I never really thought much about what being pregnant would be like before I actually was. Let’s say it all turned out very differently than I thought it would. My husband and I were very blessed to get pregnant right away. My only “issue” the first trimester was exhaustion and needing to sleep. At our ten-week ultrasound to check in and see our peanut for the first time, we found out that there were actually TWO peanuts. Shock and an array of emotions came over us, and there we were… expecting twins as I neared the end of my first trimester.
Right away, the doctor said that having multiples increased my risk of complication, but I assumed it wouldn’t be me. That only happens to other people, right? About two months before getting pregnant, I started taking my prenatal vitamins, stopped drinking caffeine, and taking any other medications. I was set on doing everything in my power to give my baby(ies) the best start I could, and since I’m a control freak, these were things that I could control.
At our 20-week ultrasound, we were so excited to find out if we would be having twin girls or twin boys (since we knew they were identical). Our excitement came to a screeching halt when a group of two doctors and a nurse came in to give us the news that our girls had what was called Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome. At 20 weeks, one of my girls was 40% smaller than her sister, had no amniotic fluid surrounding her and had no bladder. She was malnourished and failing to thrive. The other twin was suffering from a very serious heart issue, due to the amount of extra blood she was receiving because of the syndrome. Her heart was half the size of her chest cavity. There was a defect in the placenta that they shared and they were not receiving equal nourishment. There are 5 stages in TTTS and my girls were one stage away from death…
Everything “normal” and enjoyable that I had experienced up until this point in my pregnancy was completely gone. I no longer cared about anything but keeping my babies alive. A day later, I was in Cincinnati, OH, getting tests done and preparing for surgery. They performed surgery on my placenta to separate the connecting blood vessels. This was our only hope. To make a long story short, the surgery was successful, but throughout my recovery, I went into preterm labor, which was eventually stopped, and was diagnosed with cholestasis (the worst condition I’ve ever experienced).
I was sent home on so many pills and vitamins that I had to keep a list to keep track of them all. I was also sent home on bedrest (AT 21 WEEKS!). I remember reading a book about bedrest on the first day we got back home and just crying. After mourning the loss of my life and my freedom for the next few months, I knew my new job was to just grow and protect my babies. So I took a lot of pills and kept my butt planted firmly on the couch for the next two months.
Around 28 weeks, my water broke, and I went to the hospital with the fear that my babies were coming too soon. Had I done something wrong? Was I moving around too much? Was I not eating the right foods? After a few steroid shots, IV antibiotics, and a night on the labor and delivery floor, we realized that I wasn’t actually going into labor. I wasn’t dilating and I wasn’t having contractions. So they moved me up to the postpartum floor where I would wait. All of the doctors thought I would for sure go into labor soon, but surprisingly, I didn’t. I spent almost four (of the longest) weeks in the hospital. I was allowed one 5 -minute wheelchair ride outside of my room per day. Although I felt myself slipping into depression, I knew how blessed I was to still be pregnant. So there I sat… this time, in a hospital bed, growing babies.
At almost 32 weeks, I got an infection, the main risk of your water breaking, and started going into labor. I had hoped or planned to have my girls vaginally, as they were both head down, but due to the fact that I wasn’t progressing quickly enough and we didn’t want them to develop the same infection that I had, they were taken via emergency C-section. Because they were eight weeks early and I had a C-section, I didn’t get to see them for and hour and half to two hours after they were born. Not even a glance. I was the one that had suffered and cried for them. I was the one that sat on my butt for three months and I didn’t even get to see them. It was complete torture.
Plans change. In the first part of my pregnancy, I would have never thought or expected that…
… my children would develop a life-threatening condition.
… I would have to have a surgery in the middle of my pregnancy.
… I would have to take more pills than I had ever taken before.
… I would have to sit around for three months.
… I wouldn’t actually care about decorating our nursery.
… I would have to have a C-section.
… I wouldn’t be able to see my babies right away.
… I wouldn’t be able to hold them for two days.
… I would have to leave the hospital WITHOUT them.
… I would have to pump exclusively to feel both of them.
Today, I am beyond blessed to be the mom two healthy girls and wouldn’t change my story or experience, but I didn’t enjoy being pregnant. It was hard to be excited about or celebrate my pregnancy because I lived in fear. I envy those moms who had easy pregnancies and enjoyed every minute. I had hoped to be one of them, but plans change and we have to learn to expect the unexpected when it comes to being a mom. As moms, we learn quickly that it’s in our nature to do anything for our children and that their well-being is more important than our plans.
How was your pregnancy or delivery different from what you had planned or hoped?