Sunday, October 3, 2010


Jeanie
Mom to twins, Chloe Danielle and Zoe Grace 
Stillborn at 22 weeks on August 20th, 2007
Due to undiagnosed Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome
Frederick, Maryland

I was 39 years old, working full-time and trying to divide myself between two toddlers, two high school seniors and a full blown (and quite ugly) custody battle over my two elementary school aged daughters who had been kidnapped by their father (my ex) two years prior. My marriage wasn’t exactly the Rock of Gibraltar sort of relationship during that time and honestly having a baby wasn’t exactly in the forefront of my mind. But there I was. Pregnant. Again. 

And I was ecstatic.

To say not everyone else shared in my excitement would be the understatement of the year. My husband was as anti-“having another baby” as a person could be. Let’s leave his reaction at that. My mother in law simply raised her eyebrows and said “Oh”.  The list of naysayers went on and on.

This pregnancy was different from the start. You see, I KNEW I was pregnant before I took the test. I felt it. I had sore breasts. I was exhausted. I was beyond nauseous. My hands and feet were already swelling at night. When I decided to take the pregnancy test there were two definite lines before I even finished holding it in the urine stream. I was PREGNANT. So I called the doctor and made the confirmation appointment. The next day he confirmed I was indeed pregnant although he was a bit surprised I even felt compelled to take the test. The transvaginal US showed a pregnancy but I was only about 5 weeks pregnant. So he scheduled another appointment for me to return in three weeks.

Those three weeks were filled with the looks and sneers of co-workers and snide comments of family members at my “even thinking” about having another baby. They were also filled with intense pregnancy symptoms. I called my mother and told her that I was sure there had to be two babies “in there” because there was just no way one baby could make me feel like this at 5 weeks.

I was right.

At my 8 week appointment the doctor began the US and the smile covered his entire face. He told me I was having two babies and I swear I squealed! The staff were all excited and hugging me and frankly probably freaking out one or more of the younger , newer moms-to-be sitting in the waiting area. I floated out of the office and back to work and announced my news to the replies of “OMG are you insane?” or “better you than me” and my favorite…  “omg,I would slit my wrists.”. I didn’t care. I was on top of the world. I was having twins…..two babies…..what an incredible blessing!! It couldn’t have been more perfect.

And I couldn’t have been more wrong.

With the exception of the negative reaction of “the others” (although the kids were over the moon like me) and even my husband the pregnancy went well. Perfect. Uneventful. This fact was made more amazing by the fact that according to the medical community I was of “advanced maternal age” making me high risk. I am also a Type 2 Diabetic-again high risk. And I had a difficult delivery with baby #2 (10 pounds 4 ounces and 21” long would make it difficult for anyone!!) and complications with baby #5 which nearly caused her to die in utero. Definitely high risk. Because of those risks I saw my OB for a checkup and US every other Wednesday and on the Wednesdays in between I saw my Perinatologist. They asked about all the tests which I promptly declined. I am taking home whatever God chooses to bless me with, thank you very much. And I continued with my uneventful and perfect pregnancy.

But it didn’t stay perfect.

On July 31st, I was 400 miles from home in what would be the magic hearing for my kidnapped daughters. I waddled out of that courtroom and with the entire police department in the small town they had been living for almost two years went to retrieve my daughters. It was very traumatic for all parties but the end result was that they were finally coming home. And before the end of the year I would bring home two more little girls and we would be a big and blessed family! And I would adore every chaotic moment! I was so happy to share with my daughters that mommy was pregnant with identical twin girls and they seemed so happy to learn they would have new sisters.

I wanted to make them as much a part of this as possible to help ease the transition back to our home. They went with me to my weekly US appointment and you could see the joy on their faces when they watched their tiny sisters dance around in my belly. I will never forget that look. Or the ones that would follow much too soon.

Two weeks later I was getting ready for bed the evening before my weekly appointment. It was Tuesday night, August 14th. And I couldn’t sleep. I felt “off”. I can’t explain it now any better than I could then. All I know is there was this pall and it surrounded me…..it was palpable and no matter what I told myself I couldn’t shake it. Something was wrong. The babies were still moving although not as fervently as usual but moving nonetheless. So I chided myself for being silly and finally fell asleep. I would never feel them move again.

Wednesday morning I waited for my OB to start the US as usual. We exchanged friendly banter over the kids at home, the people at work and how big my belly had gotten since last week. He told me he was inclined to start some modified bed rest but would decide after seeing the girls. And then the smile and all color drained from his face.

I remember looking at the nurse-she had her hands over her mouth and a look of devastation on her face. I looked back at the doctor. My brain was screaming that something was wrong but I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to hear him say it. But I knew. That’s when I felt his hand slide over mine and I heard his voice – although it seemed to come from some other planet- “Jeanie, I am so sorry. There is no heartbeat. I am so sorry. They’re gone.”

The next five days were a blur. ( I waited to deliver until my mother could arrange someone to cover her schedule at the hospital where she works and get a flight to be with me.) The kids were heartbroken. And I was just broken. Looking back now I think the kids were as heartbroken and even scared at seeing their mother broken as they were at knowing their sisters had died.

Chloe Danielle and Zoe Grace were delivered on Monday, August 20th,2007. They were born one minute apart-Chloe coming at 12:27pm and Zoe at 12:28pm. They were tiny. Beautiful. Perfect. And they were never coming home.

We would find out later that they had suffered from a very quick onset of severe twin to twin transfusion syndrome. To the best of their abilities the doctors believe that they died very quickly and very close together. If I take solace in anything , it’s knowing that. It’s knowing that my daughters spent literally every moment of their lives together. It’s knowing that I never had to make the unbearable choice of saving one or the other as parents of TTTS babies sometimes are required to do. It’s knowing that they didn’t suffer. It’s knowing that while I never got to hold their warm bodies and tell them goodbye I also never had to watch them die. It’s knowing that someday, when it’s my time…. I will meet my daughters for a second time. Until then I continue to know, cherish and count my blessings here on Earth (all six of them) every single moment of every single day. And I continue to know, cherish and count my blessings (both of them) in Heaven. 

You can contact Jeanie at Gneenabttl1@hotmail.com

1 comments:

Ausmerican Housewife said...

Oh my, a huge hug to you dear blm sister!

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