On April 24, I was 19 weeks pregnant and I walked into a room for my very first ultrasound. Once the technician turned on the equipment we oooed and ahhed over an image that I couldn't make anything out of. And then she said it, "How do you feel about 2?" That was the craziest moment of my life. The next 2 hours we checked all the parts, we found out they were both girls, and everything looked great. The only thing left for us to know was if they were identical or not. My doctor made an appointment at 22 weeks for me to go to a specialist since now I was considered high risk with twins. It was there we knew that indeed they were identical and with that brought some more risks. At that appointment, the girls were labeled A (later Liana) and B (Adleigh).
We ended up having a few red flags that made it look like we had the beginning stages of twin to twin transfusion syndrome. Over the next few weeks, Liana wasn't growing as much as she was supposed to. She was 2 weeks behind Adleigh. Adleigh also had what appeared to be fluid on her heart and signs that her heart was getting larger because it was working harder. We were playing the wait and see game of how long they could stay in the womb. So once I got to 26 weeks, our specialist gave us the option of going to Cincinnati, Ohio. In Cincinnati, they had the a hospital that would do a laser surgery to correct twin to twin transfusion. And apparently 26 weeks was the last week that they could do surgery to correct it.
We drove up on June 17 and on June 18 I had a day scheduled of tests. We had an MRI, fetal echo, ultrasound, and then a meeting at the end of the day with our team of doctors. At 5 pm we sat down with them and the good news was that we didn't have twin to twin transfusion and didn't need the surgery. However, Liana did not have enough of the placenta to survive much longer and her heart was beginning to fail. They told us she might could last a week, maybe two or it might not be 24 hours. Somehow Adleigh's heart looked great on her fetal echo despite earlier ultrasounds, but if Liana's heart failed and passed away then soon after Adleigh would have brain damage and wouldn't survive for long. Their advice was to check us into the Cincinnati hospital where I would stay until they were born and ultimately until they would be healthy enough to transport to a Charlotte hospital. The only other option our doctor in Ohio gave us was to book a flight to Charlotte immediately and check ourselves into the hospital, but he strongly discouraged it. We were completely confused as to what to do and we took a minute to think of our options. This was a very hard decision for us, but a peace came over us and Wade and I both knew that we would trust God to keep both girls safe on the journey back to Charlotte.
Wade's parents had went with us so they would be the ones to drive our car back and they took us to the airport. It was almost 6 and our flight was scheduled to leave at 7:30. We were in a race against time because we had no idea how long we had for Liana. Unfortunately it was the worst airport experience of our life. The doctor told me to ride in a wheelchair and we had to wait to get one of those. We had no bags, but for some reason we got tagged for a bomb search. We weren't even sure if we could make it to our flight on time because of this and no one seemed to care about our medical emergency. Then our terminal was across the entire airport and and you had to take a shuttle to get there. Finally, I just had to ditch the wheelchair and the last stretch Wade and I had to run to our loading area. Thankfully, the flight was about 5 minutes late. I had about 3 breakdowns during the time in the airport. It seems like everything was going wrong and I couldn't control any of it. Once on the plane, our flight was delayed twice, once to a technical problem and then again for some runway traffic. On the flight we tried to decide what our names for the girls would be. We had narrowed it down to about 5 names and I said that our little one, baby girl a, had to be named Liana. Liana means in Hebrew "Our God has answered our prayers." And were sure were praying for her and Adleigh.
We landed in Charlotte at 9:30 pm and our good friends Chris and Beth Brown came to pick us up. We got to the hospital at 10:00 and the Ohio people told us that they would let the Charlotte doctors know what was going on. However, when we got to the hospital no one knew what was going on and I had to explain to every person that I needed to be hooked up the fetal heart monitors right then. Finally at 10:45 pm, I was hooked up and they found both heartbeats. About 20 minutes later I got my first steroid shot that is supposed to help with the girls' lungs once they are born. At 11 pm my doctor came in and said that Liana's heartbeat had dipped a few times and he was getting uncomfortable with it. We were told we had to take them out right then. A rush of nurses came in the room and prepared me for surgery. I had never been more scared in my life. I am usually a very laid back, calm person, but at that moment I could not stop shaking. My nurse had to grab my shoulders and hold me because I was having some kind of panic attack.
Liana was born at 11:36 pm and Adleigh was born 20 seconds later at 11:37 pm on June 18, 2008. Only 6 hours after we left Ohio. We had no idea what having a preemie would be like nevermind there being 2! So they we were, 27 weeks into my pregnancy. They were due on September 18th so they were exactly 3 months early. And we had our beautiful but tiny babies: Liana Hope Joye and Adleigh Grace Joye. If you have read the blog you know the rest of the story, but between the two we pretty much covered every general health problem a preemie can face. Each day I am so blown away by how far they have come and how amazing they look. We have been incredibly blessed!