Image by Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via Flickr"J.," the ultrasound technician said as she turned the screen towards me, "You are having twins!". I was already 18 weeks pregnant and the only response that came to me was tears. Not just a little eye watering but full blown couldn't stop if my life depended on it tears.
I was incredibly overwhelmed, and terrified. How was I going to do this? J.D. (who from hence forth shall be referred to as "the heel") and I were already having problems, and our future was not looking so good at that point I was worried about having one baby and now there were 2.
Would I be able to do that alone?
The ultrasound technician sent me home with an abundance of pics of the babies growing inside me. I of course did the only rational thing and went to my Dr.s office with these pics and said,
"How did this happen there are no twins in my family!" Oh how my Dr. laughed.... So I had a 1% chance of conceiving twins naturally, I was more likely to be hit with lightening, but there it was.
After I calmed down a bit I picked up my ds mister from daycare and sat down with him and my newly acquired pics and told him he was going to big a big brother to 2 babies. He immediately looked at me and said
"Then I need to name them now!". "Alright mister, what should we call them?" without missing a beat he said, "Love and Grace."
In that exact moment of mister saying that I knew everything would be OK. In my heart I knew we were surrounded by Gods Loving Grace, and I believe God spoke to me through the simple pure words of a 5 year old child.
Aside from vicious morning sickness everything was progressing just fine until close to Christmas. Due to multiples being a high risk pregnancy I was monitored closely, with ultrasounds every 3 weeks to start.
In December they found that one of the twins was 20% larger than the other. Now they should have been growing along at about the same rate, and when they don't all kinds of warning bells start going off.
I was put on modified bed rest at that point, so I could still go to work because I had a cushy office job but once I was home I was to be on the couch just resting for those babies.
The placentas had fused together, and so when the size discordance continued to grow and now showing evidence of my bigger twin hogging all the fluid levels the Dr.s were concerned about a very rare case of TTTS (or twin to twin transfusion syndrome).
Normally this only occurs in identical twins because they share one placenta. I had 2 placentas but they were fused and the Dr.s thought perhaps there was blood sharing going on too.
On January 7th, 2005, I was placed on bed rest. My Twinkies were threatening to come out, and my due date wasn't until March 27th. I was determined to hold them in as long as I could. It got really hard.
Now I know what you are thinking how hard could it be to lay down and not move around. Surprisingly harder than you think! (hmmmm kinda wish I knew how to blog then) That's when the swelling really started to kick in.
Not just a little bit, I mean I couldn't wear shoes anymore, and watches were definitely out of the picture. My blood pressure was rising and there was protein in my urine (Yukky topic I know but it's a warning sign for something bigger so I am including it).
Now I was also being monitored for pre-eclampsia. Just to add insult to injury baby A was breach and baby B was transverse making a natural delivery according to my ob anyway, impossible.
Try to imagine it, the heel and I are no longer living together at this point, I have a 5 yr old and expecting boy/girl twins. I couldn't work so the only time I got out was to take mister to school or to the Dr. Ohh the Dr.s appts.
I had to have a non-stress test every 3 days, see a perinatologist once a week, and see my ob weekly as well. The Perinatologist was doing the ultrasounds each week.
On February 15th, 2005 I got a backache at about 10:00 pm. By 11:00pm I was at the hospital just in case and was 6cm dilated. I was 34 weeks, otherwise known as the point that they will not try to stop labour because as far as the Dr.s are concerned the little lungs should be about developed.
So off to the O.R. I went for delivery. ( did I happen to mention that I had a scheduled c-section 2 weeks later?) Ya so it was late and they didn't call my ob, so I just got the sucky attending, yes I said sucky.
He figured that since I delivered a baby 6lbs 15oz naturally 5 1/2 years before that I should be able to deliver breech with no problem. Yup they gave me an epidural and like 2 pushes out came angel baby aka Love (no that's not his real name, I am so not about real names here sorry folks!) He weighed 3lbs 15oz and he was perfect.
I held him right away and he just stared right into my eyes. Then came the hard part. K now this sounds really gross so if you are the faint of heart you may want to skip down a little... don't say I didn't warn you! As I mentioned Baby B aka Grace or Lil miss on my blog, was transverse.
If you don't know what that means and didn't bother to check the link, it means she was sideways across my belly. Babies do not usually come out that way. So the (insert nasty words here) Dr. had to reach in grab her feet and pull her out.
Can you say OUCH? Well if you remember I said she was bigger? Ya more than 40% bigger and feet first meant the biggest part of her coming out last.
Well I guess giving birth 5 1/2 years previous didn't quite stretch me enough because this baby that weighed all of 5lbs 6oz got stuck, and as a result was born blue. After they resuscitated her I got a quick glimpse before they rushed the babies off to the Special Care Nursery (SCN).
Wow is anyone still reading this? Good for you!
Lil miss didn't seem to be doing so well. She had to be placed on C-Pap due to early hyaline membrane disease. She had severe Bradycardia and apnea, any stimulation and her heart would literally crash. I couldn't hold her for the first 4 days.
Love on the other hand was doing great. He was what they called a grower and a feeder. His release from the SCN was dependant on him gaining a bit of weight so he could go in a carseat and learning how to eat.
At 4 days old my little Love started having Bradycardia and apnea spells. I didn't know that if he hadn't had them by that point to start was a sign of an infection. His temp also became unstable. Again I just thought he's a preemie, 6 weeks early so he's in the incubator because he can't regulate it on his own anyway.
I just didn't know.
Over the course of that night the Dr. started intravenous antibiotics. His veins were very small so it needed to be inserted in his head.
What happened exactly that night I will never know, only the words of the coroners report ring through my mind now, "watched him deteriorate" yes the nurses watched him deteriorate and didn't call a Dr.
I was there when they did finally call the Dr., by that point he was grey and already the infection had caused sepsis. Love and I were flown by helicopter to Children's Hospital where despite that every possible effort was made Love flew to heaven.
Lil miss in the mean time had started coming down with an unstable temp. but because they knew what to treat now (Citobactor Kerosi) she was able to get the treatment she needed.
Lil miss spent 35 days SCN before her early release. She had been treated for Jaundice, anemia, bradycardia, apnea, an infection, and had an echo cardiogram to check out her heart. A few days after Love passed away a murmur was detected in Grace.
She was born with a hole in her heart, but praise God surgery not required. Due to the severity of the apnea and bradycardia Grace needed to go 7 days free of any episodes. She went 3 when the hospital decided to make room for twins to be transferred in.
Hours after bringing her home she had another episode, but no beds in the local hospital so to bring her back would have meant a different hospital a couple hours away.
As you can see from my blog Lil miss is now a healthy 4 yr old. My twinless twin. This is where I will be talking about things like raising a twinless twin and all things grief whether that be parental, twin loss from lil Miss's point of view or from mister's side of things or even helping your little ones cope with loss.
If you read all this I think I am amazed at your dedication... I hope it's not because you relate.