This week on the blog we have Ryan from @raisingidenticals sharing her story of the early arrival of her Mo/Di twins Connor & Kingston and their time in NICU.
When we first found out we were having mo./di (monochorionic/diamniotic*) twins I had no clue the risks that were involved.
With an extensive google search, that quickly changed. I began to research everything I could just so I could be prepared for what could happen, even though I was still hopeful we could have an uncomplicated pregnancy.
I was 16 weeks pregnant when things started to change. I began to feel sensations that I just chalked up to the babies moving around, especially when we would go on walks. It started to become more intense the more I walked so I called my OBGYN who had me immediately come in. They checked my cervix and according to the tech it was still “nice and long.”
Fast forward 2 days and I had my first appointment with my MFM specialist. He checked my cervix and it was much shorter than when I had it checked two days prior. It was around 2.9 at this point.
He sent me home but the next morning called me. He said he hadn’t been able to get me off his mind and wanted me to come in for another check the next morning. I went back in first thing the next morning and my cervix had already shortened to 2.6. They had me hooked up to monitoring and that’s when we realized all of those sensations I had been having were actually contractions. The doctor decided our best course of action at this point was to place in a pessary as well as prescribe progesterone suppositories and a few other meds to stop the contractions, I took these around the clock.
I was also placed on strict bedrest. I was only allowed to get up to go to the bathroom and make small meals. I was able to leave the house only for doctor’s appointments. My OBGYN cancelled all appointments and I only saw my specialist until I was admitted to the hospital. At around 22 weeks the doctor made it very clear that we were in danger of losing the pregnancy. I refused to accept this and remained positive throughout the rest of my pregnancy.
We had biweekly scans from here on to check on the babies. There had always been a size discordance between them but at around 23 weeks it had grown to 30% and Baby B was in the 3rd percentile and was officially diagnosed with sIUGR. Dopplers were intermittently absent at this point as well. I had my first round of steroid shots at 24 weeks. At 26 weeks, I was admitted to the hospital (after dopplers had been persistently absent) to continue my bedrest there.
At this point, my cervix was at .5 and I never had it checked again. I had ultrasounds 3 times per week and the babies were monitored twice daily. My doctors still did not expect my cervix to hang on much longer, so I had another round of steroid shots at 26 weeks. Everything remained fairly consistent until around 30 weeks when dopplers started showing their first sign of reversal. I was then placed on constant monitoring for the next 48 hours and since both babies’ vitals were good, we went back down to twice daily.
At this point, my specialist decided it was best to schedule a section for 32 weeks as the babies would be better off out than in. Baby B had other plans and at around 8pm on June 9th at 31+1, Baby B had a 4 1/2-minute heart decal. He recovered and it was determined that if he had one more heart decal we were delivering immediately. I was moved to labor and delivery for constant monitoring.
At around 11:30pm, Baby B had another heart decel and at that point we knew we had to get them out. At 1:11am on June 10, 2019, Baby A was born weighing in at 3lbs9oz and Baby B was born at 1:12am weighing in at 2lbs10oz. Baby A came out crying, Baby B did not. Baby A would be on cpap for the next 6 days while Baby B (my sIUGR twin) only needed it for one day.
They would spend the next 6 long weeks in the NICU. While the nurses and doctors you will meet in the NICU will be some of the best you’ve ever met, this part was by far the toughest. I, personally, hold a lot inside (don’t recommend) and didn’t allow myself to dwell on it, but looking back I’m not really sure how I was strong enough to get through any of it. I get a little angry thinking about how much I missed out on when they were first born. I wasn’t there for their first bath; I wasn’t there in the middle of the night if they started crying and needed me. We had to go home every night without our babies and allow someone else to care for them. Pumping during this time was probably the best and worst thing for me.
I despised pumping, it honestly made me feel so many emotions ranging from extreme sadness to uncontrollable anger, but at the same time it gave me something to do. It was something I could do to help them, so I powered through every 3 hours pumping, driving milk to the hospital and stocking up our freezer. We were lucky that the hospital was only a 10-minute drive, so we were able to be there every day. At our hospital, the rules were we could hold them once per shift (so twice per day) for one hour during their tube feeds.
As they became more stable, we were able to hold them for longer periods of time. We would get there 15 minutes prior to do their cares like changing their diapers and taking their temperature. During the rest of their stay, they were on and off oxygen support and had some feeding issues but for the most part had a fairly uneventful stay. They spent the next 42 and 43 days there. Baby B actually came home first.
They are now very healthy 7-month olds. At our 6-month appointment our pediatrician told us that they are acting just like a term 6-month-old would and are so far meeting all of their milestones on time. We learned so much from their incredible team of nurses and doctors and will remain forever grateful to them for the level of love and care they showed our babies. Without them I think our story could’ve ended differently.
To follow along on their journey and see just how much these amazing twins have come along follow along at @raisingidenticals and if you have any questions Ryan i’m sure would be happy to chat 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your story.
(*Mo/Di (monochorionic/diamniotic): These are twins that are in separate amniotic sacs but contained within the same outer membrane. There is a single, shared placenta. (Sometimes designated as MCDA.)