Twas the night before Christmas. No, not quite, but almost. Twas the day before the night before Christmas, and I woke up with an intense pain on my left side. Intense enough that I called Ben (who had already gone to work) and asked him to come home, because I wasn't sure I could get out of bed. Now you'll remember at that point I was thirty eight and a half weeks pregnant with twins, and somewhat... uncomfortable? Swollen feet and legs, difficulty getting around. You know, just the regular pregnancy annoyances. But minor discomforts aside, this was different. Not uncomfortable, but painful, and nothing like labor. Different.
A couple calls to the midwife, and a few doses of tylenol later, my pain wasn't going away and was increasing in intensity. I tend to be a tough cookie when it comes to discomfort, but no amount of calm breathing or visualization altered the fact that I was in intense pain. Just past midnight on Christmas Eve, we decided to go into the hospital. There, we learned that what we suspected was in fact true: kidney stones. Yes, you read correctly, and yes, it felt utterly unfair to be going through such an ordeal when so incredibly pregnant with twins.
We got sent home on the morning of Christmas Eve with some pain medication, and instructions to drink as much fluid as possible. It's just one of those things that you have to wait out. All of our holiday plans went out the window as we realized that I was not going to be able to get out of bed (not to mention that Ben and I had just been up all night resolving the medical issue). Would I go into labor? It certainly was possible, as I had been experiencing some contractions for the past few weeks. Contractions that I welcomed and embraced, because we were feeling ready for these twins to arrive. But labor on top of kidney stones seemed like too much to handle. The idea that we could attain the natural, peaceful birth we had hoped for felt like more of an uncertainty than ever.
Many a prayer was offered that night and morning that the babies' birth could be a peaceful and safe one. A truly desperate, heartfelt prayer that was uttered through tears and discomfort, amid great uncertainty. When we got home, I was literally doubled over in pain. As Ben and my parents took care of the older kids, we stayed home, sleeping and resting, and hoping that the pain would pass, but knowing it was quite likely that the worst was yet to come.
Now, I am not one to throw out the idea of a miracle flippantly, but I truly do believe that what followed was miraculous. That morning I lay down for a nap experiencing what I might describe as the worst pain of my life. When I woke up I was immediately surprised to feel just a little cramp. Was it the pain medication? When I was due for my next dose, I instead just took some tylenol, and my pain decreased even more. By the late afternoon, I wasn't taking any medicine whatsoever, and my pain had subsided. I was very pregnant with twins, and somewhat exhausted, but otherwise feeling fine. It had never felt so good to be thirty eight weeks pregnant with twins.
The kids came home, and my family came over with our traditional Polish Wigilia feast in tow. We sat down around the table, sharing the Christmas wafer that we share each year. The wafer is broken and passed from one family member to the next, with a special prayer for that family member for the coming year. I'm pretty sure that just about every member of the family had the same wish for me: that these twins would arrive safely. I certainly had to agree. But oh, I was so thankful. Not just to be together, but to be feeling better, and right on the cusp of having these babies. To be able to celebrate the birth of Jesus as a family, and not with me in the hospital. None of these things had been certainties just a few hours earlier.
We woke up on Christmas morning to squeals of delight and excitement from three little ones, and I woke up realizing I had made it through the night not going into labor. Ben and I... ahem, I mean Santa? made a tent for the kids from a drop cloth and some pieces of wood. When the kids came into the living room, Selma the dog was asleep inside the tent, to which the children excitedly remarked, "Look! Santa brought Selma a tent!" The tent is now Selma's tent, which she generously shares with the children. We just couldn't explain our way out of that one. Christmas was simple and quiet, and perfect. I paused throughout the morning just to give thanks for three grateful children, two healthy babies in my body, and the incredible love Ben and I share with all of them.
As the morning wound down and the children quietly played with their gifts, Ben and I looked at each other. Was it time to make these babies come? Yes. It definitely was. We were ready to have these babies, and my body was feeling more ready than ever.
And that, my friends is where I will leave you until next time (cruel, I know). I'm off to nurse some babies!