by Megan Ueckert
After what seemed to feel like years trying to get pregnant, IVF finally worked. We were the 1 in 8 couples that faced fertility challenges and decided to try everything we could to become parents and ultimately sought the help of science with IVF. It was a journey of way too many doctor’s visits, countless blood draws, nearly 150 shots, surgeries, miscarriage, lots of tears and even more prayers.
We had transferred a single embryo twice before and the first one didn’t work and the second one ended in an early miscarriage, so we had the conversation with the doctor about trying to increase our odds by transferring two embryos. He advised us of the risks not only to my health but also to the health of the babies and said that it increased my chances of complications and while it was a small chance that something would go wrong, asked if I was willing to potentially put my child’s life at risk by transferring two. It was a difficult decision, but my husband Joe and I talked it over and after praying on it, we felt the right decision was to transfer two embryos, even against the advice of our doctor. On April 1, 2019, we transferred the two embryos and about two weeks later I found out it had worked and then a couple weeks later found out that I was pregnant with twins.
I was a little sad that I couldn’t conceive naturally, but happy to finally be carrying not only one child, but two! Each week Joe would take a bump picture so I could watch the progress of the pregnancy. I smiled especially huge as he took my bump picture at 20 weeks. I was so happy to have made it that far and finally felt relief that everything would be ok. Little did I know that would be one of the last bump pictures I would take.
The day after my birthday, I had a rare in-person team meeting at work with my team flying in from all over the world. During the meeting my back started to hurt, and I kept feeling the urge to push. It was much too soon for it to be labor pains, so I thought I had a kidney stone. I was embarrassed that I kept having to get up from the meeting to go to the restroom and just did what I thought I needed to do to feel better. My work team was throwing me a baby shower that day and I could barely make it through the shower. I was sweating and in intense pain, but I put a smile on my face and sat in the middle of the room opening presents.
As soon as the shower was over, I went to the restroom and pushed what I thought was a kidney stone and had a rush of what I thought was urine. Looking back, I feel so stupid and constantly wonder what would have happened if I would have just called the doctor when I started feeling the back pains. I felt much better after using the restroom until about 30 minutes later when I felt the pain again and went to the restroom where I realized I was covered in blood. As soon as I saw my blood-soaked thighs, I walked back to the meeting room to get my phone.
On the way to the meeting room, I ran into my former manager who I had recently interviewed for a position in his department. I had been looking for the next step in my career, but the opportunities had been limited. He stopped me to let me know that I did well during the interviews and that he is going to offer me the job on Friday. At that point the pain was getting worse, and I was shaking from fear of what was going on with my body as I felt the blood pool. I told him that I was very excited for the opportunity and plastered a smile on my face. Then I excused myself to make a call to my doctor because I felt there was something wrong. Frantically I called my doctor who told me to go to the emergency room right away. I let a few of my team members know what was going on and they kindly got my car and put my haul from the baby shower in my trunk. Several people offered to drive me, but I was stubborn and said that I could do it as I thought the logistics of getting my car later would be too much of a challenge and I just wanted to get out of there.
I left work and drove myself to Baylor Scott & White in Grapevine. I had planned to deliver at a different hospital, but the nurse on the phone told me my doctor also had permissions at Baylor, so I went there not knowing anything about their labor and delivery department, only that it was closer to my work than the hospital I planned to deliver at.
My entire 8.8-mile drive, that felt like 200 miles, I just kept praying that everything was going to be ok. As I pulled up to the hospital, I remembered the last time I was here; it was in 8th grade to see my grandma before she passed away. The memory crossed my mind, but panic of the current situation kept me from lingering too long on the thought. I called my husband, Joe to let him know I was at the hospital and being taken to Labor and Delivery. I was only 21 weeks pregnant, why would they take me there, I thought.
Joe arrived right as the labor and delivery nurse took me from the ER into the ultrasound room. The doctor conducted his exam without saying much, which only added to my anxiety. I could tell something was wrong by the look on the sweet L&D nurse’s face. Finally, he informed us that baby A’s sac had ruptured. At that time, I don’t think Joe and I fully understood what this meant. Joe explained that we were supposed to be getting on a plane in 3 hours to go to Florida for my grandma’s 90th birthday celebration and asked if we could still make it.
The doctor said I wasn’t going anywhere and again with our ignorance, I asked for clarification thinking he meant just tonight. He replied that I would be in the hospital on bedrest until I delivered these babies. My heart sunk. What about work? What about the new job I was being offered? What about my baby shower? What about my weekly bump pictures I had waited so long for? How am I supposed to lay in bed for four months? The picture-perfect pregnancy I had imagined after the disappointment of having to use IVF seemed to be fading away. Still somewhat naïve to the gravity of the situation, I somehow didn’t even consider that my babies might not be ok.
I didn’t know anyone who had gone through this. I had heard there was a possibility I would need to go on bedrest towards the end of my pregnancy but didn’t really understand why. I had no clue this hospital would become my new home and had no idea the journey that our family was embarking upon.
Megan Ueckert shares her pregnancy and NICU journey with Graham’s in a series. This is part one of six.