It's June 22nd.
I have no idea what time it is, but it's early, and I've woken up countless times during the night.
I'm not ready to be at the hospital; not ready to be giving birth to these girls.
Mentally, I'm just not prepared to deal with the pain of labor.
My grief is overpowering and all-consuming.
Not to mention all the pain associated with giving birth.
I feel completely helpless and broken.
I've never felt so awful in my entire life.
Seth is restless, and notices I'm having a hard time.
He offers to switch beds.
His bed is much more comfortable than the hospital birthing bed, but even with the nicer bed, my pain isn't much better.
I'm in full-on labor and can only focus on the pain.
I remind myself to try to breathe through contractions, but all I can think about is the lack of an immediate reward when it is all over.
I'm not doing as well as I did with Porter's labor.
I have a new nurse, Roxann, who gives me pain medication options.
I don't want an epidural...I don't feel like I need one because I didn't have one with Porter, so I get morphine.
This stuff doesn't work, I think as I push the button every thirty seconds.
"It won't go every time you push it," Seth tries to tell me, "It's so you don't overdose."
I'm uncomfortable lying down--I need to move.
I stand up, but I'm so exhausted that my knees buckle and I only get as far as the hospital bed only two feet away.
I kneel on the bed, praying for the pain to stop.
Praying that it will all be over.
"I'm so tired!" I say over and over.
My water breaks.
I just can't handle all the pain anymore.
I can't do this!! "I want an epidural!!" I cry in defeat.
Roxann grabs the anethesiologist as quick as she can, and I awkwardly try to curl my back at the edge of the bed.
The anethesiologist is super fast, and the epidural is in before I know it.
As fast as the epidural is put in, my pain goes away.
Why was I ever against this?
I lay on the bed, completely content with the fact that I can't feel my legs and I don't have to deal with the physical pain anymore.
Roxann puts the sheet over me, and I feel something exit my body.
"I think a baby's out...she's out," I say.
I didn't have to do anything...she just came out.
Roxann calls for the doctor, and they take my baby out from under the sheet.
I'm afraid to look, but I watch as they take her away.
She's so small!
I don't get much time to do much of anything else before the doctor tells me Baby B is breech and I need to push.
I push a couple times and out comes baby number two...backward.
I am so tired.
The next thing I know, I hear Seth sniffing on his cot/bed while he's typing on my computer.
Stop crying, I think, I'm too tired to comfort you.
I wake up again, this time to a sound that reminds me of an animal that is always near our apartment.
"Is there a cat in here?" I ask Seth, who looks up at me, confused.
He's still at the computer.
Roxann heard my question and informs me that what I think is a cat in fact is my epidural, and she comes and turns it off.
I'm awoken a couple more times from Lori, who visits as promised, and from a grief couselor who talks to Seth.
I don't register much of what is said, but I know who is here.
I wake up again, this time for good, and I look at the clock.
I've been asleep for four hours!
I sit up, and Seth notices.
He comes over and informs me he wants to go get Porter.
I sleepily give my consent, and he leaves the room.
To my left, the girls are lying together in the small bed.
I will them to move like they had just days before, but nothing happens.
I hear a small knock on the door as Roxann enters.
She brings mementos with her and starts to clean off the girls and dress them.
She talks to them, and it makes me smile faintly.
"Do you want to hold them?" she asks.
I say I do, and she brings a baby over.
I know who it is without even having to look at her.
She was the one causing the bigger movements inside; the one who wasn't comfortable with the small space and who would kick me as I took my shot--determined.
Alayna is placed in my left arm as Jilinda is brought over and placed in my right.
Jilinda would take the path of least resistance around her sister, and is the one who would get out of my way while I took my shot--the peacemaker.
Jilinda came out first, and Alayna followed only by a half hour.
Alayna is almost four pounds while Jilinda is just slightly over three.
I know these girls...I know them like they have been with me for years.
They're so pretty.
Roxann takes pictures with the hospital camera as tears fall from my eyes.
I love holding them.
Seth enters the room with Porter.
He looks at me tentatively as I say hi.
Seth takes him over to the girls who are back in their bed.
"The babies are dead," Porter says.
He is right, but those words are hard to hear.
Seth takes Porter over to his bed, and returns to get the girls.
He first takes Jilinda over to introduce her.
Porter doesn't want to hold her, so Seth holds her for a short time while Porter looks on.
Seth takes Jilinda back and returns with Alayna.
Porter doesn't want to hold her, either, so Seth repeats what he did with Jilinda.
He is about to put them back, and I ask to hold them again.
We feel it is time to send the girls away.
I say goodbye by touching their sweet little legs.
They are taken out of the room.
The separation is too much, but I resist the urge to follow them.
It is late.
Roxann has gone home, and Heather is back.
She's brought me a more comfortable bed to sleep on tonight.
I ask her if I could be allowed to go see the babies that survived at the nursery.
"I don't know why I need to go, but I feel like I need to," I told her.
She understands and takes me for a small walk to the nursery.
I look at the crying, healthy, alive babies, and feel a slight sensation of relief.
Not all babies die, I tell myself.
Seth cuddles with me on the much more comfortable hospital bed while Porter lies asleep on Seth's bed.
I'm so blessed to have Seth, and so grateful that I have Porter, I think as I close my swollen eyes.