Prior to marriage, I had spent so many years selfishly enjoying life, partying, finding myself, well, let’s just say…living a really exciting life. The extremely late nights…or early mornings, traveling, bottle service, fashion shows, club openings, but the New York/Hollywood lifestyle was growing old. By 26 years old, I was yearning for more, so much more. I wanted the dream, a husband, a child…a family of my own. On July 16, 2005, that dream became reality. It was a gorgeous day in Key West. The sun was shining, the sounds of the waves were crashing against the beach, and I was surrounded by my family. Standing on Smathers Beach that morning, I married the love of my life.
Shortly after marrying, my husband Chris and I found out we were pregnant. It was wonderful news, however the good news didn’t last long. At about ten weeks of pregnancy, I began to bleed. As any pregnant woman would do, I rushed to my OBGYN. We were deeply saddened to find out that our baby no longer had a heartbeat. We were shocked, and our joy soon turned to sadness. We were assured by our Doctor that miscarriage was a common occurrence, and we should try again when we were ready. Chris and I stayed strong, and tried to move forward. Two months after losing our first child to a miscarriage, we decided to try again. We were so excited and felt incredibly blessed when we took a pregnancy test about a month later and it was positive. So off I went to the OBGYN again. He would prescribe pre natal vitamins and this time try progesterone during the beginning part of the pregnancy, optimistic that it would help the fetus successfully develop.
It was Christmas time, and only weeks after learning of our new pregnancy. We were at my parents in South Carolina and just finished Christmas Eve dinner. I went into the bathroom, and was distraught and sickend to see I was bleeding. Chris and I rushed to the Emergency room in an unfamiliar state. I endured several tests and ultrasounds, and then we waited. The nurse told us we would have to wait even longer, as the Doctor had some news for us. Holy hell, what kind of news could the Doctor have? Naturally being a worrier, that did not sit well with me. And so we waited, and waited and waited for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, the nurse walked in and handed me a telephone. The doctor told me the pregnancy was just fine and we were pregnant with twins. As I turned and told Chris, his face turned pale white with fear followed by joy. We still laugh to this day about his initial reaction, it was priceless. We returned to tell my family the exciting news, and as I am sure you can gather, it was a wonderful Christmas for all of us.
Upon returning to Florida from visiting my parents, we immediately made an appointment to see our OBGYN. He ran several tests, and confirmed we were pregnant with twins, and they were healthy. However, the Doctor explained he would have to monitor me weekly and very closely. As the pregnancy progressed, we became more and more excited. We began to prepare for our girls, yes…we were pregnant with identical twin girls. But once again, our joy turned to fear when we found out the type of twins we were having is almost 1 in 1,000,000 and only 1% of all twin pregnancies. See, we were pregnant with monochorionic identical twins. 70% of identical twins may end up sharing a single placenta. However, only 1% of identical twins share both a single placenta and a single sac, and our girls did. This posed a significant risk. So our Doctor visits were increased even more, and I opened myself up to A LOT of testing. During these six months, I would analyze every movement the girls would make, every feeling I had. We wanted our girls to be healthy and we only had sixteen weeks left to wait. We were so eager for their arrival that we had already decorated their room and had every baby item known to man. We had taken baby CPR classes, parenting classes, toured the hospital and were definitely prepared, or at least as prepared as new parents of twins can be. During one of our weekly visits in our sixth month, we received some news and it wasn’t good. The OBGYN informed us that one of our girls had several anomalies so to speak. What the “F” is an anomaly? Of course I knew what an anomaly was, but when you are talking about your child, all rational thought goes out the window. Apparently, during the development of our identical twin girls, our one daughter didn’t fully develop all of her organs. She would have several challenges, if she survived. And so the testing continued, and let me tell you, my body was getting tired of it. But two beautiful babies lives were at stake, and I would do whatever I had to. After two long days of invasive testing, we met with our Specialist. He informed us that our one daughter would not make it, and we only had a brief period of time to save our other daughter’s life, since they shared both the placenta and sac. We were told in order to save our one daughter, I would have to have a procedure that cauterized the umbilical cord of our dying daughter, and the procedure was only done at one hospital in the country, it was in New York.
Two days later, Chris and I arrived to a blizzard in New York City. Everything was happening so fast, and we didn’t know much about this procedure. We had done as much research as possible in two days. We knew it was a risky procedure, but the only one that would save our daughter. The day we arrived, we made our way up to Northern Manhattan, as I sat on the subway I reminisced about years before. I had traveled on that subway line so many times while living as a single woman in New York. I would never have imagined I would be back to save the life of my child and let another child go to God. That day, we made it to the hospital for pre op testing and to speak with the specialists and surgical team. They explained the procedure, and how our other daughter’s life would be saved. They walked us through the process, did the blood work and then the ultrasound. Our sick little girl was still hanging in there, and there wasn’t anything we could do to help her. Her heartbeat was slowing down, and we felt so helpless. The team explained that once the umbilical cord was cauterized, she would pass. But if we didn’t do this procedure, they both would pass. It was a terrible feeling. Despite the fact the procedure would save our one daughter’s life, we would lose our other daughter. It was sickening knowing how and when our sick little sweet baby would pass.
As we made our way back to the hotel and tears streamed down my face, I knew what tomorrow would bring. That night, we reflected on everything that brought us to where we were, we prayed and we tried to get some sleep. For obvious reasons, I couldn’t sleep. I would dose off, only to quickly wake again. At about 2:00 am, a strange feeling came over me. I felt a lot of kicking, and just a very strange feeling. In the morning, I called my Mom and Dad looking for reassurance prior to the procedure, and told them about the strange feeling that I had felt. My wonderful loving parents soothed my struggling mind, gave me words of encouragement and then Chris and I made our way back to the Hospital. We arrived to the hospital, and I was prepped for surgery. The last stage of prep was an ultrasound, only a formality. As the nurse was preforming the ultrasound, I could see on her face something was wrong. She quickly rushed out of the room, only to return with one of the surgeons. He gave us the horrible news. The previous night, most likely when I had that “strange” feeling, both of my girls passed away. When my sick little girl passed, it caused our healthy girl to pass. We were distraught, saddened even sick. We had only missed saving our girl by mere hours. Had the surgery been scheduled one day earlier, would our little girl be healthy and alive? That week was the worst week I ever spent in New York and one of the hardest in my life. I had to leave my daughters in New York, and return to a home ready for twins.
Following our loss, Chris and I decided to give pregnancy a break. We stopped concentratng on fertility dates, baby books, pregnancy everything and enjoyed our marriage. After all, we were still just Newlyweds. But during that time, I would find myself wondering if I had done something wrong. I began to second guess myself. I replayed everything in my mind. I would analyze anything I did that wasn’t healthy in my life, and in my 20′s, that was a lot. Could I have done something to cause this? Could my husband had done something to cause this? Does one of our families have a defective gene? We certainly had no trouble getting pregnant, why couldn’t we stay pregnant? Despite our fears, Chris and I both began expressing interest in trying for a child again. However, this time I wanted to visit a genetic specialist. I wanted us both to be fully analyzed so to speak, so I would know what we were dealing with. Chris and I made an appointment, and we headed off to the best genetic specialist in the Southeast. We were thrilled to learn that we were both perfectly healthy with no genetic flaws. We had a clean bill of genetic and overall health, and we were cleared to try for another baby.
And so it began, we tried and five weeks later we were blessed with a positive pregnancy test. Oh boy, we had been down this scary road before. Chris and I were so excited, yet terrified. What if we lost the baby? What if something was wrong with the baby? It was a chance we were going to have to take. Once again, I was immediately put on prenatal and progesterone. I was classified as a high risk pregnancy and traveled to the top rated OBGYN in Miami, driving 30 – 40 minutes to South Kendall from Miami Beach every week. I had weekly ultrasounds and even bought my own machine so I could hear the heartbeat. I would keep that machine powered all day, constantly checking my baby’s heartbeat. I was so careful, I was neurotic! At only 12 weeks, I had a Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS), just to quadruple check everything was alright. It is not a pleasant procedure to the say the least, but I had been through it before, and knew it would be well worth it. We received great news! Our baby daughter was healthy, yes daughter…we were having another girl! I would finally have my little Lola. Since I was a child I loved the name Lola, and always knew I would one day have a little girl named Lola. My little Lola was the most active thing I ever felt. She constantly moved and jumped and danced and karate chopped. She would flip during ultrasounds, I think I actually caught her fist pumping at one point (After all, I am from New Jersey). Each week, I would continue with my check ups, and each week I would receive wonderful news. The Doctor would tell me how healthy Lola was, and how the pregnancy was progressing perfectly. Once again, we prepared our home for the arrival of our beautiful baby. I will be honest, I never fully let go and 100% enjoyed my pregnancy. I was always worried, wondering if I would lose my sweet baby, as I had lost three babies before. But, I did let go a lot more than before. Those 40 weeks were so long, not only because it was summer in Miami, but because I couldn’t wait to hold my beautiful sweet Lola.
On August 01, 2007, Chris and I walked (I waddled) into Baptist Hospital Miami for my C-Section, which I chose by the way. I was wheeled into the operating room and at 10:23 am, Lola Kristin entered this beautiful world. We were so incredibly happy and blessed. After all the heartache we had been through, I had my beautiful baby girl in my arms. Lola is now almost five and it has been the best five years of my life. I can say for sure, God had a plan. Despite the heartache of losing three children, if I didn’t, I would not have my little Lola. My fiery, smart, outspoken yet sweet little girl. Most people say the birth of their child was the best day of their life. But I can definitively say every day with Lola is the best day of my life. Lola, was definitely a miracle worth waiting for.
If you take anything away from my story, it is never to give up. I wanted a child more than anything, and I wouldn’t give up. It wasn’t always an easy process, but it was the most rewarding one of my life.
Do you have a “miracle” story to share? Maybe your child is a miracle too. I would love to hear your story or feedback.