Kristin shares her pregnancy story and the complications that occurred during that pregnancy and delivery.
I'm Kristine and I'm here to tell my pregnancy story when I had my twin boys, Connor and Clyde. They were born around 11:30 in the morning. They were quite small. They were born premature. Connor was just 2 pounds 8 ounces, about 15 inches long, just fit literally in the palm of my hand. Clyde was smaller. He was 1 pound 3 ounces, about 13 inches long. I've had 2 successful pregnancies but the story I wanna share with you today is the first pregnancy that I had which was quite traumatic. I first found out I was pregnant. I was 28 years old and I took a pregnancy test. I just kind of had the feeling that maybe I might be feeling symptoms of pregnancy and my husband, at that time, and I just started trying to get pregnant and, sure enough, the pregnancy test showed that I was positive. I was pregnant. I found out that I was pregnant with the twins when I was about 7 weeks along. My OB has ordered a sonogram just so we could see the heartbeat. And I went in there with my husband at the time and we had the sonogram and, sure enough, there were 2 heartbeats. So, that is pretty exciting. I wasn't too surprised because I have a lot of identical twins in my family. So, I figured they were identical twins because that was genetic. And sure enough, they were. We found out later on. We were very excited and nervous. It was our first pregnancy. We had assumed, in the beginning, we're just waiting with 1 baby. But here we were pregnant with twins. So, the pregnancy was great. We were just so excited to anticipate a twin pregnancy. I thought, well, this is great. Knock out 2 in 1 try and I started doing research about multiple births and I joined in Multiple Moms Club in the area where we lived and was really looking forward to it. And the pregnancy was fine until about the 14th week and, one morning, I woke up and I was soaked and my sheets were soaking wet and I couldn't understand what happened. I thought maybe I had an accident during my sleep and hadn't made it up to go to the bathroom. But it turned out my water had broken and, at that point, when you're that early on, it typically means that you're going to have a miscarriage. When your water breaks, you're open to infection and I called my OB right away and I didn't know what to think. And she said I need to come to the hospital right away and meet her there. And, of course, that made me terrified. And so, my husband, at the time, and I went straight to the hospital, met her there. We had a sonogram taken and she called in a specialist, a neonatologist, and a couple of other specialists to come in and take a look at what was going on. It turned out that we were having a very severe problem with the pregnancy and it's very rare. It's a condition called Amniotic Banding Syndrome and it's where some of the amniotic tissue becomes attached to the baby and, in our case, it attached to one of our babies, fortunately, not both of them. But it attached to one and it caused a tear in the sac and that's why my water broke. And so, basically, whenever this one baby moved, he was just a mess. He was tangled up in a mess of tissue. It was terrifying. We didn't know what this meant. But one of the first things we found out in this process of understanding what was going on with the pregnancy is that the baby- they call them Baby B because we have Baby A and Baby B in the pregnancy- he had a very severe birth defect as a result of the Amniotic Banding Syndrome that he was suffering. Some of the tissue actually attached to a skull and, wherever on a baby's body that the amniotic tissue attaches, that part of the body stops developing. So, his skull did not develop completely. He basically had a big hole. He had a perfect little brain, perfect little head, skin around his skull but the skull itself, part of it, was still missing. So, they could tell from the sonogram that he will not survive outside the womb. So, we were faced with so many conflicting emotions. We didn't really know what to think. We knew that he was obviously in distress. As time went on and we took more and more sonograms over the next few weeks, the doctors advised us that this pregnancy probably wouldn't make it to finality. And my OB even suggested that we might even consider an abortion and start over which, by that time, my husband at the time and I, had already named the baby. They already have an identity. And that was something that we just couldn't consider. So, we decided, whatever happened, we were in it and we were gonna see the pregnancy through to whatever outcome. So, we were committed to staying pregnant. We were committed to taking each day and each hour at a time. Again, I was at great risk for infection since my water had broken. It just kind of left me wide open to the possibility. I was bed rest. I really didn't move at all. Each day before he left for work, my husband would leave a big cooler by the bed filled with food and water and snacks so that, at least, I had something within my reach. But I really stayed flat in the bed for that time and it ended up being a little over 3 months that I stayed bed rest. And during that time, whenever I got up out of bed or became vertical, more amniotic fluid would leak out of me and it was terrifying because I felt like, every time I got up to maybe go to the bathroom or, you know, stand up for just a few minutes in the shower to get clean, I was so afraid I would lose the babies at any moment. But somehow, I stayed pregnant even though the doctors couldn't really understand how I stayed pregnant and that, each day, I felt both the babies kicking. It was excruciating knowing that one was living and the other was dying at the same time. I remember talking on the phone to a funeral home in our area and planning the funeral and ordering a casket. And then, within moments, talking on the phone with a company to order a new crib and it was such a weird surreal time in my life and I really didn't know what we were gonna end up with. But I held on hope that, at least, one of the babies would make it alive. So, I stayed pregnant until about the 27th week. I started experiencing really severe symptoms from preeclampsia or also called toxemia and I was so ill. I was suffering from liver failure and it exhibited- I exhibited a bunch of different symptoms related to liver failure as including a very severe eye infection. I just- my whole inside was a very toxic environment and I just became very, very ill. My blood pressure skyrocketed. It was out of control. So, about the 27th week, my body really was having a tough time taking it and I was admitted into the hospital and they shot me up with steroids to try to help the babies' lungs develop faster. And I stayed pregnant another week. By the 28th week, my doctor called it quits. One night, I just got so ill and she was afraid that, within hours, I might not survive the pregnancy. So, she came in one morning at about 7 in the morning and said this is it. We need to take the babies out. You know, you've done the best you can and I remember, at the time, I was so- I felt so weak and so sick and I remember just crying, just practically collapsing and saying, thank you. I mean, even though I've gone every day, every hour, every minute determined to stay pregnant, at that point, I knew I couldn't take it anymore. I knew that my time was limited if I kept going. So, we had an emergency C-section and it was quite rushed. In fact, I wasn't completely numb before the surgery and that was hard feeling the pain of being cut into but, at that point, I was just- I was done. I was ready to have the babies out and to try to heal. And so, the babies were taken out within minutes of each other. Connor, who was Baby A, he was pulled out immediately first and whisked off and I see- I didn't even see him. And then, Clyde, Baby B, he was pulled out next 2 minutes later and wrapped up and cleaned up and put in a blanket and laid on my chest. And I remember that the doctor, the OB, as well as one of the nurses and my husband, tried to prepare me and they told me, you know, he's kinda messed up. And I said I don't care. I wanna hold my baby. And so, they laid him on my chest and we were prepared for a deformity since he had a big hole in his skull. It affected his face and the way it was structured and he had only 1 eye that functioned. He had a very severe cleft palate that impacted his mouth and nose and all the way over across one cheek and one of his arms and one of his legs have also been attached to some tissues that they didn't fully develop as well. But I looked at that baby and he was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen in my life. And I just held him to my chest and they didn't move me from surgery because they were worried. They were monitoring my vitals and seeing how we pull out, you know, with my little rebalanced back and my kidneys had started to fail at that point, too. And so, they were monitoring me very closely, but I wanted to spend a time with my baby and I didn't wanna be all drugged, you know. I wanted to be as present as I could. And so, I just held him and, even though premature babies at 28 weeks really aren't developmentally ready to able to make a lot of noise, typically, they don't make noise at that- at that developmental stage, he was making little noises and he was looking right at me with his eye that was beautiful and blue and looking right at me and his tiny little hand held on to my finger and we stayed that way for about 21 hours. And it was a very gradual, sweet, passing. He- I felt like I knew his spirit in that short amount of time and the nurses and the staff were amazing because they let us have that quiet time with Clyde. And to just experience having him with us and I swear, in that 21 hours, that baby got all the love of a lifetime. My husband and I traded. We passed him back and forth and talked to him and told him how much we loved him. Finally, in the end, when he had his last heartbeat, the nurse was ready to take him and I said, just give me a little bit more time. And I just held on to him until I felt like I was ready. And then, the nurse took him away and my only regret is, in a blur of that moment, in that haze, we didn't have the foresight to take a photo of him. And that's my one regret. And it's interesting because I've read stories about women who have lost babies at birth, either still birth or shortly after birth and, of course, in the past, a lot of times, women weren't allowed to even hold their babies or see them. I think people thought it is too harsh for them to go through that process. But I found it such a comfort and such a necessity to have that time with my baby as he died because I brought him into the world. I needed to let him go and I felt like that was my duty as a mother to be there for him through it all, no matter how long his lifespan was. So, I was grateful to have that time. I do wish that I have a photo of him also to show his siblings, you know, because he's still a part of our family. He's still a presence among my children especially his twin brother, Connor. So, my advice to women who go through this kind of situation is to really try to be present through it and just hold on to every second and every minute that you have with your baby and to take that opportunity to hold your baby no matter what people say. I think it's- I think it's a good thing to do.