Mike and I started trying to have children right after we married in 1991. But after four years of workups, IUI’s and investing a lot of emotions, heartache and money, we finally decided to try in-vitro fertilization. With the doctor’s help and God’s blessing, we were successful. After three months of bed rest and home monitoring, we gave birth to a beautiful little boy at 33 weeks gestation. He was 5 pounds, 3 oz. and healthy.
In August 1997, we tried another IVF procedure with great fear it was not going to work as I was now two years older. When the doctor showed us two heartbeats, we were shocked, happy and scared. For some reason, during those first few months I worried and cried a lot wondering where we would put the twins, as we only have a two-bedroom house, and how we were going to pay for childcare? I wish now that I would have enjoyed those few months I got with my children instead of worrying over such unimportant stuff. Christmas was coming and physically I was tired but pushing myself to make sure my 2-year-old would enjoy the holiday season.
I had asked the doctor to write down the sex of our twins during the amnio, because that evening we were going out to dinner and we wanted to make it special. I had always wanted and prayed for a boy and a girl. That night my dream came true. We were both happy, we cried together in the restaurant. Around the 19th week, I started spotting dark blood. My doctor had me come in on December. 22. I remember her looking at me and saying, “You’re here for the duration.” Mike and I just looked at each other and started to shake. I still had five months to go! My cervix was less than one centimeter thick and my doctor ordered an emergency cerclage.
I stayed in the hospital for four weeks. On my back. No bathroom privileges. I did well, no contractions and my babies were thriving. Whenever I would feel down, my favorite nurse would say to me, “This time spent is only the blink of an eye in one’s lifetime,” She insisted I could make it. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out the way we plan. On Wednesday, January 21, I went into active labor. They gave me magnesium sulfate to stop the contractions. It was horrible. Once you get the initial dose and get adjusted to the medicine, it’s like being on morphine. Then they gave me terbutaline, which made my heart race. The labor pains would subside but just for a short time.
Those few days I was praying and recruiting my friends and family to pray also. I believe that all things are possible through God. But in the same thought, the pain was so bad that I would say, “God, if you’re going to take my babies then just do it, please don’t make me go through all this for nothing.”
It’s hard to write this now as it hurts. I’d do it all again just to see my Merleissa and Vince one more time.
On Saturday, January 24, at 23 weeks, my babies were born. At 9:53 a.m. Meleissa was born and cried for a moment. I can still hear her. She sounded like a kitten. She was just under one pound. Mike said she looked like me. Vincent came at 10:04 a.m. and he was quiet, just like his dad. He was one pound and looked like his big brother, Angelo. We held our babies and sang to them a song I sing to their brother. My father and in-laws were there too. They held each one and kissed them. We had them baptized in my arms.
My babies’ spirits left while I was holding them in my arms. First Merleissa left and then Vincent. At that time I think I was numb, because as soon as I knew they had passed I gave them to the nurse. And that was the last time I saw them.
Now I wish I had held them longer and looked at them each closely. I have pictures the nurse took. I look at these frequently. We buried our babies close to my mom. I know she’s watching them for me until I’m with them again.
I think of my babies every day. It’s weird but I feel I have an ongoing relationship with them. I suppose I always will. When people ask how many children we have, I usually just say one. Sometimes, when I’m up to it I tell my story. I want people to understand my twins were real, alive and perfect, just too small for this lifetime. Sadness and joy come in waves. People tell me to be happy and satisfied that I have my Angelo. God knows I am! I thank Him every day for all my children. But, people who have not had to bury their children don’t really understand the intense pain and loss we truly feel.