some people need to talk things out. some people just want to be quiet. i usually try to restore order to my life when things feel out of control. i want things to be normal, settled. so, in the midst of bad, scary news i try to keep my routine. wake up, shower, go to work. so that's what i did. i know that sharon doesn't work that way....and it drives her crazy that i do, but i just can't sit and think about all the bad things that could happen. i'll go crazy.
luckily, our good friend kimmi had already made plans to come and hang with sharon while i was at work and kimmi's mom eva was going to take our big ones to school...our good friend monika was bringing the big ones home from school.....so we were all covered...wheww! so, i drove into the office and started working. i knew that there was a possibility that we would need to go to SF in the next couple days so i think subconsciously i was trying to get as much done as i could, as quickly as i could. 8:30am. i was pouring my first cup of coffee when i heard my cell phone ring. it was sharon....(crying) "I need you to come get me now! UCSF just called and said that they scheduled a sonogram for me at 10:00am." my mind was racing.
i got in my car and headed home. i'm not totally sure how i did it, but i think i made it home from concord in 20 minutes....30 miles....you do the math. sharon and i started driving towards the hospital and the rain started pouring. perfect timing, right? now, when i say pouring...what i mean is, you know the fastest setting on your windshield wiper blades...you know the one you never use....we had to use that setting. it was raining like an army of men were standing on the hood of my car with buckets of water being poured on our windshield. seriously? didn't the weather man know that this was an emergency? how would we ever make it on time? i called and spoke with rachel at the fetal treatment center. she had talked to sharon earlier in the day and recognized our name. she told me that everything would be fine. just get in as quick as we could. it's amazing how her kind words set sharon and i at ease.
we finally arrived to the hospital at 10:20am and made it into the fetal treatment center at UCSF. hospitals smell weird. did you know that our sense of smell is the strongest sense? not sight, hearing, touch, taste....but smell. what we smell has the strongest pull on our memory banks. and when i smell a hospital, the flood of bad memories are almost more then i can take. when we walked in and told the receptionist our name, she smiled like she knew us. then rachel appeared. she smiled and said that everything was going to be alright. she told us that the sonogram people were waiting for us downstairs and that she would walk us down there and help us get all checked in. as soon as we sat down at the sonogram office, they called our name. the sonogram was really difficult. in the last 2-3 weeks, sharon had been in so much pain. she could barely sleep because she couldn't lay in any position. not on her back or either side. it's been brutal. part of us thought that this discomfort was just part of having twins, but i think sharon new deep down that something else was wrong. so as sharon laid on that table in pain, the technician did his best to see our little baby girls. it's one of the toughest things to listen to your wife cry in pain and be completely helpless to provide any relief. after an hour or so, the technician finished, and the doctor came in to interpret the images of our baby girls. she could see the pain that sharon was in, but as she continued to look, she was able to confirm that one of our girls was surrounded by way too much amniotic fluid, and the other had almost none. practically shrink wrapped in her little home inside sharon's womb.
we went back upstairs to the fetal treatment center and met rachel again. she introduced us to larry. sharon says i need to call him dr. rand, but he said his name was larry, and it seemed that our circumstance warranted us to be on a first name basis. larry is one of the smartest, most compassionate doctors i have ever met. he is the chief of surgery at the fetal treatment center. he led us to this large conference room and for the next 2 hours he walked us through every excruciating detail of our girls condition. all the statistics. all the risk. all the potentials...and the treatment that he proposed. we had to understand it all, because we had to make a choice. in my telling of this story, i've gone back and forth in my mind whether or not i should share the statistics. i didn't think i would, but i'm going to. i'm assuming that you read a bit about ttts from the link i provided in 'part 1'. if you haven't, then press the pause button and read it now. it will help you to understand. we had some options. we could do nothing. if we chose that our girls had a 80-90% chance that both would die. even as i type that it doesn't seem real. if we went forward with the treatment the babies would have a 60-70% chance of survival. but in that chance came the very real risk of putting sharon into surgery. at this point larry reminded us that we had other children at home and that they needed sharon too. this is when i started to get really scared. how would i live without her? i couldn't. i knew i couldn't. i love sharon more then my own life and even the remote possibility that she could die was unacceptable to me. if she died, i would die. but even in this fear we knew that we had to at least give our girls a chance. larry said we were going to shoot for surgery at 5pm.
1:30pm. with papers signed we were rushed up to the 15th floor were the labor and delivery unit lives. UCSF is massive. huge. our local hospital times 10. i think i asked our escort jody (another amazing member of the fetal treatment center team) to repeat her instructions 4 times because i was sure i would walk into the psych ward by mistake. the next hour was a blur. sharon was given a gown...yeah, those gowns. a fetal EKG, and right in the middle of that we were told that she was going into surgery right now! i made some last minute phone calls to our family. my head was spinning. none of this seemed real. i was so afraid. even my half full mentality wavered at the mental images of my wife on that table. i couldn't do it. it was too much.
3:15pm, we were in pre-op. more papers to sign. more doctors. everyone was moving so fast. i tried to keep a hold of sharon at all times. somehow i thought that if i was touching her that she would now how much i love her and that everything would be ok. finally, dr. rosen, the anesthesiologist said that it was time to go. i kissed sharon one last time. i held her tight and said "i love you....i'll see you soon". i told larry to take good care of her...he smiled and said he would for sure and i walked out. i ended up out on the street. i was lost. my heart hurt. i didn't know what to do. time stood still...
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