Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How did we get here?

April 7, 2007 we tied the knot after dating for 5 years. We always said that as far as children were concerned "whatever happened, happened" but after three years of "nothing" happening we knew it was time to seek help. We were no longer satisfied begin a childless couple, month after month we felt heartache and pain. So off to Shady Grove we went. (We actually had tried a few other options before even getting to this point, Shady Grove was a last attempt of sorts.) One short IVF cycle later, we got the phone call that we waited three years to get, "Congratulations, you are pregnant."

We knew that there was a chance for twins because we had decided to implant two embryos. (We started out with nine embryos and by the time we got to transfer day only two remained. And no we would not have implanted nine. Two was our limit.) My blood hormone levels were through the roof, and I tried for the better part of four weeks trying to convince Jake that it was indeed twins...I think he finally believed me when we saw that first ultrasound with two heartbeats flickering on the screen.

Fast forward to week 12. I was just outside of the first trimester when I had a bleeding episode that sent me to the ER and landed me on bed rest for my birthday. We were blessed and grateful that the bleeding episode was not a result of miscarriage but rather a small blood pocket that ruptured (common with twins and IVF pregnancies.) Things were going very well after that until we got some blood work results back that showed my AFP levels were elevated, indicating that one or both of the babies could have a genetic disorder.

Two days before Christmas I was sent to the high risk specialists (otherwise know as the Perinatologist or Peri for short) to be evaluated. At that point they could not find an genetic issues via ultrasound, but they recommended we have an Amnio done to get a definitive answer. The risk of miscarriage is 1 in 400 with Amnio, this was not an option to us. We did not need to know, our babies are our babies bottom line. We will love them and give them the best quality of life no matter what. At this appointment we also found out that we were having a boy and a girl. I still remember Jake holding his breath and waiting when they identified Baby A as a girl (he was convinced it was two girls, and as he put it...he'd need all the overtime he could get to pay for bail money when they started dating.) But lucky for him Baby B was clearly a boy.

I should mention that when we got pregnant I very naively though that after all it took to get pregnant, the pregnancy would be a breeze. Clearly I was wrong.

At week 21 I found myself making not one but two trips to Labor & Delivery before we discovered my water had broke with one of the babies (Baby A - Addison). I spent a weekend in the hospital for antibiotics and monitoring. We were told at that point that labor could possibly be occurring sooner then later and that there was a huge risk of infection for both me and the babies. If I went into labor, the babies would not survive...they hadn't yet reached "viability". We were also being told that Addison now appeared to have a heart defect and a disorder known as Micrognathia. The first words out of the Peri's mouth was "consider termination of twin A, it would be better for twin B and then we could test twin A for genetic disorders." And as Jake put it "Hell no. Our little girl is not some statistic or science fair project. She is a living human being, if she decides to give up then so be it, but right now today she has a heartbeat and is alive. Whatever comes our way, she is ours."

I am very happy to say that we were very fortunate to make it to 26 weekson strict bed rest before things got crazy. I spent another three days in the hospital for steroid shots to help develop their lungs just in case...and thank God we got the steroids on board. I was released on a Friday and that following Monday (2/14 - Valentine's Day), I woke up miserable. It was something I could not explain and then the pain started. Nothing and I mean nothing made it go away or eased it, Jake immediately took me in to be checked out. By 7:30 am, I was contracting 2-3 minutes apart. And 10:00 am my OB was standing at the foot of my bed telling me that it was show time and that our twins would be born via c-section by lunch time. We've never been so scared.

The rest was a blur...I remember being in the OR and hearing the doctor call out their birth times 1:10 pm (Addison) and 1:11 pm (Blake). Addison was in the room with me while they had Blake in another OR working on him. Both babies had to be intubated and never even cried at birth. I literally got a peek at Addison as they rushed her out to the NICU. Jake got a peek at Blake on his way to the NICU. It was 5 hours later before I got to meet our little ones for the first time. All I remember was seeing these two tiny little babies with all these tubes and wires and iv's all over the place. I wasn't able to stay with them long because I was still recovering from the c-section (the nurses wheeled me up in my bed as they were taking me to my room on the Mother/Baby floor), but in the time we were there we knew things were not looking so promising, especially for our little girl.

People kept telling us "she is very sick"...thankfully those words later turned into "she's come a long way". It is by far the worst feeling ever being told to prepare for the worse and be ready to make tough decisions in the morning. The biggest blessing to us was finding out the next morning that there were no decisions to be made and our little girl had pulled herself together and rallied. And as for our son...well he was quite the show off and left the doctors and nurses speechless.

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