I just want to share my story about my daughter, Julia, who is the miracle who resulted from my TRAP pregnancy. In the fall of 2009, I suffered two miscarriages. The following January, I became pregnant with twins naturally. At about nine weeks, we were told one of the twins had passed. It appeared that all else was well and that the non-viable twin was being reabsorbed correctly. We went for weekly heartbeat checkups and things were going great.
Neither my doctor, nor anyone in the office had ever experienced this, so we were immediately referred to a specialist in Boston. It seemed the chances of our healthy baby surviving were not good, but we tried to remain optimistic. We were given the statistic that 76% would not survive. The following day, we met with the doctor who teamed up with a fetal surgeon at another hospital and they determined the best course of action was to wait and see.
At the time, the acardiac twin was much smaller than Julia, the blood flow was not excessive, and after a fetal echocardiogram, the doctors decided that Julia’s heart was not under too much strain. I did have a lot of fluid, but still, waiting was the right choice. We were checked twice a week for several weeks, scheduled RFA (radio-frequency ablation) twice and cancelled it and continued to monitor Julia’s heart through the use of ultrasounds, several fetal echos, and three fetal MRIs.
At 23 weeks, the acardiac had tripled in size and we needed to go through with the RFA. I was terrified. I was awake for the whole procedure and could hear everything going on. I could only feel pressure but no pain as the needle was used to cauterize the blood vessels. The surgery was successful and I was sent up to recovery. It was there that I realized that I had been having contractions for about 3 weeks. The tightening feeling that I thought was the baby moving was actually pre-term labor contractions registering as strong contractions on the monitor. I was admitted to the hospital for several days and monitored twice daily. My cervix was funneling and was quite thin. My doctor sent me home on strict bedrest.
I was back in the hospital less than a week later with closer, stronger contractions. The doctors did more tests and discovered that my cervix was at 7mm, barely there and I was contracting every 8 minutes or so pretty regularly. I was admitted again. I had ultrasounds 3 times a week and visits by all kinds of doctors. I missed my baby shower, wedding anniversary, and the 4th of July. At the beginning of this visit I was given the steroid shots to help Julia’s lungs develop.
The doctor didn’t think we would make it past 26 weeks. I was on terbutaline every 3 hours to control the contractions and it made me very jumpy and my heart raced. These side-effects became less horrible about a week later. I was eventually sent home on very strict bedrest after I had been there for 3 weeks. More of the same continued all the way until 35 weeks, 6 days weeks when my doctor admitted me for delivery. (I live 45 minutes away from the hosptial when there is no traffic, which is rare). I had been taken off the Terb at 35 weeks and almost immediately started contracting strong every 4 minutes. I was given a bit of pitocin (we waited until the evening though, so she would be 36 weeks and not automatically sent to the NICU). I was then taken off the pitocin because I really didn’t need it. I had a very long, very hard labor that was moments away from an emergency C-section after pushing consistently for 3 hours, but Julia was born at 7 pounds, 1 ounce and 18.5 inches long! She was healthy in every way. The acardiac twin was delivered with the placenta without incident, and sent to the lab for testing. The only difficult bridge we had to cross was some jaundice, and we only spent one extra night in the hospital for that (which was awful at the time but worth it). It was a VERY LONG road, but all a distant memory now that Julia is here and bringing us joy every second of every day. She is now the happiest, most magical almost three-year-old. We could not feel more blessed.
I know during my struggles I searched far and wide for someone who had “been there” to talk to and could find no one. It was just before I had Julia that I found this site. I hope that if you are struggling with a pregnancy affected by TRAP that you don’t hesitate to reach out and talk! I am happy to help anyone in any way that I can. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those struggling with this issue and hoping for the healthy delivery of your babies!