We are The Shutacks, Bradley, Megan, and our children Alexis, Amelia and Grayson from Martinsburg, WV. Shortly after getting married we were ready to add on to our family. Years were spent unsuccessfully trying on our own so we decided to see a fertility specialist. After multiple tests and blood work, we were given a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. The doctors presented us with different options and instructed that we start with the least invasive procedure, medicated IUI cycle. We started on our journey excited and anxious. We did all the necessary blood work and started both pill and injectable medications for a week as instructed, which would produce follicles. The morning came to do an ultrasound for a final check before we completed the IUI round, we walked in to the office, nervous but hopeful as we now had a diagnosis and plan set in place. Right after the test our fertility doctor called us to her office. Our whole week of prepping and the building of our emotions crashed down around us as we were informed that I responded too well to the medication and that it was too risky to continue with this round; we could try again in a month. The next month, after a blood drawn pregnancy test, we got the phone call from our doctor and heard those heartbreaking words, “I’m sorry, the results were negative.” After seven failed IUI attempts we decided to move to the next step, IVF which required us to do daily injections with fertility drugs. After many injections and frequent monitoring for ovulation, we went in for our egg retrieval on December 15th 2014.
We received updates on our embryos daily until the big transfer day arrived, it was December 20th, 2014. We decided that we wanted to transfer two embryos, thinking our chances of success would increase. After a stressful two week wait, we were finally able to have the blood work done. Shortly after that we received the call we had waited the whole journey to receive, “Congratulations, you are pregnant!” To our joy and amazement, a few weeks later at our first ultrasound, not one but two flickering hearts were seen. We were having Twins!!
Everything with the pregnancy was going great up until 8 weeks, when out of nowhere, I started bleeding profusely. I frantically called my husband at work, he rushed home and we went straight to the emergency room. We waited for what felt like an eternity until we were called back for an ultrasound. Thankfully, according to the ultrasound, everything looked fine with both babies. We saw our fertility doctor the next day and had another perfect ultrasound. The doctor told us that I had what is called a subchorionic hemorrhage. We were told this was “normal” with some twin pregnancies. The bleeding eventually subsided and I continued my job working as a night shift nurse on a labor and delivery floor.
Then on Friday March 27th, 2015 we went to see the high risk doctor who we were referred to because of our twin pregnancy. We were 16 weeks and 4 days pregnant. Just like every other appointment we started off with an ultrasound. After the ultrasound tech finished her scan the doctor came in. He did a quick ultrasound scan as well and then hit us with the most devastating news that we never imagined we would hear. He told us that one of our babies were missing their kidneys and the other did not have a formed stomach. As if that wasn’t enough, we were also told that neither baby had amniotic fluid which is crucial for development. We were directed to terminate the pregnancy. We were devastated but after seeing our precious babies moving and their perfect little hearts beating, there was just no way we could even consider terminating this pregnancy. We decided it was time to get a second opinion. After a lot of research we found a highly recommended maternal fetal medicine doctor. At our first appointment with her we received positive news. She told us that our previous doctor was wrong and that both of our babies did in fact have all of their organs. And more good news, while our amniotic fluid was low there was at least some in each sac. She gave our babies a 50/50 chance with this new information. They gave us something we strongly needed; hope and faith that our perfect little babies would be okay.
I was put on at home bed rest with continuous IV fluids along with a no lifting restriction. Brad was working night shift as a nurse at Waynesboro Hospital at the time so that made things challenging, but we had a strong support system of family and friends that made it easier for us.
We went for weekly ultrasounds and each time they showed little to no amniotic fluid, but our babies continued growing and had strong perfect heartbeats. With our doctors help, we decided on a plan to be admitted on hospital bed rest at Shady Grove around 23-24 weeks pregnant to be monitored more closely. We had our last appointment with our regular OBGYN doctor on May 6th and everything was unchanged.
On Thursday evening, May 7th 2015, Brad left for work and I was feeling great. My in-laws FaceTimed me earlier in the evening. I had fallen asleep around 11:45 p.m. only to wake up around 1:30 a.m. with pain in both of my upper legs. I got up and walked to the bathroom then went back to bed but the pain became more intense. I sent Brad a text that said “I wish this pain would go away” He called me right away but the pain was so excruciating that I was unable to talk. Brad immediately called our neighbors who came rushing over and called 911. When the ambulance crew arrived, I had to walk down three flights of stairs to even get to the ambulance. Finally after an hour and a half (that usually only takes 20 minutes in a regular car) I made it to the hospital. I was greeted by my coworkers on the labor and delivery unit and brought back to a room; Brad was brought right back to be with me. Shortly after arriving, I whispered to my nurse “Something is coming out.” Right then, at 4:04 a.m. , sweet little Sophia Marie was born butt first weighing 14.8 ounces. She had a heart beat and some respiratory effort, but they did not have a breathing tube small enough to save her life. Three minutes later, at 4:07a.m. , handsome little Jack Alexander was delivered weighing 11.4 ounces. Jack was stillborn but Still Born..
I began to feel very weak right after their delivery and was losing a large amount of blood. I was also unable to deliver the second placenta. The staff immediately prepared me for the operating room to have the last placenta removed. I woke up in the recovery room where they allowed Brad to come down with both Jack and Sophia. When I was able to go back to our room the staff had what is called a Cuddle Cot available for us to use. The Cuddle Cot allowed us to spend the whole hospital stay with our babies at our side, creating everlasting and unforgettable memories. We were able memorize both of their features, obtain pictures and allow family to come meet them.
On that day, May 8th 2015, our precious twins we so long waited for were born precious angels. In honor of our babies and to keep their memory alive forever we started a nonprofit, Cuddling Angels .