Monday, April 25, 2011

Twin nightmare: Pregnancy and disease

By Tomie Parks 
TTTS mom

I can’t hug my children.
I never could. They died the day they were born.
Life since then – Jan. 8 – has been a mission to try and understand the disease that robbed me of my boys, Tanner and Hunter.
That disease is called Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, and this is a story of how terrible it is.

The beginning
Last spring I lived the life of a new bride.
March of Dimes necklace.
I had a house to furnish, a husband to cook for and new family members to meet. There wasn’t a moment to spare until summer came.
That’s when Rusty and I found what it meant to be newlyweds. We had no need for plans. All we craved was each other’s company, and that made the most dreaded of chores, like cleaning the toilet or washing the dishes, seem more like a vacation. Life was full of Hallmark card bliss.
We discovered at the end of September that I was pregnant.
Lots of adjectives can describe our reaction: Thrilled, scared, tired, worried, surprised, nervous, and overwhelmed.
In short, we were the typical first-time parents, trying to make sense of everything we heard from doctors and saw on ultrasounds.
October brought on a surge of hormones that made me cranky, but it also afforded me the opportunity to see my baby’s heart beat – and on Oct. 25, I learned there were two babies inside my belly.
“How did you make two?” my bewildered husband asked me, as he sat staring at the ultrasound.
I didn’t have an answer then, and I don’t have one now.
Neither of us had any family history of twins, nor do I know of any special diet or vitamin that makes embryos split. It just happened, and for a while, I was the mother of twins.