We’ll start here. This is where my story starts. I didn’t have a story until this point; I don’t feel that I had really LIVED until this point. And this day is what has prompted this whole, crazy, rambling to start.
Ok, March 23rd. You see, I was 18.5 weeks pregnant with identical twin girls. I was at a regularly scheduled ultrasound and doctor’s appointment. What I didn’t know while sitting in the waiting room that March 23rd was actually to be the beginning if the worst day of my life; it was to be the day my whole world came crashing down around me. I conceived identical twins on my 30th birthday. We already had a chile, an almost 2 year old at the time, but were ready to expand our family…so we tried and were successful. Very successful since our actions resulted in identical twins. We were SHOCKED to say the least when our first ultrasound at 8 weeks revealed two heartbeats. Neither of us were really excited, we were shocked, nervous and dumbfounded for days. I am horribly sick when I’m pregnant, even more so with the twins so on top of a fragile emotional state, I was physically ill. It was a difficult pregnancy from the beginning, but everything looked good at 9 weeks, again at 10 weeks and when everything still looked good at 14.5 weeks, we were getting excited and the reality that we would be welcoming twin girls was setting in. Now, identical twins are in no way genetic…they are spontaneous. Which basically means my fertilized egg spilt into 2 embryos once the cells started dividing. Identical twins are automatically riskier than singleton pregnancies for several reasons. The biggest being that the babies share a placenta and sometimes, albeit rarely, an amniotic sac. This is why at 14.5 weeks when everything still looked good, we started to relax a little bit. One of the big risk factors is Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. We’ll talk about it later but the short of it is the close monitoring of each babies’ growth (they should be almost identical) and the amount of fluid around each baby. At 14.5 weeks both these things looked great…everything was measuring perfectly.
I hopped onto the table only slightly annoyed that I was being seen about 40 minutes late. It was dark and warm in the room. “Have you been feeling any movement?” Anita asked. “No,” I replied making a short joke about hoping they were ok in there. Strangely enough, I was exactly correct in where I thought each baby was located, so maybe I had felt them move. She put the transducer on my belly and started looking at the monitor. She was quiet, but I wasn’t incredibly concerned. I commented in the head size of one of the babies…it would turn out to be Baby A – Megyn. “B, I don’t see a heartbeat in either one of your babies this morning. I need to call Dr. A.”. She leaves the room, my heart is racing and pounding. There was a huge lump in my throat, but I wasn’t crying. Looking back, I had no idea what had just happened. I’m ashamed to admit this but one of the many thoughts that went through my mind that morning was, “well, at least I won’t have twins to take care.” Defense mechanism anyone? It seemed like an eternity that Anita was gone. “I’m sorry” I said to my husband. It was the only thing I could think to say. We didn’t talk the whole time she was gone. Just stared at the screen silently wondering how they could still be inside of me, but not alive. We had no warning, no idea and we had JUST named them. Like, a few days before.
So my doctor, that I adore, walks into the dimly lit room, takes one look at me and her face falls. Then there was a whole lot of conversation that took place between her and Anita, some explanations about what was to come, no it wasn’t my fault, a lot of studying the images on the monitor and then came the terrifying piece of information that I was going to have to be induced and deliver both babies. “Can’t you just do a D&C?” I asked. “No,” she quickly replied “they’re far too big for that.”
I asked about surgery to remove them, she said no to that too. In fact, she went on to tell me that putting me under anesthesia and cutting me open to remove dead babies bordered on malpractice. And she’s pretty liberal. As the story turns out, her insitance that I deliver both babies was actually one of the greatest things she did for me, something I will never be able to thank her for enough.
I was whisked down to her office immediately. I had to follow my doctor back through the waiting room with a stupid smile plastered on my face. The doctors aren’t supposed to be there, it’s an ultrasound suite. Earlier that morning I had seen another doctor leave and commented to my husband that it wasn’t a good thing if the doctor had to come up. And here I was following my doctor out of the ultrasound room, smiling stupidly because I didn’t want anyone waiting to think something may have been wrong with me. Why did I think smiling was the best option? We’d just discovered the loss of 2 lives. And the loss of my own as I knew it. Once inside an exam room at my docs office I went through a fairly painful procedure of having rod like medication inserted not my cervix to begin the process of dilating my cervix. The room was filled with her nurses that I have known for years and even the midwife that practices in the same office, for she too has lost a baby at roughly the same gestation. She was there for moral support and also to answer any questions we may have had for her. The plan was for me to return the next morning for a second round of medication then be admitted go the hospital the following evening for an induction.
So I was sent home with a few prescriptions for pain killers. I had to make several difficult phone calls to family members. The thing that really got me was when I told my mom and dad that we had gotten some bad news at the doctor each of them said, ok, what is it? I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what else they thought it may be? You don’t realize in the moment thay you are changing someone else’s life forever, but having to tell both my parents that neither baby had a heartbeat was, well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news. I became a fixture in one of the worst days of their life.
I spent the evening with my mom, S and A mouthing off about how it wasn’t a huge deal. That they were never going to be healthy kids, I didn’t want it to change me, I wouldn’t let it take over my life and a whole other gamet of thoughts and conversations that would turn out to be untrue. Blah. It was an awful day – and it lasted for weeks. It was a day that just wouldn’t end. I will say that I spent the night on the couch crying into the soft fur of Cosmo (or Bubba, as he’s affectionately called around here), who was kind enough to allow me to lay on top of him. I didn’t sleep much, couldn’t, didn’t want to.
So this is where my story begins. This is where my journey starts. In spite of my confused, grief-laden comments on March 23rd I am forever, deeply changed by the loss of my twins. Welcome to my journey to become the person God intended me to be. It’s going to be a long road no doubt, but there is greatness along the way, and my purpose is so much greater than I ever imagined. He has big plans for me and will use this tragedy in my life for greatness. I am so sure of it and I’m excited to walk this road to see how He uses me.