You have heard it before, “well we were only going to try for one but…” and that basically sums up the start of our story. My husband and I decided to try for a baby and once we got all the issues sorted out, no ovulation and placed on clomid, we got our BFP! We were shocked and thrilled. I developed horrible morning sickness and I was miserable but the baby was progressing well. They were able to find a heartbeat at 10 weeks and everything was looking good. We headed into our big ultrasound at 19 weeks and we couldn’t wait to see that little baby. Well after looking at my uterus for a grand total of 10 seconds, the tech asked me “so you are having two right?” WHAT!?! That is when we found out about our two little bundles of joy. We were shocked and scared and thrilled and about every other emotion you could imagine.
After we got over the shocked, we really embraced the situation. We were going to have two girls! What joy and what a blessing. Pregnancy continued along fine. I had a slight placenta previa but that moved away and everything looked great. At week 28, I head in for a routine ultrasound to measure cervical length and to check for growth. Everything was pretty text book and I felt great. The day after my 28 week U/S, the hospital called me back. They had forgotten to do a colored transvaginal Doppler on me, so back to the hospital I went. I was alone because everything seemed fine so I thought that my husband didn’t have to come. Towards the end of the U/S, I knew something was up because several doctors filed into the room. After I was dressed, we all sat down for a talk and that is when they told me I had vasa previa. I had never heard of it but the doctors started to educate me on it. It seemed that there were blood vessels just crossing over the cervix. They hadn’t been absorbed by the umbilical cord like they were supposed to be. If the vessels ruptured or were compressed, that would cut off blood flow to one or both of my babies. Labor would mean almost certain death. They tried to reassure me that catching the vasa previa was a blessing because now they knew it was there and they could have an action plan. I remember just soaking in the information and then wandering around the hospital crying. I called my husband to tell him and he made the mistake of googling it and seeing the startling statistics, vasa previa carries a 50-100% mortality rate. He left work early so we could be together and just digest the news. We told our families and select friends and asked for prayers and lots of them.
After a horrible night of crying and screaming, we decided that we needed to be positive. They had caught the vasa previa and detection usually meant a 100% survival rate if everything is done right and there is no bleeding or labor. We knew God was with us because it was a Godly intervention that the hospital realized their mistake and ordered a second u/s for me, the u/s that showed the vasa previa and therefore saved my babies.
I was placed on modified bedrest and I knew that it was for the best of my babies. Everyday I prayed that I would make it to 34 weeks, when I was scheduled to have a c-section. It broke my heart to have the girls so early but I knew that the chances of me making it any further were slim and we weighed all the risks involved. Babies at 34 weeks have an almost 100% chance of survival without long term issues plus I knew my girls were fighters. I could feel their spirits everyday. As I stayed in bed, feeling them kick, I knew that they would be okay.
On May 20, 2008, I went in for my c-section. The operation went well and no complications. At 8:22 AM, Ashlyn made her appearance, quickly followed by Fiona at 8:23AM. I was only able to see them for a few seconds before they wheeled them out of the OR and down to the NICU. It was another 5 hours before I saw my girls, in their NICU isolettes looking so small and beautiful. I spent all the time I could with them and I cried everyday that went by when I wasnt able to hold them. It was bittersweet when I left the hospital, I was glad to be going home but not without my girls. A new mom going home without her babies is unnatural and hard to deal with even when you know they need to stay.
Fiona, the larger of the girls, needed to learn how to eat and she needed to grow. Ashlyn had a longer journey. Even thought I was given doses of Betamethasone while I was pregnant, Ashlyn’s lungs were still underdeveloped and she had a Pneumothorax, a small hole in her lung. Despite this, she was progressing well until they discovered that blood was accumulating in the chest cavity. While Fiona was getting better everyday, Ashlyn faced new hurdles. She went from a CPAP, which is very common for preemies, to an oxygen tent to a ventilator. Throw in a central line that went into her scalp and daily head ultrasounds and we were scared but we never gave up. God had intervened before and we knew God was with us and so were all the prayers. After 8 days, Ashlyn was able to breath on her own without the aid of supplied oxygen. She started taking bottles and after 12 days in the NICU, both of our girls came home. We never even fathomed that they would both be home at the same time, but there they were in the backside of our car. They were so tiny but had been through so much.
I stay at home with Fiona and Ashlyn and it is hard. I don’t have family close by to help out and being the mother to twins puts you in a unique situation. A source of support/prayers/laughter/and shared moments is the multiples message board I belong to. We know how a fellow MoM feels torn with her time and energy. We understand how overwhelming and scary a pregnancy can be. We’ve all gained the weight, had the swollen feet, and many of us have faced complications. We are a true community filled with love and caring and most of us will never meet in real life.