Shortly after their marriage in 2008, Jenna and Russ Miller decided it was time to start a family. They immediately got pregnant, but Jenna miscarried. Then, they got pregnant again – with very special twins.
Courtney and Isabella are monoamniotic/monochorionic twins. Jenna explained that mono/mono or “momo” twins are when the egg splits after the ninth day, and that conjoined twins are formed later than 12 days. Momo twins share the same placenta and amnion – there was no membrane separating the girls.
“We were told the chance of having momo twins was 1-in-250,000,” Jenna said.
Incredibly, the Millers didn’t find out that they were having twins until Jenna was 20 weeks along – and it was the day before Mother’s Day.
“Tears filled my eyes as we learned about the incredible risks to our sweet angels,” Jenna said. “(The doctor) told us that he was surprised I hadn’t miscarried yet and that there was a 50 percent chance of loss until 21 weeks. We later found out that there is overall only a 50-60 percent survival rate for momo twins. He told us how they’d be delivered by 32 weeks – by a c-section – and that I’d be advised to go inpatient at 26 weeks, although if I preferred, I could simply come in every day for monitoring. The last thing he said to us at that appointment was not to look on the internet when we got home, of course that’s the first thing we did, and all the stuff posted was so scary.”
Jenna said that the next few weeks flew by and she had herself and her husband convinced that she would be driving the 30 minutes to the office every day to be monitored at Hartford Hospital.
“The pregnancy was going well,” she said. “I had quit my job to rest more, so I was enjoying getting our one bedroom condo ready for the girls. We had the condo on the market and were looking for a house. We had found the house we are in now and were just waiting for the condo to sell.”
However, at her 26-week appointment, the doctor came in to talk to her about her choice to not go inpatient.
“He told me if something happened right after I left my daily appointment, I would never forgive myself,” she said. “After breaking down in the office, I sobbed all the way home and told my husband I was going inpatient tonight. I got home from the appointment and called everyone to let them know and started to pack my stuff. Russ brought me in later that night when he got home from work.”
Jenna said that her inpatient time was pretty uneventful and because she had a private room, she decorated it with pictures all over everywhere, and even had a Glade plug-in so that it didn’t smell like a hospital room.
Since Jenna was not on bed rest, she moved around and visited people.
“I even made friends with another pregnant woman on my floor who couldn’t get out of bed,” she said.
Jenna made it to 32 weeks and one day when the c-section was scheduled and there was never any evidence of problems with the girls. Courtney was delivered at 1:05 p.m. and almost immediately Isabella pushed her feet through the incision site and was also delivered. Courtney was born at 3 pounds, 15 ounces and Isabella at 3 pounds, 8 ounces.
Overall, the girls were very healthy Isabella spent a few days under the bilirubin lights due to jaundice and Courtney had a few times where she’d forget to breathe (which kept her in the NICU an extra day).
“Both girls just really needed three weeks to grown and learn to breathe and eat at the same time – they just needed to learn the things that full term babies are born knowing. Bella came home with us under 5 pounds and after three weeks in the hospital. Courtney came home at three weeks and one day.”
Jenna said that Courtney had no concerns, but there was one concern with Bella. When she was born, she had a sacral dimple and the medical staff was concerned that she could have Spina Bifida.
“It turned out to be nothing but she did have an issue with her kidneys,” Jenna said. “She was diagnosed had hydronephrosis on both kidneys which causes them to swell, and diagnosed with partial duplicating collective system on one ureter. We’ve had ultrasounds every year and it has drastically decreased on one side and completely gone away on the other, and we just follow up once a year with the pediatric urologist. Although there is an increased chance of urinary tract infections, she’s been blessed to never have any.”
Today, the girls are 2 ½-years-old and are thriving. Jenna said that they are at the top of the charts for height and Courtney weighs around 32 pounds and Bella weighs around 30 pounds.
“They say so many words I can’t count them all and say up to 10 word sentences!,” she said. “They’ve met every developmental milestone and continue to amaze me every day!”
The journey was a crazy one.
“Thankfully Russ and I provided so much support for each other and continue to do so that we made it through and continue our marriage as an equal partnership,” Jenna said.
On May 6, the Miller family will be participating in a March of Dimes walk.
“We are doing the March of Dimes walk because many cases of prematurity can be prevented and March of Dimes is working to eliminate preventable prematurity and everyone should have healthy babies – even though our babies were pretty healthy for being born two months early,” Jenna said. “We walk for our 32-week daughters, who 10 years ago might not have made it without all the research and money that March of Dimes provides!”