Madelyn Elizabeth born and passed away on November 16, 2011 at 22w3d
Liam James born and passed away on November 18, 2011 at 22w5d
After two and a half years of infertility and three cycles of Clomid/Ovidrel/IUI, my husband and I were overjoyed to find out we were expecting and were due in March 2012. At seven weeks, we found out we were expecting twins! Through the shock, we were beyond thrilled.
My pregnancy was incredibly uneventful until I got to 19 weeks. I noticed some dark brown spotting and went to the doctor. He couldn’t find a reason for the bleeding, so I was sent to my high risk doctor the next day for an ultrasound. When I had that done, we found out that we were definitely having a boy and a girl! I also learned that my cervix was measuring at 3.5 centimeters. The ultrasound tech and the doctor assured me that was a good measurement and there was no apparent cause for my bleeding. I was sent home with the instructions to take it easy for the rest of the weekend.
My anatomy scan was scheduled for the following Tuesday. By that time, the bleeding had stopped and I was feeling great. The ultrasound showed everything was as it was the previous week. My cervix was still measuring fine (though I didn’t get an exact measurement), and the babies were healthy and active. Since everything was looking good, my husband and I finally decided to create our registry (I had been putting it off because I was so paranoid something would go wrong). We had a blast going through the baby aisles of Target, daydreaming about using all this stuff with our son and daughter. About halfway through the registry, I started to feel some gas pain and pressure. I just assumed it was the typical pregnancy constipation. By the time we got home, the pressure was pretty intense, so I laid in bed the rest of the evening, drank water, and watched television. I kept going to the bathroom to try to relieve the pressure, but it didn’t really help. I eventually decided to go to bed early and hope that I felt better in the morning. When I went to the bathroom one last time before turning in, there was bright red blood on the toilet paper. I knew something was seriously wrong and rushed to the hospital.
When I got to the hospital, I was taken straight back to the labor and delivery triage. I was instructed to provide a urine sample, and I was mortified when the contents of the cup were bright red. As I situated myself in bed, I was hoping that it was just a severe bladder infection. A doctor came in and did an ultrasound. I was terrified that I was having a placental abruption, but everything looked fine. The babies were moving around and their placentas were still intact. The doctor then did a pelvic exam. It hurt more than normal, so I knew something was wrong even before she said that I was dilated and my membranes were bulging. I was immediately admitted, taken to a room, and hooked up to an IV and a catheter. I was told that I would deliver in the next 24-48 hours, so I needed to start making decisions regarding comfort care, names, and funeral arrangements. I just remember staring at the ceiling, shaking uncontrollably. My bed was placed so my head was near the floor and my feet were in the air. I was given some pain medication because I had started contracting, and I eventually fell asleep.
The next morning, my OB and my high risk doctor came to see me. Again, I had an ultrasound and a pelvic exam. I found out that I was almost completely dilated, so I couldn’t receive a cerclage. Both doctors explained that I would definitely lose my daughter in the next couple of days, but that they could try to save my son by keeping my daughter’s placenta from delivering, doing an amnio to make sure there wasn’t an infection, and then doing a cerclage. I agreed that I wanted to do whatever I could to at least save him. I was so completely devastated and scared.
Somehow, my daughter and I were able to hold on for two weeks. I spent that whole time in bed, with my head near the floor. My husband didn’t leave my side and was a blessing. He fed me, did my hair, and even took care of the bed pan when my catheter was taken out. Unfortunately, during that time, my little girl had moved down so her legs were descending into the birth canal, and I had developed tachycardia (my heart would just start beating ridiculously fast for no reason). On the plus side, the doctors were cautiously optimistic that I could make it to 24 weeks. We even began planning a transfer to another hospital so my babies could have access to the best NICU in the area. All I could do while I was laying in bed was hope and pray that we would make it to that 24 week mark so my babies would have a chance.
Unfortunately for me, my luck ran out when I reached 22w2d. I had been on a continuous morphine drip since the second day I was in the hospital, and the doctors decided to turn it off. I wasn’t having much pain, so they said they would give me other medications if my back started to hurt again. Within a few hours of being taken off the drip, I started to feel some lower back pain and some tightness in my uterus. Before I could get something for the pain, my water broke. I just remember screaming some profanities and bursting into tears. I also remember apologizing to my husband and to our daughter over and over. The doctor came in, checked me, and did an ultrasound. I couldn’t look at the screen. She confirmed that my water had broken and that my daughter was coming. I was given some strong pain medication, and I fell asleep. When I woke up a few hours later, I was surprised that I wasn’t having any major contractions (I really just felt a constant pressure with a little pain). I turned down the epidural because I figured I wasn’t in much pain and that my baby would come out in one push. I soon learned how stupid that reasoning was…
In the morning, I woke up to my OB, high risk doctor, and some nurses wheeling in all the necessary delivery equipment. The OB checked me and found that my daughter’s head was stuck. She began to try to maneuver her out, but I was in so much pain that the high risk doctor decided to go ahead and move to the OR so I could get a spinal block and they could attempt to keep my son in. When we got to the OR, I couldn’t sit up to be given the spinal block. The anesthesiologist repeatedly jabbed the needle into my spine as I was curled up on my side, hysterically crying and begging to be put under. After about ten failed attempts (two of which made it into my spine but caused excruciating pains to shoot down my legs), I was put under.
When I woke up, I heard the sound of a little heartbeat on the monitor. I knew that my son was still with me. My daughter was in the nursery, being held and loved by my in-laws. My little Madelyn Elizabeth was born on November 16th and lived for nearly three hours. She was my little fighter and had even grabbed on to her daddy’s finger when he was holding her. I had selfishly decided before I delivered that I didn’t want to see my babies if they were born so early. I had convinced myself that I couldn’t handle seeing them and holding them, knowing that my body failed them and that they were going to die because of it. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I was convinced that my babies would hate me for what happened. This is my greatest regret and will be something I will have to live with for the rest of my life. At the time, I thought that seeing her would make it harder for me to be strong for my son. I wish someone had told me how wrong I was and would have forced me to see my daughter and tell her how much I love her. My heart aches to take back my decision.
The next day and a half is a blur. I learned that my cervix had closed and lengthened on its own after I delivered, so I didn’t have to worry about having a cerclage placed. I also learned that the amnio showed there was a possible infection around my son (we wouldn’t know for sure for a while). I was allowed to sit up and even took a shower. We were again cautiously optimistic that we would make it to 24 weeks. However, 36 hours after Madelyn was born, I began contracting hard and fast. The doctors wouldn’t do anything to stop my labor since there was a chance of an infection. Four hours passed, and I was in unbelievable pain. I kept telling myself that I deserved the pain for the way I failed my babies. My husband eventually couldn’t take seeing me like that, so he asked if I could have an epidural. Within five minutes after the anesthesiologist left, my OB came in and checked me. It was time to deliver. My son was also breech, and his head was stuck (just like his sister’s). I was very lucky that she didn’t force me to push. She simply spent some time, and maneuvered my son out. Again, I decided not to see or hold my baby, but my in-laws were there for me again, and my mother-in-law held and rocked my little Liam James all 23 minutes he was alive outside the womb.
My life since the birth of my children has been full of so many mixed emotions. I am devastated and defeated. We tried so hard to get pregnant, and our babies were ripped away from us. Everyone around us is announcing pregnancies, and I am having a very hard time dealing with this. My husband and I have decided to start trying again and are on our second cycle of the same protocol that got me pregnant before. Honestly, I am not hopeful that this will work again, but I feel this intense need to try. We met with our doctors and have a plan in place that involves a preventative cerclage and shots to keep my uterus from contracting. I vow to do everything in my power to make sure I do not lose another child because the pain that comes with this loss is something that has completely destroyed my world.
You can read Elyce’s blog at enduringtherain.blogspot.com
Elyce can be reached at email@example.com