When I got pregnant with the twins, it was so surreal. I dreamt twice I was pregnant with twins before I even knew I was having them. I felt like it was God’s way of preparing me for this miracle. I was so naive with the process, so this whole twin thing, hit me like a ton of bricks. Februrary 12th 2015 was one of the hardest days of my life. I went to my normal doctor appointment, where I got an ultrasound, and then saw the dr. I layed down to get my ultrasound with my mom and Jensen in the room. They shut the lights off and Jensen started to cry, thinking he had to go to night night. After he settled, I began to study the twins. Realizing one was abnormally larger than the other. In fact, James was the exact same size and position as the last time I saw him for the the gender reveal. I asked Brandy, my ultrasound tech why they looked so different??? She said she needed to step out of the room to look at my charts. Came back and said everything was fine and that I needed to see the doctor. My mom had to leave to go back to work, so Jensen and I waited. It took 45 minutes and I was sitting there knowing in my gut something was wrong. Right before my doctor walked in, Jensen had fallen asleep. Anyone that knew Jensen at the time, that was a miracle. The kid was the worst sleeper.
Dr. Helliwell came in with Brandy and two assistants. He sat in front of me with a box of tissues and said, we believe the twins have some thing called Twin to Twin Transfusion syndrome. I didnt even care what it was. I instantly asked, are they going to survive? He proceeded to say that they are most likely not. I asked if he had other cases like this, and in his 15 year practice, he hadn’t. He did a internship with a fellow doctor who is now a specialist in high risk pregnancies named Dr. Silverman. He said he was going to send over all of my information to him to see if there was something we could do to save them and it was going to take a few hours. I was crying so hard, they wanted to drive me home, but I insisted to drive. I get home, Jensen still asleep, and laid him down. I went directly to my backyard, fell to my knees and began to pray. I knew there had to be answers out there. Ryan came home from work and we sat together calling every specialist in LA ourselves to see if someone could help us. We didnt get anywhere. A few hours later, Dr. Helliwell had called and said Dr. Silverman had set up an appointment for 6am the following day with Dr. Chmait from USC. He specializes in TTTS cases. Grasping onto whatever we could to save these babies, still unsure as to what we were dealing with, we drove to LA and stayed in a hotel impatiently waiting for our appointment.
On February 13th 6am, we learned so much about TTTS. Ten percent of twins are identical, ten percent of identical twins are modi twins. Modi twins share the same DNA and blood. They survive off transferring blood and nutrients back and fourth to one another. Jude was recieving all the blood and nutrients and didnt know how to give it back to James. Jude was in conjestive heart failure and had fluid around his heart, brain and spine. James was lacking organs and was over three weeks behind in growth. Dr. Chmait had explained that if we didn’t catch this, they were within 24 to 48 hours of death. They had stage 4 TTTS, stage 5 was death.
We had three options. Abort them both, cut the life of one and not the other or save them both. If we went with saving them both, I had a large hematoma where they needed to perform the surgery and if it burst, we would loose them both instantly. If they did survive the surgery, there was a fifty fifty chance, they were going to be mentally retarded, deaf or blind. Because we had one of the worst cases, he suggested if we did save them, to be prepared for the worst. I kept asking him, if I was his wife, what would he do? He couldnt answer. I was looking at Ryan wondering, how I was going to take care of three kids, two with handicaps? Ryan looked at me and said, I support you on any decision you make and we can get through anything. After an hour of debating every inch of each outcome, an overwhelming sense of peace came over us and we knew God was with us. We decided that whatever the outcome was, they were meant for us. With a 10% chance of survival, we decided to try and save them both. In order to save them, they had to cut a tiny hole in the side of my belly to laser the placenta in half to give them each their own blood flow.
Twenty four hours post surgery on February 14th, there were two heart beats on the screen. They survived, my Valentines. In tears, I remember being so relieved, but so unsure of our future. I had to be on bed rest for a month and after that, they wanted me moving. We had two doctor appointments a week for the rest of my pregnancy. They studied every part of the boys, from their brain waves to bone size. It was exhausting and so emotional. Towards the end, their legs stopped growing, they couldnt figure out as to why. They set the delivery date at 34 weeks, Jude still had CHF and I remember asking if he was ever going to have a normal heart. I always had a ton of questions I would write in the notes on my phone, so when I got there, I wouldnt forget. Most of my questions never had answers because there weren’t a lot of cases and all of them turned out differently. I cant even put into words the saddness I felt, due to the unknown. This process was so heart wrenching for me. One week they would be progressing and then the following they weren’t, it was a rollercoaster.
I went into labor the same day my sister gave birth to my nephew, Tucker. There for a second we thought our family was going to be blessed by three babies in one day! They ended up being able to stop my labor to make it to our goal, 34 weeks. One day in the belly is like five days on earth. Everyday counted. On May 28th 2015, I gave birth to two tiny angels. It was so surreal to hear two screams. They took them to the NICU where I got skin to skin, a dream that came true for me. I wanted that moment so badly because I didnt get skin to skin with Jensen. Not only did I get skin to skin with one baby, but TWO! The twins were in the NICU for over a month and they have came to be perfectly healthy little beings. This process was by far a life altering moment for me. I’ve learned that in the mist of chaos, if you take a second to sit in silence, you can hear God. Honestly, there isnt a day that goes by that I don’t think of this situation. I am Blessed beyond measure and couldnt have gotten through it without God, my husband, Jensen’s smile, and our families.
God’s grace guides me everyday as a parent. I hope my story inspires a mom that is going through a hard pregnancy. If I had any advice, I’d want her to know to lean on God with all her heart, prayer is key, surround yourself with family, and lastly, its ok cry. Life is rough sometimes and its ok to grieve those emotions. After the twins were born someone asked me, “Do you think they just told you all those hard things just because they had to?” I responded, “No, I believe in miracles and the power of prayer.” Science and statisics showed odds were against us, but God showed me, he’s real.
This post is dedicated to my Valentines. The running joke for this aftermath, is God must be saving some amazing daughter in laws after all I’ve been through!