March is Fiona’s month.
We learned that our twins had TTTS on March 9th of 2011, and, after what felt like hundreds of ultrasounds and doctor visits, we were in the hospital for in utero surgery on March 15th to try to help them. We needed them both to be alive in order to do the surgery, but Fiona was hanging on by a thread. Literally. Not only was she giving all of her blood to her sister, but she had a velamentous insertion of her umbilical cord into the placenta, which meant that my poor, sweet Fiona was barely getting any share of the placenta to begin with. And she was giving it all away to her sister.
It was so hard to learn that and to know that it was completely out of my control. I loved both of my girls and desperately wanted them to survive, and I can remember the night before the surgery, I was in the hotel room, so anxious about the surgery and praying that my girls would be okay. I was up late and slept fitfully, thinking of Fiona the whole time. Knowing that there was a very real possibility that she would not survive through the night. The doctor had pulled no punches in telling us how ill she was, pressed up against the side of my uterus with little to no amniotic fluid around her. If there was to be any chance of saving our babies, Fiona had to stay alive until the surgery.
When I woke the following morning, the first thing I did was talk to her and rub the spot where I knew she was. She wouldn’t have moved – she couldn’t have, because she didn’t have any space in there. So I rubbed my belly and talked to her and asked her to hold on a little longer. And then, she kicked! Right under my hand, right where I was rubbing, she kicked, and I knew that she had made it through the night.
We arrived at the hospital very early, and they performed an ultrasound to verify that both babies were alive, and they were. I was prepped for surgery and it was successful. The doctors were able to identify which vessels were connecting our babies to each other and fix the problem. I slept most of that day, as we stayed in the hospital for observation, groggy from the anesthetic, and hoped that this would solve the issue that was killing our daughters.
But when I woke the next morning, the technician came in to do an ultrasound, and we saw that our little Fiona had died overnight. It was as if she had stayed alive just long enough to give her sister a chance. It was the most heartbreaking thing we had ever experienced, and my husband and I cried all day.
And for many, many days since.
Fiona Jane was not delivered until May 8, when her sister, Brigid, decided to arrive early, but she had been in my uterus for eight weeks after her death. Her little body did was fragile and hard to look at, but I insisted that I wanted to see her when the doctor suggested that I probably didn’t. And in my post-cesarean fog, I remember holding her and loving her and thanking her for what she did for Brigid. And for me.
I was so thankful that I could see what Fiona would have looked like by looking at Brigid, but I can’t wait to see her again some day and to know what makes her, her: separate and unique and so very special.
So in honor of our little Fiona Jane, I would love to have some special giveaways this month. The first will be this Their Names painting, which I will personalize with the name of your baby. (There will be something for multiples later in the month!)
To enter, just comment on the link to this blog post on my facebook page with the name of your little winged one. I will hold a random drawing this Friday, March 7th, at 9 p.m., and that person will receive this 4×6 painting personalized with their baby’s name and ready to put in a frame to remind you that they will always be your baby.
Thank you for helping me honor Fiona!