At our 8-week ultrasound, my voice quickly shifted when I saw something different on the computer screen. “Is that TWO?!” I continued to ask our ultrasound technician until she confirmed that yes, we were expecting twins! Everything we thought we had perfectly planned changed so quickly, but we were really excited at the thought of two baby girls!

Our twin daughters, Olive Lee and Sophie Elizabeth were mono-di twins, which meant they were identical. They shared the same placenta but had separate sacs. We learned that the more twins share in the womb, the higher risk the pregnancy was. However, we knew many people who have delivered healthy twins, even mono-di twins, so we weren’t extremely concerned of what could be. We celebrated on second wedding anniversary on July 18, 2022, and I experienced what I thought was my first Braxton Hicks contractions that evening. I was so excited to tell my husband, and we spent the rest of the evening dreaming of our family’s future.

I had a difficult time falling asleep that evening and felt a little strange. Eventually, I got some sleep and woke up in the middle of the night to check on my son and was barely able to bend over the crib. At that point, I contacted the on-call OB at my hospital, and they assured me that this was simply growing pains. I gritted my teeth through the pain and waited until the morning.

When I woke that morning, I was having consistent contractions that were timing seven minutes apart. I called my OB office, and they asked that I come in for an ultrasound. I had convinced myself that I was over-reacting, and even told my husband not to attend the appointment with me. “I love you! See you when you’re off work!” And we went our separate ways for the day.

I arrived at the OB office and went straight to an ultrasound room. The ultrasound technician and I enjoyed watching Olive and Sophie move around, and even turn their faces toward the screen for us to see so clearly. I was giggling and enjoying the show my babies were putting on for us. At the end of the ultrasound, instead of heading back to the waiting room like I had done countless times before, the ultrasound technician said I should wait there while she got the doctor. When the doctor arrived, I truly entered my nightmare. I found out I was in premature labor at 20 weeks and 6 days and need to get to labor and delivery immediately.

I could barely walk into the waiting room of labor and delivery, because I felt that I was about to deliver. Luckily, the pressure lifted in the triage room when my husband arrived. I was then immediately wheeled into a room where an ultrasound technician performed an exam, my OB explained what was happening, and a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist arrived to walk us through every detail of what was to come that day. I will never forget these words: “You will deliver your baby girls today, and they are going to die.”

I spent the next several hours in labor until I delivered my first baby girl, Olive Lee McConahay at 4:20PM. I was able to hold her close on my chest as I delivered our second daughter, Sophie Elizabeth McConahay, at 4:29 PM. They were beautiful. They were alive. I was able to hold them both on my chest for about an hour until I had to be taken back to the operating room to stop my life-threatening hemorrhaging, and for assistance delivering the placenta. My husband, Mike, was able to be with both girls and hold them as they took their last tiny breaths while I was in surgery.

In the following hours, time moved so slowly, but I also felt like in the blink of an eye, it was time to leave the hospital. In those moments, my husband and I knew that we could not navigate this unfathomable grief alone. How can one possibly move forward after the death of their children? A friend quickly introduced us to No Foot Too Small. Within days, we had a meeting scheduled with Robin and Ali where we were able find our community of support. We quickly got involved in in-person
and virtual support groups, connecting with families from our area and even across the United States. We found a community of people who truly understood and were there for us. Even though we are still walking through our grief journey, I look back and have no idea how we could have survived the initial months without this incredible organization. We are forever grateful for No Foot Too Small and the amazing community that comes with it."

Gina McConahay