Mom to Unnamed Baby – November 1999
and twins Ava Sophie
April 13th 2010 – April 17th, 2010
and Zoey Marilyn
April 13th, 2010 – April 15th, 2010
Calgary, Alberta, Canda
I guess my story begins in 1999 when I was only 21. I had an unexpected pregnancy, which resulted in an early miscarriage at only 7 weeks. I was shocked by how much I mourned that baby. For weeks I would cry in the bathroom or in bed at night. I think it was around 6 months before I really moved on.
More than a decade later I gave birth to identical twin girls, Ava & Zoey, on April 13th, 2010. when I was only 23 weeks pregnant. Zoey lived for 2 days & Ava lived for 4. Losing them both has been the hardest thing I’ve ever been through.
I have a wonderful toddler named Fiona. So their father & I were so excited to find out in December that we were having another baby. But when we went for our ultrasound & found out it was twins we were ecstatic. Everything seemed to be going great until my 19 week ultrasound when the doctors discovered they had Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Which is a rare disorder where the twins don’t share the placenta equally & if left untreated usually results in both of their deaths. They immediately had me fly to Toronto for in utero laser surgery & the doctors put a cerclage in at the same time because my cervix was funneling. The surgery was a success & they told me at a later ultrasound that the TTTS was no longer a factor. However, on April 10th my water broke & on April 13th I gave birth.
They were simply too premature to live. Against the doctors advice I had them both resuscitated at birth. However, Zoey died two days later. When it was clear that she was going to die soon, the doctors gave me the option to hold her. Even though I knew she was so fragile that taking her out of her incubator could result in her dying even sooner, I couldn’t resist the chance to finally hold my tiny baby girl. Those moments are among my most precious memories. Thankfully the nursing staff took pictures of me holding her. While I held her I told her why we chose her name, how much we loved her, & who was waiting for her in heaven. My parents also came to say good-bye & my father said a prayer for her. After a while I had to go & pump milk for her sister. I knew as soon as I stepped out of the NICU that I didn’t have the strength to stay there and watch her die. I still feel guilty that she died alone.
Meanwhile Ava desperately tried to hold onto life. However, after the doctors told us she had had 5 brain hemorrhages, was in a lot of pain & would be severely disabled if she survived at all we decided to take her off of life support. I chose to hold Ava as well. However, this time no-one else could be there. Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to bear watching her go I arranged to have a Chaplain come and pray for her & for her to be held until she died. The nurses who were their for the twins birth & through their brief lives held Ava until she was gone. The woman who called to say it was over said she was thankful to have been a part of it.
No one should have to decide whether their children live or die. My heart goes out to everyone who holds the lives of the ones they love in their hands.
Please feel free to e-mail Kari.