Jimena is a twin mom who had a rocky road when it came to her pregnancy – and then her babies had an even rockier road in the NICU. This is Pt. I of her story as told in her own words. If you’d like to share your Prematurity Experience, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I found out I was pregnant a few days after Valentine’s Day 2011. It was a joyous occasion for both my husband and I. I couldn’t wait to tell the whole world but we decided to keep it to just immediate family for the first 3 months. It was the hardest secret to keep!!
At my 2 months appointment we found out I was having twins. I had always wanted to have twins growing up but never imagined it would actually come true. Twins ran in my husband’s family but it still never occurred to me. The day I found out there were two I was over the moon. My husband on the other hand was quite shocked. He didn’t believe the technician at first and didn’t speak for a week from the initial shock!
The first 13 weeks of my pregnancy were amazing. I had no morning sickness, no heartburn, and no tiredness. None of the typical symptoms people had warned me about. I finally announced at work I was pregnant a few days before I hit 14 weeks. I was so excited to finally tell the world about the pregnancy.
May 11, 2011. I will never forget that day. I was getting ready to leave work and went to the washroom where I discovered some blood on the toilet paper. Immediately I started to panic, knowing the signs for a miscarriage always began with blood. I quickly dialed my OB/GYN who requested I keep an eye on the amount of blood and to call back if it increased. I drove myself home crying the whole way, expecting the worst. By the time I got home, the bleeding had stopped. So I relaxed. I decided to take it easy and lie on the couch and watch some TV. An hour later when I got up to use the washroom, I felt a small gush and rushed to the washroom only to discover a small pool of blood. I immediately called out to my husband and we decided to go to the emergency room ASAP. The panic set back in.
After what seemed like an eternity in the ER we finally were seen by the on-call OB. By then, the bleeding had stopped. They weren’t able to determine what the problem was but we were able to hear both heartbeats thankfully. They scheduled me in for an ultrasound the next day and sent me home.
The ultrasound showed that twin A (Kai)’s placenta was bordering my cervix. Something they called a partial or marginal Placenta Previa. I was told that if I bled again to call the OB or go to emerg once again. That next morning I started bleeding a lot heavier, gushes of blood. My husband rushed me to the emergency. After meeting with the OB, I was given an IV to replenish my fluids and put on bed rest for a month for preventative measures.
Within that month (June 2011), I hemorrhaged 3 more times and each time we were back at the triage. At 20 weeks, I was hospitalized for a week and at one point they told me that I was so weak from all the blood loss that they weren’t sure if the pregnancy would continue. I was being prepared to lose my babies. I was so weak from all the blood I had lost so far that they put me on daily iron supplements and I had a blood transfusion.
I can honestly tell you I felt like a million bucks after having the transfusion. It was like night and day. I felt so weak and constantly having pain plus I was very pale. Once I had the transfusion I felt completely energized. I have a great appreciation of those who donate blood because without them I don’t know how I would have made it as far as I did with the pregnancy. So I want to thank everyone who donates.
After a week in the hospital and no bleeding, they finally discharged me telling me that if I were to hemorrhage again to go to the other hospital which had a level III NICU, meaning they had the capacity to deliver babies as early as 24 weeks where the current hospital I was at could only do it as early as 34 weeks. I was devastated that my chances of delivering at the hospital of my choice were slim. I went back home to continue my strict bed rest.
I should mention that at the beginning I was excited about bed rest. The thought of just being a couch potato and reading or watching TV would be anyone’s dream but after 2 weeks of doing nothing but watching TV and reading, I started to feel like I was on house arrest but chained to my bed. Weekends weren’t so bad it was mostly during the week, when I was home alone since my husband would go to work. I wasn’t even able to get downstairs to make myself something to eat so he had to leave me sandwiches or a small cooler I could reach. It also got pretty lonely, no one to talk to except my cats.
July was my favourite month during my pregnancy. It was the only month where I didn’t bleed at all. My bed rest was modified so I was able to go to my mother’s house that had a pool. Lying in my bikini taking in fresh air was a god sent. The simple things I used to take for granted, like getting outside for fresh air, I really appreciated it now. I stayed outside most of July as much as I could; I guess you could say I was trying to make up for the last 2 months of summer I had missed.
By the time I hit 26 weeks, my smooth sailing ended. I woke up in the middle of the night to use the washroom only to feel the gushes again. I got to the washroom as fast as I could and yelled out my husband’s name. I had no pain but as soon as he turned on the bathroom light, we knew we had to get me to the hospital right away. The bathroom looked like a crime scene, there was so much blood, I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen so much blood. I started to get light headed and my breathing became labored. I knew what this meant; I had already felt it in the past. I turned to my husband and said “I’m going to pass out”.
He helped me to sit on the floor while we tried to stop the bleeding and then we were off again to the hospital with the level III NICU.
Stay tuned for Pt. II.