Tuesday, December 7, 2010

World TTTS Awareness Day

Today I'm going to be a little more serious than normal on my blog, since it's World TTTS Awareness Day.  For those of you who don't know (which included me before I was diagnosed with it), TTTS stands for "Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome."  It's a rare condition that can develop during an identical twin pregancy if the two babies share a single placenta.  And it's serious, scary, and potentially deadly stuff.  You can learn more about it here.

But let me back up a bit.

I remember when Scott and I first found out we were having twins. 

I was almost 12 weeks along.  Almost out of the first trimester.  We had just flown back home from a week long trip to San Diego for a college friend's wedding.  It was late at night and I was exhausted as we drove home from the airport.  Ashley was asleep in her carseat in the backseat.  I was thinking about how her first birthday was only a few days away. 

That's when the bleeding started.   

I was convinced I was miscarrying.  I'd had a miscarriage before, a very early one, but I knew the drill.  There was nothing I could do to stop this.  I was wrecked.  I called the doctor the next morning, and they told me what I already knew.  I was scheduled for an ultrasound the next day.

Scott and I went in together.  By this time, the bleeding had stopped.  And being a mother, of course I hoped.  Hoped that we'd see a flickering heart on the screen.  But I knew what I had seen and felt that night in the car and the hours that ticked by so slowly afterwards.  So I held Scott's hand tightly when the ultrasound began.

I cannot describe that moment with any justice.  But imagine going into a room, prepared to hear that your deeply desired baby no longer lives inside you.  And then to see on the screen that not only does that baby's heart beat, but another one beside it beats as well.  Scott and I both knew the minute we saw the screen.  And the joy on Scott's face as our eyes met...well, I will never forget it as long as I live.

That is the story of how we found out we were having twins.

There is also a story of how we almost lost those twins.  That story is filled with doctor visits.  More ultrasounds than I can count.  A needle removing liters of amniotic fluid from my swollen belly.  Driving six hours to Cincinnati in the middle of the night to meet with a team of world-renowned maternal-fetal specialists.  MRIs.  Echocardiograms.  Fetal-laser surgery.  15 weeks of bed rest.  A 58% chance of both of the boys surviving. 

A coin toss for my babies' lives.

TTTS is horrible.  I was blessed with two lives growing inside of me, completely unexpectedly, and then just as I began to feel and accept the miracle of it all, TTTS threatened to take it all away. 

I was one of the lucky ones.  But I know how easily I could have fallen on the other side of that coin toss.  If you or anyone you know becomes pregant with identical twins, make sure they know about TTTS so they can watch for the signs.  And make sure they know about the TTTS Foundation, because it is an extremely helpful resource during an identical twin pregnancy.

I had never heard of TTTS before I was diagnosed with it, but I was extremely fortunate that my doctor had.  Because if it weren't for him, I wouldn't have these guys.


But more importantly, they wouldn't have each other.  And that's what I am the most grateful for.

That my boys have each other.



Steph said...

Your boys are just beautiful. Thanks for sharing this today. I should do the same on my blog.

sara said...

Oh that gave me the chills.

Those boys are so insanely gorgeous. I just want to smoosh them!

Kim said...

I was reading this post with Sam on my lap. When I closed the window she started saying, "ooooo....ooooo.oooooooo.ooooooo!.....GO?"

I pulled up your blog again and she pointed to your owls and said "Der she is!" (There it is!)

Sam likes your blog too :)

Kmama said...

Oh how scary. I'm so glad your boys have each other, and that you have them!

Amber Page Writes said...

Wow. This took my breath away...I'm so glad it all worked out. They're beautiful.

Jen said...

What an amazing story.

wonderchris said...

So so scary. I first read about TTTS from Heather (It's Twinsanity) and she had TTTS TWICE! Two miracle sets.

Your boys are pure blessings! I just love that picture of them! :)

Krystyn said...

Oh, so very, very scary.

So glad you have your handsome healthy boys.

BranderPaul said...

Wow, Megs--what an INCREDIBLE post :) I LOVE YA!! and I love those little boys :)

Holly Ann said...

What a beautiful and moving story. I'm a little teary now. I'm so glad your boys have each other and you have them!

Katherine said...

Amazing story. One of my very good friends is expecting identical twin boys right now and this made me think of them and hope that everything goes well. That make me choke up a little bit. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Wow. What an amazing journey. I was fortunate to have fraternal twins and a relatively uneventful pregnancy.

Brandy@YDK said...

thank you for sharing your story and raising awareness.

they are so freakin adorable.

Sadia said...

Usually you embarrass me by making me laugh at my desk, and now you make me cry. You're a terrible person.

My girls were identical, single placenta, and I kept my fears of both TTTS and siamese twins to myself. (The siamese thing was totally ridiculous. I knew they were mono-di.) Still, I was terrified.

I'm so glad Aiden and Owen are okay, and my heart breaks for all those twins who aren't. How can such an amazing gift as having a twin come with such a scary curse as TTTS?

MelissaLouise said...

They are so adorble!