“It’s important to me to start my story off when everything was ‘normal.’ Or our normal, anyway. I had been married to my husband for 3 years (we’ve been together since we were 18, so 10 years total). After we got married, my husband and I were eager to start our family. We successfully got pregnant with our son Noah who was born on October 19th, 2016. He was completely healthy and perfect, 8-pound baby in every way!
When Noah was 1.5 years old, we decided it was a good time to try for our second and final baby. We got pregnant quickly. At our ultrasound, the tech saw one healthy baby bouncing around and shortly after she said, ‘Kayla, there’s TWO. It’s TWINS!’ My jaw hit the floor. Twins? 3 kids? We called my husband and son who were in the waiting room. My husband was thrilled to find out the news.
Everything in the pregnancy progressed like normal. I was running an in-home daycare at the time and everything was going smoothly. We even found out the twins were girls!
Then, on September 23rd, 2018, at 21 weeks and 5 days pregnant, everything changed. I caught a cold from one of my daycare kiddos and was feeling rather crappy. That morning, I put Noah down for a nap and went to the washroom. When I wiped, there was a TINY smear of pink blood. I called my midwife and told her. She wanted me to go in to make sure I didn’t have a bladder infection.
I told her I didn’t want to go in because it was silly, but I’d go if she wanted me to. I checked into the triage and my midwife called up letting them know I was there. I sat there for 4 hours and was growing increasingly uncomfortable. I was having what I thought was Braxton Hicks. I called my midwife and told her the nurses hadn’t seen me yet and I was super uncomfortable. She was floored and called right up. The nurses told her they ‘forgot I was there.’
I was rushed into the back where they did a urine test and called down for an ultrasound. I remember the nurse on the phone with my midwife saying ‘the urine is clean’ and I instantly started crying. Something hit me and I KNEW this was labor. I started bawling my eyes out as I was finally wheeled to the ultrasound room. While getting the exam done, I kept telling the tech I was having contractions. She kept telling me to relax and everything would be fine. I stood up and BAM, my water broke. They called up to the doctor who was on service in the triage and she came down and confirmed my water broke. Through my tears, I said, ‘What’s going to happen to my daughters?’ As she was wheeling me back upstairs she said, ‘The babies will be born today and they will die.’ They will die. Tears still swell in my eyes when I speak those words.
When I got back upstairs my mother in law, sisters in law, husband, and midwife were already there. Everyone surrounded me, crying. They began asking the doctor, ‘What do we do? What can we do?’ Again, she told them, ‘There is nothing that can be done, the twins will be born today and they will die.’ The way she spoke was so cold and so matter of fact. My sister in law kept telling me ‘we need to pray’ and I remember blurting out ‘I will not pray, I am angry, I am angry with my God. How can He allow this?’ Little did I know, He was just starting this beautiful story.
We all began to work on trying to find out who would help us, which hospital would help us. We found out London, Ontario intervened at 24 weeks. We begged the doctor to call London and see if they would consider seeing me and she denied our request. I asked for pain medication and she told me, ‘This is going to be quick. Let’s get it over with.’ I decided to pray, to tell God I was angry. All of a sudden after praying my contractions stopped. Just like that. After arguing with the doctor and my labor stopping, she agreed to leave me be. She told me she wouldn’t let me see the twins or hear their heartbeats because it was a ‘waste of time.’ I was then moved to a regular room to rest.
The next morning the high-risk OB came into my room. He told me all the risks if I didn’t deliver the twins. Baby A’s feet were touchable. He told me I could die and it was pointless to try and keep the twins because no surrounding hospital would help until at least 23 weeks (London). He told me he wouldn’t call London to even ask unless I made it to 23 weeks, which he didn’t have faith I would. I told him I refused to start labor again. As long as the twins were in me, they were breathing and safe. He also denied me medication that would help the twin’s lungs and brain develop. I lay in the hospital bed with on and off labor for 4 days. I couldn’t get up to pee or move because every time I did, Baby A would come out a little more. I spent those 4 days in the hospital BEGGING them to call London (refused every single time) and begging them for the medication (denied every single time). I lay there crying, praying, and crying some more.
On September 27th, full labor began again at 22.2 weeks. My mind was all over now. I felt so defeated. I lost. This 4-day battle was about to come to an end and I was on the losing end. My life was about to be shattered. I was going to birth my daughters and hold them as they died. None of my family was there yet, I was alone. As they wheel me to the labor room, my sister showed up and I wanted to jump out of my skin into her arms. ‘I’m in labor,’ I yelled and she grabbed my hand.
All of a sudden a new doctor walked into the room while they are getting me set up. ‘Kayla, I read your chart. I know you desire to have these babies saved. I’m going to call surrounding level 3/4 NICU’s and let them decide if they are willing to take you.’ For the first time in 4 days, I felt hope. Finally, someone was going to JUST CALL and see. Within 15 minutes, he was back in my room coat on and said: ‘TWO hospitals agreed to take you, we’re going to London and I’m coming with you!’ We were gone within seconds and I yelled back to my sister, ‘Call my husband!’ Soon, we were racing down the highway.
Once I arrived in London, everything was a blur. They realized my oxygen was super low (the other doctors and nurses wouldn’t have known this because in those 4 days I was in their hospital, they never looked me over or took care of me, at all). It was discovered shortly after I had pneumonia! Not only were my daughters going to die in Windsor’s hospital, but I was right there behind them.
I met with the Neonatologist in the NICU a few times who also tried to convince me to let the girls go. By the 2nd meeting with this doctor, I wasn’t very pleasant and I remember yelling, ‘DO YOUR DAMN JOB AND SAVE MY DAUGHTERS.’ Later, this doctor would become so dear to my heart. We love her so much!
We were all set up for the birth and my husband still wasn’t there. The minute I was about to push, he rushed through the doors. I heard, ‘Baby A’s water is still here, she’s coming out in her water! We thought she ruptured?’ I was frozen. For sure Luna’s water ruptured and now it was completely sealed again!
Then, here comes Luna at 9:12 p.m. She came out kicking and had the tiniest cry. Weighing 14 ounces and 11 inches long.
The goal was to keep Ema in, but that wasn’t possible. The minute Luna was out, Ema’s heart rate dropped.
Here comes Ema at 9:29 p.m.
She came out crying as well, weighing 1 pound and 12 inches long.
They were here! They were alive. They were stable!!! We were told we would probably have 12-24 hours with the twins but before I could be with them I needed a bunch of testing done for my pneumonia.
I finally got to meet my warriors and what a meeting it was! My life changed forever on September 23rd-27th. I was damaged, but when I looked at them I KNEW IT WAS WORTH everything I went through.
Luna and Ema spent 115 days in the NICU, but they came home BEFORE their due date! They are completely healthy in all ways possible. They are typical 1-year-olds, and unless I tell people they were born at 22 weeks (18 weeks premature), they have no idea.
We have made it our life’s mission to raise awareness for babies born at 22 weeks. We want the world to know they CAN SURVIVE and they CAN thrive. We are now ambassadors with the hospital who saved the twins. We have done radio interviews, been in newsletters, and the list goes on.
We went from a 0% chance of survival to celebrating over ONE YEAR OF LIFE!”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Kayla Ibarra of Imperfect Motherhood. You can follow her journey on Facebook and Instagram. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.
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