When I was in my twenties, there were a lot of words that I'd never heard of. Words that describe things that happen to other people. Words that later would drastically impact the course of my life and those that I love.
But this post isn't really about me. It's about someone who is near and dear to my heart. You could say that we bonded through our grief. Sitting at an industry function, trying to hold back tears, we shared the heartache and pain that we'd experienced on our journey to motherhood. The foundation for our friendship was cemented in that moment.
My friend Dorine's life was torn apart by words like...preeclampsia. Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). Pre-term labor. Unlike us, Dorine and her husband Dave conceived quickly and were excited to welcome identical twin girls into their lives. Tragically, Dorine suffered from a condition called preeclampsia and went into labor more than 4 months before her due date.
Dorine's girls, Siena and Adrianna, each weighed a little more than a pound. At the time of birth, the doctors discovered that the twins suffered from a rare condition called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. One child receives more blood and nutrients than needed, while the other receives less. In this case, Siena received less.
Upon delivery, Dorine and Dave were allowed mere seconds to gaze at their beautiful baby girls before they were whisked away to the NICU. From that point on it was a constant struggle for survival. Both babies’ skin had been transparent and underdeveloped.
On her second day of life, Adrianna required surgery that would allow her to accept the necessary nutrients she needed to survive. However, on that same day, Siena took a turn for the worst. She suffered a massive hemorrhage in her brain and was not strong enough to endure it. The doctors prepared Dorine and Dave to tell their baby girl goodbye.
Losing Siena and watching Adrianna struggle to survive was the most painful, heart wrenching experience that my friend will probably ever have to endure. Her strength and courage are an inspiration to me. When my own sadness seems unbearable, I often think of her.
Thankfully, after almost 3 months in the NICU, Adrianna was able to come home. She is now a beautiful 1 1/2 year old little girl who just became a big sister to baby Aline. Even after Dorine's tragic experience with her first pregnancy, she still forged on to build her family. Her second pregnancy was not easy, requiring surgery to sew her cervix closed, months of bed rest and daily medication which took a toll on her body, her husband and her daughter, Adrianna.
With Dorine's blessing, I wanted to share her story to help raise awareness about the very real and scary words that could turn your world upside-down. People have a tendency to share the easy child birth and conception stories and bury the painful ones. But I believe that it's important to talk about the difficult stories too because they may be able to help someone else.
These words may not just affect other people.
TTTS. Preeclampsia. Infertility. Endomentriosis.
They can happen to anyone.
Adrianna and Aline
Baby Aline fell asleep in my arms. Now Dorine calls me the baby whisperer.