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Keepin’ It Real Rewinds 10

I don’t know if I’ll get through this post without fighting back tears, but I’ll give it my best shot…

Two weeks after the shock of our lives, (finding out we were expecting triplets), I found myself back on that same cold table, staring blankly at the black and white screen.  I immediately saw the three oval-shaped sacs, and watched breathlessly as she examined each one closely for a heartbeat.  Tiny little blips flashed on the screen proving life still existed. We knew that during the first trimester, there were certainly no guaranties. As she scanned the final sack, something caught my eye.  Before a word was spoken, I saw it.  I knew with certainty that this sac was not like the other two. Time stood still in that defining moment. There were two flashing heartbeats in one sack. 

All 4 babiesc

History was written in a conversation that went down something like this:

Me: "There’s two in there, aren’t there?"  

Nurse Lisa: "What?"

Brad: "Huh? What? Are there? Are we talking four babies?"

*Blurry screen*   

Our Doctor took over the ultrasound from there…

He examined it closely in what appeared to be disbelief.  He confirmed soberly there were indeed four and waited for me to get dressed to meet with him in the conference room.  

I remember looking at Brad who was standing behind me, making sure he wasn’t going to pass out.  He looked so dismayed and distraught. I was instantly flooded with emotions and ten thousand questions.  I felt overcome with guilt, fear, panic, grief, pain, disappointment, and disbelief; Yet I remained emotionally unresponsive in appearance.  I couldn’t cry… I couldn’t laugh a nervous laugh… I couldn’t scream… I just wanted to pull the white sheet over my head, and disappear from this new reality. 

Instead, the nightmare worsened. We learned that not only did we have an even higher risk pregnancy by the increased number, but we were facing, (I quote), "Pretty much the worse case scenario".  Our worst case scenario involved a rare form of twinning, called mono-amniotic twins. Monoamniotic twins are rare identical twins that occur in approximately 1 in 35,000 to 1 in 60,000 pregnancies, but had not been documented to exist within a quadruplet pregnancy.  

A complicated pregnancy lends itself to a complicated explanation. (For the record the incidence of mono-mono twins or even having identical twins for that matter were unrelated to the mild fertility treatments we underwent.) Without getting too ridiculously medical, let me try my best to explain monoamniotic twins through a compiling of these resources, for those of you who may not be familiar with this terminology. (Illustrations can be found here.)

Monoamniotic twins are identical twins that develop inside the same amniotic sac. They share a placenta within their mother’s uterus, but have two separate umbilical cords for nourishment. This means that both babies share the same living space. They don’t just share their house, they share a bedroom, bathroom, and playroom! Where as other identical twins share an outer sac, but not an inner sac.  They are separated by an important membrane. Unfortunately, monoamniotic twins are at great risk for health complications due to the close proximity of the two umbilical cords in the amniotic sac. This makes it particularly easy for the twins to become entangled in each other’s cords, or to compress one another’s cords, endangering their oxygen and food supply. The survival rate for monoamniotic twins is approximately 50%, but incalculably less within a quad pregnancy scenario. 

We walked out of our 8 week appointment in anguish, after what seemed to be a death sentence for our four little heartbeats…

But God had other plans.

(Rewinds Numbers 1 – 9 can be found here.)

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Keepin’ It Real Rewinds 09

(For those of you who have just found us, KIRR (Keepin’ It Real Rewinds) is a series of posts that I’ve been flashing back to my days of infertility and an extreme high-risk quadruplet pregnancy.  You can find the whole series of posts by clicking here or by clicking on the tab located on the link menu.)

Moments after finding out there were not one but "three" babies camping out in my belly, Brad and I joined our doctor and several residents in a conference room to discuss the next steps.  I’m sure it was purely just the shock of the moment, but as he was outlining the upcoming risks and precautions of a high-risk pregnancy, I found myself cracking jokes and taking it all in stride.  I remember him telling me that I would probably find myself on strict bed rest in the next few months, and I joked about how there better be some great rentals out to watch. Meanwhile, Brad was questioning whether my small framed 5’2 (on a good day) body would be able to handle a triplet pregnancy.

I can’t remember much about our car ride home.  Nervous chatter, had been replaced by speechless silence, while we both were thinking about the breaking the news to our family and friends. We knew immediately that we needed their prayers to surround us in this journey, so we began the phone calls which lasted well into the night. It was a great distraction to hear other people’s reactions on the other line.  My parents refused to  believe me. No matter how many different ways I tried to explain we were expecting triplets, they thought I was pulling their leg.  Around the 12th try or so, Brad took the phone from me and said, "Ed (my dad’s name), we are SERIOUS!"  Brad’s dad was thrilled and thought triplets would put sliced bread to shame.

As we went through the list of close family, the heaviness of our situation started to hit harder.  It was exhausting and overwhelming to continue to explain the scenario, so I left Brad with the rest of the calls, and curled up on the couch that would become my cocoon for weeks to come.

A few days later, we created this blog to update family and friends (greatly reducing our phone list) with prayer requests and as a way to document our journey. Nervousness, fearfulness, and anxieties were transforming into reserved excitement…

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Keepin’ It Real Rewinds 08

If you are new to 4tunate, you might be new to KIRR (Keepin’ It Real Rewinds). I’m in the process of getting our story down on "paper", detailing our journey of infertility that led to an extreme high risk quadruplet pregnancy.  You can catch up on the Rewind Series HERE.

After finding out that we were positively pregnant, the two weeks that followed were pure bliss.  Although I knew my risk for miscarriage was elevated (due to my PCOS), it was a victory to know that my body was capable of becoming pregnant.  Regardless of whether we carried to a full term, I knew that God had granted our desire to become parents. We decided to keep the news between immediate family until our first ultrasound, and it was a joy to have such an intimate secret to share with loved ones. 


During our two week wait we had several conversations involving the "what if" questions. What IF there’s more than one?  I purposefully tried to dismiss the idea of twins.  I desperately wanted children, so if that was God’s way of accomplishing that desire, then I knew He would give me the grace, but honestly, I thought twins would be overwhelming.  I wanted to be able to give individual attention to one baby, instead of being an attention drawing family.  Hilarious, right?  Brad in his naivety, envisioned all the positives of having twins and became partial to the idea.  Fourteen days couldn’t come quick enough…

The night before our first ultrasound, Brad and I went out of town for his cousins wedding. We celebrated the night together and with giddiness talked about our little "baby".


However, the next day brought more than 1 surprise. Anxiously we gazed at the black and white screen as our nurse, Lisa scanned for a viable embryo. She was strangely and uncomfortably quiet as we waited for her to interpret what she was observing.  I vividly remember seeing what I thought was 2 sacks followed by silence that lingered for minutes. As I lay motionless on the table, Brad spoke up with, "What are you thinking, Lisa?" I’ll never forget her quiet reply.

"I’m still counting."

Panic swept over me.  Was this some kind of bad dream?  Was I going to be the breaking news story of the evening?  "Woman becomes pregnant with 17 babies". I thought of the McCaughey septuplets. I thought about our normal little life as we knew it. 

Lisa left the room to get my doctor.  I knew this wasn’t good news….

They were looking carefully at one of the sacks that appeared bigger and different than the others.  After examining it momentarily, they concluded that it was "just one".  I still didn’t know the total count. 

"How many then?" 

"Three." "Triplets."

Although I was completely shocked (especially after having a conservative cycle with "2" viable eggs), I couldn’t help but feel relief over the number 3.  Sure, this would be a higher risk pregnancy.  No, this wasn’t what I had in mind. But three isn’t that freakish of a number.

And I most certainly wouldn’t make the six o’clock news…


1st Ultrasound August 7, 2006




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