(photo by Brandon Wise)

MID-CITY — On a late December day, Jessica Fisher was rushed to the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center in a panic.

Her doctor had discovered cervical incompetency during a routine ultrasound, a find that could have endangered the lives of her twins, if left untreated.

She was only 19 weeks pregnant.

Fisher underwent a cerclage procedure to stitch up her prematurely opening cervix and was placed on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy.

She delivered two healthy babies, Ella Madison and Ethan Tate, via Caesarian section surgery Saturday.

But it is the 120 days in between that set her story apart.

Over the course of four months, her bland hospital room was transformed into a den for all seasons. In one corner, gold metallic streamers spelled out “Happy New Year’s!” while red heart decorations marked Valentine’s Day.

Orchids in the windowsills and a large canvas portrait of her wedding day added a home-y taste. A rack of baby clothes — one side pink and the other blue — gave her hope to continue her time in the hospital, Fisher said.

“It was such a shock to the system,” she said of the cervical discovery. “Bed rest is really hard to do because it’s just very isolating.”

The extended stay was made even more difficult because of its clash with her previous lifestyle. Fisher and her husband, Brett, were constantly active and the couple loved to run outdoors or go to see theater plays.

They had even planned a trip to Las Vegas and a Mexican cruise to celebrate Fisher’s 30th birthday, which came five days after she was admitted to the hospital. Fisher urged her husband to take his mother on the cruise instead, to prevent the tickets from going to waste.

To deal with the stress of being constantly cooped up inside, her husband suggested she start a blog to chronicle the experience and keep family in the know about her progress.

In line with the couple’s love of musical theater, Fisher titled the website Broadway Babies and coordinated each entry with a relevant show tune.

What began as a personal undertaking soon became an Internet hit, garnering page views from 33 countries.

But she didn’t stop there. Fisher passed her contact information to hospital nurses in hopes of connecting with other women in her same predicament.

Several women responded and the soon-to-be mothers started a Facebook group to facilitate interaction. Though conversation was initially limited to Facebook chat, the women were able to meet face-to-face on New Year’s Eve in a small gathering in Fisher’s room. With party hats, Martinelli’s apple cider and one hour away from contraction monitors, the group felt more like a sisterhood than isolated individuals, Fisher said.

“It started out of necessity and now everyone just gets a lot of support out of it,” she said, adding that plans are in the works to have a play date with all of their babies. “We’ve formed some really great friendships. It made it really nice to have their camaraderie.”

She found other ways to bring normalcy into her extraordinary circumstances.

Fisher attended two separate baby showers, one thrown by close friends and family and another by her co-workers, in the hospital’s dining room.

She got the maternity photo shoot she dreamed of, with photos that didn’t betray the hospital location.

Most of all, support from friends, family and especially her husband made the stay bearable.

Though the couple lives in Agoura Hills, Brett Fisher commuted to the hospital almost every day and stayed in Fisher’s room about three to four times a week. He rented a workspace in Santa Monica and did his consultation work remotely.

Despite the miles between them, husband and wife worked together to furnish the nursery — she picking from color swatches and furniture catalogs and he putting it all together.

“He’s been amazing,” Fisher said, with a look at her husband.

“It’s short-term,” Brett Fisher said, with a smile. “It’s been an extraordinary amount of teamwork, but it’s great because it’s preparing us to be parents — it’s made us stronger as a couple.”


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.