I had tried for four years to get pregnant, and had one previous miscarriage. When I found out I was pregnant with twins, I was happy but nervous. I tried to reassure myself all the time that everything would be OK as long as I took care of myself.
When I met the three-month mark I allowed myself to finally feel content. My contentment evaporated the very next day when I learned that my husband was a carrier of the cystic fibrosis gene. This meant there was a 25 percent chance that each of my twins would have this fatal disease.
I was so nervous about this that I cried all the time. I had insomnia and had panic attacks. I started bleeding, but they could not figure out what was causing it.
For peace of mind we deciding to do the amnio and go from there. In the meantime we gathered all the information we could about cystic fibrosis. We consulted with different doctors. They said there was no way to determined the severity of the disease beforehand, and that the average life expectancy is 30 years. They said some children could live a relatively “normal” life with the disease, while others had to undergo many medical procedures, fail to thrive and have a very tough life. There were simply no guarantees. We were probably pretty naive to think to think any doctor could guarantee a healthy baby.
Our luck ran out: The amnio results came back with one of our twins testing positive for cystic fibrosis. I cried so much. I could not stand the thought of my children suffering. The doctor had kept telling us that with twin we were very likely to deliver prematurely, which causes issues with the lungs because they are the last to develop. This would complicate matters greatly for our twin with cystic fibrosis. Premature birth could jeopardize our healthy twin as well.
We were faced with such a difficult decision. I was heartbroken and felt guilty thinking of selective reduction after all we had been through to get pregnant in the first place.
Many people advised me that if I didn’t stop stressing over the pregnancy I would end up causing a miscarriage. “Don’t stress” is a lot easier said than done when you’re dealing with this situation.
I was 20 weeks pregnant when we decided to have a selective reduction. I was numb, in a state of emotional shock. The baby was to remain in my womb until natural delivery of our healthy twin. One week after the selective reduction, I went into preterm labor. I was told it was caused by an infection of unknown origin. Ultimately, we lost both babies.
We held our dead children in our arms. I cried hysterically. The babies were adorable. I was wracked with self-doubt over my choice and I was left with nothing. I buried my children and cannot find it within myself to return to their grave site. I think of them daily.
I search for people who have made a decision like this. I want support and advice on how they make it through. I will always remember my twins until the day I die.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.