Friday, October 7, 2011
Babies Isaac and Evan
We had just celebrated our daughter's first birthday when we decided that we wanted to have another baby. Our older son and daughter are 3 years apart and we wanted our next kids to be a little closer together. Plus, our daughter already loved babies so much that we knew she would be great with a baby in the house.
In January, we got a positive pregnancy test and were so excited that all was going according to plan. I anxiously made it through the first trimester. I had had a miscarriage at 10 weeks between my 2 kids, so I felt like nothing is really sure until after the first trimester.
I was so sick this pregnancy compared to my others. I was just nauseous all the time, but figured that my morning sickness was just getting worse with each pregnancy.
I had my first comment on my baby bump at 13 weeks and I was surprised that anyone had even noticed! We ended up telling our family a few days later. When I had made my daughter's birth announcement I had put her birth date as September 16, 2009, instead of November 16, 2009. To announce our newest pregnancy, I replaced her picture with a family picture, crossed out the 2009 and added 2011 and replaced her name with “Baby #3”. We told everyone that we had just gotten the year wrong. It was really fun to have people look at it and try to figure it out and then see if finally click.
After we told our 4 year old son, I kept asking him if he thought we were going to have a sister or a brother. He immediately told me that he was going to have TWO brothers. He was quite insistent on it and would tell people that asked him that he was going to have two brothers. I would then jump in and say that we were just having one and we don't know if it's a boy or a girl. We were planning on waiting until birth to find out the gender since it didn't really matter what we were having.
At around 14 weeks I experienced a ton of bleeding. Of course it was on a weekend, but I had just heard the baby's heartbeat at my midwife's appointment that day. I rested all weekend and went in to see the midwife on Monday to see if there was a heartbeat. Thankfully there was!
My midwife said that I had likely experienced a subchorionic hemorrhage. She said they were common and that things were fine most of the time and to “take it easy”.
I decided that I would try to stay in bed for at least a week and do very minimal stuff. Doing so seemed to stop all the remaining spotting I had and I thought that I was okay being up as long as I wasn't doing much. This is easier said than done when you have a 16 month old that you have to lift into/out of the car/high chair/shopping cart etc. and carry into stores. I didn't think that doing that much lifting would be a big deal and I did try to minimize the lifting/carrying as much as possible.
About 2 weeks after my initial bleeding episode without any bleeding I decided that I may be okay to go out to some furniture stores to look for a sectional for our newly completed basement. I could walk slow, we could have the salesmen take us directly to the sectionals so we wouldn't be wandering, and I would be doing a LOT of sitting. We ended up doing that all day and by the end I was really worn out. I had another bleeding episode and went back to laying around a LOT. I had continued spotting for 2-3 weeks and got an ultrasound scheduled so that we could see exactly what was going on. I wish that I hadn't put off an ultrasound for so long, but I was thinking the whole time that it wasn't that big of a deal.
At 18 weeks, we went in for our ultrasound. We took our 4 year old with us because we thought that he would enjoy it. We got in the room and the tech started the ultrasound. Within in a minute the tech stopped on 2 pulsing things. I was about to ask if one was the heart and one was the brain (haha!) when the ultrasound tech stopped and said, “you guys.... do you see that? That's two heartbeats! You're having twins!”
We were in absolute shock! We had had no suspicions. I had gained only a tiny bit more weight than normal and my belly measurements were always right on. I was a little bigger, but I chalked it up to being my 3rd pregnancy. Seeing those two heartbeats was the most thrilling and wonderful moment of our lives. Having Alex there with us was so fun! He was so into it and laughing. We kept saying, “two babies!?! Twins!?! Whoa!”. Alex really was having 2 brothers.
When the tech came back in the room we told her that twins was surprise enough for us and that we wanted to know their genders. They were both boys and as there was only one placenta (two separate sacks) so the chance of them being identical was high.
After the ultrasound I immediately called my sister and asked if she wanted to go to lunch. At lunch we pulled out our ultrasound pictures and watched her figure it out. When she asked twins we had Alex chime in with, “two brothers!” She was so excited for us! Her husband is an identical twin, so she called to tell him and he was thrilled as well.
After that we went to my parent's house and did the same thing. Then my grandparent's house. Then on Sunday we did the same for my husband Jon's family. We filmed each one and it was so fun! Everyone could hardly believe that we were having twins. WE could hardly believe that we were having twins. Our heads were spinning for a few days as we thought about if we wanted a van that would seat 8 and that we needed to return the stroller that had just come a week or two before since it wouldn't work great for twins. I thought about car seats, beds, baby gear, nursing, sleeping, going places, room situations, etc. All the baby stuff that you have to reevaluate when you are having 2 instead of one. I loved that I would get to experience a whole new kind of pregnancy and childhood experience. Within a day the shock wore off and we couldn't have been more excited to be having twins.
We told our families that we were thinking about just having 3 kids, but this decided 4 for us and it was definitely going to be our last! I couldn't think of a better note to end on. I had always wanted all boys and a girl and the thought of twin boys sounded perfect to me.
I had to change providers as my midwives at a freestanding birthing center could not deliver twins there. I didn't get a chance to call and set up anything before the end of the day on Friday after our ultrasound and was planning on calling on Monday.
On Sunday, I had some bleeding and passed some clots. We went into the hospital where they were able to locate both babies’ heartbeats. They said that everything appeared fine, but to get into my OB on Monday and see if the can do an ultrasound to evaluate things a little better.
I was able to get in on Monday to see the midwife there. She had the OB pop in to do an ultrasound and he saw a subchorionic hematoma and was very unconcerned about it. He said they happen all the time, are usually fine, and that I would probably see clots. He said to take it easy, but bedrest wasn't necessary.
I went away feeling good about things and excited that my doctor was supportive of natural labor with twins and that I could go until 40 weeks if I wanted. The next day I passed a couple more clots, but since my OB had told me it was normal I tried not to think too much of it.
Late Thursday night I started to feel some contractions. I drank a glass of water and laid down to go to sleep. At about 4 am the contractions woke me up and we decided to go to the hospital. I was 19 weeks and 6 days.
Contractions don't really bother me until the end, so I was fairly calm and collected at the hospital. I figured that they'd check things out and give me something that would stop the labor. They gave me a couple of shots of terbutaline that made my heart race, but slowed the contractions down. They sent me home after a few hours with the instructions to drink a lot and lay in bed and come back if the contractions picked up.
After about 4 hours at home the contractions picked up, so back to the hospital we went. More terbutaline, but this time the contractions only slowed for a bit and then picked back up. It was then that I realized that this may not go well. Being only 19 weeks and 6 days, my OB consulted with a maternal fetal specialist who said absolutely no magnesium sulfate before 22 weeks. I was contracting every 2 minutes, but was not dilating. They didn't know what was going on and didn't feel like there was anything that could be done. In those moments I wanted to scream to have everything possible be done that something was causing these contractions and that they could be stopped at least for a few weeks and everything could be okay! I was a day shy of 20 weeks! Certainly SOMETHING could be done! They stop labor all the time!
It is likely that the cause of the contractions was the blood from the subchorionic hematoma/hemorrhage irritating my uterus enough to cause preterm labor. My OB never warned me about watching for preterm labor and how to prevent it. I had 2 factors that made me high risk (SCH and twins), and yet all I was told was that it wasn't a big deal and to take it easy. On top of that, one of the first things done for preterm labor is fluids and I was never given fluids on my first trip to the hospital.
Obviously, my contractions were never able to be stopped. They were going to send me home with Lortab for the pain since I wasn't dilating. I almost cried at that point because I was in pain every 2 minutes. They gave the Lortab an hour and it wasn't even touching the pain. As I was trying to get up between contractions to get dressed to go home, the contractions picked up even more. They checked and found I was dilating at that point after having contractions for about 15 hours. We called our family in tears telling them that I was going to be delivering our boys within the hour and that they should come to the hospital to see them. It was truly one of the most hearbreaking moments of my life to hear my husband sobbing as he told our parents.
Isaac was born at 4:58pm and Evan followed 2 minutes later at 5:00pm on April 28th, 2011.
They were absolutely perfect and identical. I looked at them and they looked just like my other babies. They had little eyebrows that were growing in and teeny tiny nails on their tiny fingers and toes. When Evan was handed to me, I could see his little heart beating and saw him take a breath. I held each one of my boys in each of my hands and just marveled at how miraculous they were. How amazing it was that there were 2 babies inside me. I wept with absolute sadness over what I was now going to be missing for the rest of my life.
I wish every day that something could have been done to give my boys a few more weeks safely inside me. Or that it had happened 1-2 weeks later when more would have been done to stop my labor. I constantly wonder if things would have gone differently if we would have gone directly to the bigger more experienced hospital instead of our local one. It is so hard to not think of all the what if's and should have's.
Losing our twins and our one chance for twins in this lifetime has been absolutely devastating for us. It has been almost 6 months and I still cry almost every day. It's hard not to be angry about what happened. Beyond losing two babies, we lost an opportunity that we were lucky to even get in the first place. Getting pregnant with twins again only happens to 1 in 70,000. Our chances of twins before were 1 in 250.
I hope to find peace one day but there is so much beyond the loss of two lives that I have to find peace with. I am still in the midst of the nightmare that my life has become. I'm confident that I won't always feel this way, but healing from the experience of losing a baby... of losing twins... takes a long time. It's likely that the pain of losing them will always be lurking just under the surface, hidden by the daily routines of life, just waiting for a trigger to send me into tears and heartache all over again. How you ever stop being sad over such a loss is still incomprehensible to me. There will always be a huge piece of our family missing. Isaac and Evan would have been born sometime in the first couple of weeks of September if things would have gone differently. We miss them every day and wish that they could be here with us.