Birth Story, Part 2

Early the morning of my level 2 ultrasound, I was sitting in the light of our Christmas tree, checking for movement. We now knew both babies were girls, but didn’t yet know they were identical. Once I was able to feel the twins’ kicks, and even distinguish one baby’s from another’s, I wasn’t as uncertain going into doctor visits anymore. But that morning I was unsettled. There was movement, but from only one place.
During the scan, the tech went through her measurements of Baby A, and we all noticed how active she was. Then, when she looked at Baby B, I noticed how this baby’s head looked a little squashed, and she was lying on her side like someone napping in a hammock. The tech had trouble taking some of her measurements, but during all of this initial stuff, I still didn’t realize anything was wrong.
After a really long wait, 3 medical personnel came in and shared with us that our girls were suffering from a disease called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Basically, the placenta was giving Baby A too much, while not giving Baby B enough. There was an incredible amount of fluid in Baby A’s sac (making me incredibly huge and uncomfortable), and next to nothing in Baby B’s. The sickness was severe; if we did nothing, they both could die. If we wanted to try to help them, there were a few different options, but we would have to do something right away. They wanted me to be admitted that evening to the hospital. I remember the shock I felt after they all stopped talking. Luke and I looked at each other- What now? After they left us alone, we embraced and prayed about the situation. We knew we could not just do nothing, but we weren’t sure what to do, either. The nurse who worked with the OB on our case there at OSU talked with us further about the situation, and we decided that we would go home for the night and pray about what to do the next day. There were two different procedures on the table: one was to just drain off some of Baby A’s fluid, and hope that Baby B would recover once that extra weight was off her. The other was to go in with a laser and try to cut off some of the blood vessels in the placenta that were feeding into Baby A, so that both babies could get a more equal share. We talked about it, called friends and family to pray about it, and asked my OB his take on it, and decided the next morning we’d go in for the laser procedure.
I had to have an epidural for this laparascopic surgery, my third one. Everyone was so nice in the operating room; they understood what an upsetting thing this was, to have the twins be in danger. Plus, this procedure was rather new, so it was like I was contributing to their research, which made me feel good. When they set me back on the table, though, my blood pressure dropped really quick, and I felt like I was dying. The doctor and the nurses were all gathering around my head, rubbing my arms and talking to me. It was awful. I kept saying Psalm 103 to myself to try to stay awake (and I think people who enter Heaven quoting Scripture might get something special…kidding!), until finally I started to feel more normal. At least as normal as one can with no feeling from the ribs down.
I was awake the whole time, only a little sedated, so I could hear them talking while they worked. “This one? Where’s its origin?” or “Look at that bunch there…” Kinda weird.
Before and after the procedure, I was visited by my paster and one of the elders. After the procedure, my pastor read Psalm 103 aloud, and I cried.
I was taken to a room where I would be kept overnight, and then in the morning the doctors would check on the babies to see how they tolerated the surgery. It was a double room that I shared with a girl who was having preterm labor. It seemed like every hour she had to wear a fetal monitor for a few minutes, so I kept hearing that galloping sound throughout my stay. It didn’t bother me, though- I don’t think hearing a healthy baby’s heartbeat ever could.
Morning came, and I was hopeful. I’d been feeling movement all night, so I was reasonably certain things were fine with the twins. My hopes were confirmed when both babies showed strong heartbeats via ultrasound. We were so happy.

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