Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sometimes Emotional Spending is A-Ok (HIGHLY sensitive)

Warning:  This post is extremely personal and emotional.  It entails medical detail that some may find offensive.  I am ok with those that will disagree with this post.  However, please be respectful if you choose to comment.

Today is the 3rd anniversary of the death of our twin daughters.  And we are finally able to put their remains to rest.  Today, we will be purchasing the crystal boxes that I picked out  3 years ago as their final resting place. 

In the months after their death, I spent money like it was going out of style.  Mostly on the kids, although we did purchase a new TV when it was on sale. The sorrow we were drowning in went away temporarily when we bought THINGS.   And all of it was on credit.

I refused to pay for things related to our girls on credit though.  The cremation and funeral home costs were paid in cash.  I couldn't bear to pay interest on the death of my children.  And when I picked out the ruby red crystal boxes for their the tune of $600.....I couldn't bear to charge it.  And we didn't have the cash for it.  So we decided it would have to wait.

It took a long time for us to get our act together.  I am saddened and angered with us for not saving up for this very important purchase sooner.  We made foolish purchases over the past 3 years that put this purchase off.  But we also had other things the illness and ultimate death of G-man's father....that syphoned money in other directions.

We started saving for this purchase a few months ago, after we "thought" we would have the money, and then didn't.  Part of getting our act together was realizing what was really truly important to us.  That focus has allowed us to pay off debts that have a high emotional trigger (the hospital bill) and save for things that really are important to us.  Stuff is just that....STUFF.  But the emotional payoff of doing something that is important to you down to your soul....that is worth way more than the monetary value of the item.

G-man got an unexpected bonus last week, coupled with the money we had already saved, and a little bit of a stretch of the paycheck....and we have enough to make the purchase.  Each box is $260.  They are hand made in Europe, and the shipping cost is incredibly high.  But I don't care.  We factored it all in.  And in 4-6 weeks, we should receive our boxes. 

I finally feel like we are doing justice to our girls. They gave their life for me, and for Bossy, Sassy, and G-man.  They are very loved.  And although today will pass as another day for most will always weigh heavily for us.

The story of their death is detailed below.  This experience changed us forever, drove alot of decisions in the year that followed, and will always be a part of us.  Read at your own risk.  There are gruesome parts that I have left out.  I am very open about talking about all of this, but I also know that not everyone wants the details.  If you have a specific question, e-mail me.

It took several surgeries and multiple failed fertility cycles (and lots and lots of money) in order to conceive them.  Ultrasound results showed 2 perfect fetuses...TWINS!  And...this funny little sac, that was misshapen and just sort of there.....possibly a non-viable triplet.  But at that time, no one really was concerned about it....most likely the body would reabsorb it and that would be the end of that.

A few weeks later, they did another ultrasound, and babies were looking great.  But this funny little area had grown.  OK, now they want to monitor it.  A week later, it was yet bigger, so they sent me to a specialist, who diagnosed it as a molar pregnancy.

Molar pregnancies are rare.  In general, there is a placenta and no baby (never was a baby, never will be a baby).  Although they are typically benign, they are treated as cancerous growths, and are removed.  Hopefully, further treatment isn't needed, but some women go on to need chemotherapy. 

And here in lies the problem.  I had a molar "triplet" with 2 perfect babies.  Some women have 1 baby and a molar, and it is very high risk.  They almost always result in premature delivery, and an extremely high risk pregnancy for the mother.  But I had 2 babies....there was only ONE documented case where the mother was able to deliver 2 babies alive with a molar triplet.  ONE.  In the world.  ONE.

I would have been number TWO in the world if it had worked out.

The next 5 weeks were spent in and out of doctor offices.  We chose to continue the pregnancy and try to get to a viable delivery point (doctors were shooting for at least 24 weeks, but we figured we already had 23 weekers, so if we could get to 23, we would be ok).  There was nothing they could other than monitor things.  No medicine, no procedures.  Just wait and see how my body handled it.  We had weekly ultrasounds and blood work.  We met with the OB, the high risk OB, the oncologist.  I had x-rays and  scans.  I spent more time at the doctor than at home.

On August 15, I really wasn't feeling well.  My doctor was getting ready to travel to Europe on personal business, but didn't leave until she talked the hospital into admitting me.  I was almost 17 weeks pregnant, and hospital policy dictated that I would not be admitted because there wasn't really anything active going on.  But my doctor knew that something was wrong and pushed it.  Over the next two days, I had dozens of tests.  My blood pressure was through the roof, and I was on 4x the normal dose of medication to keep me from having a stroke.  I wasn't allowed out of bed.  I had a turnstyle of people in and out of my room.  Things weren't good.

By August 17, the high risk doctor came in and closed the door.  I need to preface this:  This doctor is the one of the kindest, good hearted men I have ever met.  He was willing to do whatever it took to get us through this pregnancy safely.  He was in our corner 200% of the way.

I was going into multi-organ system failure.  I was close to have a stroke.  My thyroid and my kidneys had started shutting down.  At that moment, I wasn't in crisis, but that could change at the drop of a hat.  Apparently, I had been the discussion of many people over the course of the day.  And planning for what would happen if this or that happened.

We only really had one choice.....terminate the pregnancy.  It was killing me.  I probably only had about 2 days before I would have died, based on my test results.  They were concerned that something massive would happen at 2am, and they would be scrambling to save me.  By terminating, we could control the situation, and it would be safer for me. I pleaded with him....put me in a medically induced coma.  Something.  I can hang in there 6 more weeks.  I can do it.  He looked at me with tears in his eyes.  No, you can't.  You have 2 kids at home that will be motherless.

So, G-man and I tearfully agreed.  I had an ultrasound earlier that day (G-man wasn't there), and they wrote down the sexes of the babies and put them in an envelope.  Together, we opened the envelope to reveal that we were having 2 girls.  As my friend put it....we would have had 3 girls, and 1 boy....our gaggle of princesses and the crown prince.

Within an hour, I was transferred to another unit to start procedures.  The molar pregnancy made this incredibly dangerous with a high chance of bleeding out.  I had to go through 2 painful procedures over the next 12 hours just to prep for the BIG procedure. Alot of tears were shed, by us and by staff.  We had residents that just didn't know what to say or do.  What do you say to parents who are making the hardest choice of their life?

And at 10:30am, on August 18, 2007, G-man and I said goodbye to our daughters as they wheeled me into surgery for the 3rd time in 2 days.  My daughters were kicking as they put me under.  And when I woke up later.....they were gone. We never got to see them or hold them.  That piece of the story is a little heavy....if you would like to know why, e-mail me and I will tell you.  We do have their footprints though.  And tons of ultrasound pictures.  But that is it.  They died at 11am, and were 8 oz each.

We chose to cremate our girls.  We do not plan on living in this state permanently, and I couldn't deal with burying them and then leaving them.  We went to the funeral home the day I was released and made arrangements. This is something that no parent should have to do.

It took months before we were able to go back and pick up their cremains.  It just seemed so final and permanent.  Never mind that I was having nightmares that I burned our babies, alternating with nightmares that I took Bossy for a hot air balloon ride and he fell out of the basket. 

It took months before I found a suitable container for their ashes.  I am thrilled to be able to make this purchase today, and put my daughters to rest.


  1. I am so sorry for your loss. That is a horrible thing to have had to go through and continue to go through.

  2. I'm crying at work now. That story... There are no words. I'm so sorry for your family's loss and that you had to make that kind of life-changing decision.

    But I'm also so glad you were finally able to save up for their resting place. The boxes are gorgeous, and I think your girls would be proud that you worked hard to provide them with this instead of putting it on credit.

    I've said it before, and I hope you already know this - You are an incredibly strong person to be who you are now after going through the things you've gone through. Don't ever forget that.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I cannot imagine what that was like for you or what it is still like for you now. You will see, and hold, and play with your little girls someday....just not on this earth. I'll be thinking of you today....

  4. I knew that you had lost your girls, but I did not know the story. Thank you for sharing that story, even though I am now crying like a baby. As a mother who lost a baby before they were born, I can relate with the agony of having to do things that no mother should have to go through. We chose to have our son cremated as well for the same reasons as you did with your girls. The boxes you picked out for them are gorgeous! I will be thinking of you today...

  5. That's a heart-wrenching story; I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imaging going through something like that; I'd be a basket case. You're incredibly strong.

  6. I have no idea what to say except that I cannot imagine being in your shoes. Know that your family is in my thoughts.

  7. I am crying for you. I am so sorry for your loss. I had a 28 weeker, followed by a miscarriage, followed by a molar pregnancy. It is devastating. My heart goes out to you. And today I am praying for peace in your heart.

  8. @Everyone....thank you all for your kind words. Our day passed quietly. We were happy to order our boxes and fill that void.

    @Anonymous "2" - I had 23 week twins, molar pregnancy with twins that ended at 17w2d, and then a miscarriage. You and I have alot in common.

  9. Mysti - your courage to tell your story is amazing and inspirational. I am crying as I read this a third time. May you find peace and comfort the Lord's love and mercy.

  10. @Rhitter - thank you. I think it is less about courage and more about "this is our life." Things aren't easy for us! Never have been. And I go through stages where I am bitter about the whole, when is it my turn to cut a break???

  11. Mysti - I hear you there. I have to go back to only making minimum payments because of high school expenses. Truly sucks!

  12. Your story truly touched my heart today. I am so sorry for your loss.

  13. I found this because of your 7 Links. August 18th is my birthday. I work for NICU doctors. I'm heartbroken for you. Heartbroken.