Wesley & Bradley
When we found out we were having twins during the ultrasound just prior to my amniocentesis, I was a bit overwhelmed. We already had a beautiful 2-1/2 year-old boy, and I was wanting a girl. I don’t know if finding out I was pregnant with what the radiologist felt were identical twin boys was more overwhelming to me or whether I was disappointed we were not expecting a girl.
My due date was December 10, 1989, and the pregnancy was moving along uneventfully. Fortunately, working outside the home is a choice for me; and my husband and I decided that I would quit my job, particularly since I had a 40-mile (2-hour) one-way commute. I was able to find a replacement and left my job on September 15, as I was already getting too “big” to sit behind the wheel of the car, and too uncomfortable for that long drive each way. I had contemplated that problems might develop and was completely familiar with our insurance coverage, but I had never thought that the babies might die. We live 25 miles from Loma Linda University Hospital – a hospital with one of the best neonatal units in the world! Being airlifted to this hospital is quite common in Southern California.
During my first week off from work, I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with back pain. On Thursday evening I realized I hadn’t been urinating. On Friday, I called the doctor and he saw me immediately. He examined me, said everything looked fine; there were two heartbeats. He suggested I buy an additional support for my back and advised me to drink more water to increase urine output. Late Sunday afternoon, I was spotting. My son was shuffled off to the neighbors, and we went to the local hospital.
At the hospital the nurses said that they were getting heartbeats but that they were not as strong as they would like to see. The ultrasound equipment in the maternity ward was not adequate for the doctor to make an evaluation. He said that there was too much amniotic fluid and could not confirm if there were heartbeats (contrary to what the maternity nurses were indicating). The neonatologist on call was unable to be reached by phone (her telephone line was tied up by an incoming fax). My doctor indicated that he might have to draw off the excess fluid and that could trigger an early delivery. I had expected him to transfer me to Loma Linda Hospital.
I was, instead, shuffled off to the radiology department where it was determined that there were, in fact, no heartbeats. Several hours later, Wesley (2 lbs., 7 oz.) was delivered by the delivery room nurse, and almost an hour later with much difficulty Bradley (4 lbs., 5 oz.) was born. The doctor was at a loss as to why they died, and asked me to authorize an autopsy, which I did.
At the request of the doctor, I returned to his office later to get the results of the autopsies. He indicated that there was nothing definitive about their deaths; he simply had no explanation. In fact, he said, “Today a two-pound baby should survive.” I specifically asked him at that time about whether they suffered from twin transfusion syndrome, as I had read that this should immediately be suspect in identical twins being born with over a one-pound difference in their respective weights. He indicated that this was not the problem and that the autopsy results did not reflect this.
Several months later, in trying to determine whether we wanted more children, I decided to seek the advice of a neonatologist and started gathering up all the medical information. I requested copies of the autopsy reports which were not only transcribed after the date I saw my doctor on the return visit, but very clearly indicated “twin transfusion syndrome”. You would have thought that the doctor would have called me once he received the report.
We decided to go ahead and try to have more children. At about this same time, a relative knew of a young girl who was having triplets and giving them up for adoption. Was I interested? I knew my husband would not want to adopt and, besides, getting pregnant had not been that difficult for me – until now. I have since had two miscarriages and am now over 40. When someone refers to my son as an only child, I always correct them. Although he is being “raised as an only child”, he still has two brothers.
Time has not healed the wounds. I am obviously still bitter over the circumstances surrounding their death. I feel strongly that my not urinating was an indication that something was going wrong. And, I have since come across someone else who quit urinating and delivered stillborn twins who suffered from twin transfusion syndrome. I guess what bothers me is that no one really wants to study the problems associated with multiple births, and other couples will have to endure what my husband and I have had to endure because no one is interested.
I have since known two other couples who discovered they were pregnant with twins. I advised both couples to inquire of their obstetrician as to being referred to a doctor who handles “high risk” pregnancies. Neither doctor recommended it. My philosophy is: would you want someone doing open heart surgery on you who only did it three or four times a year? So, why would you want an obstetrician who handles only three or four multiple births each year?
I take our son to the cemetery to visit his brothers, but he still does not understand. When we leave, he says, “Where are my baby brothers?”
Bradley and Wesley, we all miss you!
– Love, Mommy, Daddy and Todd
…After the miscarriages, she and her husband had a subsequent son. Her new license plates read, “MSRTWINS”.