Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The story behind losing one of our twins

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- I posted on Facebook last week Wednesday that we indeed lost one of our twins.  I wasn't able to go into great detail on how it happened because I was honestly in a bit of shock.  I have shared our story so detailed thus far I figured I would share what happened.

Our last appointment at the fertility center was back in November I believe we were about 7 weeks pregnant or so.  At that time we had two healthy embryo's brewing and things were looking good.  Dr. Young noted to us that one was a bit smaller than the other and it's heartbeat wasn't quite as strong.  Other than that we were good to move on to the OBGYN. 

My sister called Bronson in Kalamazoo (she lives in Portage) and booked our first appointment.  They didn't want to see us until we were 13 weeks long.  That felt like an eternity considering we had been seen by the wonderful people at the fertility center every two weeks for the last two months. 

Our first appointment was in December and I was very excited.  I hadn't seen the two little babies in weeks and my anxiety was starting to kick in.  Now I have never had a baby remember so all of this is very new to me. 

We arrived 15 minutes early and checked in.  Upon check in we asked if Bronson had our paperwork because lets face it, our situation is a tad different than most peoples.  (gestational carriers, twins, etc.)  The woman said she didn't know and to ask the nurse.

We went into the room for the appointment and a nurse came in.  She came off friendly enough at first but then proceeded to put her foot in her mouth multiple times. 

She in fact didn't have our paperwork and claimed the fertility center didn't send it. (They had) We explained our situation that while Dani was the patient carrying the baby, Jimmy and I were the intended parents. 

That didn't seem to phase her she continued to refer to Dani with endearing terms like, "mom" and ask her "if she would find out the gender of the twins."  Both statements we corrected her that I was in fact the mother but she didn't seem to care that she was hurting my feelings so bad.

At this point I should have realized she wouldn't be able to help me with any questions I had but I asked anyway.  I simply asked about the process of having a baby when the intended parents don't give birth.  Her response was shocking, she replied with; "Well your twins could just end up in foster care for 12 weeks while paper work clears."

First off that is the farthest thing from the truth we called our lawyer and made sure of that, and secondly my sister would never relinquish custody of MY children to foster care.

Teary eyed and upset I stormed out of the room.  I can't imagine what nurse would be taught that that is an appropriate thing to say to a mom to be.  Her excuse was, "well I don't know really that's just what I thought..."

That said this nurse did a doppler (using one doppler) and told me two heart beats, wrote them down and said they were strong and the twins were doing well.

Fast forward 4 weeks and we had our next appointment.  We called ahead and explained that we didn't want that nurse again because she really hurt my feelings and the hospital said that was fine and gave us someone else.

I liked this nurse better she was efficient and didn't ask a lot of questions.  She seemed to understand that Jim and I were the intended parents and she didn't act like it was odd at all.  But once again she did NOT have our file from the fertility clinic.  This time the "computer systems were down."

I asked her when we would have an ultra sound, considering that we were high risk with multiples, and hadn't had one since we were 7 weeks along I felt like one was due.  She said we didn't get another ultra sound we had one already at the fertility center and we would have to wait til 20 weeks.

She did the doppler (only using one again) and told us two heart beats, wrote them down and said everything was healthy and we were good to go.

Something in my stomach didn't feel right.  I wanted to see the twins I wanted to know everything was going OK.  It seemed odd that we skipped that initial ultra sound at 12 weeks.  Everything through the fertility center was separate and paid by us NOT insurance so typical protocol should have been used.

When leaving the appointment (I believe we were about 17 weeks pregnant at this point) I noticed pamphlets on the hospitals check out desk for "4D Moments" and ultra sound company that did just ultra sounds for families to see their babies.

I took the pamphlet and called them figuring the hospital wouldn't put it on their desk if it wasn't legit.  They said they could get us in Saturday and even be able to tell us the genders of our twins.

My entire family went with us to the appointment. Mom, Dad, my niece, Dani, and Jimmy of course.  The woman was very kind and loving.  She seemed genuinely excited for Jim and my adventure into parenthood. 

She found the first baby almost immediately and said it looked really good, heart beat was strong and she could clearly see that it was a GIRL.  We were so excited, my worried melted away seeing her and knowing things were fine, I was being silly.

She went to check the second twin and said she couldn't seem to see it.  I felt a little sick and worried while she hunted around claiming, "sometimes twins do this, they hide."  Eventually she said she figured out the problem that one twin was hiding behind the other and she thinks she had it under control.

She then announced to us that this too was a girl!  She labeled each baby as Baby A. and Baby B. in photographs for us and printed them.  Even giving us a dvd that pointed out each baby.

I felt so much relief that my twins were fine and they were both girls!  How exciting!  I didn't take long to go on our morning show and announce to West Michigan that I was going to be mom to two girls. 

Two weeks later was the 20 week appointment.  It's a longer appointment because they measure everything and make sure the babies look good.  I was nervous because I hadn't really liked how the other appointments had gone at Bronson so far.  Because this was an ultra sound (FINALLY!) It was on a different area of the building and we got to see a different staff.

We waited 45 minutes before we got into the room because they were very backed up.  They immediately started the ultra sound and the tech announced that we were right Baby A. was indeed a girl.  She looked really good we could see her foot up by her mouth and her hand waving at us.  She moving around like crazy.

Jim asked how our other twin was doing and the man looked at us confused and said, "I am sorry what do you mean?  There is only one baby in here..."

My heart sank and I felt sick, Jim explained that we just had an ultra sound at 4D moments and the woman told us that twins hide and that one was underneath the other one.

His face looked a little white and he explained that he was terribly sorry and he didn't know how we could get to 20 weeks like this but there was most definitely only one baby.  He pointed to the corner of the screen and said, "See that little dot?  That is the other embryo it appears to be maybe 8 weeks old, you guys lost it a long time ago, I am so sorry."

The man had tears in his eyes as he explained about our lost twin.  He told us he didn't know how this could happen and that the other baby didn't even have a gender yet.  The woman who did the ultra sound must have been looking at the same baby the entire time.  All the pictures we had printed, labeled baby A and baby B, they were just the same baby. 

The Dr. came in and was very kind and knowledgeable.  He treated Jim and I like the parents we were soon to be and explained in more detail that we most likely lost the embryo between week 7 when we left the fertility center and our first appointment at Bronson.  Because they didn't do a 12 week ultra sound (that I had indeed asked about) it wasn't caught.

I told him the nurses gave us two heart beats and he told me that unless they used TWO dopplers at once there is no way they could hear the heart beats at the same time to know that they are both okay.  He told us that he has recommended to the nursing staff multiple times to use two dopplers to know that both babies are safe.

Because the first nurse wrote two strong heart beats the second nurse had no reason for alarm and did the same thing.  But note neither nurse bothered to find our file and see that Dr. Young had noted that one of the embryos was weaker than the other with a weaker heart beat.

As for our ultra sound at 4D Moments he said she must have seen that just days earlier Bronson had claimed we had two healthy heart beats and convinced herself two twins were sitting on top of each other.  He also said unless there is a Dr. present at an ultra sound it isn't really legit and he didn't recommend places like 4D Moments.

I told him, "You are wrong, you DID recommend it.  The minute your staff put the pamphlets on their check out desk for me to see, you endorsed it."

He agreed with me and said he felt terrible for the mixup.

The one baby we now have is very healthy and everything looked good.  She weighed about 12 ounces at 19.5 weeks and was in the 59th percentile for size.  A week has past since that appointment and I am feeling less sad about the loss of our other twin.  I keep reminding myself that the baby girl I had grown to love didn't actually exist.  The embryo (that for all we know could have been a boy) didn't make it past November.

We go back to Bronson next week for another check up and we have requested to not see the nurses we saw the first two times that in MY opinion dropped the ball.  We also told them that we want them to have viewed our file and know our situation.

It won't help me to cry and be angry all the time at what happened.  I have gone through a lot to have children and I don't want to be sad anymore, I have chosen to be happy for my one baby girl we have due June 14.

24 comments:

  1. So sorry for your loss. This happened to a friend of mine..losing a twin early in the pregnancy but it was verified early on. It seems to me to be pure negligence on those nurses parts. I think that maybe a formal complaint should be made..maybe save other prospective parents the heartache. Best wishes and prayers on your journey...

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    1. It's almost like a long math equation. One step gets missed and that snow balls and in the end you get the wrong answer, even if you did everything else right.
      I don't carry hard feelings for 4D Moments because they were so kind and made me feel like a mom to be, which was a feeling I had been longing for this entire process, I think she just knew days earlier according to the hospital we had 2 heart beats and so she couldn't figure out why she couldn't find both babies. It's okay now we have one healthy baby on the way that we look forward to meeting.
      Thank you for your kind words

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  2. Oh girl, my heart breaks for what you all have been through (and I have to admit I'd like to punch someone :) ) but good for you to focus on that precious little girl and move forward. There is no freedom and peace living in anger and resentment. So excited for your family. Thank you so much for sharing your joys and sorrows. There is someone out there that will be so encouraged by it. Shot I am!!

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    1. Thanks Kim, we are very excited for our little girl. The thing that makes us angry is that we have felt "off" this entire time, something didnt feel right each appointment. I don't know true protocol for twins but I felt like we were NOT being monitored like other parents I have met that have carried multiples, had we been this would have been caught earlier on and saved us a lot of pain. Time to move forward though.

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  3. So sorry for your loss. This happens more times than you can imagine. If one of the twins wasn't growing right the fertility center should not have discharged you so soon. A one week f/u would have found the problem then. Usually when discharged from fertility clinic, they ask that there patients are seen sooner than later. Most OB's do a scan on the first visit to establish size and see a heart beat. Using a doppler at that age just isn't reliable to assess 2 heart beats without looking directly at them. I have worked in ob/gyne for over 30years and have some reservations about your care. The fact they didn't have your records on the second visit leaves me wondering. They could have had them faxed while you were there on your first visit. Best wishes for a healthy baby girl

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    1. Hi Annete! Thanks for your comment - the hospital DID have our file the nurses we had failed to get it or look properly.
      The other twin when we left the fertility center was weaker but okay, if I was asked to place blame I say Bronson dropped the ball. Makes me sick but I have to move forward with my healthy baby on the way :)

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  4. Jackie, I am so sorry that this happened to you guys! I also can't believe those nurses. That is out of control. They should be reprimanded for that. The Doctor told them to use two doplers and they ignored it! Sending lots of prayers your way. <3

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment, we are just happy to have one healthy baby on the way. It's almost a he said, she said, situation, I mean the doctor told us, "I tell the staff when you have multiples use two dopplers" but that's what he says I dont know hes not in charge of them so it's not like he makes the rules.
      We are just happy to be moving forward.

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  5. I am so, so sorry Jackie!! The baby you lost though, did in fact "exist" he or she had a heartbeat. I think it's perfectly okay to STILL love that baby and grieve for the loss of that child! I too lost 3 babies, mine were 7 wks, 8wks and almost 10wks. It was a very hard year but I celebrate those little lives I carried~each and every day! I pray that your baby girl continues to grow strong and healthy as you celebrate her life and wait to meet her. Thank you for sharing your story!!

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    1. We know it did and we are very sad about losing it, but the only way for me to move forward and not be a mess every day is to think about the other baby that is still growing and will be here soon.
      I am so sorry for your losses, I can't imagine that pain going through it multiple times like that, you are a strong woman!

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  6. Jackie, My heart goes out to you and your Husband. I too lost a child early in my pregnancy, but it was not caught until I was farther along. the pain does ease and I am so happy that you will have a happy and healthy little girl to love and spoil. Your story is a wonderful message to anyone that is going through fertility issues. I am a mom to 2 wonderful adults. a 20 year old girl and a 19 year old boy. You will love being a mom. Congrats. and please tell your sister how wonderful she is as well. <3

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, I am so sorry for you and your husbands loss too. We are indeed very excited for our baby girl.

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  7. I'm sorry for your loss and can't imagine what you went through but you have a fantastic outlook on the family you will have very soon. Congrats on your baby girl!

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    1. Thank you Lisa, we look forward to June! It cant come soon enough!

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  8. If nothing else, 4D Moments needs to apologize, refund your money and better train their staff. Maybe you should switch to a Grand Rapids hospital...lol. Best of luck, loving that you are sharing this journey with all of us.

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    1. I should have noted, my husband called 4D Moments and they did in fact refund our money and were very apologetic. I was not trying to bash them in my post. To be honest I felt that they were very kind and I stand by them even though they made a mistake, we are human and that can happen. We are just ready to move forward. Thanks for your note =)

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  9. I am so sorry for your loss. It is perfectly valid to love your lost baby and mourn. Just keep moving toward happiness. It is very difficult to lose an unborn baby, I can tell you, you love them all the same. I was shocked that the Dr hadn't been more a part of your appointments before the 20 week ultrasound. My Dr's in Chicago were at every appoint and did the Doppler themselves. I pray for strength for your family. So happy for your little bundle of joy that is on her way. Congrats! And thank you for sharing your story.

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    1. Thank you Megan, we are ready to move forward from the whole thing and are so excited for our baby girl!

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  10. I am so sorry for your loss. I am surprised by the lack of knowledge and skill set by the technologists (not nurses) at Bronson. Be sure to see that the next technologist that scans you is accredited with the ARDMS in OB sonography. The doctor that told you that the 4D moments places are not legit is correct. The purpose of your sonogram is not to determine gender, but to determine that your baby is healthy.

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    1. Personally, the doctor can say they don't endorse outside places like 4D Moments, but if you put their pamphlet on your desk then you do in fact endorse it.
      The whole thing was a mistake and I dont harbor bad feelings toward 4D I honestly thought the woman was very kind and she did say as I posted, she didnt see two babies and even seemed a little panicky, I think it was just an emotional/human error. She knew 2 days earlier we had gone in and the hospital had given us two healthy heart beats and she thought I must be going crazy. In the end it's fine now we have a healthy baby on the way and being angry will not get me anything or bring by my baby that didn't make it past 8 weeks. Thank you for your comment and kind words.

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  11. Hey, Jackie. (May remember me from Bennigan's back in the day. I was VanSickle then.) I just came across your FB page through a friend that follows you. Congrats on the life you and Jimmy have created! It's great to see you so successful and expanding a family! That being said, I am very sorry for your lose. I can understand the feeling. With my third born, 2014, I had some spotting a few months in, before first ultrasound, and was told it was normal. I had all of the symptoms of twins, but there was only ever one baby. Fast forward to giving birth and they had to break my water twice. Our son was a twin that we had lost, but the water sac around him/her continued to grow and it prevented my labor from continuing. My husband and I had the momentary "omg. Is there actually more than one?!" panic moment and then reality set it. We were sad, but understanding. The only reason we didn't sink into a depression about it was because we still had one baby and the second baby couldn't survive this world. it wasn't meant to be. You have the perfect attitude for the situation. I'm very excited for your baby girl and LOVE her name! I am due with our last baby February 29th, which is also a girl. She is our surprise baby and we are definitely done!! 4 kids is such a crew! Anyhow, again, glad you are well and I wish you and Jim the best of luck!! ��

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    1. Loss*** That will teach me to comment with my phone. 🙄😏

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  12. There is no pain like the loss of a child, no matter how short our time is with them. Just before this last Christmas my husband and I lost our son James at 24 weeks gestation to Anencephaly...a fatal birth defect discovered at our 20 week ultrasound. We were less than pleased with the way we were treated both before we knew of the defect and even more after (we never once received a phone call after being told our son was going to die and still haven't yet...).
    You pain will never fully go away because your heart was changed...changed by an angel that is now preparing a place for all of you in Heaven. Blessings and prayers for you little girl to come and your angel.

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  13. So sorry that you had to encounter heartless people. Never talked about my miscarriage. This brings tears to my eyes. I was told by the hospital that if I was miscarrying, that there wasn't anything they could do. They said it was just a blob. My heart still aches, so I know how you feel. Our babies will be in our future in heaven. They count. Hugs to you and your fam. Kim

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