Mom to Mattingly Lynn
Died October 2, 2009
Kansas City, Missouri
I found out very early that I was pregnant, about 4 weeks. I just woke up one morning and had a feeling; took a test and it was positive! My husband was scared to death when I told him, but we both started planning about the nugget growing inside of me. I had to scare my husband even more by telling him all the jokes I’d made in the past about having two little blonde girls, was more than a dream of mine – my father was a twin as well as my maternal grandfather. We had a high chance of multiples.
We found out at 8 weeks that we were carrying twins. We couldn’t believe it when the ultrasound tech said, “Here is baby….and here is the other baby!” My husband, Bobby, was so shocked he couldn’t speak and I was thrilled! Finally I was going to get the twins I’d always hoped for! As soon as we left the doctor’s office, we called our family. My Dad was conducting a work meeting, but took my call saying, ”My daughter is calling to tell me if I am getting one or two more grandkids!” Everyone was so happy and excited about our upcoming babies!
My current doctor considered twins to be high risk and he was not a high risk doctor so advised me to contact a few others. My new doctor wanted us to get another ultrasound, and since the timing was about right we thought we might be able to find out the gender of the twins!
I will never forget Tuesday, September 29th through October 3rd 2009. We had an ultrasound on Tuesday morning and then a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon. Our ultrasound was at 8 a.m. at Tampa General Hospital. The tech was such a sweet girl. Bobby and I were so excited to find out. Monday night we stayed up finalizing the different outcome of names! Then the moment came, she told us—they were both girls!! One baby was so funny! She kept following the wand around, every picture had either the top of her head, her hand, a random foot—her daddy decided she was more like her mommy so her name was my choice, Abigail Ann. The other baby was much less active, so we assumed she was the laid back baby like her daddy. Her name was Mattingly Lynn.
I had been watching the tech take measurements and noticed one baby was measuring several weeks larger than the other, but didn’t really think that matter. Babies can be different sizes, my twins surely were perfectly healthy! After our appointment, we were giddy! We again called all of our family and told them of their newest nieces! We did a little shopping and bought their first pink outfits.
At 1 o’clock, we went back to the doctor’s office. My doctor sat us down and said the worst phrase any expecting parents can ever hear: “There is something wrong.” He then explained to us that our twins had something called Twin to Twin transfusion syndrome, a rare disease that occurs when twins share arteries in the womb. One baby is considered the donor and the other is the recipient. One baby donates the nutrients and food to the other baby (hence donor and recipient baby). I began crying and couldn’t stop. I could feel Bobby beside me. He told me that we had to go back to ultrasound to speak with a neonatologist.
That same sweet tech came out and got us. We went back into the same room where just hours before we had been so elated about seeing our girls for the first time. I remember being so confused and angry. How could this have happened to my sweet babies? They weren’t even born yet, why did they have to fight for their lives already?
We were told there were some options, the best one being a risky laser surgery on my uterus. Since this surgery was only done by a few doctors throughout the country, we would have to travel to see one. Lucky for us, there was a doctor in Miami that does this surgery. The neonatologist informed us that there are 5 stages to TTTS and my girls were currently at a stage 3. When I asked how long it takes to progress to the next stage, I was told that I needed to get to Miami within the week or I would probably lose both babies.
Bobby and I made the decision to travel to Miami and meet with Dr. Quintero at U of Miami about the surgery. We again called our family; this time it was more difficult with such scary news. We could lose these two precious babies we had just named, our Abby and Matty. I began to form a shell. I couldn’t hear people tell me it was going to be okay. They didn’t know that, how could they say that? My mother and sister immediately wanted to make arrangements to come down to go to the hospital with us, but I knew I would need them after and asked them to wait to come down. My mother- and father-in-law agreed to go to Miami with us. We didn’t know how quickly Dr. Quintero would be able to get us in, so we weren’t sure what arrangements to make with our employers.
At about noon on Wednesday, I got the call. Dr. Quintero would meet with us the next day. I had an appointment at the hospital at 8am. We were there bright and early. I learned we would be in extensive ultrasounds for the whole day so the doctor could get pictures and measurements of the babies. When Dr. Quintero came in about 6 hours later, he gave us 5 options. 1. Abort both babies. 2. Do nothing. 3. Have the surgery and abort the donor baby. 4. Have the laser surgery and try to save both babies. 5. Try and deliver both babies now and save them after birth. We decided to have the surgery. We knew the risks to the babies and me, but it seemed like the only option to us.
The next day came and I was set up for surgery. They wouldn’t let Bobby go with me so I was alone and terrified. I just kept thinking, “You have to be strong for the girls, you have to be strong for the girls.” The medication I was given made me sick and I threw up several times. There were cameras everyone so I was able to watch the procedure and see my girls while the doctor was trying to sever the shared arteries. It was the most horrible and amazing thing I’ve ever seen.
Saturday morning came and the tech wheeled the ultrasound cart into my room. The tech wore head phones, so we couldn’t hear if there were heartbeats or not. She then packed everything up and told us that the doctor would be in soon to speak with us. When Dr. Quintero came in, he sat on the edge of my bed, Bobby was next to me holding my hand and his parents were sitting across the room. He informed us that we lost the donor baby. She had not been strong enough to make it through the surgery. The recipient baby was stronger though, and had a healthy beating heart.
I couldn’t believe it. We lost Mattingly. Our sweet laid back baby hadn’t made it. Dr. Quintero gave us some instructions for the remainder of the pregnancy sat and talked with us for a while. It all happened so fast. From Tuesday to Saturday, we had found out our girls needed help, got them help and lost one of them. It was devastating.
Since the girls shared the same sac, I continued to carry Mattingly. I had to be very careful with my movements as the surgery was through my uterus and I could rupture with any wrong twist or bend. I was able to carry Abigail until 32 weeks. I stood up at work and felt like I had peed my pants. Bobby came and got me and off to the hospital we went. The doctors did an ultrasound and found that it was actually Mattingly’s body that had started to separate, not Abigail’s, so they decided to keep me on bedrest until 34 weeks if possible. Two weeks later, I was induced and Abigail Lynn made her debut on Thursday morning at 1am. (We changed her middle name to her sister’s). All the doctors were amazed, she was a huge preemie at 6lbs 4oz and 20 inches long. They were amazed at how well her lungs were working and she looked perfect.
We found out the later that morning that Abigail also had a heart defect. She needed emergency surgery to open her pulmonary valve, but after a week of recovery my sweet baby girl was home with Mommy and Daddy. We were told by her pediatric cardiologist that if I would have carried her full term, her heart defect could have caused serious damage to her heart. I will always be grateful to my precious Mattingly for pushing Abby’s delivery along. Abigail will forever have a guardian Angel watching over her.
“Beautiful memories silently kept of a baby we loved and will never forget.”
You can contact Stacy at Tater91682@hotmail.com.