I would like to share Carrie and Ryan’s heartbreaking story of their stillbirth twins at 21 weeks. I met Carrie online through an infertility support group and we have known one another for almost a year now and have become close through the struggles we have been through. I think Carrie is an amazingly brave and strong young woman and I admire her determination, hope and faith in God.
By: Carrie Leahy
After being married for 5 years, my husband Ryan and I decided that we were finally ready to start a family. I always knew that it might take a little time to get pregnant as I did not have a regular cycle, but never in a million years did I think that 5 years later we would still not have a child. We started fertility treatments in 2007, and started out with some simple treatments thinking that would be all that we needed. Eventually we figured out that the simple treatments were just not working and we needed get serious and do IVF.
I began the injections and meds in Jan 2010 and was so excited when our reproductive endocrinologist retrieved 36 eggs in February. I ended up getting very sick from ovarian hyperstimulation, which landed me in the hospital for two nights. Because of this, our cycle was cut short and the embryo transfer was canceled as I was not well enough. However, we were able to freeze 16 embryos for future use. On April 29, 2010, I had two perfect little embryos transferred back to me and then I found out the day after Mother’s Day that I was finally going to be a mommy. After all the fertility treatments, we were finally going to be parents to twins and we were beyond excited! Unfortunately, that excitement was short lived and on June 10th we found out that our twins no longer had heartbeats.
Ryan and I took some time to heal our hearts and then in September 2010 we were ready to try again with another Frozen Embryo Transfer. Once again, I became pregnant with twins, but this time I was very cautious to not get too excited until after the first trimester. The first trimester flew by and I started to get so excited and more laid back about the pregnancy.
We found out that we were going to have a boy and a girl–what a perfect little family we were finally going to have! Our little babies’ names were going to be Brody William and Harper Grace. At 18 weeks, we went and registered at Babies R Us. I was so proud of my baby bump that I was getting and that I was finally one of those pregnant ladies that I had been so jealous of for so many years. Ryan started putting the cribs together and the nursery was beginning to look just precious.
I had some mild cramps in late December, so at my appointment with my regular OB on December 21st, she decided to check my cervix and everything felt fine. I had an appointment with my high risk doctor on January 7th for my 20 week anatomy scan, and of course we were excited to see our sweet little babies again. Every time we went for an ultrasound, Harper would be kicking Brody in the head and both would be sucking their thumbs, so sweet! As soon as I laid down and the ultrasound tech started she said that my cervix looked very bad and I needed to go on bedrest immediately. My cervix was only 0.5cm (normal is 3-5 cm) long and I was dilated 1 cm with bulging membranes.
Well not only did I need to go on bedrest, I needed a rescue cerclage immediately to help keep my babies in. There was no guarantee that it would work, but we were going down the right path to try and keep Brody and Harper safe. I was released from the hospital on January 9th and I was told to only get up to go to the bathroom and take a shower once every 3 days, so it was very strict bedrest. I was willing to do anything to keep my babies safe even if it meant standing on my head.
On Jan 18th, I felt some Braxton Hicks contractions and I could time them, which I knew I was not supposed to be able to do. At 10:30 pm we went to the hospital just to give me some peace of mind. Ryan had just felt Brody move for the first time 3 nights before and I had been feeling both Brody and Harper for about 2 weeks. We were so attached to them and felt so much love towards them.
When the doctors checked me that night, Brody’s bag was bulging again and there was no way that they could be saved, I had to deliver them right away. The news was devastating and the words that I would hear that night would be the worst thing I had ever heard in my life. At 21 weeks 3 days, a baby is too small to survive outside of the womb and the hospital does not try to save them until they have reached viability which is at 24 weeks.
Brody William was born on Jan 19th at 7:30 am and weighed 14.8oz and was 10″ long. He was caught in the birth canal for 3 hours so he had already passed by the time he was born. Harper Grace was born at 11:30 am and weighed 15.6oz and was 11″ long. We were able to spend 45 minutes with her before she passed away. All of our family was there and they were able to hold and love on both of them too. I just wish that the time we were able to spend with them could have lasted forever because they were just so precious and perfect.
We know that both of them are in heaven with Jesus, but it is still so hard. The doctors said that the cause of Brody and Harper coming too soon is not known, it could have been preterm labor and/or incompetent cervix. Either way, we don’t want for others to have to go through this, which is why we are participating in the March of Dimes walk this year with another family that had a premature baby.
The March of Dimes funds go towards programs that help soon-to-be mothers and also help families with babies that are in the NICU.
Want to join Team LOVE in March for Babies? Visit our website at http://www.marchforbabies.org/team/t1521090
If you are able, please consider sponsoring Carrie and Ryan in their walk for the March of Dimes. Also, I’m sure they would welcome any prayers, as they try to deal with their unimaginable loss. Also, please leave comments for them below, as they will be reading this.