Mom to Sean Edward
and Johnathon Ray
Missed Miscarriage – November 2009
and Chemical Pregnancy – July 2011
Colorado Springs, Colorado
In identical multiple pregnancies, there is one placenta and multiple umbilical cords. Each cord holds either two or three blood vessels, and carries blood and nutrients to each baby.
In Twin to Twin Transfusion, one baby (the recipient) has one of the other baby’s (the donor) blood vessels in their umbilical cord. This can also be caused by the babies sharing unequal parts of the placenta. Because of the unequal sharing of nutrients, the donor baby grows rapidly faster than the donor, and a size difference is usually the first indication that TTTS is taking place.
What happened with us is the first scenario.
I found out I was pregnant for the first time on November 13th, 2008. I had never been so happy. Just when I thought my heart couldn’t possibly get any bigger, that Christmas Eve we found out we were carrying twins! Other than SEVERE hypermesis, I had had quite a normal multiple pregnancy.
I went to see Dr. Stewart (OB) on February 4th 2009, for a routine check up and ultrasound, and every single little thing was perfect. Twenty days later (the day after my 19th birthday, happy freakin birthday to me), i woke up with the typical nausea and heartburn but noticed what i thought was me peeing on myself(it might sound funny, but its not far fetched). I called my mom and she called the doctor. At 21 weeks, I knew then that what was happening was that there was probably a small tear in the bag of water, but I wasn’t concerned, because I know that that can be easily repaired. I left Will (My husband was halfway across the country in AIT training for his military career) a message telling him not to worry, and headed to the hospital.
When I got there the nurse (Annalyn, I’ll never forget any of their names, amazing women) confirmed that there was probably a leak, but was having trouble locating a heartbeat for baby A, and the one found for baby B was very faint. Dr. Stewart arrived shortly and after confirming that the liquid was amniotic fluid, did an ultrasound. At this point i was still not very worried. My mom and i were kind of kidding around, and only noticed that something was up when the doctor’s ever present smile was missing. He calmly explained that baby B’s (the donor, Johnathon Ray) sac was ripped and that he had nearly no water left. He then dropped the bomb, this Twin to Twin Transfusion diagnosis. I had seen a TLC program on it, but that was the extent of my knowledge. As he explained what exactly was happening inside of me, I saw a tear roll down his cheek, and i was instantly devestated. When i asked him what caused it, and why it was happening, i received the most horrific answer a doctor can give you: “I don’t know.” Thats all he could say. He was able to determine that there was an underlying infection in the uterus, and that was what caused Johnathon’s sac to rip. The ultrasound offered the explaination of why baby A’s (the recipient, Sean Edward) heartbeat wasn’t found. He was already falling into the birthing canal, and my body was going into preterm labor.
The Red Cross was called (yet another absolutely wonderful group of people), and William was beginning the enroute process back home. At first we thought that i could make it until the next day when he arrived, but my body had other plans. At about 8:00 pm, labor hit, and i couldn’t wait. Dr. Stewart came and helped break Sean’s bag of water. Because of the abundance of nutrients he was recieving, instead of the average two to three liters of water, there were seven in his sac.
Because of the infection, a c section was out of the question, and everything had to be done normally. The only complaint i have about hospital staff throughout this whole ordeal is Bob the anethesiologist. He is a horrible excuse for a human being. When doing the epidural, he hit a nerve in my back that had been pinched, so the medicine didnt spread properly. About thirty minutes later, i was in complete agony, and we called Bob back to do it again, but he just sat at the nurses station with his feet up on the desk. He told us he was “looking for more medication.”
At approximately 10:00 that night, Sean Edward came into this world 16 weeks premature, but absolutely the most beautiful thing i’ve ever seen. ten fingers, ten toes. bright blonde eyebrows, and his face was the perfect combination of his father’s and mine. He was followed thirty minuetes later by Beautiful Johnathon Ray, who looked exactly like him, but so much smaller. The typical percentage of difference between discordant twins is no more than 25%, and our boys were at 41%. Sean lived for about an hour, and Johnathon never got to take a breath in this world. I nearly bled to death, and if it weren’t for having the most amazing OB on the planet, i think i would have.
Over the next few days in the hospital, Dr. Stewart came to see us whenever he could, just to say hello, or to sit and talk with us, to cry with us.
We had a small service for the boys a few days later, and had them cremated. A lovely organization at the hospital handmade gowns and took pictures. But these are the only tokens we have to remember them by.
Twin to Twin Transfusion is by far the most evil thing I’ve heard of. It is not recurrent, it is not genetic or hereditary. There is absolutely no explaination. It just happens, and it can happen to anyone. Women, please, the minute your pregnancy test reads positive, go to the doctor. Dont wait. And if you are blessed to be carrying twins, request additional ultrasounds and check ups. There are a couple very risky procedures that can help, but only if its caught in time. 20 days was the difference in the life and death of my children. Dont think it cant happen to you.
Since the loss of our twins, I have had two additional miscarriages. One missed miscarriage in November of 2009, and a chemical pregnancy last month, July 2011. I am now almost six weeks pregnant and our fingers are crossed that everything goes as planned.
It’s been almost three years, and not a day goes by that I don’t think of our beautiful sons. The pain never fades, and they will never be forgotten.
You can contact Shannon at firstname.lastname@example.org