Mom to Cohan and Gavin

June 11th, 2011

Wilmington, North Carolina

March 9, 2011 was one of the happiest days of my life.  After eight months of being off of the pill, I had a positive pregnancy test.  Later I found out I was exactly five weeks on that day.  This was the first pregnancy for my husband and I.  We were not really trying, but we were not preventing… we were just going with the flow. We were so excited to begin this new chapter in our lives.  I consulted my OBGYN the following week to confirm my pregnancy and schedule my first appointment.  We couldn’t wait.  At ten weeks we went for our first visit and ultrasound.  To everyone’s surprise, we saw not one, but two little peanuts on the screen.  We couldn’t believe it, and neither could our family.  We were totally beside ourselves with joy.  Two tiny miracles, on our first pregnancy, and without fertility help.

Due to the pregnancy being twins, we were scheduled to see the neonatologist specialist right at thirteen weeks.  The appointments went great.  I was told to plan to stop working between twenty and twenty-four weeks due to the physical strain of my job as a Dental Hygienist.  As the appointments came and went, we were more and more excited.  Due to a tiny house, we decided an addition was needed… so began that project.  It moved pretty fast in the beginning due to the time factor.  Our lives were super crazy, stressful, and joyous all at the same time.  At sixteen weeks, we found out we were having boys… and identical ones, at that.  My husband was over the moon.

At my eighteen weeks, one day appointment, our world changed forever.  It was one day after the best birthday that I had ever had.  Even though all I did was work on my birthday, it was the best because I had my two boys in my belly.  It was the best feeling in the world.  At the doctor’s office, my husband and I went in as usual, grinning from ear to ear.  The technician was in the middle of the ultrasound, when she got up and excused herself.  I remember telling my husband that I hoped we were not going to get bad news.  At that point, I started to worry, but told myself that it was nothing… I was just being silly.  When the Dr. and technician came back into the room, his brow was tense, and right off the bat he began asking me questions about how I was feeling.  I told him that I had begun to feel flutters the week before, and movement the current week, but nothing strange or painful.  After looking at the ultrasound for a minute, he turned to us and said the most unforgettable words I have ever heard.  “Something has happened…. These babies are no longer alive.”  Shock.  Total shock was all I felt.  He told us that from the image, he could tell that the babies died due to heart failure, but he could not tell what caused the heart failure.  He gave me time to get dressed, and told us that he would speak with us about what we needed to do from there.  I remember looking at my husband and bursting into tears.  All I could say was “I can’t do this… I just can’t handle this.”

The Dr. informed us that I needed to be induced to deliver.  We could do it right then, or wait a few days or a week if we wanted.  I asked him about the movement I had been feeling, and he informed me that my body had already begun contractions.  I couldn’t believe it.  I remember feeling so angry that I didn’t know that my babies were in trouble and had died.  I was so angry that I thought contractions were movement.  We decided to go home that evening and try to rest, then go to the hospital the next day for the induction.  After calling our family, we sat and cried all night.  My parents and sister, and my husband’s parents all showed up the next morning.  They all stayed the whole weekend while I was in the hospital, taking turns staying with me.  Still in shock, on pain medication, and an emotional wreck, I was so grateful to have such a wonderful family.  They and the staff at the hospital made all the difference in the world. 

Twenty four hours after my labor was induced, I delivered Cohan Bernard.  Six minutes later, his brother Gavin Todd emerged.  They were beautiful and perfect.  Ten fingers, ten toes…. everything.  Cohan was slightly smaller that Gavin, and very red in color.  The Dr. explained that Cohan’s umbilical cord was twisted very tight near his belly, and that caused his nutritional and blood supply to be cut off.  Because they were identical and shared a placenta, blood was rushed to Cohan in order to try to save him.  In this process, blood was taken from Gavin.  It’s called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome.  I couldn’t grasp any of this at the time.  All I knew was that my babies were perfectly healthy, and gone too soon.

 The nurses cleaned and dressed our little ones in tiny caps and blankets.  They were so precious.  I felt complete when they laid them in my arms.  I wanted to hold them forever.  Our pastor did a special blessing for the babies after they were born.  Our family took turns holding them and loving them like Grandparents and Aunts do.  Photos were taken, then my husband and I were given time alone with our sons.  Our little family… I was so heartbroken. 

My husband’s brother flew in from Florida to attend the funeral.  We invited only immediately family and the pastor.  It was the most heartbreaking day of my life.  I wanted so bad to just take them out of their tiny casket and take them home, where they belonged.  My husband and I are still taking one day at a time.  I feel that I am changed forever.  I now have a much bleaker sense of reality.  My world will always be a little darker.  Through a very supportive family and many supportive friends, I am able to get out of bed each morning.  Sometimes it is much harder than others, but I do it anyway.  I look forward to the day that I get to Heaven, and my boys are there to greet me at the gates.  Though this is the worst heartache I have ever felt, I am so grateful for the time I had with my little Cohan and my little Gavin.

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  1. Marrissia Batson says:

    Although I have heard your story before, I still cried while reading this. I am so sorry for your loss & I hope your heart starts to feel better soon.

  2. Melissa,
    I am so sorry for your loss. My girls experienced TTTS in 2006. They were delivered at 34.1 weeks healthy, but my precious Megan (donor) died 3/26/07 due to SIDS. Losing a child is horrific and my heart aches for the loss of your precious boys. I live in Wilmington also if you want to email me: It would be nice to have another mom who has experienced the horrors of TTTS.

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