CLIMB

Rachel & Megan


Our Sweet Rachel,

Was that YOU we saw in the sky last night? The prettiest star twinkling so bright…

Or maybe we’ve seen YOU peeking from beyond a rainbow or dancing in the clouds…

As long as YOU are happy, a smile upon your angelic face…

We can go on, knowing YOU are in a magical heavenly place…

To Rachel Ann, who was born and died September 30, 1993. Never have we loved you more. You are never forgotten.

-Mommy, Daddy, Austin, Lacey & her twin Megan

Rachel & Megan

I’ve thought of writing “my story” of my beautiful twin daughters a thousand times, yet it seemed so hard to actually sit and relive this chapter in my life. My husband, Cecil, and I were married the day after Christmas in 1987. He was in the Navy and I, being an only child, went off to another state to be with him and live our lives. We had so many hopes and dreams of children but we wanted to wait a couple of years before trying for any. We were married for two or three when we decided to try. I had no idea the rocky road we were about to travel.

In 1990, I was pregnant, only to miscarry at 13 weeks when my husband was at sea. I was in Connecticut with no family (I’m from Pennsylvania). It was traumatic. I cried oceans of tears. Then, at 5 weeks, only a couple of months later, I sadly miscarried again. By now, I started to seek professional infertility help. Lots of cycles of clomid and lotsof tests later, I conceived again. Of course, being monitored closely at a doctor’s office, with my hopes high again, I saw by vaginal ultrasound I had what appeared to be a molar pregnancy. I had a D&C at the local hospital at 6 weeks, March, 1992. It turned out to have characteristics of a molar pregnancy, but was not. but was not. It was unviable, though. Cecil and I were crushed for a third time. Now, getting pregnant and carrying to term was getting to be a real challenge. I refused to give up! I continued infertility treatments for many more cycles, a lot of blood work, tests, and a lot of money (I’d have paid anything). We were really ready to be parents, and it was such an uphill struggle. My infertility doctor, which was amazing, said I was one of his toughest cases. Why me? It didn’t matter, I would do what it took.

It was time for my husband to get out of the military, and we were moving back to Pennsylvania. I was down to my “last month” of trying under my doctor’s care and armed with Metrodin and a lot of prayers I got pregnant with twins. It was the end of January, 1993. We left Connecticut when I was 6 weeks pregnant, and having some bleeding. We headed back to PA. I was a nervous wreck, leaving my doctor in Connecticut. I got to PA and found a local OB there. He looked over my records, scheduled an ultrasound, and both hearts were still beating! We were elated, and the bleeding had stopped.

At 8 weeks or so, I had several weeks of bedrest because of placenta previa, which later healed itself. I was so excited about having twins! I read everything on the subject. I wanted to be well educated. Everything was great now, and finally at 7 months we bought two of everything. (I wanted to be pretty far along to make sure nothing would happen.) I let me guard down at 37 weeks, convinced it was only a matter of time. After all, the birth was the only thing standing between us and our healthy babies. They told us Baby A was a girl and Baby B was a boy. They turned out to be wrong, both girls.

On September 30, 1993 at 4:30 a.m. my water broke and we anxiously grabbed our bags and headed to the hospital. We were sooooo excited. I was ready to do whatever it took to get our babies out safely. After an ultrasound and monitor hook-up we were settled in ready to have our babies. I have a video of me, so very big-bellied, smiling in my hospital gown and the monitors with their strong heartbeats. Life was incredible, but not for long. I talked to my doctor early in the morning, when things were going well. He gave me the option of vaginal vs. c-section. Being a first-time mom and confident in his knowledge, I asked this question, “If I were your wife, what would you do?” He said a vaginal birth looked great. So, even with my instincts telling me c-section, I tried for vaginal. After all, he’s the doctor, right? Wrong decision, that I live with every day.

Hours later, and not another doctor checking on me, I remember a lot of screaming (mine). I remember them putting a vaginal scalp monitor on Baby A, more screaming, a lot of nurses scrambling…whisking me down the hall…no husband allowed to come with me…an oxygen mask…I prayed for my babies, as things went dark. I awoke some time later, to a male voice (later found out it was my husband) saying, “They did all they could but we lost one.” My head spun…more screaming…no this is a nightmare! I awoke to see a glimpse of my little Baby B, Megan Elizabeth, alive in my arms all wrapped in pink. She was gorgeous …I’m asleep again…later in my bed. There were a lot of visitor in…please no more telling me that “at least I still have one”. I haven’t even seen my other baby, whom we named Rachel Ann. Where is she???? Megan and my family’s love is the only thing keeping me from wanting to die.

About 6 hours after their birth/death, a nurse comes in with my beautiful Rachel in her arms. My husband and I spent an hour or so, our only time ever, with her. She looked like a porcelain doll, I remember saying it looked as though she could just wake up…why couldn’t she?? Words do not describe her beauty. Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine how pretty she would be, and perfect. She was 6#1, 19 inches. She had a slightly coned effect to her head, where she tried to exit my womb on her own, before placental abruption was swift and took her life, even with the monitors and an emergency c-section. She had a tiny bruise on her chest where they tried to revive her. She had dark ringlet curls on her head. (I still have one of them.) I never saw a baby with ringlet curls. I am sad to say, I never got to see her eyes opened. She had been stillborn, because the abruption took her oxygen, and she suffocated inside what was supposed to be such a safe place. The nurse took her back. We never saw her again, as we had a closed casket service three days later.

Megan was beautiful, too, at 6# and 18-1/2 inches. She had strawberry hair, and blue eyes. She still is beautiful, and just turned 7 recently. Her pain is evident. She misses Rachel a lot, She is buried near us, and we visit often. Megan takes her things, sometimes pictures and once even some of her hair ribbons. Once Megan, at about 4, asked me why we can’t just go get the biggest ladder and climb to heaven and get Rachel and bring her home. Oh, if it were only that simple. We’ve always been open with her, and she talks of her twin often.

I’ve had the ultimate blessings of two subsequent children (with no infertility treatment) since the twins—Austin David, who just turned 4, and Lacey Rose, who celebrates her first birthday in January, 2001. After Lacey’s birth, I talked to a nurse, and finally found out why they didn’t pick up Rachel’s dropping heart rate earlier, it was because when hers slowed, the monitor just picked up another heartbeat, mine…Life goes on, and I do have three amazing children, here, and one amazing daughter in heaven. I believe she’s with us always and watches over us. I’m so blessed to have carried her for 37-1/2 weeks and for her to be part of our family. It has been 7 years, and Megan is in 1st grade doing great. I wonder what it would have been like dressing two of them in the morning, watching two get on the bus, getting to kiss two of them goodbye in the morning…sigh.

I would like to hear from any of you, especially those who might have had the misfortune of placental abruption.

Molly