Being a mom was something I have desperately wanted over the years. I also was very career driven and wasn't finding the right person to start a family with. As I approached my later thirties, I decided to inquire about pursuing having a baby on my own. After seeing a reproductive endocrinologist, tests showed that my egg count was low and if I wanted to be a mom, I needed to start ASAP. It took me about a year to get my body ready, I had just gone through a cancer scare, needed to lose 10-20 lbs and I was popping out kidney stones like they were candy. 37 and a half years of age, single, and I was finally cleared and healthy as can be and moved forward with IUI.
Getting pregnant on the first try was both exciting and shocking at the same time. I had been told it usually takes 3-5 tries when doing IUI but I got pregnant on the first try. Unfortunately, that ended as a chemical pregnancy and I miscarried at 6 weeks. Sad and disappointed, I forged on!! My doctor cleared me to try again my next cycle and so we did. Not only did I get pregnant the second time around, but I was pregnant with twins!!! I had an inkling that there were two as I have twins on both sides of my family as well as my age and I had had a dream that I was having twins even before I found out. To tell you I was only excited would be a lie, I was also scared out of my mind! I had always planned on at least having two but not exactly at the same time and as a single mom, the thought financially was overbearing to say the least. But my excitement and love for them outweighed any of the worries or concerns.
Every milestone we passed was both alleviating and worrisome. Hitting that milestone was a blessing but worrying about the next one came too quickly and easily. At 12 weeks, to the day, I started bleeding. It was dark brown and had a few clotted pieces. I called my doctor immediately and went in for an ultrasound. I was expecting to see/hear the worst but when they appeared on screen their little hearts were beating away and they were moving around. The relief I felt was like no other. I was prepared to lose them at any point given my miscarriage history, my age and complications with twins. What I was not expecting is what actually happened. And looking back, I should have asked for more testing just to make sure something else wasn't going on. At my 14 week appointment, I saw the perinatologist. The ultrasound was AMAZING!!! Seeing both of them in there, my son going crazy bouncing around and my daughter calm as can be, annoyed we were bothering her. From the screen, everything looked great and I headed to the genetic counselor to discuss the pre-natal testing. That went smoothly as well and a week later got the news that there were no chromosomal abnormalities. YAY!!!!
However, at 15 weeks and 5 days, July 23rd, 2017 became my nightmare. It had started the night before, cramping, pink mucous that turned somewhat bloody and I ran myself into the ER at 2am, again, scared to death. The doctors performed an ultrasound and there they were, my little boy dancing around and my daughter resting, good heartbeats, everything okay. What they DIDN'T check, was my cervix and again, I should have demanded that they did. Not that anything could have necessarily be done but who knows! Unfortunately, with twins, they cannot do the stitch, it would cause more harm than good. So I went home, went to bed, feeling better but still worried because the cramping was not going away. At noon the next day the contractions started. At the time, I didn't know they were actually contractions. Lying on the couch, I decided for the hell of it to start timing them but in reality, I thought no way could I be going into labor this early in my pregnancy and no way could I be miscarrying this late in the game - not that that is late either. They were coming every 4.5 min and lasting for 20-30 sec a piece. By 4:30pm they were unbearable and I called my doc and took myself up to the ER. By the time my sister and mom got there, they were wheeling me back to a room. They performed an ultrasound and again, the babies were doing great, hanging out, waving to mommy. My contractions were then so much closer and I said to my mom "I don't know if I can do this". I wanted to pass out, I wanted to get this pain away and they could not do anything. When I was in between contractions they put an IV in and then the OB Res was able to do a cervix check. This is when I saw her face and heard the words "You are dialated, the babies are coming and there is nothing we can do". I cannot begin to explain the devastation and shock I was feeling. They wheeled me up to the maternity floor and within 7 minutes of arriving, my son was born. My daughter came about 3 hours later.
Heart broken, devastated, grief I could not comprehend, anger at God as to why he was taking them away from me when I have worked so hard to get to where I was and wanted to be a mom so badly. But where there is devastation, there is also hope. I am one of the lucky ones who was able to birth my children, hold them, love them, say goodbye to them, have photos taken of them...many people in my position do not get that chance. I am also lucky AND grateful that this did not happen later in my term and that they were able to find the actual cause of why I went into pre-term labor. An infection called Ureaplasma had caused my cervix to dialate, we don't know if the babies had been infected but it is another reason God took them. If they had been infected, it could have caused them major organ complications or disabilities or pre-term labor and death later on in my pregnancy.
I am still angry as hell with God but every day I get a bigger sense of peace. I even got a special sign from my babies and God that they are with me. I got a tattoo of their tiny footprints on my wrist. The day I went to the tattoo parlor, it was a bit busy. It is first come, first serve as to whatever artist is available, so I sat silently, in crying fits, until my name was called. When I brought them up to the artist, I couldn't control myself and just started crying telling him what had happened and what I wanted. He was a little concerned in how small they were but he said he would do his best to get them exact and perfect. On the back of each card that held their footprints, I had written their names - Buchanan (my son) and Leonor (my daughter). Ten minutes later the tattoo artist came back out. He was visibly unhinged, shaking and on the verge of tears. He came over to me and sat down next to me and said "I hope that this doesn't scare you or sound weird but I am freaking out. I looked at the back of your cards at your babies names and my grandmother's name was Leonor Buchanan". In shock, I immediately started crying. What were the odds that both of my babies names was someone else's full name and not common names to boot? I knew in my heart of hearts that this was a sign from my children that they were with me, they are okay and they are so happy with what I was doing to have them with me forever. He did the footprints perfectly and we chatted about his grandmother and my babies. They even had more in common which was also just as improbable. I had asked for a sign the night before and they answered, my beautiful children are with me.
And I will try and try again until I become a mother to living children. I will not let this horrible situation stop me from having my rainbow baby or babies. And because I know what happened, I have a greater chance of going on to having a healthy pregnancy. I am looking forward to the future and trying to stay as strong as I possibly can. I owe it to my babies, myself and their future siblings.