Tree of Life

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

20130709-231621.jpg

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

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22 thoughts on “Tree of Life

    • Shalom, sweet and strong imma,
      I was a twin… my imma had a miscarriage…. thinking that she lost a baby… but I was hanging there… my brother left me… and give me the most incredible gift… to live. We are forever twined. The tree that you saw is the perfect image. Still praying…

  1. A surviving twin once told me that she always felt that her body carried both her soul and her sister’s through life. I don’t know if that helps… But you are very grounded spiritually; and you know that nothing is for no reason. May you and all of your beautiful children be blessed. Think of making and framing a print of that tree photo. It speaks volumes, poetically.

  2. גאולה, ממש ריגשת אותי.
    אין ספק שאלוהים ידע באיזה גוף לשים את הנשמות האלה.
    מאחלת לך רק בריאות ושמחה.
    הדר

  3. Dear dear geula, hashem should bless you and your family with strength to get through this loss and continue through the pregnancy. really wanted to come by last night but couldn’t get out. Please feel free to let me know if you need anything. I’ll be back tomorrow night.

  4. May the tears that your story brought to my eyes heal baby A and keep you and your babies safe and well. All three are wound together with you for ever, like the tree.

  5. You are such an amazing and strong ima. Praying and wishing you all soo much health, love and even more strength during this challenging journey. You’re such an inspiration. May HaShem guide you every step of the way.

  6. Beautiful post. Crying with you. It is so hard to experience joy and loss, loss and joy at the same time. My Grandfather z’l was a Rabbi for many years and I remember asking him if he ever presided over a Brit Milah and Funeral in the same day. “Often,” he told me. “How do you do it,” I asked. He said, “It is all part of life.” You did everything you can do. The image is amazing. Twisting, untwisting. Connecting two, three and separate. Life. Roots. Reaching up and reaching down. Leaves. Very alive. May Hashem give strength and health to all of you. Hugs!

  7. Baruch Dayan Emet. SHe will always be your child, and her pure neshama must have needed this one last experience, and Hashem chose YOU.. how special and how painful and how holy all at once. Bless you, bless your husband who must also be in so much need emotionally now, your children, your medical team..
    will be so happy to read besorot tovot B”H..
    I am expecting my first grandchild in Yerushalayim this month. Somehow your story prepares me to be an even stronger support to my Oriyah..so thank you mikerev lev..

  8. i think the tears of neshot yisrael are one of if not “the” strongest way to reach shaarei shamayim and reach hashems “heart”, you DO have all of nashot yisrael crying for and with you!! may you and your family know no more sorrow and just jump from simcha to simcha with health and joy keeping you busy from now on! Yael U said it beautifully ” The image is amazing. Twisting, untwisting. Connecting two, three and separate. Life. Roots. Reaching up and reaching down. Leaves. Very alive.”

  9. geuliya your words made me cry, love u, and kol hakavod for being u. your girlies have an amazing mama to look forward to meeting:)

  10. גאולה וחנן,
    חושבים עליכם הרבה
    מתפללים עבורכם ועבור כל המשפחה , אלה שכבר נראים ואלה שעוד לא, לבריאות שמחה וגם קבלה והשלמה.
    העוצמה שלך גאולה, נותנת השראה לכולנו.
    רחלי וישי

  11. I am so sorry for the loss for your precious baby.
    I recommend reading the book כחלום יעוף by Rav Avraham Stav. He and his wife had to terminate a pregnancy when she was 6 months pregnant. It goes through the halachot involved in losing a baby and how to deal with the loss hashkafically in terms of continuing your faith.

    I run a support group for moms who have lost pregnancies and babies. Please contact me if at any time you want to email/chat/talk on the phone or join our Facebook group.

    מן השמים תנוחמו.

    Netanya Hoffman
    NetanyaH at gmail dot com

  12. I am so sorry for the loss for your precious baby.
    I recommend reading the book כחלום יעוף by Rav Avraham Stav. He and his wife had to terminate a pregnancy when she was 6 months pregnant. It goes through the halachot involved in losing a baby and how to deal with the loss hashkafically in terms of continuing your faith.

    I run a support group for moms who have lost pregnancies and babies. Please contact me if at any time you want to email/chat/talk on the phone or join our Facebook group.

    מן השמים תנוחמו.

    Netanya Hoffman
    NetanyaH at gmail dot com

  13. Reading your blog posts are inspiring. May hashem continue to give you the strength you need. I remember Dr. Yuval when he was a medical student. He was amazing then. Thoughts and prayers are with you.

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