It has taken me this long to even gather the courage to talk about what has happened. As I am sure most of you remember, the amniotic sac of one of my twins ruptured at 23w5d. I managed to last on hospital bed rest for exactly 4 additional weeks before I had to deliver. A week before the boys were born I started to bleed off and on and began having intermittent contractions. On May 28th (at 27w5d) my contractions started to get stronger and painful for the first time. Both of the boys' heart rates were not responding very well to the contractions and it was decided that it was time to deliver them. I had a c-section with a classical incision to give them the best shot at getting both boys out safely.
At 3:55 pm Corbin Anthony was born crying, followed a minute later at 3:56 pm by his brother Ronan Alexander who also cried.
At first everything seemed to be alright, both boys were put on ventilators...but that was expected at their gestational age. Meeting my babies for the first time in the NICU a few hours after they were born was an amazing experience. Corbin was very stable and didn't require a large amount of oxygen, Ronan also seemed fairly stable but had a much higher oxygen requirement than his brother. Several hours later we went back up to the NICU to check on the boys and they were putting a chest tube in Ronan because he had a pneumothorax. They thought that his condition would stabilize after the chest tube was inserted, but he continued to worsen throughout the night. They couldn't get his blood pressure under control, he had another pneumothorax that required a second chest tube, had very poor oxygen saturation rates in spite of being on the vent at 60% oxygen, and wasn't responding to any treatment. We sat for hours as they tried different medications, but eventually went back to our room when they told us that they thought he would make it through the night.
We were called back up to the NICU very early the next morning and I knew that this was it. The urgency of the nurse who came to get me and the horrible sinking feeling in my heart warned me of what was to come. When we got up there, we were told that his heart was giving out and they handed us our baby to hold. We held him for 45 minutes or an hour as he passed away. My husband and I sang to him and talked to him and I know that he knew how much we loved him in that moment. Eventually his little heart just stopped beating. Ronan Alexander lived for about 18 hours outside of the womb and died in arms at 6:45 on May 29th. I rocked and held him for about 4 hours after he passed away and I still can't believe that such a perfect baby could die. We are still waiting for the autopsy results, but they think that his lungs just didn't continue to develop after his amniotic sac ruptured which cause the whole chain of events that led to his death.
His twin brother Corbin is in the NICU right now. Overall he is doing pretty well. He is on a high flow nasal cannula at around 26% oxygen with a flow rate of 2 liters right now and is receiving full feeds of pumped breast milk through a tube to his stomach. He needed a blood transfusion earlier this week because he had become anemic and we have had a couple of feeding scares in the last couple of days as well, but for his gestational age at birth he is exceeding expectations.
I am completely and utterly lost. I was in shock at first, but last week the reality of our loss hit me hard. I have to continue functioning for the son that I still have, but I don't know how. I spend hours and hours at the NICU every day watching over Corbin...and the rest of the time I am either worrying about him or grieving for Ronan. The pain of losing Ronan is excruciating to a degree that I couldn't have imagined. I thought that my miscarriage was the worst emotional pain that I had every experienced, but to lose my son who I felt move around and grow for so long and then held his hands and saw his eyes open in the NICU...it is a million times worse.
Now I am left trying to figure out how to "be strong for Corbin" like everyone else tells me to be without feeling like I am betraying the memory of Ronan. I am utterly terrified of losing Corbin as well and every day I am waiting for the bad news to come.