“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 married at 18 and had been together 10 years at this point. 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 a completely healthy and perfect 8lb 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 really quickly. At our ultrasound, the tech saw one healthy little 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 in who were waiting in the waiting room. My husband was thrilled to find out we were having twins. 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 had 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 and it was silly but I’d go if she really 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 all 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 think of those words. When I got back upstairs my mother-in-law, sister-in-laws, husband, and midwife were already there. Everyone surrounding me was 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 needed 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 the 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 (who is Luna) 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 because as long as the twins were in me, they were breathing and safe. He also denied me medication that would help the twins’ lungs and brain develop. I laid 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 was simply 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 shows up, 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 walks 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!’ I am racing down the highway to London. Wow. Finally! Someone is willing to TRY and save the lives of my babies. Once I arrived in London, everything was a blur. They realized my oxygen was super low (Windsor 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 that I had pneumonia! Not only were my daughters going to die in Windsor’s hospital, but I was also 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 second 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 and we love her so much!)
We are all set up for the birth and my husband still isn’t there. The minute I am about to push, he rushes through the doors. I hear, ‘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 (I was there!) and now it was completely sealed again! Here comes Luna at 9:12 p.m.
She came out kicking and had the tiniest cry. Weighing 14 ounces 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 1lb, measuring 12 inches long. They were here! They were alive. They were stable! We were then told we would probably only have 12-24 hours with the twins, and before I could be with them I needed a bunch of testing done for my pneumonia and such.
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, and 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), people have no idea.
We have made it ours 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 that saved the twins. We have done radio interviews, been in newsletters, and the list goes on. We went from 0% chance of survival to a 24-hour chance, to celebrating over THREE YEARS 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.
Read more stories from Kayla here:
‘She denied me pain medication. ‘Let’s get it over with. Your twins will be born and die.’ I was banned from seeing them.’: Mom births twin preemies, ‘I KNEW they were worth everything’
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