Wednesday, October 12, 2005

My monoamniotic boys - waiting in heaven

My daughter and son are only 18 months apart and that has worked out well for us. My son was 9 or 10 months old when we started talking about getting pregnant again. I was still nursing at the time, he wasn't walking or even crawling yet, and I was concerned the jump from 2 to 3 would be a lot harder than 1 to 2.

We agreed not to agree and to keep talking about it. We weren't using birth control since I was nursing and my cycle hadn't returned to normal yet. A few weeks later I started feeling bloated and getting indegestion. Since we were planning a date night that included drinking I decided to take a pregnancy test since I had just bought them in bulk. It was pretty shocking (and a little upsetting) when it was positive. My husband just grinned like a pole cat. He was so proud of himself!

I was given an immediate appointment since my OB wanted a due date and my last period was 18 months ago. All she could see on the ultrasound was one yolk sac so I was given another appointment 2 weeks later when she would have more information. By then I was 8 weeks. This was my third pregnancy so there was no reason for my husband to come with me. I laid on the table watching the ultrasound machine knowing what it *should* look like. I saw the two flickers, but pretended not to notice. It couldn't be possible. I just waited. Then my OB said, "Do you see that?" I told her I did, but it must be wrong.

That's when she told me it was twins. After more viewing she said it must be conjoined, I should have a D&C. Then she decided, no, it was just Monoamniotic. She briefly said it was a high risk pregnancy, they most likely wouldn't survive and I needed to see a specialist right away.

That was Thursday. We had to wait until the following Tuesday for an appointment. We saw the perinatologist who told us what we were praying to hear, there was a "very thin" membrane. We were so relieved. We had been researching Monoamniotic all weekend and just didn't know how we were going to survive this pregnancy with the risks and the bedrest. We had already spent the entire weekend grieving and not telling our family about the twins.

I had a typically normal twin pregnancy for 17 weeks. I had terrible morning sickness; my ligaments were painfully stretching. I had shortness of breath, difficulty lifting my 23 lb son, difficulty standing and doing the dishes. We traveled to 4 states in that 17 weeks to visit everyone we wouldn't be able to see at Christmas. We were not allowed to travel after 24 weeks - so we went everywhere.

At 16 weeks it was too hard to leave the house. I finally asked for a handicap placard. I rushed all over town processing the paperwork. I used the placard 4 times - the last time at my specialist appointment where we would find out the gender.

I was 17 weeks +4 days. We were there for a "genetic appointment". I didn't know what that meant. I knew my pregnancy was normal and my first two pregnancies were normal. My AFP test came back negative for Down's and my husband and I were under 30 yrs old. There should be NO problems. I wasn't even prepared for any of the risks.

I casually asked the doctor what exactly this appointment was for as we watched the ultrasound on the monitor, but he was moving too fast for me to recognize any of the body parts. Finally he stopped moving the wand and said, "I don't see any heartbeats." I was shocked and devestated. I asked a few more questions like, "But I just felt them kick a few days ago." To which he told me, "No you didn't. It is too early." So I argued with him. Then he told me the babies had Downs Syndrome, and I said told him my AFP came back negative. He told me that doesn't mean anything, they are always wrong. I stopped talking to him when I realized I would have to deliver my dead babies. I didn't want to go home until it was done. So we didn't. We went straight to my OB, once she confirmed it I was admitted to the maternity ward in the hospital.

I was given cervical to dialate my cervix and start contractions. I waited for almost 12 hours before getting an epidural. Between the pain, grief, worry, and disbelief I didn't sleep. We still didn't know what had caused their death - the specialist had made some casual suggestions but wouldn't know until he got the results of the amnio. 15 hours later my twin boys were delivered. We took one look at them and realized their cause of death. They were tangled in one another's cords. After further review of my chart and ultrasounds it was discovered that my pregnancy was dichronic and that the "very thin" membrane ruptured causing the babies to become monoamniotic. We were relieved to find out that our DNA wasn't the cause of their death, that I could still have children, and that future pregnancies would most likely not be high risk. However comforting that information was in the hospital, it isn't now. I still want my baby boys.

They were delivered at 10 am on Thursday, 9/22/05 - I was discharged by 5 pm after a D&C. We had a prayer service for them the following Monday and one week after their death they were buried at a local cemetary in the "baby" section.

We decided not to tell the kids what happened. My daughter is only 2 1/2 and has likely forgotten that Mommy was pregnant. My son is 1 year and has forgotten what he had for breakfast! :-) We are now debating on when to get pregnant again. Life has always been challenging for me - planning a wedding in 10 weeks, kids 18 months apart, traveling while pregnant with twins. I have chosen to do things that way. Now I feel lazy just caring for my two kids. I feel a little lost. What is supposed to happen now?

It has been only 11 days. I feel better, sometimes. I tried to go to a local support group, but the next meeting isn't for 3 more weeks - they only meet once a month. I found a lady through my church that just lost her daughter (singleton) at 21 weeks. We have spent time talking and it makes me feel less alone.

I want some answers. I need a plan. I need a new direction. I was so invested on having twins - I was depressed at first, after all my son would only be 18 months if they went to term. But we had planned a babyshower, registered for things, decided where to put all the children, and decided it would be our LAST pregnancy. I thank God my husband didn't get a vasectomy like we were talking about. I had visions of 4 little kids, all under 3 years old, walking through church, the grocery store, wherever. I want my boys. My son would have made a great big brother. I guess I'm still sad.

originally written on October 3rd as an introduction to the LAMBS group

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