Two years ago yesterday this journey through TTTS began. Though my emotions for the most part seem to be pretty intact and relatively upbeat, especially when I am around others, I have found myself being very reflective and, in all honesty, I think I am just sitting on the edge of an emotional cliff. Part of me just wants to go over it, get it over with and cry. The other part doesn't want to give in, doesn't want to let myself be in that sad place.
So today I decided that I would try to write about the memories that are flooding my brain and put voice to the emotions that I know I felt two years ago.
December 11th started off like any other work day except this day was filled with a bit more excitement...we were sure we would finally find out the sex of these busy little babies in my womb. I worked out that morning...really just an excuse to get up and go on the computer early in the morning LOL! I even posted on a few places about our hope for the 'sex reveal' that day.
The appointment with Dr. Hancock went well...no drastic increase in weight, heartbeats sounded good. His words about the sex of the babies..."well it's either 2 boys or two girls with 15 foot long penises... sorry I just can't tell". He also said "that some fine looking kids you got in there". Those things stick in my head as does his general demeanor...he was calm and he didn't notice anything wrong or atleast reveal anything to me. He wondered when my next ultrasound was and said it was important that I have them...the answer was that very same day.
I remember my anger at the ultrasound receptionist who told me that my appointment for that day had been rescheduled. I remember being 'assertive' and telling her that I wasn't leaving without one. The ultrasound itself didn't seem overly concerning. I spoke to the tech about the trouble that there seemed to be finding the dividing membrane between the babies but that was really about it. When she told me she needed to have someone else come take a look because she was having troubles with that membrane, I thought nothing of it. It wasn't until the second tech left and came back with a radiology doctor that I suspected something was wrong.
The worse feeling of that whole day was the 20 minutes that I spent in that room with no one coming in to see me...knowing something must be wrong. I remember so vividly when Dr. Hancock walked in. I burst into tears and said "something is wrong with my babies isn't it". The explanation was a bit vague, the solution was to send me to see Dr. Gratton in London the next day. And then basically I was sent out of the hospital and off for home.
I walked maybe 10 feet before I began to cry and shake. I pulled out my cell phone and called Geoff, gulping, crying, stumbling along as I walked, shaking and wondering what was going to happen.
My next call was to my mom and went unanswered. I think my message to her was a bit like this..."mom, it's Jod.... many gulps and breaths..."oh mom, something is wrong with my babies and well... more tears...I need my mommy right now". And a few minutes later MY cell phone rang...not with a call from my mom but from a number I knew to be Stratford General. I needed to return there immediately...I was being sent to Toronto immediately and was to meet Dr. Hancock in labour and delivery right away.
And then I cried...huge gulping, gasping, sobs. I knew that this was so very serious, I knew that I wouldn't be having an easy twin pregnancy anymore.
Other things that stick out in my mind from that day was being admitted to Mt. Sinai. At the admissions desk they printed up bracelets for my babies...twin A and twin B. I told them there was no way my babies would need those...it was far to early for them to be born. I remember waiting for a long time outside of labour and delivery for them to decide where I was going, who was seeing me and what needed to be done. I bleed all over a nurse out there when she but in my IV...funny the things you remember.
The best memory from that night was when our admitting doctor, Dr. Whittle, said these words to us..."well that's Mr. A now let's take a look at Mr. B". A few seconds later I said "did you just say MISTER???". Finally the question was answered...we were having 2 little boys who later that night were named Cameron and Cole.
And this is the last picture I have of them together...the last one of Cole alive....
My memories of two years ago today are a bit fuzzier. I didn't get to eat, didn't sleep much and was so very stressed out. I was given some medication in the early afternoon to prep me for the surgery and it really messed with my exhausted brain.
I do remember very vividly meeting the man who would save our boys, Dr. Greg Ryan. He was very thorough, very reassuring, and very humble. I remember watching our boys in the very lengthy scans I had that day. They were moving around and seemed so healthy. I could feel them kicking, feel their pushes. I could seem them on the screen and I had such high hopes for our future.
I remember parts of the procedure but, to put it mildly, I wasn't the model patient. I had a ton of anxiety and keep falling in and out of a dreamy haze and panicking as I woke up. I remember them showing me the boys on the screen... not an image, not an ultrasound but my boys, alive, inside my womb...moving, hearts beating...ALIVE. Unfortunately I also remember that I couldn't get my eyes to focus on the screen, couldn't find a way to make my brain process those images. This made me so upset and I began to cry. Thankfully, after a bit of sedative, they were able to calm me down and finish.
That procedure experience ended with Dr. Ryan transcribing notes about 15 feet from my bed and we could tell by his tone and his body language that he was very worried about our son, twin A. He came over to tell us that things had progressed rapidly from that morning and that our TTTS was now at stage 4...this meant that Cole now had fluid under his skin and in his abdomen...a lot of fluid in his abdomen. His little heart was working very hard and he was a very sick little boy. But Dr. Ryan seemed optimistic and told us that he would send us for further testing the next day to see what damage had been done to Cole's heart. He also told us of a few complications that had arisen from the surgery that gave us a guarantee of pre-term delivery and hospital bedrest but also told us that we wouldn't worry about that at this point.
And that was that...I returned to my room to finally eat, to talk to Geoff and call everyone to tell them how things had gone and to hold each other and pray.
So many memories, so much hope and optimism, our fate in the hands of medical people we'd never met. Visions of ultrasounds, of babies moving around together.
“Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.” Kevin Arnold.... holding on today sweet boy, holding on...