This is my own special version of Photo Story Friday meets Writing Prompt by Octamom.
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek
Octamom's writing prompt this week calls for a retrospective about a season of challenge.
My season of challenge found me living away from my family in a (debateably) sterile room, in an institution that never slept. I had my own bedding, pictures tacked onto the walls that my girls drew, plants that I wasn't allowed to care for on my counter, toys in a drawer for the kids to play with when they visited, and a view of the parking lot outside.
I "lived" in one of the largest suites in my unit. I was assigned someone to care for me 24/7. I had a nutritionist, a social worker, a whole slew of doctors, innumerable nurses and the constant digital company of my babies beating hearts.
I had so much, yet I didn't have many of the things I cared for most.
I didn't have my family. More than that, I didn't know how the separation was going to effect all of us. I didn't even know from one hour to the other if I would eventually deliver two live babies.
It was a time of challenge AND reward.
I was glad that I was in the hospital doing everything that I could possibly do for my babies, yet I worried constantly. I gratefully stayed on my back for 23 hours of every day. I felt like I was a horse being saddled 24/7 with heart rate monitors. I endured needle pricks every third day. I gave up any sense of privacy; yet doing all of that didn't give me the peace of mind I craved.
I missed my family. So much. Some days I just wanted to walk out the door and never come back. Some days (OK, so I'm exaggerating, there were only 2 times in 10 weeks) against doctors orders I went outside and dared them to say a word to me. Some days the nurse I was assigned bugged me so badly I wanted to take all of my frustrations out on her. Some days I just cried all day long. But most days I didn't feel that way at all. Some days I was just plain grateful that I had gotten to that point.
I had a crude hand made calendar that I used to count down the days until delivery. Beginning a new day was a huge accomplishment. Completing a new week was almost grounds for a party. Hitting gestational milestones kept me sane. Hearing the beat, beat, beat of their hearts calmed me.
And terrified me. I became expert at knowing what was normal for my babies heart rates and when they deviated it sent me into a panic.
I didn't sleep at night because I was afraid that a nurse would miss a deceleration. I didn't sleep during the day because there were too many distractions. I had a lot of time for reflection.
I reflected on the sanctity of human life. Of the miracle of birth and the great privilege we had been granted to be stewards of our children.
I thought constantly about what would have happened if the egg split a few days earlier (two
amniotic sacs), or even a day later (conjoined twins). I pictured in my mind their two cords knotting tighter and tighter with each movement. I replayed in my minds eye one of the babies almost dying right before my very eyes. I couldn't remove the image that represented the scariest moments of my life, and still can't, really.
I had time for soul searching and reflection on the divine. I had the opportunity to see how strong of a man my husband was and how willing he was to sacrifice everything for his family.
It probably sounds like purely negative experience, but it wasn't. It was a literal season of growth and development for me and my babies, it was a time to define who I was and to know without doubt my Saviour's love for me. It was a time that dragged by, yet flew quickly at the same time.
It was a gift that I gave my babies. It was a season of challenge, but it was also a season of abundance.