Shortly after Sophie's first birthday, Judd and I decided to start the in vitro process again. We had two frozen embryos just waiting for us to give them a chance at life. Everything went so smoothly when we did in vitro and had Sophie. Our Sophie embryo was fresh, and these were frozen. Would in vitro work for us this time too? We used both embryos to give us the best chance that one would make it. For the past year I had a framed picture of these embryos on my nightstand. I'd hold the little picture as say, "Momma is coming to get you and bring you home." To me, they were my future kids, not embryos, not blobs.
The clinic did a blood pregnancy blood test about a week after the in vitro process. I had a feeling I was pregnant because I didn't feel well. The phone call came with the test results confirming I was pregnant. The pregnancy hormone level was 97, a perfect number for one healthy embryo. A week later they did another blood test to confirm I was still pregnant. I was, and I felt it. Just a few weeks pregnant, morning sickness was already starting. Yuck!
At my first ultrasound appointment my doctor pointed out the baby's beating heart and little amniotic sac. I pointed to another section of the screen and asked, "What's this?" She replied, "And there's its buddy! There's its beating heart and its amniotic sac."
And time stood still.
"Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me?" I kept repeating. There are two?! Yep. Two. Two babies. Two. One, Two. Two…Two. My husband smiled from ear to ear. He was so happy he could not contain himself. I, on the other hand, could not even wrap my brain around it, accept it, or talk about it for five days. Two babies. In me. At the same time. Plus a one year old. Two babies! So much for the "97 hormone level usually means one healthy embryo." Ha! I was not prepared for two. If you've never gone through fertility treatments, perhaps it seems ridiculous not to think one could get pregnant with twins if you placed two embryos in. But, if you understood how small the chances of just one of them working was, let alone both of them, you would understand my shock. It was less than a 10% chance that both embryos would work, so I didn't give a second thought. Eight weeks of nightly shots in the hip completed completed our second successful in vitro experience. Of course, in the end (pun intended), it was all worth it.
This second pregnancy was much harder on me. I battled morning sickness for months and was exhausted from taking care of Sophie. I didn't feel like exercising. I felt miserable. My stomach got so big with the twins. It was mentally and emotionally hard too. At seven months I was so uncomfortable I didn't know how I could possibly make it two more months. I complained all the time. It got to where I couldn't carry Sophie, tie my shoes, sleep, lean over the sink to wash dishes. I felt like I was of very little help around the house. At least I could still watch Sophie, so she didn't have to be in someone else's care.
Six weeks before my due date, Judd and I took Sophie to the park. I felt so bad I just stayed in the car and watched my little girl play for an hour with her daddy. She was having such a good time, and I was miserable. Blah! Later that night, my water broke. We called a friend to come watch Sophie and headed to the hospital. I was having contractions, but not in much pain. I took my time getting my things together and arrived at the hospital about two hours after my water broke. When they examined me they told me I was ready to have the babies, but they needed to confirm both were head down. Unfortunately, baby B (the baby up above) was head up. I would have to have a C-section for both babies. An hour later, at 2:11, Piper Jentry was born and at 2:12, Riley Autumn was born. I just caught a glimpse of them before they whisked them off to the NICU. They were tiny, and six weeks early. They weighed four pounds and eleven ounces and four pounds and seven ounces.
They didn't have anything seriously wrong with them. They were just little. They had to be fed with a tube down their throat into their tummies because they would actually loose weight expending so much energy drinking from a bottle or nursing. Riley also had some reflux issues which made her hold her breath too long. It would cause her heart rate to drop and her oxygen level to dip too low. Her alarms would sound, and the nurse would rub her back forcefully. That would cause Riley to "snap out of it" and start breathing again. She just needed more time to develop that neurological and physical part of her body. Both girls had jaundice, which went away with light therapy after a few days.
I was recovering from a C-section, trying to help out with Sophie, pumping milk for the twins, and trying to get it and myself or Judd to the hospital twice a day to see the girls. Piper stayed in the NICU for two weeks. We were so happy when she came home, but my heart ached to leave Riley in the hospital by herself.
The next night proved frightfully eventful. In the middle of the night I woke up feeling like my water broke, again. But, I already had the twins, and it wasn't water. I was hemorrhaging terribly. Shocked that someone could loose so much blood and still be alive, I yelled at my husband to call 911. In the ambulance I just kept telling my husband how much I loved him and prayed. It wasn't very faith-filled prayers. I was battling panic, but speaking God's Word and life over my body. At times I would feel strength rise within me and I would boldly declare that I would live and not die. Then, I would start fighting fear. My teeth were chattering, and I was very cold. The ambulance took me to the ER. My body temperature was 95 degrees. I had lost a great deal of blood. My doctor told me if he couldn't get the bleeding to stop with drugs and a DNC, he would have to do a hysterectomy. He said we didn't have time to discuss it because he needed to start surgery immediately. There wasn't anything to discuss. I wanted to live. I couldn't get them to wheel me into surgery fast enough.
I woke up from surgery hearing the doctors making their rounds. "Thirty-five year old female. Post-partum hemorrhage. Hysterectomy."
I was alive. Yes, I had a hysterectomy, but I was ALIVE! Later, my doctor told me I give him quite a scare. I gave myself quite a scare too. During the surgery I had to receive blood transfusions because I lost so much blood. It was a terrifying experience, but my life was saved. Praise God! Selah!
My husband had two babies at home, one baby in the hospital, and his wife's life had been hanging in the balance. Thank God we could draw on His strength when there was nothing left in us to give. Honestly, without God, there was no way we would have made it through that situation.
I stayed in the hospital for a couple of days and spent lots of time with Riley in the NICU before I was released. Riley came home one week after Piper. All of us were alive and home. Our family was complete. We overcame interruptions #3 and #4, and lived to tell about God's goodness.