As most of you who read my blog know, I am the mom of twins. They are the loves of my life. They are now happy, healthy eight year olds. But, we were not always this lucky. My story is that by the time I was 25 weeks along in my pregnancy, I was measuring as big as an “average” woman at full-term with a single baby. Hard to believe, I know. I went into pre-term labor and didn’t even know it. I thought I was just uncomfortable because I was already so big.
Luckily, when you’re having multiples, you have extra doctor appointments and I was actually at the hospital for an ultrasound when they told me I was 5 cm diallated. The doctor told me it would not be easy to keep the babies inside for very long, even with heavy medication. He told me that my time as a strong mother would be starting right then. I was all alone at the time and I just broke down. I have never had worse news in my life. I thought my babies would die because when children are born at 25 weeks, the chances are not good for them.
The next 48 hours were a blur of doctors, nurses, family, and friends. I was so heavily drugged I really don’t remember much. After two days, my doctor told me that they thought they had it under control and that I had to do my best to keep them inside, one day at a time. They wheeled me to the NICU to see some of the babies born at 25- 26 weeks. They were on average about a pound and a half. Their skin was transparent and they could not breathe on their own. They were covered in wires and tubes. It was then that I learned that the March of Dimes provides the research that made the special beds, treatments, and medicines possible to keep these children alive. I prayed to God to not let me have my babies too early.
The next nine weeks were a roller coaster of the the worst kind. I stayed medicated most of the time and endured contractions every hour for the entire eight weeks. By the time I reached 34 weeks in the pregnancy, I could no longer get out of bed on my own because I was so large and could barely walk because I had been on bed rest for so long. I begged to go home, if only for a few days. Since I was far enough along at that point, the doctors let me go home. When I reached 35 weeks in the pregnancy, I knew it was time. I headed to the hospital around noon, walked around the hospital for about an hour to start the labor back up, then walked directly to the labor and delivery floor that I lived on for so long and told the nurse, “today, I’m having BABIES!“.
Having them was the easy part. After so many months of contractions, I deserved an easy labor. Jack was born weighing in at 5 lbs. 4 oz. Carleigh was born seven minutes later weighing in at 4 lbs. 4 oz. There has never been a happier moment in my entire life, and I am certain that there will never be another that will match it. They are my miracle babies. They were born naturally and only needed a few weeks in the NICU so they could finish developing in their own time.
The first time I went to see them in the NICU, each baby had a stuffed animal next to them. The little bears were lying on pillows that said “March of Dimes”. I knew at that moment I had a mission. To work to raise money to help other families never have to go through what I went through. And, for families who do have babies too early, to have the research available to discover new treatments, therapies, and medications.
Since then, I served as the Chairperson of Family Teams for the MO chapter of the March of Dimes for five years. My family was also an Ambassador family in St. Louis in 2008. My children, my family, and I continue to raise money to help ensure that every baby is born healthy.
So, that is my story. I’ll be participating in the March of Dimes “St. Louis March for Babies” on April 28th. If you’re interested in supporting my family as we walk to save babies, click here.