Name: Mary Kate White
Where do you currently live? Raleigh, NC
How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins? 8 weeks
Any issues during your pregnancy? Due to the big 'surprise' when I discovered I was pregnant, my physician waited a couple of weeks to meet with me when I wasn't alone. At eleven weeks, July 3, 2013, we discovered that I was carrying mono-amniotic twins. Also known as "momo twins." On my first ultrasound, the physician did not see a membrane separating the babies. Therefore, these types of twins are extremely high-risk and rare. They occur in 1 out of every 60,000 pregnancies, considered 1% of all twin pregnancies, and only 50% of mono-mono twins make it to viability. It is extremely high risk because due to the lack of membrane, the babies and umbilical cords share a sac. Therefore, the babies are at high risk for cord entanglement. We were informed that day to continue through this pregnancy without any expectations. If I made it to 24 weeks I would be hospitalized and monitored, no exceptions.
I made it to 26 weeks, and was admitted to UNC-Chapel Hill where I was monitored for three times a day. We had three 'trial runs' to delivery where I had to be constantly monitored and on magnesium. That was miserable! On November 11, 2013, we began our afternoon monitoring session and could not find Leah's heartbeat. We started monitoring at 3:30pm and the girls were born at 4:25pm and 4:26pm. The cord was wrapped around Leah like a barbershop pole. Needless to say, this isn't the fairy-tale pregnancy I had imagined having one day. We all imagine perfection. The seven months I was pregnant was by far from perfect, but I gave birth to two perfect and tiny miracles.
Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: Well, I have three! First, the way I found out I was pregnant is a memorable moment in itself. I went in for a routine yearly exam at my OB/GYN, and discovered at that visit that I was indeed pregnant. I remember thinking, "No pregnancy test surprise! I am alone! What is Andrew going to think?!" I have always had irregular periods and complications with birth control, so I didn't think anything of the way I had been feeling for the past few weeks.
My physician ordered an ultrasound to see how far along I was, and I got another surprise. Not only was I having one baby, I was having two babies. The ultrasound tech said, "Well, you have two healthy heartbeats!" I said, "Well I am surprised mine is good! I thought it would be going through the roof!" She said, "Oh no dear, two healthy heartbeats for two babies." I about passed out and showed everything to that ultrasound tech. That was quite a memorable afternoon! I never knew how drastic my life could change with one doctor's appointment.
Secondly, my husband and I almost took stock in General Mills cereals when I was pregnant. The only thing I ever wanted was Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Whenever I walk down the breakfast aisle in the grocery store, I always remember my days of eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch 24/7.
Lastly, I entered my second trimester at the beginning of football season. These girls would always crack me up at ballgames! They would kick so hard at the loud noises. To this day, I have noticed that when we watch ballgames on the television they are so enthralled with what they are watching!
Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self? Two words: cocoa butter. Just kidding! (Seriously, start rubbing down the stretch mark lotion as soon as possible.) Due to the severity of our situation, my husband and I did our best to stay positive and keep the faith. I decorated my hospital room with inspiring scripture passages and quotes. One that I still use to this day is, "Keep the Faith. Hold your breath. Pray. Wait. Live and Celebrate Each Day!" My aunt used this to help her during my uncle's journey with cancer. These passages and quotes helped me through our journey. As I look back though, I would tell myself it's okay to cry. I thought I had to stay so strong for my family, for our girls, and for myself. But, it's okay to not be so strong all of the time and be real with yourself. Roll with the punches!
How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 29 weeks, 3 days
Baby A's Information: Leah Katherine
November 11, 2013
2 lbs 13 oz
Baby B's Information: Amelia Grace
November 11, 2013
3 lbs 3 oz
Are your twins identical? Yes
Did you have a c-section or natural delivery? I had an emergency c-section. The girls delivery was very unexpected, but not a surprise for mono-amniotic twins. These babies are very unpredictable! We began monitoring at 3:30 on Monday afternoon, November 11, 2013. The girls were born at 4:25pm and 4:26pm. There was no time for a spinal, epidural, even an ibuprofen! There wasn't even time to put me in a cap and gown. Yes, I delivered the girls in my messy bun, sports bra, and t-shirt. My husband was on his way to the hospital when my mom called him to say the girls were on their way. Thankfully he didn't pass any state troopers on his way, and no one stole his car when he left it in an alley by the hospital, keys in the ignition (running), and unlocked. He ran to labor and delivery just in time to kiss me on the forehead as they wheeled me into the OR.
Any NICU time? If yes, for what reason and how long? Yes! Our girls were in the NICU for 98 days. Both Amelia and Leah were in the NICU for low birth weight, heart defects (PDA/ VSD), sleep apnea, blood transfusions, among other issues. Amelia had to have heart surgery when she was three weeks old, and we still see a cardiologist to follow up with Leah's small/moderate PDA.
Did you have any complications after delivery? I didn't have any complications other than severe pain. I wasn't given any medication prior to delivery, so when I woke up I felt everything. I think it is inevitable that every new mother has severe pain after delivery though! I was very thankful to not have anymore complications other than pain!
How long did you (the parents) stay in the hospital? The girls were born on Monday, and I was discharged from the hospital on Friday.
Did your twins stay with you or in the hospital nursery at night? The girls were immediately taken to the NICU after delivery. Our first night with them was at home three months later!
What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital?
My situation is unique because I was at the hospital for three weeks prior to the delivery. Therefore, I moved in. Literally! I brought everything! One thing I am so happy that I did was bring a book for each of the girls. We had many visitors, nurses, and doctors, over our four months at the hospital. We had everyone who came to visit or take care of us sign these books. It's the biggest blessing to look back and read everyone's entries! Also, during our time in the NICU I left storybooks in the girl's drawers. The nurses would read to them when I wasn't there, and that way I wasn't bringing too many things back and forth from home. This may sound silly, but beauty is a necessity. The one beauty product I could NOT live without in the hospital would be dry shampoo. This saved me on so many days! Who am I kidding? It's still saving me!
Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital: If I were to tell you all of my favorite moments, you would have a book! I probably have written too much on these questions as it is. One of my favorite moments was when all of my college girlfriends came to visit me one night. We broke fire code to the extreme, but my nurses allowed 10 loud, chatty girls come into my room and cheer me up! A lot of us hadn't seen each other in months and it was so wonderful to all get together.
If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? Take it one day at a time! You don't have to have everything together and perfect. That is unnecessary pressure! It may not be seen as perfect, but it will be perfect for you and your life.
Mary Kate's Blog: The Simply Divine Blog