My story: Emery Kate
So I have decided to share my story regarding what happened 9 weeks ago—I think it will help to get it out, and help me along the grieving process. I have only shared with a few that are close to me…. So here it goes:
We found out in the fall that we were going to have a baby. Imagine my surprise when at work, they did an ultrasound and saw 2 babies. I cannot begin to describe the excitement and fear I felt at the risks twins bring…
With each week, and each ultrasound, I felt better about carrying twins. My ob⁄gyn told me early on, she thought I was having 2 girls, by looking at the u⁄s. I was scanned at work the day before Thanksgiving, and we were told the same thing—pretty sure it was 2 girls. December 2, 2009, with our son Connor there we found out for 100% we had two little girls on the way. Everything looked great with them both! I continued to get extra ultrasounds at work, and got to peek at my babies. I usually saw them at least once a week—I went back to see my regular ob⁄gyn a few days before Christmas and my bp was up, so they put me on bedrest and increased my medicine until I could get in to see the high risk doctor. The babies continued to looked great though—equal in size, great hearts, brains, and umbilical cords. I was told you couldn’t ask for better-looking twins, and that I had the best kind, with their own sacs and placentas. Little did we know what a key factor 2 placentas would be a few weeks down the road. I went the next week to see the high risk doctor. He released me to go back to work, and said I had two beautiful baby girls.
Over the next few weeks my bp was acting up a bit, but every time we took a peek at Adalyn and Emery at work or in the doctor’s office, they looked great. Every time I went to work, I would get the heart tone Doppler and listen to both of their hearts beating away. I worked half a day Sunday the 17th and heard them both beating away. They both had been moving like crazy here lately!
January 18th, the day I turned 22 weeks, is a day I will never forget. I was going back for a checkup and u⁄s with the high risk doctor and Tray was on his way to the airport to go to Dallas. I had appointments every two weeks with u⁄s and everything always looked great, so my biggest concern was them taking me off of work for my blood pressure. I sat in the waiting room, and chatted with several of the other ladies. We talked about how scary it was to think of having 2 babies at once. They called me back for my u⁄s, and I didn’t have the first reason to be concerned. The u⁄s tech first told me that that A was breech, and B was lying sideways on top of A, she then proceeded to look at all of Adalyn, baby A—we listened to her heart rate, got her measurements and all that good stuff—she was trying to get a 4D picture for me, but Adalyn wouldn’t behave, so she said she would come back to her and then proceeded on to B, Emery.
In this particular office, they have a big screen u⁄s TV where you can see and hear everything. As she played her heartrate out loud, I noticed it sounded a little bit lower than normal. Working in the field I do, I know that babies can have drops in heart rates, so at first I really wasn’t concerned. I tilted to my side and listened as she tried several more times to play her heart rate. The only problem, was, that it was not coming up. I looked at her face, and knew she was concerned: “How slow is that?” I asked her, to which she replied “88 beats per minute”. Normal heartrates for babies are usually somewhere between 110 and 160 with different variations. This went on for a few minutes. Emery’s heart rate was remaining slow. I asked her to go get my doctor; she agreed, and quickly left the room. It was 11:37 a.m.
I do not remember who all I called in the next few minutes, but I know that I made probably about 10 phone calls asking for prayer. I got in touch with Tray, who by the grace of God, had a delayed fight and had not left yet. He was on his way to the office. I want to mention that Connor had been supposed to come with me to this appointment. The night before one of my good friends, who has a little girl his age, called and offered to keep him while I went to my appointment. Looking back I see all the divine intervention that took place on that day.
The doctor and another u⁄s tech, who is also an OB nurse, came in and started looking at everything. I knew at this point that something was not right, I could see it in their faces. On the big screen, there was Miss Adalyn, bouncing around. Emery, however, except for her little mouth, was not moving very much and her heart rate was still in the 80s. They looked at my placentas, the blood flow, their hearts and, brains. Everything looked normal: no visible knots in her cord. Both of them weighed a little over one pound so there was not a size discrepancy. At this point I knew that she was either not going to make it, or be severely handicapped from such a low heartrate for so long. The doctor held my hand, and I just covered my eyes as they continued to play her heart rate and it got lower and lower.
Tray finally made it there, and was not fully aware of what was going on, “What is happening?” I remember him asking, and I told him, “Emery is dying.” It was hard for me to say, but at the same time it all seemed like a dream. I kept sobbing my apologies. I felt like it was somehow my fault; my body had failed me in some way. Tray couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t just take her out at this point and save her. Unfortunately, at this gestational age, babies are not usually viable outside the womb. Doing so would compromise Adalyn.
The u⁄s tech said she would come back in 5 minutes to check heart tones on Emery. 5 long minutes later as she pulled the screen up we could still see her heart beating. It was beating slowly, but it was 44 beats per minute. 10 minutes after this, still in the 30s. 15 minutes later, after the second look, 17 beats per minute. At this point we went in the conference room and met with the doctor—by the way he is one whom I know very well, and work with whenever I am at work. He and his office staff have been wonderful, during this whole ordeal, and I could not ask for a better doctor and staff.
He sat down and drew out a diagram of possible causes—risks to me, risks to Adalyn, etc. He was just as baffled as we were. He said he saw nothing wrong with Emery, and had never seen something like this happen “live” in the office. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Fortunately, they did not share a placenta or it would have been possible for Adalyn to have experienced decreased blood flow at the same time. It was a blessing to have 2 placentas. They proceeded to take over 20 tubes of blood, so they could screen for any kind of clotting disorder or something I may have been exposed to over the past few days that could have caused this. By the way, at this point, there is no known cause.
After the blood work, we were taken to a different u⁄s room. She brought up the picture of Emery’s heart, and it was completely still, no quivering, no beat at all. The doctor came in, he had to verify it. He looked at the screen and told us how sorry he was. It was 1:33 p.m. They looked at Adalyn again. She was still bouncing around, sucking on her thumb. It was a relief to see she was okay still, but such anxiety to wonder if she would share the same fate.
I really couldn’t cry much—I was in too much shock and disbelief. When I got home I went to what would be the nursery and in the closet there hung the first few things I had bought just 2 nights before: 2 ladybug bikinis, a set of onesies that said, “My twin did it”, and 2 sets of matching dresses. This is when I lost it. Connor came in from being at a friend’s house, and the first thing he asked was how baby Adalyn and Emery looked in their pictures— so we had to tell much sooner than we were anticipating. We explained to him that God had decided he wanted baby Emery to come live with him, and that we just needed to pray for Adalyn. He cried a little bit, and then said, “Well, I prayed for both of them, I want them both.” What do you say to that? When he got his big brother shirt in the other day, he asked where the one that said he was the big brother of twins. He said he was still a big brother of twins even though Emery was in heaven….
I questioned everything. I questioned God, and most of all myself. Was there something I had done to have such a painful event happen? Did I stress myself out with school, work, family, etc.? There will probably never be an earthly answer—but I have come to terms with the fact that it is not my fault.
The next few days were filled with sleepless nights. Every time I lay down, I had the image burned in my brain of Emery moving her mouth, and her heart so slow. I had so much anxiety over what would happen to Adalyn. 2 days later when we went back to check on her, I thought I was going to vomit from anxiety. When they pulled up the u⁄s screen, there was sweet Adalyn moving around—strong heartbeat—and so far she has continued that way.
Right now, due to the reaction of carrying a baby that is no longer living, my body thinks it needs to go into labor. Our goal right now is to get Adalyn closer to term and here healthy, without risking anything to me. This has been a long emotional journey, and I know it is in God’s hands. I think the day we have Adalyn and Emery, will be such a mixed emotion day—enormous joy, but a great deal of sadness for what should have been. I am honestly so scared to deliver a baby that is not living—they have told me they do not know how intact she will be due to decomposition, but I hope they can at least get some footprints for us.
Emery will always be a part of our hearts. I know that everything happens for a reason—but I often ask the questions. why did HE give me 2 to start with, and, Why if he was going to take one, did HE let me see it all happen? I know that I will be a stronger person as results of all this, and maybe a testimony to others. I know it is in God’s hands, even though I have questioned him so much in the past few weeks. Thank you to all my friends and family for all the encouraging words, uplifting prayers, and thoughts for our sweet baby Adalyn as she prepares to make her way into the world. We love you all!