Waiting for surgery was excruciating.
I fasted from the night before, as per classic hospital protocol, I was taken into surgery 2 hours late.
This pregnant Mama doesn’t do well without water and few crackers…
I was finally taken down to the OR (operating room) at 11:30 am.
Even though I’m a Mama of five, I’ve never had an epidural or spinal before. My awesome, hand-picked OR team consisted of 2 nursing students, 2 medical students, 2 anesthesiologists, a nicu dr, 2 OR nurses and 2 of the top OBGyn neo-natal specialists, Dr. Yuval Gialchinsky and Dr. Nili Yanai.
My anesthesiologist “Dan,” who also happens to dive from 80 feet into a small pool of water -sometimes on fire- (that’s his other job) says he’s an expert in “risk management.” He was so kind and funny and flirty, at times I felt like he was my doula. He checked my pulse from time to time and that human connection, that gentle touch was so grounding in stark contrast to the intense prodding in my uterus. When the oxygen mask was uncomfortable on my face, he noticed immediately and held it above me midair for the duration of the surgery.
Such is the work of a doula, being able to intuitively recognize the needs of others before they’re even voiced it.
TTTS (twin to twin transfusion syndrome) is pretty rare, as is laser qablation surgery, especially in Israel. Baby B was very sick. She has hydrops – swollen abdomen, chest and enlarged heart. She was in heart failure. This surgery was her last hope.
Baby A was sick as well, this condition causes both twins to suffer and is equally life threatening to both. Prepping for the spinal was so surreal. I’ve helped countless of women in labor go through this, but I’ve never been on this side.
I heard my own voice in my head with the words I say to my birthing ladies “chin to chest, drop your shoulders, breathe, you’re in good hands, keep breathing nice and slow, I’m right here with you.”
I didn’t like the sensation of a needle in my back. I just closed my eyes and tried to relax, breathing deeply, in and out for my babies.
When it was over, I laid down and planned to watch the laser procedure. “This should be cool'” I thought- my body as a science project. Dr. Yuval was cool with my watching.. They even let me keep my glasses on, a big “No-No” in the O.R.
But as hard as I tried, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. My blood pressure was dropping, I needed oxygen. I was hot and clammy, it took my entire focus to keep breathing.
I felt surrounded by good people who were trying their hardest to save my babies and keep me safe. I was in and out of a lot of different realities, all the while pulsing light, love, prayers and healing energies to my babies.
The surgery was longer than expected. Around 3 hours in total. Baby A and Baby B shared many large blood vessels. It was difficult for the surgeon to navigate between the babies and blood vessels.
(For those of you curious about the more medical aspects of this, he injected my uterus with approximately 1/2 liter of saline to make navigation easier – and removed 2 liters of amniotic fluid at the end).
It was painstakingly slow journey. One micro-laser step at a time.
By the end of the procedure, Baby A was moving around and looking good. Baby B was struggling, She had bradicardia (a decelerated heartbeat). I think both doctors sensed at this point that Baby B wasn’t going to make it.
Even though an ultrasound was scheduled for tomorrow morning, Dr. Yuval knew how much it meant to me to check on them – and in retrospect, I think he knew I that I needed to know what he probably already did know.
Once he placed the ultrasound probe on the lower left side of my belly, home of Baby B, it was clear to Dr. Yuval and Chanan that Baby B hadn’t made it. We lost her. I however,I needed a double and triple look, asking the doctor to please check again… If I’m really being honest, as crazy as I know it is, I’m still hoping there will be a heart beat tomorrow… not even a little bit of me hopes for that, like, all of me…
I can’t quite comprehend all these words yet. She’s still inside me. I will carry her until delivery. She had a footprint in this world. A stamp in my heart. A reason for being inside of me, along with her identical and fraternal sisters.
She will always be my daughter who I love very much and I will always be her Imma.
Baby A looked good and strong. Yuval already saw improvements in her. She too was fighting the TTTS. She still needs our prayers. We will check on her tomorrow.
Baby C is happily oblivious.
Chanan and I know that this is what we needed to do. This was a last chance, heroic effort for Baby B. Now that they are separated, there is more chance for Baby A to come through this strong.
Please continue to keep us in your hearts and prayers. In
any form that you connect with.
I’m going to keep this blog named “Triplet Journey.” This will forever be our triplet journey.
“Hashem Natan, Hashem l’akach, Yehi Shem Hashem Mevorach”
השם נתן השם לקח יהי שם השם מבורך
Saw this tree in the lobby of the hospital on my way back to my room after the surgery. Wondering if this intertwined trunk speaks to everyone or is it just me