Sunday, August 24, 2008

Our Journey Through Life

It really goes back to the day before we got married. My soon-to-be husband, Justin and I, found out, by home pregnancy test, that we are pregnant! We are thrilled. We had been together for 4 years, getting started on our lives together and happy to start a family. Nothing could be better! Our wedding went off without a hitch and afterwards, we told our families and they were nothing but happy for us, as this would be the first grandchild for both of our parents.

A week before my scheduled appointment, I start spotting. I was so scared. I didn't even know what to do. My shaky hands dialed the doctor's office and they let me come in earlier than my appointment. During my check-up they tell me that I am 8 weeks along and that this bleeding doesn't seem normal. They want to send me to get an ultrasound right away, but I will have to wait until tomorrow for the only opening they had. That night was terrifying. I tossed and turned and couldn't sleep, thinking of my poor little bean of a baby. He or she might be in trouble. I may not get the wedding miracle we were so happy about.

My mother-in-law took me the next morning and Justin was going to meet us there. I figited in my seat, rubbing my belly nervously. Justin arrived right before we were called back into the room. Panic set in. The ultrasound tech was nice, but seemed to know that they were expecting trouble. The instant the picture came up on the screen, a smile hit her face. She said, "Oh." Oh, what did that mean? A good oh or a bad oh? She said, "Ok well I see two heartbeats..." "Twins?", I asked. "Well....It's the thrid one's heartbeat that I'm looking for and, oh, there it is". TRIPLETS! What? I was expecting the worst and I get fabolous news instead! The bleeding was just implantation bleeding and everyone, all four of us, were just fine.

I guess my mother-in-law was expecting bad news also, because as we came out she had hidden all the magazines with pictures of babies on them. We told her everything was fine and I handed her the picture of the ultrasound as we walked outside.

She took one look and said, "Twins?". "A.....B.....C", I said. "TRIPLETS!", she screamed. That is how everyone reacted when I told them the news. My mother almost fainted. Then came the, "Oh, how can you handle three babies" and other comments like that one. I just knew in my heart that I could handle it. It just felt like taking care of my babies would come easy.

The rest of the pregnancy came easily, up until I was 27 weeks. I was working at a preschool- working 10 hour shifts and I was exhausted. On November 5th, I was the last one at the school, waiting for Justin to pick me up since we only had one car. I decided to use the restroom before he got there, and as I sat down, out came a rush of blood. Terrified, I tried to call Justin at work (he didn't have a cell phone). No one answered. Frantic, I called my mom, who lived about 10 minutes away from where I worked. She left in a hurry to come get me and I sat in the restroom and waited. So scared, alone. Finally, my mom got there and as she was helping me into the back of her truck, Justin pulled up. He was going to follow us to the hospital, since I was already sitting in her back seat.

I arrived at the hospital and was wheeled to Labor & Delivery, where they checked me and said I was 80% effaced and 1-2 cm dialated. They gave me magnesium and after a couple of hours the bleeding stopped and so did the contractions. The doctors decided to keep me in the hospital until I delivered. I was so angry. I didn't want to stay in the hospital. I was lonely and scared, but I did it for the sake of my babies. After a few days I was ready to make them let me go home, and I'm glad I didn't. Seven days later I started bleeding, AGAIN. Back to L&D I went, where they got the contractions and the bleeding under control again. Three days after that, on November 15th, I started bleeding for a third time and this time it wasn't stopping. At 8:20 am Anna Jeanne was born, at 8:21 Ayva Verlie was born and at 8:22 Justin Case was born, by emergency C-section.

They were all doing well, and were only on ventilators for 2 days. My world was so full of happiness. My three, sweet babies were doing good. As good as three, 11 week early babies could do. After 55 and 57 days I brought all three of my sweet bundles of joy home.

It was scary, and joyous, and overwhelming at times, but staying home and raising all three of them, is the best thing I've ever done. Right before they discharged the babies, they brought us into a room and sat us down. I was told that we had some things to go over about their discharge. Not the case. They were about to drop a bomb on our sweet homecoming.

The girls, Anna and Ayva, had a brain condition that showed up on routine ultrasound scans of their heads. It was called Periventricular Leukomalacia, or PVL. The doctor kept talking and it all seemed to fade.... I heard mumbling. I finally came back to earth and heard that thier brains were scarred. A part of it was less dense than the rest. It could mean nothing for them, but it could also lead to Cerebral Palsy. I burst into tears. They told me not to worry. That we wouldn't know anything for sure until they were around one year old. How could I not worry. My sweet girls....

We went home that day, happy and sad all rolled into one. Starting our lives as a family after 2 months of being apart was the best day of our lives, but learning that some day something bad could happen for our girls. It crushed me.

I tried to not let the news get to me. I loved my babies for who they were, not for what was wrong with them. All seemed to be going well, they were getting physical therapy as a precaution and for the first 8 months of their lives, I felt like we were starting to catch up.

On July 10th, 2008, Anna started acting weird. She was rolling her eyes funny and it really scared me. But after minute she was ok and I put her to bed. The next day as I was laying her down for a nap she started acting weird again. This time it was worse and I knew deep down in my heart, she was having a seizure. I was taking care of the babies by my self and I called Justin at work. He rushed home and my mom came over to watch baby Justin and Ayva while we took Anna to the children's hospital. The care there was so dissapointing. They barely even looked at her and told us to go home with an appointment for the 21st of July. I was not going to give up on my daughter's health so easily, and as her "events" became more frequent and more severe, I called the hospital and I made them let us come in the following Monday, July 14th. They gave her an EEG and told us she has something called Infantile Spasms. It is a type of seizure where the brain is "angry" and it prohibits them from learning the milestones that every baby does.

Two weeks later something terrible happened. Ayva started doing the same movements that Anna had. I took her to the children's hospital and they admitted her. This time our expierence with the hospital was much better and they took good care of her. On July 25th, Ayva was also diagnosed with Infantile Spasms. My whole world was turned upside-down. Thoughts of what-if's and what-will-be's ran through my head constantly. Thoughts consumed me. I felt as though something should be done, but everything was a wait and see game. We had to wait to see if the girls would end up having CP. We would have to wait to see if their seizures could be controlled with medications. We would have to wait for every answer we had about our children's health.

Which brings us to today. We are currently on medications for their seizures that are not helping. Next week the girls have follow-up EEG's and we will be switching their medications. As for the diagnosis of CP- we are still waiting. Hoping that day will come and go and be a distant memory in our lives. It pains me to see my children in pain. My heart aches for them. As I watch their brother, Justin, learn to crawl, talk, sit up and do many other things that the girls should be doing, I am saddened for my girls. They too should be sitting up, learning to crawl, holding their heads up and many other things that the seizures have taken from them. It is a struggle every day for all of us, but we are a close family and my husband and I have a lot of family support. It's not an easy life, but it's our life and we intend to live it for the fullest. No matter what happens in the future for our girls, or our son, we will take it in stride and deal with it as it comes. For I would not change one minute of those wonderful lives we created.

- Sarah (saucysarie)

No comments: