"The heartbeats are fine," he confirmed. "Your back probably hurts because you're so big."
Melissa breathed a sigh of relief.
Two days later, though, she had another scare when her mucus plug came out.
"Normal," the doctor reassured via telephone. "If you want to come in, you can, although there's nothing to be worried about."
But Melissa wasn't taking any chances, and on Friday of that week—to set her mind at ease for the upcoming weekend—she visited the doctor's office once again to make sure everything was still moving along as planned.
"The heartbeats sound good," the physician on call encouraged her. "Let me just do a quick internal exam, and then you'll be on your way."
As Melissa waited, pleased to be doing anything positive for her babies-to-be, she let her mind wander to the happy times she and Seth would spend with their two sons. But her daydream was quickly interrupted.
"Crap," the doctor said, as a dark shadow cast over his face. "You're two centimeters dilated and eighty to ninety percent effaced. You are in labor. You have to go right to the hospital."
In a panic, Melissa called Seth. He was an hour away and it was raining heavily outside. Melissa's friend would have to pick her up and take her to the hospital, they decided, and Seth would meet them there.
At the hospital, medicine was immediately administered to stop Melissa's contractions, but it was too late. She was going into premature labor and the babies would not survive.
"How are you going to get them out?" Melissa cried, overwhelmed with alarm.
"You're going to have to deliver them," the nurse told her. "I'm so sorry."
Besieged by fear and in a haze of confusion and sorrow, Melissa had no choice but to deliver two beautiful baby boys, whose lungs were not developed enough for them to live.
And by three-thirty in the morning, it was finally over. Exhausted and grief-stricken, Melissa was wheeled to her room, where Seth climbed into bed with her so they could finally cry together, alone at last.
Holding Melissa in his arms, Seth said, "This was horrible, but we're going to get through this. In a year from now you will be pregnant again."
It was the end of their pregnancy, but not the end of their desire for a family.