“It was crucial for me to begin my story while everything was ‘normal.'” Or, at the very least, our standard. My husband and I had been married for three years (we’d been dating since we were 18 years old, so ten years). My spouse and I were excited to start a family after we married. Noah, our son, was born on October 19th, 2016, after we successfully became pregnant. In every regard, he was a healthy and perfect 8-pound baby!
We decided it was time to try for our second and final child when Noah was 1.5 years old. We were pregnant quite quickly. The tech at our ultrasound spotted one healthy baby dancing around and then stated, ‘Kayla, there’s TWO.’ It’s a set of TWINS!’ My jaw dropped to the floor. Twins? Three children? My husband and son were in the waiting room when we called them. My husband was thrilled to learn the news.
Everything went according to plan during the pregnancy. At the time, I was running an in-home daycare, and everything was going swimmingly. We even discovered the twins were female!
Everything changed on September 23rd, 2018, when I was 21 weeks pregnant. I had gotten a cold from one of my daycare children and was feeling a little under the weather. After putting Noah down for a nap that morning, I went to the bathroom. There was a TINY smear of pink blood as I wiped. I told my midwife over the phone. She asked me to come in so she could make sure I wasn’t suffering from a bladder infection.
I told her I didn’t want to go in because it was ridiculous, but I would if she insisted. When I arrived at the triage, my midwife called to inform them that I had come. I sat there for four hours, feeling increasingly irritated. I was experiencing Braxton Hicks-like symptoms. I called my midwife and informed her that the nurses had not yet seen me and that I was uncomfortable. She was taken aback and summoned immediately. ‘They forgot I was there,’ she was told by the nurses.
I was whisked to the back, where a urine test was performed, and I was summoned down for an ultrasound. When the nurse on the phone with my midwife said, “The urine is clean,” I burst out laughing. Something hit me, and I knew it was time to go into labour. As soon as I was taken into the ultrasound room, I began crying uncontrollably. I continued alerting the tech that I was having contractions during the assessment. She kept telling me that everything would be great if I just relaxed. When I stood up, my water broke. They summoned the doctor on duty in the triage, who came down and confirmed my water had broken. ‘What is going to happen to my daughters?’ I asked, tears streaming down my face. ‘The babies will be born today, and they will die,’ she added as she wheeled me back upstairs. They’re going to die. When I say those words, tears come up in my eyes.
My mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, husband, and midwife were waiting for me when I returned upstairs. Everyone was crying as they surrounded me. ‘What do we do?’ they began asking the doctor. ‘What are our options?’ ‘There is nothing that can be done, the twins will be born today, and they will die,’ she warned them once more. She spoke in such a chilly and matter-of-fact manner. ‘We need to pray,’ my sister-in-law kept saying, and I remember yelling, ‘I will not pray, I am angry, I am angry with my God.’ ‘How can He let this happen?’ He was only getting started on this fantastic story; I had no idea.
We all started looking for who might help us and whatever hospital could aid us. At 24 weeks, we learned that London, Ontario, had interfered. We begged the doctor to contact London and ask if they could see me, but she refused. When I prayed for pain medicine, she said, ‘This will be quick.’ Let’s get this over with as quickly as we can.’ I decided to pray and convey my dissatisfaction with God. When I prayed, my contractions immediately stopped. That was all there was to it. After bargaining with the doctor, she agreed to leave me alone, and my labour ended. She said it would be a “waste of time” for her to view the twins or hear their heartbeats. Following that, I was transported to a standard room to rest.
The following day, the high-risk OB came into my room. He warned me about the dangers of not delivering the twins. The feet of Baby A was reachable. He warned me I could die and that trying to keep the twins was worthless because no hospital in the area would help me until I was 23 weeks pregnant (London). He said he wouldn’t even phone London to inquire till I got to 23 weeks, which he didn’t think I would. I told him I didn’t want to go into labour again. They were breathing and protected as long as they were in me. He also refused to give me medication that would aid in developing the twins’ lungs and brain. I lay in a hospital bed for four days, in and out of labour. I couldn’t get up to potty or move because Baby A would come out a bit more every time. I spent those four days in the hospital imploring them to call London (which they always refused) and give me the medication (denied every single time). I cried, prayed, and cried some more as I lay there.
At 22.2 weeks, entire labour began again on September 27th. My thoughts were all over the place at this point. I was utterly defeated. I was defeated. This four-day fight was concluding, and I was on the losing end. My life was about to be turned upside down. I planned to give birth to my girls and hold them while they passed away. I was alone because no one from my family had arrived yet. As they wheeled me to the delivery room, my sister appeared, and I wanted to jump out of my flesh and into her arms. I cried, ‘I’m in labour,’ and she grabbed my hand.
While they were getting me set up, a new doctor strolled into the room unexpectedly. ‘I read your chart, Kayla. I understand your wish to save these children. I will phone the level 3/4 NICUs in the area and ask them if they’d be willing to take you.’ I felt hopeful for the first time in four days. Someone was finally going to CALL and see. ‘TWO hospitals agreed to take you, we’re heading to London, and I’m coming with you!’ he returned to my room 15 minutes later, coat on. ‘Call my husband!’ I cried back to my sister as we were gone in a flash. We were soon speeding down the highway.
Everything was a haze once I landed in London. They discovered my oxygen levels were dangerously low (the other physicians and nurses wouldn’t have known because they never checked on me or cared for me for the entire four days I was in their hospital). It was discovered soon after that I was diagnosed with pneumonia! My girls would not only die at Windsor’s hospital, but I would be there behind them.
I met with the NICU’s neonatologist a few times, trying to persuade me to release the girls. I wasn’t very polite after the second appointment with this doctor, and I recall saying, ‘DO YOUR DAMN JOB AND SAVE MY DAUGHTERS!’ This doctor will later become very precious to me. We are smitten with her!
We had everything ready for the birth, but my spouse was still missing. He ran through the doors just as I was prepared to press the button. ‘Baby A’s water is still here, and she’s coming out in her water!’ I heard. ‘Didn’t we think she’d burst?’ I was paralysed. Luna’s water had broken, but it was now entirely sealed again!
Then, at 9:12 p.m., Luna appears. She kicked her way out and sent out the slightest whimper. She weighed 14 ounces and measured 11 inches in length.
The idea had been to keep Ema inside, but that was impossible. Ema’s heart rate decreased the moment Luna left.
Ema arrives at 9:29 p.m.
She was also sobbing when she emerged, weighing 1 pound and measuring 12 inches in length.
They had arrived! They were still alive and well. They were in good shape!!! We were told we’d have 12-24 hours with the twins, but I required a lot of tests for my pneumonia before I could be with them.
I finally met my soldiers, and it was quite an encounter! On September 23rd-27th, my life was permanently changed. I was scared, but when I saw them, I KNEW IT WAS WORTH EVERYTHING I HAD TO GO THROUGH.
Luna and Ema were in the NICU for 115 days, but they were discharged BEFORE their due date! In every sense, they are fully healthy. They are average 1-year-olds, and they have no idea they were born at 22 weeks (18 weeks preterm) unless I tell them.
We’ve made it our life’s work to bring attention to babies born at 22 weeks. We want the rest of the world to know that they CAN SURVIVE and prosper. We’ve become ambassadors for the hospital that saved the twins’ lives. We’ve done radio interviews, been featured in newsletters, and so on.
We went from having a 0% chance of surviving to enjoying our first anniversary!”