In this episode of High Risk Birth Stories, Brittany and Kyle Schueckler tell the story of their twins, Ryan and Owen. After struggling with health issues including Lupus and Factor V Leiden, Brittany found out she was pregnant with twins, but baby B was significantly smaller. Through her pregnancy, she and Kyle had to make difficult decisions including having an amniocentesis test, planning a cesarean delivery, and more.
“Severe IUGR of One of Our Twins: Difficult Decisions” – with Brittany and Kyle Schueckler
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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. All right, I’m joined by Britney and Kyle. Welcome to the podcast. I’m so happy to talk to you guys. How’s life?
Britney: Thanks. It’s going really well. It’s going really well. We have three active little boys and it’s fun. It’s great.
Dr. Fox: Amazing. And, Kyle, we got you to hop on to this podcast as well. Was there any arm twisting? Or were you a willing participant from day one?
Kyle: I was a willing participant. Britney has been sharing some of your podcasts with me. And when you asked, we were happy to participate.
Dr. Fox: Fantastic. Well, thank you guys very much. We obviously go way back, I guess like eight years now or something, crazy.
Britney: Yeah. I know it’s been…it’s crazy to think of that. But yeah, yeah, it was about 2013 I was pregnant with the boys. So yeah.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, we were all so much younger back then.
Kyle: Yeah. A lot less [inaudible 00:01:18].
Britney: I was just gonna say, yeah.
Dr. Fox: You guys have a great story. Spoiler alert, to our listeners, everything is good. It’s all gonna turn out well, these three boys that are running around terrorizing the earth, we’re gonna be talking about three boys, two pregnancies. And so if you guys could take us back to, let’s say, 2013 or 2012 before you were pregnant the first time, so just where are you guys in life, how’d you meet, where you’re living? What are you doing? And then we’ll talk about your first pregnancy.
Britney: So Kyle, and I actually met in high school. We were high school sweethearts, and we got married in 2009 and we knew we wanted to start a family. You know, one of the things was, we were living right outside of Princeton, New Jersey. And what happened was back in 2009, I actually had a pulmonary embolism. And I have a history of lupus. So we kind of had attributed it to that and then ended up finding that I had factor V Leiden, which was not associated with the lupus, but it was a blood clotting disorder that caused the PE.
And so that kind of was something that we had on the back burner to kind of discuss and figure out okay, plans for pregnancy and everything and did some digging and some research, and I found MFM. And we came and talked to with you guys to discuss the plans for our pregnancy and the complications that could be associated with lupus and factor V and all that goes along with that. So.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. Now Kyle, when you guys met, did you have any idea that Britney came with all these diagnoses attached to her?
Kyle: No, I knew she had lupus. And we were living in Binghamton, New York at the time.
Britney: Yeah, we were living there.
Kyle: And she was visiting her sister in New York City. And I was at home and she called me and said, “I’m in the hospital, I passed out in a restaurant.” And we were engaged about to get married.
Britney: Yeah, it was three months from when we got married. It was right before we got married.
Dr. Fox: So this was all part of the agreement?
Britney: Yes, it was. I said, “He signed up already.”
Kyle: Yeah, we’ve already put the deposit down. There’s no backing out now. But that’s when she found out she had the factor V.
Dr. Fox: Right. Now, Britney, growing up, you knew you had lupus since you were a child, right?
Britney: Yeah, I was diagnosed actually at CHOP when I was 12. So yeah.
Dr. Fox: And growing up, did you have any…maybe not at age 12 obviously, but going into your teens and 20s, did you sort of ever think about what lupus would mean in terms of future pregnancies? Is that something you even thought about?
Britney: At that point, no, I really hadn’t. And I think as we started to talk through it as we were engaged and planning our wedding and everything and knowing that we wanted a family, I think that’s when it kind of hit me in terms of “Okay, you know, this is obviously a complication.” And when the factor V was all diagnosed, it was like, okay, now we have kind of a twofold, two items to kind of think about and consider when getting pregnant. So.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, I mean, because you just…having a pulmonary embolism, which is for our listeners, that’s a blood clot that goes from the leg into the lungs, which is pretty dangerous. It’s rare, and it’s pretty dangerous, and it’s a big deal. And you got to be on blood thinners for a long time, and potentially either for life or for pregnancy. And so you knew this, obviously. And so you came in advance of your pregnancy to talk about planning for it, correct?
Britney: Correct. That’s correct. Yep. We came in and I met with Dr. Barber initially to discuss planning for pregnancy, and we had met with the hematologist and everything knowing that we would have to go off…or I would have to go off with the warfarin and move to an injectable blood thinner and everything. So it was kind of just figuring out the logistics of everything to kind of plan for pregnancy.
Dr. Fox: Were you guys reassured by that visit? Like saying, “Okay, there’s gonna be stuff to do, and it’s gonna be complex, but I assume Andre is very optimistic, he tends to be very puppy positive.
Britney: He was awesome. And honestly, that was kind of, I think, the biggest thing is we were worried, we were concerned, what does this mean from being able to be pregnant and things like that? And yeah, after meeting with Dr. Barber, we were very much optimistic and excited and at the possibility of having kids, so.
Kyle: I remember some of the things he told us was like, “Hey, yeah, we deal with this blood clotting stuff all the time.” But normally, it’s more troublesome when we find about it later, but you know ahead of time and you’re planning. And we did meet with Dr. Jill Byen [SP] about lupus and she ran some additional tests.
Britney: Yes, so we had everything kind of…
Kyle: Everybody gave us the green light, which was very reassuring.
Dr. Fox: And then how long did it take you guys from setting that up and getting everything, sort of, in order to get pregnant?
Britney: So by the time we started planning and everything, I think it was not that long. I mean, it was about four, five months, I wanna say, until when we were actually pregnant.
Dr. Fox: And tell us about when you first got pregnant.
Britney: So I always think that this is hilarious because…So we found out we were pregnant, it was beginning of December, I wanna say, yeah. And so we went in, I think it was January 2nd, we came to meet with you actually. And I remember the ultrasound room and you said, “Oh, look, it’s us.” And I was like,” Oh my gosh, I know what that means.” And I saw Kyle kind of was like, “I don’t exactly know what this means.” And you showed him the two. Yeah, and I thought Kyle was gonna pass out.
Dr. Fox: Kyle, take us back to that day when you found out you’re having twins.
Kyle: I did not know that was something that could happen. I didn’t know that that was part of the plan.
Dr. Fox: Was that on the table? Was that an option?
Kyle: I just remember when Britney first took the pregnancy test. She was…you know, then a couple months, she was like, “Ah, it’s negative.” And she had gotten sick the day before. I’m like…
Britney: Yeah, I was at work. And I was like, “Man, I think I have like either food poisoning or a stomach bug or something.” Kyle was like, “I’m pretty sure you’re pregnant.”
Kyle: And sure enough, and we were all happy, then, you know, you said, “Look, there’s two.” And I was not prepared for that at all.
Britney: And I literally remember the train ride home because Kyle just started with an Excel spreadsheet of how much college would be for two at the same time.
Kyle: And I remember that too. We took the train because there was like a 12-inch snowstorm.
Britney: There was a blizzard, yeah.
Kyle: And I remember you, Dr. Fox, saying, “This is my favorite part.” Because he’s like, “You’ve have no ultrasound?” We’re like, “Nope.”
Dr. Fox: I get first crack at this pregnancy. I get to see it first. And by the way, since I have twins in college right now, I can fill out that spreadsheet with great precision, exactly what it costs. The short answer to our listeners, a lot. When you find out it’s twins, obviously, that’s a shock to most people in general, just the idea of twins instead of one. But how much of it was, “Oh my God, it’s twins, not one. I wasn’t expecting this?” Again, logistics college money, just a whole change of understanding what it’s gonna be versus, “Wait, is this gonna be medically a bigger problem because Britney’s walking into pregnancy ‘high risk’ to begin with?” Like, how much of that came into your thoughts initially?
Britney: I think initially, it was really not. I think because this was our first pregnancy we were so naïve, now looking back, two pregnancies in, we were definitely naïve in terms of “Oh, this will be fine. It’s just gonna be two instead of one. I mean, what kind of complications could there be?” So it was more of like, “Okay, now we need two strollers, two car seats,” that kind of thing. We were thinking logistically that we didn’t really anticipate all the complications from a medical perspective that could come into it, so.
Kyle: Yeah, I think we were happy to be with your office. Because we were like, “Hey, we deal with this all the time. There’s some additional risks, but we’ll talk about that.”
Britney: We were very happy to be with your office.
Dr. Fox: Having twins definitely puts additional risk on the pregnancy. And that’s true for anybody who gets pregnant with twins versus one. But sort of the risks of twins and the risks that you had coming in, there isn’t a ton of overlap really between them so it wasn’t like for you getting pregnant with twins was twice as risky as getting pregnant with one. For some people, it is based on, sort of, what’s their own unique situation. But for you it was sort of like the same plan, we just…plus everything we do for twins, normally and so I assume you were, again, pretty optimistic that everything would work out.
Britney: Yes. Yeah, we were definitely optimistic. Yeah.
Dr. Fox: How did things unfold over the course of the pregnancy?
Britney: So I think, I mean, I would say it went fairly well. I mean, so I had started…prior to even being pregnant, I was on Arixtra, which is an injectable blood thinner. So I had started that prior to even getting pregnant so that I was completely off the warfarin. So that was not a problem. But right around I think it was the 16-week ultrasound…
Kyle: So it was 14-week…it’s 14 or 16, around there, that first anatomy scan.
Dr. Fox: Sixteen, yeah.
Britney: We started to see that. So we have the twins now are Ryan and Owen. And Owen, baby B, was looking significantly smaller, worrisome, so in terms of how small he was compared to baby A. And I think that was the first reality check of like, “Okay, this is, you know, things may not go well here.”
Kyle: I remember sitting in that ultrasound room, and you’re kind of watching and not really know what’s going on. And we just found out they were both boys. And then the ultrasound tech got a little quiet. We did the measurements a couple times. And then Dr. Fox, you were the one that walked in and started talking with us and said, “Baby B is below the first percentile of growth. This is not good.”
Britney: Yeah, I think from then on, it was kind of more of…like, instead of, “Oh, let’s buy the two car seats and everything,” it was more of, “Let’s get through each week and let’s see how this goes.” Because it was concerning from baby B’s perspective, but then also from, “How does this impact baby A?” So from the pregnancy all around, it was concerning. But I think we take on different personalities, too. I tend to be more optimistic and look at it as like, “Okay, this is the problem we have, and this is what we have to overcome, and let’s kind of move forward,” and Kyle kind of shuts down. So it was challenging.
Kyle: I think it was this roller coaster of, “Oh my gosh, we’re gonna have two babies, what do we do?” to, “You guys might only have one baby.” And to go from, “Oh my God, I can’t handle two,” to…
Britney: We want two.
Kyle: “…I can’t just have one, I need to have two.” Right? That emotional roller coaster. And it being so early and knowing that there was nothing that we could do other than, sort of, wait and see.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, I mean, it was a pretty serious situation. I mean, it’s common for women carrying twins for one of them to be small, you know, smaller than expected, or even both of them. But usually that’s a problem that manifests later in pregnancy, 32 weeks, 34 weeks, 36 weeks, and we’re dealing with the difference between one baby, 7 pounds, and one baby, 5 pounds, something like that. But when it happens that early, at 16 weeks, and it’s that marked, it’s that profound, it’s a concern, maybe there’s something wrong with twin B or something genetic. We did an amnio, right?
Britney: Yes, we did an amnio.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, to make sure it wasn’t anything genetically wrong, or maybe one of the placentas works and the other placenta…because they were not identical, there was two different placentas. One baby had a good placenta. By luck, Ryan had a good placenta and Owen had a bad placenta so to speak. And again, that would be really not even related to your condition. Because if it’s from your condition, how would one placenta be working so well? It’s sort of just luck, and that can happen with twins. And sometimes we think maybe it’s just, “Well, different babies are different sizes,” but our listeners can’t tell on the podcast, but Kyle, can you give us a sense of how tall you are?
Kyle: I’m like 6’2 and like 270 pounds. I’m a big guy.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, Kyle’s a big dude. And so Britney, I would say you’re average human size. And Kyle’s not, and it would be surprising to produce a baby that is, sort of, genetically meant to be small. That just wasn’t expected. So we were pretty concerned. And was there a time during the pregnancy where you really had to think hard about, “What would we do if twin B looked like he was in real trouble and maybe we had to deliver to save twin B?” But then you have twin A being very premature versus, sort of, letting twin B go and pass away inside? I mean, it never really came to that but it could have come to that. And did you think about that a lot or just, sort of, leave it only if it happened?
Kyle: No, we talked about it a lot.
Britney: We talked about it a lot. And I think it was all after like we did the amnio and everything and I can remember it was a Friday so as we were waiting for results on a lot of the genetics and things over the weekend. And that whole weekend was just…it was all-consuming of what are all the options? “How do we go about the potential to save baby A, if baby B, passes away?” All the different scenarios. It was pretty hard. It was really hard.
Kyle: I remember having the conversations in your office and talking about all of the…you know, you provided us with all the data of what could happen and what we could do. And obviously, even having an amniocentesis is not something you step into lightly. And so when we were faced with, sort of, the situations of delivering baby A, Ryan, early even though baby B might not be viable that now we’re putting baby B at risk, and what do we do? And so that really drove us to the decisions of we need to have all the data possible so that we can make the right decision if faced.
Dr. Fox: Did you guys bring anyone else into those conversations, or did you keep it just between the two of you?
Britney: I think, for the most part, it was just the two of us. We really kind of just sat down and talked together, and obviously, we and our families, they were well aware of the situation. But I think we kind of discussed everything and it really was the two of us kind of going through it.
Kyle: I think once we…the two of us sort of sat down and looked at the facts it was upon ourselves with the data we need with the amniocentesis and do anything we can to keep Britney healthy. And if we have to make a decision, we know what we would do.
Britney: And ultimately, we chose that we were gonna wait and see how baby B went and kind of take it a week at a time or a couple days at a time at that point because we were coming in quite a lot.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, yeah. Did you guys have a difficult time getting on the same page with those decisions? I mean, you were mentioning Britney, that you guys have, sort of, different attitudes about risk and, sort of, life and whatnot, was it hard to get on the same page for that reason?
Britney: Honestly, I don’t think it was hard to get on the same page, I think it was more or less how we handled it from an emotional perspective. It was tearing me up inside, but I realized that for myself and for the pregnancy that I was carrying, I was like, “I have to stay positive and at least try and not stress too much and try and look at this and basically take each day as it comes.” And for Kyle, I mean, we’ll just put it out, you were a mess.
Kyle: I was. I…
Britney: And it was more or less like trying to help him come to the realization of what this all meant, and back, so it was supporting each other. And of course, he was supportive to me as well. But it was definitely, I felt a little bit more of like, “Okay, I’m carrying this pregnancy, I gotta maintain composure here, but I’m stressed and nervous inside, but I can’t let that kind of overwhelm me, but I also wanna make sure I take care of Kyle.
Kyle: And I think I kind of learned my lesson too is because I did the one thing you told me not to do, which was, “You need to go online and read about this,” because I wanted to educate myself more. And it’s really…
Britney: Don’t google.
Kyle: Don’t google. It’s so hard to comprehend all that information. And you’re just not understanding it. You know, you and I had some phone calls and I talked to some the other doctors like Silverstein, and things came up, I’m like, “Help me, help me. I know you talked to me in the office. I didn’t process at all, explain it to me again.”
Dr. Fox: Yeah, it’s a lot to process. I mean, it’s difficult stuff for doctors, for obstetricians. And, certainly, coming into it as parents, it’s really hard to sort of think of all the possibilities and what are the implications of everything? Yeah, and Kyle, I’m wondering the fact that you were, like, so worried and looking at things and having a difficult time with this, how did you balance that, sort of your own fears, the fact that you were “a mess” versus, sort of, your attempts to be supportive of Britney in this pregnancy? That must have been very difficult to achieve at the same time.
Kyle: Yeah, I mean it was…you know, I was trying to take care of Britney and be a father and say, “Okay, make sure she’s getting enough rest, she’s eating well,” because gosh, I remember the diet she was on, like some 100 and…
Britney: Yeah, protein and…
Kyle: It was like 160 grams of protein. I’m like, feed her, but I get her to bed and bed and be like, “All right, I’m gonna go sit in the corner and like think about this all and process it and try and not let that show to Britney.” But also had my own outlet to be like, “This is tough.” And that just unknown.
Britney: And you know what, I have to thank you, Dr. Fox, and the whole MFM team because honestly, I was like, “Kyle, if you have questions, we’re gonna call back there.” And you were so supportive and so helpful in just explaining everything, even if it was like for the 10th time but it had helped Kyle and both of us. It helped both of us to get through that.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, I mean, 50% of our job is medicine and 50% is psychology, there’s no question about it in these situations. I mean, listen, people, to process these types of situations is very difficult. And it’s not like we’re great experts in the human condition. But we see people go through this and this is what we do and, sort of, you get a sense of what people need and when they need to have a long explanation versus a short one, or when…you know, these types of things, you just you get a sense for it. I mean, ultimately, even though the growth was really discrepant between the two, Owen always looked healthy, right? He was always growing a little bit, and that little bugger kept holding on and good fluid and blood flow. And so we just waited and waited and waited.
Kyle: I remember, it was…I think we were every two weeks and I think you saw a little fluid around his heart at one point in time, we went down to the hospital, saw that. I mean, that was amazing. And then there’s somewhere around…
Britney: We kept going and going and then I remember…
Kyle: We were going every two weeks. When did we start twice a week?
Dr. Fox: Probably, yeah. It’s probably somewhere between 28 and 32 weeks, somewhere in that range, probably.
Kyle: Yeah, I think was around 28 weeks, something like that. I remember Dr. Saltzman told us the keys to life are 28 weeks and 2 pounds.
Britney: And I remember exploring the NICU around that time too, which was kind of, you know…
Kyle: Before 28 weeks, there was not a lot we could do because there wasn’t the decision to deliver early, it was, “Let’s wait and see.” Once we got to 28 weeks, it was, if Owen, baby B, took a turn for the worse, we had a decision to make.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, yeah, I mean, there isn’t an exact cut-off of what people do. But 24 weeks is sort of like…and these are very rough numbers, obviously, sort of like the time when premature babies have a reasonable chance of survival, reasonable, like a third, a half, somewhere in that range. It’s not great, obviously, but it’s better than zero. But you wouldn’t deliver at 24 weeks because Owen would have been measuring the size of a 21-week baby at that time. And so he probably would not have survived. And so you sort of push it back. Like, at what point would we deliver both babies to save Owen? And you have to pick a time where there’s a reasonable chance he’s gonna survive. Because why would you put Ryan at risk to deliver Owen? And so I mean, these are really hard discussions to have and decisions to make. And fortunately, there was…nothing happened before 20 weeks that forced our hand. And so at that point, we were pretty confident, “All right, if something happens, we’re gonna deliver them both because we’re pretty confident Ryan would do okay if we had to deliver early to save Owen.”
Kyle: I think some of the things I thought about too is that even at 28 weeks, good chance of survival, but higher risk of, you know, a more complicated [inaudible 00:22:37], right. And it was, obviously, keep him in there as long as we can. I think it’s around that time Britney had the steroid injections that helped the lungs.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. So just in case Yeah. And ultimately, you delivered at the end of July, right?
Britney: Yes, July 25th at 37 weeks.
Dr. Fox: Unbelievable 37 weeks. Crazy, huh?
Kyle: I think you were sitting in your office once and you’re like, “The bronze medal’s 32 weeks, the silver is 34, the 36 is gold.” And Britney goes, “I’m going for platinum.”
Dr. Fox: Well, you did. I mean, it’s true, 36 is gold and you got to 37. And ultimately, you didn’t need a Caesarean, and because of the whole blood issue, it ended up being under general anesthesia, not an epidural, so you were asleep when they were born, right?
Britney: You know, on top of everything, I knew I was nervous because I was like, “Okay what’s this gonna mean? How long is Owen gonna be in the NICU? How big will really Owen be? He was still measuring small. But yeah, and then we came and, you know, because of the way the Arixstra was and the way that it was still in my system, we obviously needed to do the general anesthesia. So yeah, Kyle was not there, and I was under. So I do remember waking up and I panicked a little bit because I saw Kyle holding one baby and I knew I had two. So I was like, “Okay, let me rest assured, like, it must be that he’s in the NICU,” and just wanted to know how big he was and everything. So but yeah, ultimately, we had both of them and Ryan was fine. He was 6.11 and Owen was 3.8.
Dr. Fox: Wow, that is a big difference.
Dr. Fox: Three-and-a-half pounds at 37 weeks is very little.
Britney: Yeah, he was tiny.
Dr. Fox: Yeah. How long was he in the NICU?
Britney: He was in the NICU for 15 days.
Dr. Fox: And how did he do?
Britney: He actually did very well. I mean, initially it was he struggled a bit in terms of being able to eat and maintain body temperature and all the, kind of, typical things, Honestly, he did really well for how little he was and he was able to come home after only 15 days. I mean, that’s a pretty small time in the NICU, comparatively, to some other babies. So.
Kyle: Yeah, I’m forgetting the weight to get out of the NICU. I can’t…it’s 2500 grams, something like that?
Dr. Fox: Something, yeah.
Kyle: And he was, I think, just under it but he was doing everything else he was supposed to. He was maintaining his body temperature and he was eating. He was remembering to breathe.
Britney: Yeah, that was a big thing. He was forgetting to breathe for a while. So that was the hardest to get him to do.
Kyle: And I think any parent that has ever had a NICU baby knows that there’s always steps forward and steps back. And, you know, because Britney had the general anesthesia, I was able to go down hours after birth and hold him and I remember seeing him that night, and he was very alert. And the next day when Britney was able to get down and see him, he had eaten a bunch that night because he was so hungry, and he actually vomited. And that, sort of, set him back a little bit on energy. And I could just see that difference in him for the next couple of days. He was a little…
Kyle: …a little lethargic. But then, my gosh, he just kept growing.
Dr. Fox: Wow. When he came home, other than the fact that your boys were different sizes, do you notice any other differences between them?
Britney: Not really, I mean, other than the size, I mean, significant size difference. I will say, I mean, until this day still, he…I mean, pretty much every picture that I have of him, even as like a complete newborn coming right home from the NICU, he always needed to be by his brother. So he would manage to find his way…we have them in the same crib and he would figure out a way, even swaddled, to get himself over so that he could get right next to his brother, and he still is that way, I would say.
Dr. Fox: Wow, wow. So what are they like now as 7-year-olds?
Britney: Well, Owen definitely is still…I mean, he fought to be here and he is feisty and energetic beyond anything. And he’s just…he’s funny, he’s smart. I mean, he’s…
Kyle: He’s very caring about everybody else. He’s very…
Britney: He’s very empathetic. Yeah, he’s a sweet little boy, and Ryan’s the same way, same, same energy, and they look out for each other. Like, you know, it’s definitely a special bond. So it’s really cool to see.
Dr. Fox: If you looked at them now, would someone be able to tell which one was born half the weight of the other?
Kyle: It’s funny because I know they were di-di. And later on when we were like one…
Britney: Yeah, we had them tested.
Kyle: We did one of those Q-tip swabs to their cheek and they actually are identical, even though they were di-di.
Dr. Fox: Yeah, that happens. Yeah, two placentas, but identical twins.
Britney: It was crazy. Yeah.
Kyle: So they have the same eyes. You know, it’s funny because we can tell them apart, right, as any parent of twins, but a lot of people struggle. But even at their age, Owen is still a little bit lighter weight than Ryan, he’s a couple pounds.
Britney: He’s about, yeah, 6 pounds lighter than Ryan and about an inch-and-a-half shorter.
Kyle: [inaudible 00:27:39] that you can see but from the back their hair has the same little swirl pattern and things like that. So…
Dr. Fox: That’s pretty cool. When did you guys…after going through that pregnancy and everything it took out of you, so to speak, and now you have these…not only did you go through all that pregnancy, now you have twin boys to raise. At what point did you consider doing this again?
Kyle: I think for Britney, it was like instantly, she was like, “This is amazing. I love these kids. When can we do this again?” And I was like, “Did you forget everything we went through?”
Britney: Yeah, I think I was meeting with Malka like the follow-up appointment and I was like, “Oh, I’ll do this again.” And Kyle was like, “Are you crazy?”
Kyle: Do you remember all the stress, the general anesthesia, the C-section, and like, all of this?
Britney: Nope. And it didn’t really…I mean, it did, right. I knew the severity of it and how much it took out of us. But at the same point in time, it was just as soon as they were born, I was like, “I would do it again.” But then we started to get into, okay, they were two and then three and I think…
Kyle: Yeah, we have to upgrade to get some more bedroom space, too.
Britney: Yeah, we moved and got a bigger…yeah, got a house, bigger house and everything, and then we decided that we were definitely ready for another baby. And I think the boys had been kind of asking us for a sibling and we were like, “You have a sibling.” “Oh, he doesn’t count, he’s a twin.” And so, we kind of talked about it and I think Kyle’s biggest concern was potentially getting pregnant with twins again.
Dr. Fox: I would think your biggest concern should be getting pregnant with triplets.
Kyle: Again, I didn’t think about these things. I was just worried about twins again. I was like, “We already got two car seats though.”
Britney: Yeah, yeah, so good. We have two of everything.
Dr. Fox: Your next was six years later. So what was it five years later that ultimately said, “All right, we’re doing it?” Was it just now or never type of thing, or was there something that sort of pushed you to say, “Okay, we’re doing it?”
Kyle: I think Britney was always interested and she wasn’t getting any younger.
Britney: Thanks. [inaudible 00:29:46]
Kyle: You know what I mean.
Dr. Fox: Kyle, however, was getting younger by the day.
Kyle: Yes, right. I wasn’t getting any younger either. And we still wanted to be healthy for our kids and keep up with them and…
Britney: Yeah, and honestly, we thought it is gonna be a lot faster so we were pregnant with twins within like four months first time trying, and with Liam, with our third, it took over a year to get pregnant.
Kyle: So we were on the cusp of getting ready to pull the trigger to…
Britney: Potentially look at IVF.
Kyle: At IVF. And I think we came and met with you to say, “We’ve been trying for a year, we met with a fertility specialist.” Looking for basically the green light to go forward with that, and sort of spoke with you, Dr. Fox, and we were like, “What do you think?” You were like, “A year.” And we’re like, “All right, let’s give it a…” you know, we were ready to fill the prescriptions and start going. And we’re like, “Let’s give it another month.” And…
Britney: Sure enough.
Kyle: When you least expect it.
Britney: Yeah, I was pregnant right before then. Because we were…you know, I really didn’t wanna go forward with that if I didn’t need to, and given that I had had a prior pregnancy completely naturally, I figured let’s just keep trying and ultimately, yeah, it was like a month before we were ready to pull the trigger on doing IVF that…
Dr. Fox: That definitely helped your spreadsheet for college, not having to pay for IVF, that’s good because that would have taken like a couple of semesters worth.
Dr. Fox: So with the next pregnancy, what was it like right before that first ultrasound?
Kyle: I think we kept joking each other, we’re like, “Is it just one?”
Britney: Is it just one? Is it two? At that point, I was like, “I’m prepared for two or four.” And then I kept saying to Kyle, like, “What if it is triplets?” He was like, “Don’t even say that. Don’t even say that.” We we’re walking up to the office and he was already like…I could tell he was just nervous. But I was more like I just want to see a heartbeat and just make sure that everything’s okay. Because I think with the boys, I was naïve and even then, it was like, “Oh, I’m just gonna walk in and I’m gonna have an ultrasound and everything’s gonna be fine.” And going through it the second time, you’re kind of a little bit more not reserved, but I was like, “Okay, let’s make sure everything’s okay.” Not that there was anything that would have warranted that it wouldn’t be, but you know.
Kyle: The first time didn’t go so smooth. So we were, you know…
Britney: A little bit more on edge, I think. Yeah.
Dr. Fox: Right. And ultimately, one baby, good heartbeat. And everything looked great, right?
Kyle: I think I asked like two or three times like, “Are you sure there’s only one and like, no one’s hiding?”
Dr. Fox: Look again, like under the couch. And what was it like going through that pregnancy, sort of, without all the drama of the first pregnancy? I mean, you’re not having these, like, gut-wrenching conversations and life-changing decisions and all. And you’re just, sort of, pregnant with a healthy pregnancy. Obviously, you still have medical issues and it’s still not a simple pregnancy, but obviously, it’s like 15 degrees less than the last one. What was it like going through that?
Britney: So I will say, like, both times, I loved being pregnant. Like, there was not…I mean, yes, right, there was the morning sickness, and with Liam, I was much sicker than with the boys. But it kind of comes with the territory and it’s…I don’t know, I just never…I just really liked being pregnant. And not having all of that, the decisions and things like that, and seeing a healthy baby each ultrasound, it was so reassuring, and it was so exciting. And yeah, just much, much easier.
Kyle: I think it was…with Liam, it was like every time we went in he was on, like, the large side. So we’re like, “Good, he’s growing good.”
Dr. Fox: Yeah, I remember saying multiple times, “Kyle, this one’s yours.”
Kyle: Yes, he is.
Dr. Fox: Finally, our very large fetus is there. I mean, probably bigger than both boys combined, I think, in many times in pregnancy.
Kyle: He was at 39 weeks and he was 10 pounds, 1 ounce. And Owen and Ryan combined were 10 pounds, 3 ounces.
Dr. Fox: That’s pretty impressive. But this one, for the Caesarean, you got to be awake. I mean, we did a little bit of a rejiggering of everything, of all your meds, and you got to be awake for this one, right?
Britney: Yeah, I think so. That was one of the biggest things. As the pregnancy went on and everything started to look okay, my biggest thing was I really loved to like actually see the baby be born this time. And for Kyle as well, we both really…that was kind of the goal was, okay, healthy baby and everything, but to be able to be present for it. And we delivered in April of 2020. So.
Dr. Fox: What was going on in April of 2020?
Britney: You know, I mean, we couldn’t have timed it better to wait five years trying to get pregnant. And then, you know, COVID. Who would have ever thought but…
Kyle: It was right about the peak in New York of when everything was really going down.
Dr. Fox: I don’t remember if it was before or after they sort of…that week where they closed delivery to spouses.
Britney: The, like, week after because we were really…we had come to…I remember kind of having a discussion that Kyle may not be able to be present for any of it.
Kyle: Yeah. Dr. Melka called us when we made the decision, and she informed us, and obviously, that was a hard decision to say…obviously, I wasn’t allowed there for the first birth because she was under general anesthesia, and to miss this one as well was a hard thing to have to comprehend.
Britney: Yeah, I think that was the first time really in both pregnancies that I started to be not…I was more nervous than Kyle was just in the sense of like knowing that it was gonna be a C-section, knowing that he may not be there for this birth either. And so three kids and not see any of them be born. It was just hard. It was hard and you’re dealing with everything, right? The world is upside down, and it was chaotic. And the boys were home romf school. And it was just…it was crazy. But no, thankfully, I mean, if it was a win for 2020, Kyle got to actually come in for the birth, he was outside, you know, while I was getting prepped for the C-section, and then afterwards, he went home and came back. But honestly, it was a win because he got to be there and see Liam be born, which was awesome.
Dr. Fox: Wow. Wow. And how’s Liam doing now? So I guess he’s about a year-and-a-half give or take.
Britney: Yep. So he is…yep, he’s 17 months actually today. And he’s doing well. He is huge. He wears size 2T clothes. He is a big guy. But he loves his brothers and his brothers love him. And he’s just as energetic as they are. So.
Kyle: Whatever his brothers do, he wants to do. I think the best part is now seeing that…you know, Owen and Ryan had each other since the beginning. But seeing that love of Owen and Ryan for their baby brother, and Liam for them. Owen and Ryan are back in school this year and when we go to pick them up from school…
Brittney: He just wants to give them a hug.
Kyle: As soon as they run up, he bends down and just gives them this big bear hug.
Britney: Yeah, it really is interesting. And to have that kind of, for him, delivering and being awake and everything, I don’t know, it was very different from the first pregnancy but it was really…it was a nice ending to that pregnancy. So.
Dr. Fox: It’s amazing. Wow, because…looking back on your really amazing story, and complicated and complex, but ultimately awesome, what do you take away from it, or what do you want people who are listening to this podcast to take away from it, if anything?
Britney: I mean, I think that there’s the potential for struggles and things that you don’t see coming with pregnancy. But quite honestly, I mean, and I’ll say this, between the amazing team and MFM that, I mean, we couldn’t…I couldn’t have done this without you. But just having the strength between Kyle and I to communicate and just kind of go through it together, you can get through a lot of things, regardless of what the outcome may be and the decisions that need to be made. It can be really challenging, but ultimately, with these healthy little guys, it’s all worth it. It’s awesome.
Kyle: Yeah. Being a parent is not easy and the process can have few bumps in the road. But once you get through it, it is so worth it. It’s so rewarding.
Britney: It’s so rewarding.
Dr. Fox: Amazing. Brittany, Kyle, thank you so much for coming on the podcast. It’s been such a treat getting to know you guys and help you with your pregnancies. And it has been kind of a wild roller coaster for a lot of reasons. But you guys…despite maybe Kyle’s terror, you guys always have a smile on your face, and you’re always easy to talk to and you ask great questions, and you have a great relationship with each other. And it’s just awesome that you have these three crazy, happy, healthy boys running about the earth destroying things. And that’s just fantastic.
Britney: Yeah, yeah. No, thank you. Thank you.
Kyle: Yeah, thank you guys so much. You really helped us a lot.
Britney: Completely. Yeah.
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 www.healthfulwoman.com and click the link for sharing your story. You can also email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you liked today’s podcast, please be sure to check out our “Healthful Woman” podcast as well, where I speak with the 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 podcast 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 on “High Risk Birth Stories” have given their permission for us to share their personal health information.