We found out we were pregnant on Christmas Eve. I took the test in the morning while the rest of the house was asleep and watched in a rare moment of silence as the stick came to life with two pink lines. A few days later I started spotting, followed by cramping and sudden loss of symptoms. We were at Geoff’s family Christmas and the whole experience was so reminiscent of our first miscarriage that I immediately expected the worst. I was convinced it was over, that our sweet Christmas miracle was not meant to be. My heart was broken.
My fears were verified shortly thereafter when, after a series of slow-rising HCG tests, an early ultrasound revealed an empty gestational sac. “It could be that it’s too early to see anything,” my doctor informed me. “Or it could be that there’s nothing inside.” I was advised to come back in two weeks for a repeat scan, during which time the spotting, in a cruel twist of nature, completely disappeared. I was angry then, having already experienced a missed miscarriage once before. How dare my body let me down twice?
But it didn’t. Instead, when we arrived at our seven-week ultrasound Geoff and I were greeted by not one, but two, perfectly healthy heartbeats. It was a miracle – an absolute holy shit! miracle to find out we were expecting twins! Finally, after weeks of uncertainty, the roller coaster ride was coming to an end … or so we thought. Perhaps by now, after a lifetime of loops and swivels, we should’ve known better.
Because today we found out that our babies are mono-mono twins, which means they share both a placenta and an amniotic sac. It also means they have only a 50% chance of survival because their cords are at a greater risk of entanglement. We were additionally informed that one of them appears to have an enlarged nuchal fold, which is sometimes indicative of a genetic defect (and of course there’s the added the concern that if one has an abnormality the other has it too, as they are most definitely identical). The doctor was not optimistic.
Here’s the deal. Mono-mono twins occur in 1 out of 60,000 pregnancies – 1 out of 60,000. We are about as rare and high risk as it gets. Even for the University of Iowa we are an anomaly, and that is downright terrifying. Let’s get real for a moment – I’ve spent the last four hours curled up in bed polishing Zoey’s fur with snot and tears, wondering why this nightmare is happening to us (such a stupid, pointless question), and trying to avoid the black hole that is google.com. I am sad and confused and more afraid than I’ve ever been in my life but somehow, despite it all, I am here – writing, breathing, surviving each and every heavy minute with the stubborn fortitude of the warrior so many of us become during times like these.
Our family is scared, but we are strong. We are informed, but we are hopeful. And we are sharing this journey with you because we believe in the power of prayer and collective intention, even in the face of the impossible. This is our adventure story and we are neither possessive nor ashamed of it. We know that we could lose these babies tomorrow, but we also know that they deserve a fighting chance and that the best way to give them one is to summon their army.
Please pray for our rare, special peanuts and their big, brave sisters, who know that these were God’s babies before they were ours and that She may decide to take them back if She feels it’s what’s best. This road is sacred and difficult but it is ours, and the only way we know how to traverse it is with you by our side.
Love and thanks,