Sharing Our Stories: Warren & Dean

sharingstories

Meghan’s beautiful twin boys, Warren and Dean, were born at 26 weeks and 6 days gestation.  They arrived after a difficult pregnancy, and were also Meghan and Andrew’s rainbow babies, born after a fertility struggle, the early loss of a twin, and the eventual stillbirth of their daughter, Reagan.  Thank you, Meghan, for sharing your incredible story of strength, love and faith!  

I married my college sweetheart shortly after graduating, and from the beginning of our marriage, I couldn’t wait to have children.  But after a year and a half of trying without getting pregnant, we decided to finally move forward with IVF.  It took just over two years, but then we learned the amazing news – I was pregnant with twins!  There was a sense of disbelief, an awe that I was growing two tiny human beings inside of me.  I felt so incredibly blessed!

Things didn’t progress quite as I though, and I lost one of the twins by 7 weeks.  It was such a bittersweet moment, to see our remaining child but feel the ache at our loss.  Moving forward, the pregnancy seemed pretty normal.  I started feeling her kick by about 16 weeks, Andrew felt her by 18.  I never felt her kick on a regular basis though (she moved positions a lot), so I didn’t think much of it at first when I didn’t feel her kick for a day at 21 weeks.   I made an appointment with the OB to be safe, and that’s when we saw the ultrasound.  My sweet Reagan’s beautiful profile, perfect little hands and feet, and empty chest.  There was no heartbeat.

We spent that night sleeping in Reagan’s nursery, the only night she ever got to spend in there.  The next morning, I was induced at 7am.  16 hours of labor and she was born at 11:16PM.  Our amazing doctor looked up at me after, with tears in his eyes, and said “She’s just perfect.” I was able to hold her that night, and it was the most wonderful thing.  There was so much joy, something no one could possibly understand without going through something similar.  I loved her so much better, fuller, after seeing her and having that connection.  We were able to hold her for several hours, rock to her, read her some of our favorite Bible passages and stories, sing to her, etc.  It was the most precious time, those few hours we got to spend with our first born.  And then, a sweet woman from the funeral home came and took her away in a basket.  Laying her in that basket, with her blanket wrapped around her, seeing her face for what would be the very last time, nearly broke my heart.  It was the most difficult thing I have ever had to do.

reagan

We moved ahead with another embryo transfer just a few months later, and were both excited (and somewhat terrified!) to learn that we were once again expecting twins.  With this pregnancy, I had a lot of pain.  I kept telling Andrew something was wrong, kept going back to the doctor for more ultrasounds, only to be reassured everything was good.  And then, at 8 weeks, I started hemorrhaging.  I thought it was going to be the end, but they continued to thrive.  At 11 weeks, the specialist told us I would be miscarrying any day because of the size of the intrauterine clot.  I felt hopeless, but God continued to protect our miracles.  I went into labor at 21 weeks and stayed in the hospital for the rest of the pregnancy.

Just before 26 weeks, I had been having strong contractions.  These were managed with indocin, procardia, daily shots of terbutaline, and occasionally pain meds.  My OB was called in after a few days, and a pelvic exam revealed that I was now 5 cm dilated.  He looked at me and calmly said, “you’ve done all you could.  It’s time.  I’m going to take these boys by section tonight.”  We cried, it was too soon.  26 weeks, 6 days.  I hadn’t even reached the 3rd trimester yet.

Warren Andrew Savant was born first, 7:54, and came out screaming.  I was amazed, as I didn’t expect to hear much of anything.  Next came Dean, 7:55, also screaming.  They were beautiful, and bigger than we thought they’d be, at 2 lb 5 oz each.  Their faces were obscured by the bubble and tubes, but they looked amazing.  I was in love.  There is nothing like seeing your child for the first time, especially these children who were never supposed to survive.

I was blessed and able to hold Dean for the first time the day after he was born.  From the beginning, he was the stronger twin, and our night nurse thought we needed that after our journey.  She gently laid him on my chest and it was the most amazing feeling ever.  I was able to touch him, hold him, kiss him.  The following night I was able to hold Warren, and same thing, just an instant bond.  A sense that everything was right, that this was what I was created for.  To love my children.  There were many days in those early weeks when we would spend all day sitting next to the isolette, from the time Andrew dropped me off around 7:30, until we left in the evenings at 8 or so, when we wouldn’t be able to touch them at all.  But we were very blessed in those first days to have contact.

warrendean1

We called the NICU home for a total of 87 days.  Dean came home first at 77 days.  It was a bittersweet moment.  We couldn’t wait to have Dean with us, but it broke my heart to leave Warren behind, to separate them.  I felt a little lost to have Dean in our home after so many weeks and never being alone with him.  I remember sitting in the rocking chair upstairs in their nursery, holding him tight and never wanting to let go.  Once Warren was discharged though, my boys were reunited – we had them both home, and it was a glorious day.  The next several weeks were spent with little to no sleep as we tried to balance having two home, monitors, reflux, etc, but it was so wonderful.

savant-1 canvas

My precious boys are now nearly 14 months old and doing wonderfully.  They both receive early intervention services and occupational therapy and Warren also receives speech therapy.  They love walking and pushing toys (or stools, or boxes, or anything they can) all around.  Though they are still on the small side, with Dean not quite to 15 pounds yet, they love eating and feeding themselves!  Our apnea monitors were discharged when they were 9-10 months old and we have loved the freedom that comes from being wire-free!  We keep them very isolated from crowds and other children as recommended and they have done great with no illnesses or re-admits to the hospital.  I know we are truly blessed that our children are doing as well as they are given their circumstances, both in the womb and out of it.  But I hope that some can find encouragement from our journey.

Savant2

Number Three

maddieWhen you’ve had a traumatic pregnancy and birth experience, the question of having more children becomes very complex.  With healthy, relatively easy pregnancies, the question is, “would we like another?” and, if yes, “when should we try again?”.  But after two 25 weekers, it’s not that simple.  Then the question is, “I’d really like another, but should we risk it?”

Continue reading

Congratulations, You’re Having Twins

Dear Twin Mom-To-Be | Rockstar Preemies

Dear Twin Mom-To-Be,

When I found out I was having twins I was a little, oh…terrified.  Maybe you felt the same?  I hadn’t even considered the possibility of more than one child prior to that day, and the realization that I was going to have two babies was immensely intimidating.  I wondered what it was going to be like, how it would feel, how gigantic I’d end up becoming.  I thought about giving birth to two children and then taking them home and never sleeping again.  What did I get myself into?  

(Sound familiar?)

Continue reading

Conquering The Park

The thing about being a mom (at least in my experience) is that suddenly, plenty of normal, everyday things become completely terrifying. This is very different, of course, from the legitimately terrifying experiences that occurred between the twins’ birth and their discharge from the hospital. I’m talking about the stuff that should be easy. Like, uh, leaving the house. Eating at a restaurant. Going on a trip. Being alone at home while your husband is away on a business trip. The kind of stuff you wouldn’t bat an eyelash at during your pre-baby days that now seem akin to, I don’t know, getting a root canal. Without anesthetic.

Continue reading