Having a premature baby sucks - never mind having 2 of them. That is, it sucks for the little ones that were still supposed to be safely growing in your womb and it sucks for the mom who goes through a terrifying delivery. Some women know that they are at risk for premature labor and know how to read the signs but it doesn't make it any easier. One still suffers the pain and guilt of the experience. When Dr Polon told me at 26 weeks 5 days that he was going to take out my babies, I screamed "They are not ready! They are too little!" The rest was a blur. Thank God for the epidural for there was no joy in the delivery room, no happily slapping of the baby on the fanny, no bonding with the twins on my chest. There were 14 people of assorted responsibilities in the room ready to attach the twins to machines to help them breathe, ready to give them blood transfusions, ready to make sure they lived.
I had a healthy pregnancy. I was never sick. I swam every day. I gained enough weight and drank tons of water. Sure I was uncomfortable but I was a skinny lady with a rapidly growing uterus and sometimes/often, I ached. I felt them move but also felt contractions. With every twinge, my OB/GYN would say "You're having twins." I had countless ultrasounds and each one was normal. I counted the days like hash marks on a prison wall to get through the next week, seeing each as a milestone in the fetal development of my little ones.
But I gave birth early. No one knows why. I was not dialated but the babies needed to come out. The official diagnosis was "non-reassuring fetal status". My micro-preemies at 2 lbs each went directly to the NICU where specially trained neo-natologists and neo-natal nurses cared for them. Every day was touch and go. We didn't know if they would survive. Each ounce that they gained was cause for celebration. They have a saying in the NICU "One step forward, two steps back." Progress was slow. They were at risk for so many things, so many infections, so many issues due to their still undeveloped systems in their hearts, eyes, brains, lungs - you name it. But they survived and after 4 1/2 months in the hospital and 15+ surgeries between them, Credence and Zelda came home. Still now, I sometimes go into their room at night while they sleep and check to see that they are still breathing.
So, on May 12th we are participating in the Walk America event to raise money for the March of Dimes. We are walking to raise money for prematurity awareness, for education, for research, for prenatal testing and newborn screening programs. Evan, Creed, Zelda, my sister Shakti and others will join me as we walk to save our babies. I won't be sending out emails to all of you to ask for money but if you are interested in donating, even pennies, please contact me. We have a jar on the counter in my shop and already so many customers have been generous with their spare change and more. For that we are thankful. We also continue to be thankful everyday for continued research and advances in the field of neo-natology. Give to the March of Dimes. I guarantee that everyone out there at least knows someone who has had a premature baby, has had a baby with difficulties at birth or was maybe even a preemie themselves. Thanks.
to donate: www.walkamerica.org/toxotwins