Kristin describes the complications she faced during her first pregnancy.
Hi, I am Kristin, and I want to share with you the story of my pregnancy complications.
Well, it was my first pregnancy, and we just got pregnant right away and found out within about six weeks that it was twins, which we couldn’t believe. We were so excited, and I was feeling great. I was in graduate school at the time just finishing up, and I was so healthy.
I had been very active. I am a former marathon runner, and there was really no reason to think that the pregnancy wouldn’t be just picture perfect. And just like you get in any kind of “What to Expect When You Are Expecting” book, you read about all the wonderful things that happen as your body changes during a pregnancy, and I was expecting all the good stuff.
But then around 14 weeks into the pregnancy, I had just gotten through the first trimester, my water broke, and it was completely out of the blue. I just woke up one morning in wet sheets and had no idea what was happening. I went straight to the doctor; they did an emergency ultrasound, found out that there was a very severe birth defect that had happened in the pregnancy, and it was structural.
It was something that was not genetic and a very rare occurrence called Amniotic Banding Syndrome. And this is something that we are obviously not prepared for, and the doctors around us really weren’t prepared for it either because it is so rare. So all we knew is that we had twin boys, that they had broken into or one of them broken out of one of their sacs so they were tangled up in one sac, and there was a hole where the amniotic fluid was leaking constantly.
My doctors were wonderful. I was surrounded by the best specialists in the Dallas area where we were living at the time. They advised me to think very carefully about my options. It was my first pregnancy. I was young, 29 years old, and my OB said, “You know, if you want to start over and have a clean slate we can do that; we can terminate the pregnancy,” because they really felt like it was doomed from the very beginning.
So it was just an excruciating decision. It’s one that no couple wants to go through; no new parents want to deal with, whether or not you should continue with a pregnancy that everyone is telling you is doomed. We knew for sure that one of the babies would not make it. He would not survive outside of the womb.
The Amniotic Banding Syndrome, what happens is some of the amniotic tissue attaches to the baby, and then in our situation with our son Clyde, it attached to his skull. So his skull did not develop whole the way it should have.
So for that reason we knew that he would, if he even survived the pregnancy, he would not live very long outside the womb. Our other boy Connor, we really didn’t know what was going to happen with him. The risk was that we would miscarry. Clyde was on top of Connor, and the risk was the fact that he was literally dying in the womb as the pregnancy progressed.
So it was really touch and go. Basically my doctor said, once we decided that we want to move forward with the pregnancy and just let whatever happen, happen, she said, “Well, you are limited to bed rest; just stay in bed. Don’t move. Move as little as possible, and let’s just see what happens.”
It was terrifying. Every day I never knew if that kick I felt from one of the boys was my last. Somehow I stayed pregnant for another three months or so until about 28 weeks, and we had an emergency C-section at that point. I had some other complications that came up involving preeclampsia, also called toxemia, and so we had an emergency C-section.
They were able to deliver both the boys alive, and we did have Clyde with us for about 21 hours. Connor did amazingly well. He was in NICU for about two months for the first two months of his life.
It was every parent’s nightmare. You lose one baby, and it was just such a shock. I mean, we didn’t really understand why or how this could happen. Nothing prepared us for this. No doctor could have prepared us for this situation, and at the same time, we had another baby who was very much struggling in NICU with a lot of special needs that we had to tend to.
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