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Twin pregnancy with Kawasaki Disease is not a joke.
Twin mama, Amanda, is sharing with us today her journey through twin pregnancy with Kawasaki Disease. It includes a whole lot of tests, but a very happy ending.
If you’d love to submit your own twin story (doesn’t have to be about your birth! I’d love to chat about pregnancy, early days, toddler life, ect) send me an email @ [email protected]! I’d love to chat mama!
January 3, 2016. A day I won’t forget.
The only day in my adult life where a three-minute test, and a small amount of urine, would change my life forever.
Two dominant stripes, vertical on a pregnancy test. Positive.
My name is Amanda McDaniel. A Canadian prairies girl who moved west, and on a night off, crossed paths with a tall, handsome lineman named Robert. Back in 2013, he was working out of Lethbridge Alberta, Canada.
He bought me the right drink, and a few months later a diamond ring to seal the deal. The hardest topic discussed in pre marriage counseling: children. Why?
Because of a heart condition I acquired at 18 months old. I still have three aneurysms, that still are monitored to this day. The condition is called Kawasaki disease.
Primarily an early childhood disease in Caucasians. It took the doctors in the heart of the Canadian prairies almost three days to diagnose me in the spring of 1985. Fast forward to life as a teenager, and the doctors wanted to keep things text book and advise against pregnancy. At 16 years old, there still wasn’t much more knowledge of what caused the aneurysms and the success rate of pregnancy. I guess it was the first of many medical suggestions I would ignore in time to come.
Adoption was always on the table. I loved kids, I even worked in pediatric dentistry for 10 years as a dental assistant. My husband comes from a huge loving family, and he was always interested in being a dad.
At 9 weeks pregnant we found out that there was two babies.
I laugh. I cried. And probably belted an inappropriate swear word. Karma. I have a fraternal twin sister. We weren’t the best teenage daughters and even to this day, may not be classified as they best twin siblings.
Being over 30, and mixing good genetics, I knew deep down in my heart, it wasn’t much of a surprise.
If God was gonna watch over me, knowing I wanted kids, guess I was gonna get a two for one deal.
In the weeks to follow, my pregnancy would become a part time job. Maternal Fetal Medicine would become my new home, to the point where the ultrasound tech and I would swap recipes. My husband would learn that that the medical field is about keeping things by a magical textbook. The hard part is when scenarios fall out of said “textbook” and options had to be given.
Like aborting a baby…..and choosing the mother’s life, or the babies life when things go wrong. Life decisions not in the marriage pamphlet.
We made the decision to proceed with the pregnancy, even with unknown risks but with the “safety net” to take the babies to save my life, as an option. Weeks turned to months, spring to summer and a few scary moments.
The babies were initially due September 12th. They tried to escape July 4th weekend but tucked back in with modern medicine. After that scare, it was time to monitor my blood density and blood pressure. I was put on a type of blood thinner that is administered with daily injections to the belly/abdominal area. The poor nurse had to convince me that the small needle would in fact NOT impale one of my unborn baby’s head. I was very emotional. I repeat, very emotional.
On August 5th 2016, my hubby returned from his job posting in the PNW to our home north of Spokane Washington. At this point, I have had well OVER 45 doctor visits including ultrasounds, stress tests, cardiac appointments, ob/gyno and countless daily drop offs of urine samples to test for preeclampsia.
We went home from a brief hospital stay in the morning due to elevated blood pressure. At my doctor appointment in the morning, meeting with my baby delivery doctor, he picked up on the higher blood pressure and change in my normally happy demeanor.
When you see a medical professional weekly, a good one becomes like a trusted family member. You can’t hide your grief. I truly believe that the loss of my Grampa Hamish, mixed with the stress of not being able to go home to Canada to say good bye to the man who was my role model and personal cheerleader, made an impact in what would he the final few weeks of my pregnancy.
That night, we had an amazing BBQ supper, I soaked in the tub, and climbed into my side of the bed. Wooooooosh A quick phone call to “Auntie Sarah…..” And the conclusion was made. The babies were coming!
But first, a 40-minute ride into Spokane. Where, with soaked sweatpants, and a husband who had to remind me that “this is just like a power outage, the power is already out, we just have to get to the hospital” I proved my water had indeed broke. The baby doctor greeted me again that day, nearing a new day at that time of night. We are doing this. We prayed. We prayed for the babies, the staff, and the surgeons that were gonna bring OUR babies into the world.
The cocktail of drugs I got hit me harder than anything I’d ever been served at a bar. The epidural pain was masked with chat with the intern surgeon about the life in Canada we missed and how we both oddly fell in love with Casper Wyoming.
The drape went up and in walked my husband dressed like a medical fantasy, but with the glazed over look of fear with a dash of excitement. “Is she gonna be in a textbook??!!” I may have been drugged but my wifely voice of embarrassment pushed out first: “Sit. Down.”
4 nurses for the babies 2 anesthesiologists 2 surgeons 4 nurses for my needs for during and after surgery 1 cardiologist And my husband and I It was a full room!! And I was the only one getting the party vibe with cocktails via IV!!
As my lower body was sliced into, creating a baby escape hatch, I felt a calm come over me, like this was all supposed to happen.
Baby A: boy 4 lbs 13 oz Jax Parker Baby B: girl 5 lbs 6oz Alexa Christine The assisting surgeon stitched me up with the guiding words from my doctor. I believe it takes a truly blessed and patient soul to bring tiny humans into this world. My panel of doctors made the decision months prior for me to tie my tubes. It was like they didn’t want to see me again….Haha It was the right decision.
Cleared by the Catholic board at the hospital based on my cardiac condition, age and probability of having twins again. The babies we whisked off with their attendants to the NICU. I honestly had a hard time bonding with my small son, Jax. He almost didn’t look human. My daughter was a bit bigger, and advanced on her brother, coming home first after a week in NICU.
Ten days later, it was brother’s turn to come join family life. My days following delivery went text book for a c section. I went back to normal routine of blood thinners, and home after two days. Three months later, my cardiologist did a follow up appointment. She demanded to see the babies in person. Snuggled in their bucket seats, resting, perfect. She teared up, showing her human side.
We honestly spent my pregnancy months flying blind. Making decisions on the fly and a good amount of time spent communicating with a Kawasaki disease specialist in San Diego. It all summed up to two healthy and precious babies. Now, coming up to their 3rd birthday, I take a moment daily to be grateful, thankful and blessed to have my twins.