BENEFITING: March of Dimes Foundation
EVENT DATE: Sep 17, 2015
At 37 years old, I was thrilled to find out I was expecting, and shocked to discover it was with spontaneous twins. I was considered a high-risk pregnancy due to my advanced maternal age, so I was being watched very carefully even though everything seemed to be progressing normally. All of that changed at just 18 weeks gestation during a routine ultrasound. Much to my surprise, the tech shared that I was carrying a boy and a girl, but then changed the mood of the scan as she went to retrieve a doctor to speak with me. I learned that I was at risk to deliver any time, and they raced me into emergency surgery to have a cerclage placed. It was successful, and I was placed on bedrest at home, with daily medications, weekly checkups and ultrasounds.
At 25 weeks during an emergency room visit they discovered that I was having contractions, and I was placed on hospitalized bedrest where I would remain for the next four weeks. By then I was receiving daily doses of Nifedipine to help with the constant contractions as well as a Magnesium Sulfate drip. Coupled with twice daily non-stress tests, I couldn’t believe my luck when I also developed Gestational Diabetes. Although my contractions were still very regular, and nothing seemed to slow them down, I was discharged for home at 30 weeks. Just 4 days later my water broke, and I was headed back to the hospital. Although the intent was to continue prolonging my pregnancy, my body had other things in mind.
At 30 weeks and 4 days, on April 3, 2014 my babies were born. Sawyer Michael was only 3 lbs., 12 oz. but his strong cry brought me to tears. One minute later Savannah Lee was born at 3 lbs., 9 oz., but didn’t make a peep. I was hopeful to catch a glimpse of them before they were whisked off to the NICU, but I began facing my own serious complications. They couldn’t get the bleeding to stop due to placenta accreta, and as I grew increasingly more tired I could feel my life slipping away from me. While the anesthesiologist encouraged me to close my eyes and rest, my mother’s instinct told me that if I did, I may not awake to see my babies again. Thankfully, the bleeding finally ceased, and after a few hours in post-op I was quickly wheeled through the NICU to see Sawyer and Savannah. I could barely see their faces through the respirators, IV lines and monitors in their giraffe beds. It was four days before I could first hold them.
I spent the next 6 weeks living in the NICU with my babies. Some days I was so overwhelmed by the monitors constantly beeping, the multiple respirators and ventilators, the IV sticks, phototherapy treatment for their jaundice, and feeding tubes. On May 10th, which happened to be Mother’s Day 2014, I brought home my two tiny babies. The next three months were a whirlwind as I balanced the care of two newborn twins with returning to work, as I had used up most of my maternity leave in the NICU. Every day the three of us grew stronger, and our struggles makes every milestone, giggle, smile, and tear worth it. Sawyer and Savannah are now 15 months old, and are very happy and healthy toddlers. To this date, they are on track with their milestones with their adjusted age.
I am so grateful and honored to be serving as the 2015 Signature Chefs Auction Ambassador Family, and to be giving back to an organization whose mission is inspired by all babies, those born healthy and those who need help to survive and thrive. The research conducted via the March of Dimes and the work of so many compassionate medical professionals is a wonderful partnership. I know that had my babies been born even 10 years ago, my family might not have been so lucky. The medical advancements provided in part with the March of Dimes has made their prematurity journey a success. Together, we can make this a reality for many other families just like mine.
With sincere gratitude,
The Brady Family – Shelli, Sawyer and Savannah