to endure so much more than anyone thinks is possible, is normal. I know for certain that people around us think thought this of me then and still do to this day. But inside, where no one could see, I did not feel this way and to this day I do not really see myself as strong.
Somewhere along the way I read a quote that said “It is in the knowledge of the genuine conditions of our lives that we must draw our strength to live and our reason for living.” And perhaps that is what it is for me... my life is what it is, I cannot change that and I’ve needed, at least outwardly, to draw my strength form that, from the knowledge that it could be so much worse maybe, and find my reasons for continuing with an outward strength that might surprise people.
But I will say that in the hours and days that had passed since TTTS came into our lives, and to be honest, in the weeks, months and years to come, it was very difficult to remember this when I was alone. And so I would take the fetal heart monitor and hook it up when the nurses weren’t around just to hear Cameron’s heartbeat, just to know that he had not joined Cole in Heaven. I feared losing him with such intensity. I feared his certain premature birth with a fear that shook me to the core. And yet at the same time I was sure they are wrong. He wouldn’t be coming, it wasn’t his time, and it wasn’t time for the pregnancy to end....I was not ready for it to end. And so it is from this belief that I drew my strength, this belief that carried me forward.
Eventually it was determined that my water, indeed, had broken and that I would need to remain in hospital until my body or Cameron decided this pregnancy was over. At any time I could get an infection or spontaneously go into labour and most do within 2 weeks. If I made it past that 2 week mark then they would still monitor for infection. I would continue to leak fluid off and on but as long as I remained infection free and Cameron showed no signs of distress then I would remain pregnant as long as possible.
Some moments in those first few days were good. I loved being at Mt Sinai and I had a great roommate to distract me. But then the reality of it would rock me to the core. We needed to be prepared for the arrival of our twin sons, sometime in the next few days. It couldn’t really be happening, it couldn’t be almost over? How would very tiny Cameron survive this? How could I handle meeting Cole? I was not ready for this and it was very hard for me to be so out of control of my life. I began to have a lot of stress and anxiety regarding the delivery of both of our boys and how we would deal with that. Every moment seemed intense and emotional. I thought that we would have so much more time to deal with this but the reality is that the journey of Cameron and Cole Tummers seemed likely to soon take another path and move another step forward.