Chanie’s Story, Pregnancy #2: Multifetal Pregnancy – Difficult Decisions

In part two of Chanie’s High Risk Birth Story, she tells Dr. Fox about her second pregnancy. After years of struggling with fertility treatments to have a second child, an IUI cycle unexpectedly resulted in a quintuple pregnancy. Chanie explains making the difficult decision to reduce the pregnancy, including seeking advice from a rabbi, the procedure, and delivering her twins.

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Dr. Fox: Welcome to “High Risk Birth Stories,” brought to you by the creators of the “Healthful Woman” podcast. I’m your host, Dr. Nathan Fox. “High Risk Birth Stories” is a podcast designed to give you the listener, a window into the life changing experiences of pregnancy, fertility, and childbirth. Now tell me about your next pregnancy because you said that was twins. So what’s the story there?
Interviewee: So my next pregnancy, I knew things were gonna be a little different. So after I had my oldest son, I was so overwhelmed. The first few years of his life were very overwhelming for me, because I was paranoid as a mom, and his shunt would malfunction, and we’d end up in the hospital. And pretty much when a shunt malfunctions it kind of is the same symptoms as somebody getting the flu, like throwing up, nausea, imbalance, those kind of things. And when you have an infant, when they throw up, you know, is it just a flu bug, or is it something else? So, for the first two years I was like, “We’re not having any kids anytime soon.” And when my son finally started speaking, being able to express himself at about two and a half, I went to my husband, I was like, “Okay, are we ready?” And he said, “Sure.” But there were other plans. And unfortunately, for the second pregnancy, I suffered secondary infertility. I went for treatment for about three years. And the fertility doctor that I saw, she was so sure she was gonna get me pregnant on the IUI natural. She wanted to first regulate my cycle, because obviously, I didn’t have a regular cycle, she wanted me to just kind of lose a little bit of weight just to see if that helped with the PTOS, which it did.
And once she saw about after a year of getting the cycle actually regulated being on metformin, getting letrozole here where I live, they don’t give Clomid anymore. And every time she would find a treatment that would work and I didn’t get pregnant, at first, it was naturally and then with the IUI, the next time she tried the same medication, the eggs wouldn’t grow, so she’d have to give me a heavier dose. So after the three-year mark we did take a few breaks in the middle just for mental health, because it is really taxing and cooling on the body, mentally and physically, being on all these meds, I ended up getting pregnant with a chemical pregnancy, I had one egg, it was a cycle that lasted over 100 days. And I wanted to cancel the cycle. And she’s like, “We’re so close, we’re so close, we’re gonna get there.” And I ended up getting a sonohysterogram right before I was given the trigger shot, she just wanted to double check that nothing was missed, because the sonohysterogram that I was given was by a different doctor.
And she was so certain that the sonohysterogram is gonna get me pregnant, she was like, “It could be when you clear up the fallopian tube, it encourages pregnancy.” And I had a chemical pregnancy. And obviously it didn’t last. And I was so hyped up. But I just told my husband, “We’re doing it again.” And I told my doctor, “Whatever it takes, just give me the meds.” And she’s like, “But this time, we’re gonna do IVF.” And I agreed with her, I said, “I need to get pregnant, I’m so done trying an IUI not having success, not having good quality eggs, like we’re just gonna do it.” And I got all the IVF drugs. And I ended up with 15 eggs. And at that point, it was right before the retrieval and they do some blood work to test the estrogen levels of the eggs to kind of estimate what the egg quality is gonna be. And she came back to me with some very bad news. And she told me, “I’m really sorry, your estrogen levels are very low. So they’re gonna be…they call it like grade D eggs. So she said we’re not gonna waste a retrieval on all these eggs for you to just be let down and not you know, have a failed IVF cycle. From where I live the government covers if you qualify for it. You have to apply for a program and you get one free retrieval and unlimited transfers from the government.
Dr. Fox: So she said, “Let’s save the retrieval for a good one”?
Interviewee: Exactly. So then I understood her, and then at that point, she wanted to cancel the cycle. She said that the IUI is too risky to do and not to go naturally because I can end up Octomom you know?
Dr. Fox: Yeah.
Interviewee: And I was like so disappointed. And I actually spoke to a mentor of mine who happens to be a rabbi, but he was with me for my first pregnancy that dealing with all the emotional and [inaudible 00:04:32] with my first son. She gave me great advice at that. And I had spoken to him about this cycle. And he told me, like, “What’s gonna happen?” He’s like, “Just try like, there’s no harm in trying. Sign a waiver. If something happens and you do get pregnant with multiples, we’ll worry about it then.” But he said the egg quality is so bad, even if there’s just one he said essentially that it could be as low estrogen and have one or two excellent eggs, and the rest of them are just terrible. Or they could all just the bad eggs. So he told me just to go for it. And it felt good to me. I was just so desperate to get pregnant and I actually went for an IUI. She wouldn’t do two, you know, they do like two days in a row, like you get your [inaudible 00:05:13] shot and then you get two days of IUI if you want it like will do one. And I had to sign a waiver that if something happens, it’s not her fault. And I signed it. And the two weeks go by, and I took a pregnancy test at home before I went to her clinic and I saw that I was pregnant.
But I didn’t let my hopes get up. Because the last pregnancy I also took a pregnancy test and it was a chemical pregnancy. And I got to her office and the numbers are off the chart. So right away, I was sent to go do an ultrasound, which is in her office. First they told me that there were three eggs. So they do daily ultrasounds, I went back the next day, and they told me there’s…she comes called me to our office and she’s like, “I’m really sorry, there’s four eggs that have fertilized.” And then the next day I went back and she sits me down. And she’s like, “There’s five eggs that are fertilized.” And I was like, “No, no, you’re joking. “And she’s like, “Nope, there’s five.”
So at that point, I was two weeks pregnant with quintuplets. There were no heartbeats, obviously, at that moment. And we laid out all the options on the table. And she sent me to a high risk clinic that has an incredible doctor. Normally what she would do, but this was like at the beginning of COVID situation like around then she normally would send her patients to this clinic in Arizona, that the doctors there do egg reduction. But because the borders have been closed forever, she said, “You’re kind of stuck where you are, you’re gonna have to use a doctor here. So she referred me to an MFM at a high risk hospital here, a level three with a level three NICU. And I started seeing this doctor. And at that point, when I saw the doctor, they were able to pick up four heartbeats, the fifth baby just never…the fifth egg never really developed into much.
And we were you know, I’m having quads. I’m having quads. And obviously, I was not okay, with that idea. And I called back my rabbi mentor. And I said, “There’s four babies in there. It’s not happening. This is not okay.” I had my previous sign with all his medical staff. And I was like, “I can’t do this again. Like it’s not happening.” So he told me that he’s not really qualified to give a [foreign language 00:07:32].
Dr. Fox: Yeah, to give you sort of like the permission to reduce.
Interviewee: To reduce. It’s a very iffy topic. The level of Orthodoxy with me, I just wouldn’t be comfortable just making that decision. And then it kind of rests on my shoulders. I was hoping to get an okay, from a rabbi and then take the responsibility of taking life kind of lives on their shoulders. I don’t know if that makes any sense to the listeners. But that’s just how in my religious beliefs, that’s what I felt. And I kind of was given the runaround, I was sent to this, the first rabbi who I was told was gonna give me an okay, and every single rabbi that I spoke to sent me another rabbi, because nobody wanted to take that responsibility.
Dr. Fox: Even for quadruplets?
Interviewee: Even for quadruplets.
Dr. Fox: That’s interesting.
Interviewee: And there were many big organizations that unfortunately, really, really let me down, just, you know, “Everything’s gonna be okay. Just trust in God,” and all this kind of stuff. And I was really let down based on the history that I did have with my first son of having a premature baby. For quadruplets, I was told that the whole gestation was about 30 weeks to 32 weeks. But because I had a history of prematurity it’s possible I would give birth even earlier than that.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, I would say it’s probable not possible. Yeah. Probably you would give birth earlier than that. Yeah.
Interviewee: Yeah. So being that I had a 32-weeker already, I was very nervous. And I saw what came for 32 weeks. I was nervous to have a baby any earlier than that. In the end, I ended up calling my family rabbi, my parents’ family rabbi, and I just kind of lost it. I just started crying to him, like, “You got to do something. Like I know you’re not fluent in these Jewish laws. And I know you’re not gonna give me an answer, but you need to help me. So find me someone who’s gonna say it’s okay.” And he ended up sending me to this excellent rabbi based out of New York, who I spoke to, and yelled at and cried to. And the rabbi was, like, shocked. He was too shocked that nobody else would give me this [foreign language 00:09:34], okay. And so he said he has to call me back the next day. And apparently, there was a big powwow. He had like a Zoom meeting with a whole bunch of rabbis from his organization in Israel. And he called me back the next day, but in the interim, so that was a Thursday that I spoke to this rabbi and he called me back…he’s from New York, and he called me back on a Friday afternoon. Friday morning I had my appointment for on Friday is at this high risk doctor, very inconvenient. But I went at every single week from about 10 weeks of pregnancy, she was encouraging me to do this reduction. Because the longer we wait, the longer you know, the higher the risk. But every week, I was like, “I’m gonna find someone who’s gonna give me an A-okay. The doctor was also Jewish, not religious, he understood where I was coming from, he really did respect my decision. But he told me past 14 weeks, he would not be able to do a reduction, he said it’s too risky, they generally don’t do it at the hospitals where he’s from, the hospital setting.
So I needed to give him a decision before 14 weeks. Essentially, at the fertility clinic, I was being seen every day monitoring by ultrasounds transvaginally and via stomach, and once I got transferred to this MFM, high risk OB, he was seeing me once a week, and this is at about 11 weeks, I went for my ultrasound. And the ultrasound technician told me she’s really sorry, but one of the babies passed. And I was so relieved. I was just like, “Oh, thank God,” because it’s like, kind of one last less life that I have to take.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, and that makes a lot of sense. I mean, the decisions out of your hands then and it’s like it’s sort of what you were looking for your and your baby’s own health. And here at least for that decision is out of your hands.
Interviewee: So at that point…
Dr. Fox: So now you have triplets?
Interviewee: The rabbi called me in the afternoon. I have triplets. Exactly. And then the rabbi called me that afternoon. And I told them, I updated him what happened. And he actually told me that the rabbis in Israel he told me that I can actually reduce to one baby If I want, just based on the medical history, and apparently my mental health. I guess I seemed really crazy on the phone.
Dr. Fox: No, but it’s really true. And just for our listeners, I mean, we in our line of work, I work with rabbis all the time, about reductions. It doesn’t come up as often because there’s fewer women pregnant with quadruplets as there were before but when your circumstance comes up, there’s a lot that goes into it, there’s what is the risk just on the face of it, of having quadruplets. Plus, there’s the individualized risk meaning for this particular woman. So for you with a history of preterm birth, it’s a higher risk than somebody else, it’s always high risk, but you’re like a high risk on top of high risk. But then something that’s very relevant to us to the pregnant woman herself, but also to the rabbi’s is your own mental health. That does come into play in Jewish law and Jewish religion, and that it’s very important meaning if a mother is doing very well and is comfortable with this, okay with the risk, they will view it differently than if someone that has tremendous anxiety, depression, like, it just she can’t get out of bed, you know, really hurting her mentally, that is absolutely relevant and part of the decision making process. Because the health and life of the mother does take priority over the baby or babies and mental health is a part of health. And fortunately, even though you got the runaround for such a long time, fortunately, that is a part of their lexicon. They do agree and they are aware of the fact that mental health is critical. So it does come into the decision. I’m glad they had that pow-wow and gave you what is typically the decision they’re gonna give in that circumstance.
Interviewee: Exactly. And I was glad that they did take that into account. I know like, a lot of times with the orthodoxy people think it’s the letter of the law, but there are actually very compassionate rabbis out there. And the ones who kind of gave me the runaround, I just think that it’s a huge responsibility. And they were trying to help me find someone who was more versed, I guess, in all those Jewish laws, as much as I do respect them.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. It’s like, Listen, it’s like finding a doctor. I tell people with rabbi’s, it’s the same thing. You know, if someone has a very complicated question about what to do with neurosurgery, right. Like let’s say with your first child, and what to do with what kind of shunt to get. And they came to me and you asked me what to do. Like, all right, I’m a doctor. But that’s not my specialty. I don’t know that much about it. And I would have a very difficult time advising you. I’d try to find the right person. And it’s not so different with rabbinic opinions. There are some things they all know about, right? Is something kosher, right? Can I do this on Sabbath? Right? They know those things. But this is very complex, if they’ve never spoken to someone with quadruplets, and what do they do, and they don’t know the numbers, and they don’t get what a procedure involves. And so there are rabbis who do this a lot and are sort of specialists, so to speak in that. And once you find them, it’s a much higher level conversation than someone who doesn’t know about them. It’s not their fault. They just don’t know about it. It’s just not something they do all the time.
Interviewee: Exactly. So at that point, I called back my OB and I let him know that I got the go ahead. And he said, “I told you so, you were gonna get to go ahead.” So he actually booked me to do the reduction at week 14. I had a family event in the middle of the school time, so it just didn’t work out timing-wise. And so at week 14 I showed up to the hospital and so I came to the hospital on Thursday. Then only I saw my OB on a Friday, Thursday, they just did the standard ultrasound to kind of give the doctor the final view. And at that point, he told me that the third baby was significantly smaller than the other ones. So he said, it was an easy pick for him to decide which baby to let go. And it was the one that was closest to the cervix. And he told me essentially, that if this baby were to be perfectly fine, and we leave it there and the baby does grow and be okay, he would probably end up inducing preterm labor because of how close it was to the cervix where it could have implanted.
So I was happy that it wasn’t…I didn’t have to decide ABC which baby because I don’t think I mentally could have done that. So I went back on the Friday. The doctor was so compassionate. The nurses were very compassionate. They took me right away. I didn’t have to wait in the waiting room or anything. They took me right away into the room where they do the reduction, he went through what was gonna happen, he numbed my stomach, they put the, I guess there’s two ways to do a reduction. But I chose the way that they put a needle right by I guess, the belly button, and it went straight into the sac and then it kind of shocked the baby and gave it a heart attack. And that was that. I didn’t have any bleeding afterwards.
Interviewee: How did you decide to reduce to twins instead of a singleton? Because you said you’re gonna reduce from three to two but the rabbis gave you permission to go down to one. Did something change on their end? Or was it on your end?
Interviewee: No, it was on my end. I guess like when the doctor had seen me on Thursday, my husband I went back and forth twins, singleton, twins, singleton? And my husband pretty much told me, you know, we agreed on this, like, if another one of the babies looked like ill or whatever, fine, we’ll reduce to one, like, we don’t wanna have any medical babies again. But they both apparently looked really robust and very healthy. And we had the meeting with the doctor. And he specializes in multiple pregnancies, this doctor also specialized in early fetal medicine, in addition to being a maternal fetal medicine specialist, or whatever. So we decided to go for the two babies. And I didn’t wanna make that decision between two healthy, robust looking babies, I didn’t wanna have to pick.
So I went home, I had mild cramping. And that was it. I just kind of didn’t tell anybody about it besides the one sibling, who I had shared with her my fertility journey. And I shared with her this huge conundrum that we had. But aside from that, my parents didn’t know, my in-laws didn’t know. I just felt like, you know, not specifically my parents and my in-laws, but it’s not something that’s generally accepted in the community, to reduce, and I didn’t wanna get any judgment from anybody. It was enough of a decision. So at that point, especially more so than just having twins because of their reduction I was considered high risk. So I continued seeing my doctor every week, and being also that I had a preterm baby. You know, I have all these reasons to be high risk at that point. And I was seen once a week for ultrasounds, see the doctor.
And at week 16 they started checking my cervix. At week 17 the doctor came to me and told me that my cervix seemed like it was thinning a bit, it was just under three centimeters. So at 17 weeks, they wanted it to be a little thicker, apparently. So he started whispering in my ear about having a cerclage put in. And I was like, “No, that’s not happening, everything’s gonna be okay.” And he started asking me why I had a preterm birth with my older son, and he asked me about my cervix length, there was no documentation that they ever checked my cervix, the midwives. It is common practice that they do. For whatever reason my cervix wasn’t checked. So they don’t know why I had a preterm baby with my older son. So it could be because of cervical length. So at 19 weeks, the doctor said, “Enough is enough. Your cervix is definitely getting thinner. If you come back next week and it’s thinning, we have to talk cerclage.”
And at that point, I was put on like moderate bedrest, like no lifting, very light work. Seeing that I’m in education, I was told that I should not be standing on my feet all day. And the next week, I came to the hospital for whatever reason my doctor was away. And another doctor in the practice saw my cervix, and it was just one centimeter. And she got really upset. She was like, “I don’t understand why you were resisting. We’re doing your cerclage today.” And so I ended up staying in the hospital. My husband dropped off my bags, and I had my cerclage put in Saturday morning. And it was considered life threatening to the babies. So generally, we try not to have surgeries on Shabbat. But because this is life saving, no problem. I had the cerclage put in I went home on Sunday morning, I was told still moderate bedrest at that point. And the city where I live in the schools were virtual. I was working from home. And so that worked out for me. Thank God, my son’s school still had school. So that worked out for me as well. So I got the best of both worlds. I was on bedrest.
And I was going into the hospital once a week. And there were times I don’t remember exactly which weeks. But I think at week 21, I came into triage at one point because I was having serious pain post-cerclage, and I was told it was a UTI. And then I was sent home. Again, week 24 I wasn’t feeling well. I went into triage, the triage was lovely, I was considered a high risk patient, I was taken care right away. Also, my OB that was there has the highest respect. He’s an excellent doctor, all the nurses and doctors love him. So when they heard that I’m his patient, I got really excellent care. And not that any other doctor wasn’t amazing. And I’m sure they would give everybody care, excellent care there. But when they heard his name, kind of like the doors opened a little bit, I went in a few times, and then at 25 weeks, I think it was like 25 two, 25 three, I went in, because I was really, really really nauseous. And my husband, like it was a Wednesday, my husband told me, “Just go in, check it out, they’ll give you something, and you’ll come home.”
And I went into triage, and they did a quick ultrasound. And then they transvaginally also as well, to check on the cervix, and it was pretty much non-existent. And at that point, I cried. And they gave me the option to go home pack my bags, or just to be admitted right away. And I just said, “Okay, I’ll come in the hospital,” and due to COVID my husband was not allowed in the hospital until like labor and delivery time, he was allowed just to drop my bags out the door. And I was admitted into the high risk department. They obviously COVID tested everybody and thank God no COVID. It was a waiting game. They didn’t wanna check my cervix any longer because the more you kind of poke and prod down there, the chances are that it will shorten. I was on like also bedrest.
I was allowed to shower every day if I wanted to, but just really to get up and use the washroom and not more than that. I wasn’t allowed to walk around anywhere. I was not encouraged to sit up either, really wanted to keep the babies in there. And at that point, the developmental pediatricians from the NICU came and spoke to me and said, “Okay, if you have a baby at 25 weeks, this is what it’s gonna look like. Our hospital can do any respiratory support.” The hospital that I was in, took care of babies from 22 weeks and up that they’ve had success with, 22 weeks plus with singletons, never twins. Obviously, I was 25 weeks. So they were very positive. They gave me a lot of encouragement. And she told me, “Okay, if you hit 26 weeks, this is where the development is, and so on and so forth.
There was somebody in the next room who had been in the hospital for nine weeks. So they did tell me that chances are, you’ll be here for many weeks, they gave me the [inaudible 00:23:24] two days in a row to help the lungs develop. They also gave me a booster DPTP shot, I think it’s called, which is pretty regular. And they tested me for stress, which came back negative. More on that later, it was just a waiting game. And my OB, thank God, was the high risk OB on call in the high risk department that week. And he came to check on me quite a bit. It was a really luck of the draw whoever’s the high risk OB on call of the unit, you know, if you do go into labor, whoever’s there is, who’s there. And that Friday, I went into labor. I started having contractions, and they came really fast and furious, and they right away hooked me up to magnesium. And I had two nurses stay with me the whole time, because I wasn’t allowed to fall asleep, for whatever reason, on the magnesium. And one was monitoring the babies, one was monitoring me. I wasn’t allowed to eat and drink, which was the hardest part of it all, which I also think is contradictive with the situation because by starving somebody generally you do put them into a stressful labor right? A lot of people give birth on Yom Kippur.
Dr. Fox: The concern is on the magnesium you might throw up and also if you’re gonna need a caesarean they want your stomach empty. So it’s a tough balance between not feeding someone in the acute situation and that if things were to sort of settled down you feed them but acutely, you sort of hold off on food. I think that that’s typically why. Whether it ends up being helpful or harmful is debatable, but that’s the reason.
Interviewee: Right. So one thing I did wanna mention about my cerclage is that I did have a spinal for my cerclage. I’d basically done an OR after I have low blood pressure. So after the final post-cerclage, I guess the spinal started wearing down or whatever, I almost crashed, like my blood pressure dropped significantly significantly. And there was a crash cart that was brought in and it was very, you know, it totally became this recovery room that was completely empty. It was just myself, the recovery rooms have six or eight beds, I was the only patient there, suddenly, it just became teeming with doctors and whatnot. And it took a while to get them to sort of get my blood pressure back up. And I wasn’t obviously allowed to eat or drink and so I wasn’t dizzy. They slowly started, you know, I was laying flat, they slowly started to bring the back of the bed up a little bit to get me to sitting. And that’s when I started crashing.
So that obviously has a factor with the birth, I ended up stopping the labor. And I didn’t end up…the magnesium ended up stopping labor just for 12 hours. I went back into my room, I got to eat. And about midday the next day the labor came back. At that point my OB came in. He was so apologetic and offered to do natural birth or C-section and we had spoken about it and I decided to do a C-section just for more of the babies’ safety. And I ended up having a C-section both babies were actually born in their amniotic sac with the fluid. He picked baby A up to show me what it looked like, it was really cool. Just kind of like in the sac and then they popped it and I heard splash and they were both born, thank God, alive, and breathing, and crying. Like once they popped the sac both of them started crying. And they were whisked off right away into the NICU.
My husband wasn’t there. It was Shabbat and the hospital tried to call him multiple times. And for whatever reason, obviously, he wouldn’t have gotten there in time anyways, but he came as soon as Shabbat was done. He heard all the messages of the angry nurses. The care was spectacular. They were in the NICU, both of them were put on CPAP, which was incredible because I was told they were gonna both be intubated.
Dr. Fox: Right. Wow, that’s great.
Interviewer: But they were holding their own. And the level of oxygen was actually pretty…for the first week it was a little bit higher. But the next nine weeks, both of them were on room air, not even on nine weeks. So just six weeks, then after about seven weeks, we got transferred to a level two like a step down NICU for just feeding because they managed to get out there. We were told they’re gonna be full term in about 33 weeks, we were transferred to another hospital. We had trouble getting into another hospital because we had to transfer two babies, there was never…because I don’t know why. But it’s very hard to find a hospital that had two NICU beds in a level two facility available at the same time. And they were doing the Aquinas not transferring both babies like one at a time right?
Dr. Fox: Right.
Interviewee: With two separate hospitals. So we got transferred, they ended up learning how to bottle feed. All this time I’m exclusively pumping. I’m still exclusively pumping and never figured out how to breastfeed. And the goal was just to get them home, I don’t care, bottle or breast, it didn’t bother me. And we got home. And about 10 days later, one of my…I literally had taken…we were very cautious. They didn’t go anywhere. We just went to one eye doctor appointment for the babies. And we came home. That was like two days after we came home, we went to the eye doctor. And then about eight to nine days later, one of my babies was just acting weird a little bit. He was kind of breathing a little bit rapidly. And so I called [foreign language 00:28:46] which is Jewish volunteer services, they call them EMTs or whatever, and they came to check out the baby. And they suggested that we give him a little oxygen. And he kind of woke up a bit and then as soon as they put the oxygen mask away from him he started getting a little limp again.
And so they told me to just bring him into the hospital, he probably just needs overnight watch. And what ended up happening was that we went into the hospital and they did the swab, like I guess there was like 17 or 18 different viruses that they swabbed for. And he ended up actually having COVID and a very serious case of COVID. And on top of that…so we got right away transferred to the pediatric hospital again, the same one that I had my older son in. And he was put into isolation in the NICU because they had a COVID NICU there. Unfortunately we needed it and he ended up being tested for any other infections and he ended up having strep, the one that I tested negative for.
Dr. Fox: Group B strep.
Interviewee: Yeah, Group B, thank you. So they did a lumbar, the lumbar came back negative. So he had a PICC line put in and we had antibiotics given to him. All the meanwhile, he was ventilated on a vent. He puffed up like a 20-pound baby like, it was so difficult to see him like that. He was on the vent for about a week. In the meantime, neither baby had a circumcision yet. And we had spoken to the rabbi and the doctor and got the go ahead for the second twin, the older twin to get a circumcision. He got his circumcision, then the next day, he started feeling unwell. And I called our pediatrician and I called [inaudible 00:30:34] and he spoke to the [inaudible 00:30:35] people. And they said that the babies are well enough for me to transfer him to the hospital because the protocol here, the ambulances will take you to the nearest hospital. But because they were infants, they need an infant transport to transfer you to the pediatric hospital, which is ridiculous. There were no pediatric at this point in time in COVID, there were no pediatric units at any other hospital besides with pediatric hospital, everyone was transferred to the pediatric hospital just to kind of get all the kids together. I don’t know why.
And so my second son, the older twin, also tested positive for Group B strep. And he when they did the lumbar puncture, the lumbar was contaminated. They didn’t know if he ended up having meningitis or not. So he ended up having to be on antibiotics for 21 days instead of 14. And I ended up having them in the hospital…it was crazy with COVID and isolating, quarantining, and whatever, all these crazy things, all the rules and regulations from all the hospitals. So I was the only parent that was allowed to go there. And as soon as my second child was admitted, I was no longer allowed to leave the hospital. I had to stay in hospital with both of them, because there’s no reason for me to go back and forth while I’m quarantining. And the first twin ended up going home after 14 days. And he came off the vent pretty quick. He had a PICC line put in, he did his antibiotics, he got it taken out, he came home with me on a Thursday night. And then the second twin, I was not having this going back and forth from the hospital, it was too hectic. So I hired home nursing. And the second son came home on the PICC line with antibiotics like IV antibiotics. And he was on antibiotics for two weeks at home.
Dr. Fox: Wow.
Interviewee: And then they took the PICC line out. As much as I hired home nursing, I was the nurse…
Dr. Fox: Yeah, of course.
Interviewee: And I got out the PICC line took it out like everything, they didn’t do anything. And that was it.
Dr. Fox: How are they doing now?
Interviewee: Now they are hitting their milestones they’re at their correct age. They both thank God had their circumcision. They both have meningioma which are blood clusters, I guess a blood vessels, but they’re supposedly gonna kind of go on their own. They’re small enough. And they both have hydrophiles in by their scrotum. So there is a possibility they might need to have corrective surgeries for a hernia, but at this point, they don’t know. But other than that they’re doing great. And thank God, we got off really easy with the respiratory stuff. And because that was the big concern. And thank God all those steroids worked and their lungs developed. That’s really amazing.
Dr. Fox: Amazing. Wow, it’s like, two amazing stories for each of your births, each of your pregnancies. Looking back on all this, what do you take away from this? What kind of message do you want the listeners to get from your stories other than just hearing the stories?
Interviewee: Well, there’s really two things. The first thing is that just an overall appreciation, people get pregnant easily, people have babies easily, and people don’t realize what a milestone is. When my older son started walking, I literally sat there bawled and cried in the park, he just got up and ran one day, we were told he was gonna need physio, we were told that based on his brain bleed, his function would be very low. Most people who have his condition have blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, like there’s a whole array of things that could have been impacted. So really just appreciate every milestone that’s hit, look at your…every baby is a miracle. I mean, mine are more evidence because just based on their stories, but every baby’s a miracle.
And the second thing is really to advocate for yourself. Ask a million questions, since the doctors are getting paid, sorry, you know, they’re getting paid to do their jobs. And if you do not understand something ask again, obviously, respectfully, and really find a good doctor. There’s nothing wrong with a midwife at all. So once I had that first experience, the second time around, it was very important for me to find a good OB, one that I clicked with, and really, really felt like he understood me. And I was so so appreciative of everything he did for me, everything I guess is just really for somebody who’s orthodox or not find a good mentor for yourself. It definitely helps to have somebody to talk over any medical decisions with somebody knowledgeable, obviously. And that’s really, that’s it.
Dr. Fox: Wow, what an amazing story. Thank you so much for volunteering. You’ve been through a lot, obviously. I mean, thank God your children are doing well. But that’s a lot for anyone, let alone a young mother to sort of shoulder. And I appreciate that you’re willing to tell your story. I know, I learned a ton from it. And I’m sure our listeners will as well and appreciate you doing it.
Interviewee: Thank you so much for having me, it was actually very therapeutic to get to tell the real story of the twins because the whole reduction thing and I am anonymous on this story. So the reduction piece is not something I’ve ever really shared. That definitely feels good to get it out there. So thank you again, Dr. Fox.
Dr. Fox: Thank you for listening to “High Risk Birth Stories,” brought to you by the creators of the “Healthful Woman” podcast. If you’re interested in telling your birth story on our podcast, please go to our partner website at and click the link for sharing your story. You can also email us directly at HRBS at If you liked today’s podcast, please be sure to check out our “Healthful Woman” podcast as well, where I speak with leaders in the field to help you learn more about women’s health, pregnancy, and wellness. Have a great day.
The information discussed in “High Risk Birth Stories” is intended for information and entertainment only and does not replace medical care from your physician. The stories and experiences discussed in our podcasts are unique to each guest and are not intended to be representative of any standard of care or expected outcomes. As always, we encourage you to speak with your own doctor about specific diagnoses and treatment options for an effective treatment plan. Guests in “High Risk Birth Stories” have given them permission for us to share their personal health information.