Two weeks after Justin came home, I was in the middle of making lunch for all of us, when my stomach grew tight and an intense pain traveled down my back. It took me by such surprise that I dropped the plate I was holding, and I doubled over. I called out to Justin, but the pain had passed before he got to the kitchen. I thought nothing of it, passing it off as a Braxton-Hicks, until another one took me by surprise 10 minutes later. Justin wheeled over to me, grabbing my shoulders as I breathed through the pain. I panted for a minute before burying my face in his shoulder, ”I think this is the real deal, Justin.”
He rubbed my back, “Okay, well you can’t drive in this condition, and I’m still stuck in this damn chair, so I’ll go call your mom while you put your feet up on the couch.”
I waddled to the couch, trying to keep the tears at bay. I was barely seven months pregnant, I couldn’t imagine losing the babies now. Justin came into the living room, “Your mom is leaving the house as we speak, so she should be here in 10 minutes or so. I was more than ready to leave when my mom came, having gone through another contraction on the couch.
By the time we got there, two more contractions had worked their way through my body. It was my lucky day that Dr. Sinclair was working the delivery ward. He hooked me up to a CTG belt to monitor the babies’ heartrates and the intensity of my contractions. After three more contractions, he came back in and asked some questions, “Sabrina, you are 30 weeks along, correct?” I nodded through a contraction, and he continued, “Your contractions are 10 minutes apart, lasting a few seconds?”
“Yes, they’re between 10 and 12 minutes.”
He nodded, before saying, “The babies are trying to come out a little early, if you hadn’t guessed. Since your water hasn’t broken, I’m ordering you on strict bedrest. I’ll give you something today to slow down your labor, but until the babies reach at least 36 weeks, I want you off your feet unless it’s for a bathroom break, or a sponge bath. Absolutely no stairs, or strenuous lifting, like a toddler.”
My lip quivered, “Are the babies okay?”
He smiled kindly, “Right now, they’re perfectly healthy. We want them to keep baking for a little bit longer.”
I took a deep breath, trying to take it all in, but I was grateful to him. After he left, my mom moved her chair closer to my bed, “How are you feeling, sweetie?”
I nodded tiredly, exhaustion bringing tears to my eyes, “I’m trying not to stress out, but between Justin being out of work for who knows how long, and now this. I don’t know how we’ll pay for everything. We have his hospital bills and my hospital bills, and then there’s the housework and the boxes…I can’t put that all on Cassidy, and Justin is not strong enough yet…” my voice trailed off as I began sobbing.
My mom wrapped her arms around me, “Oh, sweet girl, it’ll be okay. I know this isn’t ideal, but you guys can do this, okay? Your father and I were going to surprise you once the twins are born, but now seems as good a time as ever.” I moved further away from her so I could see her face, and she continued, “When your father and I lost you, it was one of the darkest times in our life. Despite what the detectives told us, we knew you were out there somewhere, so we set up a trust fund for you. On your birthday every year, we would deposit 1000 dollars until you turned 18. It’s been about 5 years since we last checked your account but with interest rates, you should have well over 50,000 dollars.”
I gasped, “Obviously, I’ll have to talk to Justin about it, but I can’t think of a reason that he’d turn it down. That’s very generous of you.” My mother nodded and I threw my arms around her, sobs of relief shaking us both. I pulled away and kissed her on the cheek. She rubbed my back as another contraction gripped my body. The medicine was beginning to work, the contraction over as quick as it started. When she left to grab us some lunch from the cafeteria, I called Justin to tell him the news.
He answered on the first ring, “Hey, is everything okay?”
I nodded, “Yeah. I was going into premature labor, but they gave me some medicine to stop the contractions. I do have some bad news, though. I’ll be on bedrest for the next six weeks or so.”
He groaned sympathetically, “Aww, honey, I’m sorry. I know you were hoping that we could avoid bedrest.”
We talked for a few more minutes, until my mom came back with lunch. I didn’t realize how hungry I was until the smell of mashed potatoes hit my nose. After dinner, my mom left, promising to come first thing in the morning to bring me home.
Three days into the mandatory bedrest, and I was already going insane. Ethan and my father had moved Justin and I’s bed downstairs, so I wasn’t completely isolated, but I was going stir crazy. I had five and a half weeks left, and even then, I had to take it easy. Justin shuffled slowly over to the bed, “You have never looked more beautiful, Sabrina.” I froze, my spoonful of chocolate pudding dangling from my mouth, before rolling my eyes. He climbed into bed next to me, “No, I’m serious, you may not feel it, but you’re stunning. I can show you how I feel if it’ll convince you.” I set my bowl aside, giggling as he nuzzled my neck. He gently rolled on top of me, kissing me with a passion I hadn’t seen in a long time. Esther’s cry from her bedroom quickly shut down our little makeout session. I sighed and laid back while Justin went to go get her. Wondering when my life would feel “normal” again.
Things were easygoing for the next month or so. Justin continued to get stronger, finally getting rid of his wheelchair while I remained in bed, missing out on all of Esther’s newest milestones. I’m embarrassed to say that I was growing quite irritable. Cassidy came down stairs in the middle of the night, waking up Justin and I, “Daddy, Mama, can I sleep with you? I had a bad dream.” Justin patted the space between us, while I moved over a little. Soon, you could hear her soft snores. I had just managed to fall back asleep when Esther’s cries could be heard down the hall. I groaned, and struggled to sit up, my ever-growing stomach making it near impossible. As I stood up, Justin waved me back into bed, “Sabrina, please lay down, you’re not supposed to walk, let alone carry Esther.” I growled in frustration, “I know that, Justin! I think after almost an entire month of laying down, I understand this! I just want to be able to go comfort my daughter.” I sat back down in a huff, while Justin went to go get Esther. I heard Cassidy toss and turn a little before she asked, “Mama, is everything okay?” I snapped at her, “Go back to sleep!” Realizing I had just yelled at her, I also laid my head down, turning my back to my family and crying quietly into my pillow.
In the morning, I woke and saw a card next to the bed.
I know you’re getting sick of being stuck at home. If you take the wheelchair outside, a surprise is in store. Don’t worry about us., I’m taking the girls to the park and then a movie, so the house is all yours for a few hours. We love you, grumpy and all…
I grabbed my slippers, and sat in the wheelchair. Rolling onto the patio, I saw that Justin had set up a cushioned picnic area just for me. It had a stack of books, lots of food, and it was right next to the pool. I settled myself down among the massive pillows, trying to get comfortable. I picked one of the books up, grabbed a handful of grapes, and slowly began to relax.
The day passed by quickly, and by the time Justin and the kids got home, I was deep into an FBI thriller. The girls swarmed me with hugs and kisses, nearly tackling me. I laughed at their excitement, “Careful, don’t knock me over. How was the movie?”
Esther held my face in both her little hands, “Fish are friends, not food.” I snorted with laughter, waiting for Cassidy to explain.
I tickled them both until their faces turned red, before asking Cassidy, “What about, babydoll, did you like the movie?”
She nodded, seeming to be very cautious of what she says. I grabbed her hand and placed it on my belly before saying, “Sweetheart, I am so proud of you, Cass. I know I haven’t been the nicest mommy lately, and I’m sorry if I’ve been angry these last couple days.”
She placed a kiss on my stomach, “It’s okay, Mama. Daddy says growing babies is hard work.”
I laughed and snuggled her close, “That’s right, but that’s no excuse for being cranky. C’mon, let’s see if these babies will put on a show for us today, okay? I pulled up my shirt and poked at my belly, Soon enough, one them kicked real hard. I was stretched thin enough that you could see all their movements nowadays. It was more fun for me to watch Cassidy’s face as she felt them move and tried to figure out if was an arm, or a leg, and a butt or a head.
Justin joined me on the blanket after a while, kissing my belly. I laid my head on his shoulder, “I’m sorry, baby. I shouldn’t have yelled at you this morning.
He kissed my forehead as we watched the sunset, “You have nothing to apologize for, honey. We will get through this together.”
As Cassidy led Esther around the yard, I turned to Justin and whispered, “I’m so sick of being pregnant, Justin. My body cannot possibly stretch anymore, and I’m so tired all the time, but I do nothing all day! I just want these babies out of me.” I clutched his shirt and sobbed quietly, so as not to alert the girls. He held me tight until my tears subsided. He kissed my cheek, “Feel better?” I nodded quietly, letting him rub my back.
He placed a kiss on my temple, “Have I thanked you lately?”
I looked at him quizzically, “Thanked me…for what? I’m a beached whale taking up space in our living room.”
He laughed, “No, seriously, Sabrina. You’re doing the most amazing job ever. You get to grow not one but two human beings inside of you. And this job you’re doing, is almost done, and then we’ll have two beautiful babies to look after.”
I laid my head on his chest, and sighed deeply, “Have we decided on names?”
The rest of the weekend flew by. The girls made a fort around my bed and we watched movies in it all day long. I tried to relax and enjoy the time I had with the girls before life grew even crazier.