When we found out we were pregnant the first time, I had a feeling that we were having multiples. I just wasn’t sure how many. My husband almost hit the floor when the doctor labeled “fetus C” on the ultrasound. Though we had three fetal sacs, fetus c did not have a heart beat. Our doctor explained that our third sac was a “vanishing twin” (or in our case a vanishing triplet) and it was believed to be very common. Most women do not know they had an extra fetal sac since it is absorbed by the body before their first ultrasound. Sure enough, at our eight week ultrasound the third fetal sac was gone.With this pregnancy, our excitement quickly turn to fear as we waited for our first ultrasound. Women with multiples are found to be at a higher risk of developing preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome. Whenever injectable drugs are used during fertility treatments, the risk of having multiples is high. Unlike my first pregnancy, I didn’t think I was having multiples this time. Maybe it was mother’s intuition, but I wouldn’t know for sure until that first ultrasound. Everyone in the room let out a sigh of relief as we saw just one fetal sac with a very strong heartbeat.
A rainbow baby is a baby that is conceived after a miscarriage, stillborn, or infant loss. It represents the hope that a rainbow gives after a storm. Rainbow babies are a blessing, but a rainbow pregnancy is much different because those of us carrying rainbow babies have lost the innocence that comes with a healthy pregnancy. With the twins, even though we were constantly warned that we were high risk, I never focused on the negative or the dangers that could happen. I constantly daydreamed about my two beautiful children and holding both babies in my arms. My husband and I laughed and argued over baby names. We would try and guess the genders based on ultrasound pictures and heartbeat rates. My husband double fistbumped the air when we found out we were having two boys, and we argued whether they would be Cleveland Browns or Pittsburgh Steelers fans. It never crossed our minds that we wouldn’t be able to bring both of our children home.
Being pregnant after losing a child has brought on a paralyzing fear that has constantly plagued this pregnancy. Shortly after finding out we were pregnant, the nightmares began. Most nights I would jolt awake having dreamt that I was bleeding, having a miscarriage or the doctor was unable to find a heartbeat. Then the old nightmares I had after losing our son returned and I would dream that I was also losing my surviving twin. I would walk into my son’s room to make sure he was breathing and hug him tight as I fought back the tears that were threatening to fall. The further along we get, the dreams have started to change, reminding me how I almost lost my life with our last pregnancy and I keep having to fight a paranoia that I am getting sick again.
Since my last pregnancy ended in the development of severe preeclampsia and class I HELLP, we had to have an emergency c-section at 29 weeks. I’m actually one of the lucky ones. I began showing symptoms at 24 weeks and was on my doctor’s radar. I started having severe symptoms a week before delivering, but I thought I was being a wimp. Luckily on the day my boys were born, my doctor called and asked me to come into her office, just to check on the twins and my blood pressure. The next day she told me that had I not come in, I would have come in later that night via an ambulance and might have had a different outcome. No one could believe how sick I was, sitting there chatting and laughing as I listened to the strong heartbeats of my beautiful boys.
Because of the high risks associated with being pregnant, there are many preventative measures that we have to do in the hopes of going full term and HELLP free. With this pregnancy I have been taking a daily dose of low dose aspirin in addition to giving myself daily Lovenox shots into my stomach. Since I had gestational diabetes with the twins, I took and failed the glucose test at 12 weeks instead of later in the pregnancy. The diabetes has been harder to control this time, so in addition to the lovenox shots, I am also giving myself four shots of insulin a day. On top of all of that, thanks to the blood transfusions that I had after the last pregnancy, I contracted two antibodies that I didn’t have before and now have to have monthly blood draws to make sure there are no isoimmunization problems that can cause anemia to the baby or hurt me. Also, because doctors love to mention this, I am officially of advance maternal age having turned 35 last month.
What does all of that mean?
Not everyone can say they are bffs with their OB-GYN office. I joked with one of the nurses about being placed on the office speed dial. I grin and clench my teeth as I attempt to find a non-painful place on my bruised stomach to inject a shot. I patiently wait for the call from the endocrinologist that says there is another increase to my insulin and make sure I am keeping track as I jab the needle into my thigh. I do what any mother would do in order to protect their child and carry this baby as long as I can. Then I hope and pray that when the day comes, I can bring this child home with me.