Faith and Grace

Our story starts at eight weeks gestation, shortly after we were surprised by a second pregnancy. We had just gotten over the shock of learning that we were expecting again when we scheduled our first routine ultrasound. We had no reason to believe that this pregnancy would be any different than our first, completely uneventful pregnancy three years earlier, but only 30 seconds into the sonogram, our lives changed forever -- there were TWO heartbeats. We tried very hard to grasp what the sonographer was saying when she casually mentioned that there was no dividing membrane. When we asked what that meant, she told us that it just meant the babies were likely identical.After seeing the doctor a week later, it was explained to us what it meant to have no dividing membrane -- that it meant almost certain death for our babies, that if they did survive, they would likely have lifelong problems, etc. But we were also told not to panic because Monoamniotic twins almost NEVER happen. We were sent to a perinatologist for a high-level ultrasound to determine the presence of the membrane.So at 14 weeks gestation, my husband and I met at the perinatologist's office where they searched for a membrane for more than 90 minutes. Finally, after three sonographers and one doctor, it was determined that we, indeed, were expecting Monoamniotic twins. Again, it was explained to us that these pregnancies rarely have a good outcome and that we might need to consider terminating the pregnancy. We told our doctor that termination was not an option and asked him to move on to alternative plans.He explained to us that our course of action was up to us. WE had to decide when we were comfortable having our twins born, keeping in mind that viability is usually around 26 weeks. We had to make the decision, for ourselves, just how early we'd allow our girls to be born. Just because a child (or children) CAN be born at 26 weeks, does it mean they SHOULD? What if we wait too long and they die in utero? There was no good answer.Once we decided on a time, though, I would be admitted to the hospital for intensive monitoring of the twins. If they showed any signs of distress, they would be delivered immediately by emergency c-section. If they made it to 32 weeks without any problems, they'd be delivered by scheduled c-section.After a lot of agonizing soul-searching, meetings with doctors, nurses, priests, family members and friends, we determined that I would be admitted at 27 weeks and on April 17, 2006, I checked into the hospital, knowing that my babies could be born at any time.I was lucky to make it to 31 weeks and it looked like we were going to be able to get to 32 weeks, until I started to feel sick on May 18. I felt like I had the flu and was too tired and sick to eat, watch TV or even accept visitors. My nurses had gotten to know me and my habits pretty well and were duly alarmed when I started acting so differently. My doctor kept an eye on me throughout the day and talked to me very seriously about delivering the babies, her trepidation in doing so, as well as her desire to get them here safely. We decided to see how I did over night.The next morning (which was a Friday), I woke up feeling the same as I had felt the day before, and my doctor was in my room before 8:00 a.m. She was worried that they may have missed something in my most recent sonogram and didn't want me to go emergent over the weekend, when she and my perinatologist may or may not be able to get to the hospital on time. So the decision was made then and there to deliver my girls at 31 weeks, four days.At 2:11 p.m., Faith Elizabeth was born weighing 3 lbs, 2 oz. One minute later, her identical twin sister, Grace Marie, was born weighing 3 lbs, 12 oz. Grace was born blue-in-the-face and was immediately intubated, while Faith needed only nasal cannulas. Their umbilical cords were examined by the doctors and nurses in the operating room, as it was something none of them had seen before. There were too many knots to count and someone commented, "These girls shouldn't have survived." Both were whisked to the NICU where they each stayed for five weeks. On May 19, 2008, we will celebrate our miracle twins' second birthday. Faith and Grace should have never been -- the odds were stacked against them from the beginning and professionals deemed them, "a lost cause," and urged us to abort. But because of the faith of our community, the grace of God and a team of extraordinary professionals, we have two healthy daughters today. The support of other Mo/Mo moms and the selflessness of others kept me and my husband in check throughout the entire ordeal. For those who are facing a Mo/Mo diagnosis, read the stories and know that you CAN have a happy ending. Know that there ARE women out there who know how desperate, helpless and angry you feel. Know that you are NOT alone and that there are so many people who will talk with you, listen to you and commiserate with you, as we know everything you're going through.

1 comment:

jkstolz said...

As a mother of two and expecting MoMo twins.. I would like to say THANK YOU for your post. I know God would not give me more than I can handle, and these babies (10 weeks, 2 days) are truly miracles, and I hope to have a blessed delivery of 2 healthy babies, as you have done. For some reason monoamniotic.org does not come up for me, and has been flagged by my computer virus software for being malicious, so I am unable to get onto the site. I am hoping and praying for a missdiagnosis of MoMo twins, but if it is, then I will deal with it one day at a time. I am already not sleeping well, thinking all my moving around at night, will make their cords tangle.. I would't want to do anything to hurt their chances of survival. I have a long ways to go, and I'm praying that everything is okay with our babies. My husband and I are very anxious to see them and hold them in our arms.