When my husband and I met, it was a type of love I can’t explain. We married and decided we wanted to expand our family. In August of 2017, our lives were changed forever when we found out we were pregnant with mono/mono twin girls. Mono/Mono twins are extremely rare. They share the same sac and placenta, which causes extreme concern for doctors and patients. There is a greater risk of cords tangling and the babies not equally sharing nutrients. For the next six months, we were in constant worry for our baby girls.
That October, I was at work and experienced an extremely high heart rate and blood pressure. I was sent to the ER, and I remember crying the entire way, not knowing what was happening. The doctors determined that the babies were not in danger. They placed me on modified bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy. I was overwhelmed with emotions.
We began seeing a high-risk doctor and learned that I would need to be inpatient in the hospital beginning at 24-28 weeks pregnant. If all continued well, we would be admitted at 27 weeks. Our baby girls were little rock stars and at each bi-weekly check up they continued to do great.
On January 1st, 2018, my husband and I left our 8 and 5-year-old daughters at home with their grandparents as we drove the hour from our home to St. Petersburg to begin our inpatient stay. My amazing husband stayed with me every night in the hospital on a pull-out chair for 33 days of inpatient monitoring. I was extremely nervous during this stay. I only saw my older girls a handful of times, because at any moment I feared I’d be rushed to labor and delivery. Some days I spent the entire day hooked up to monitors for the protection of our babies. We ended up making it to our scheduled C-section date on February 2, 2018. Mono/mono twins are required to be delivered at 32 weeks regardless. I remember walking myself into the operating room not believing we had made it to this day. Twenty minutes later, at 12:29 pm we heard our first cry from Maisyn Olivia Coccia (Baby A, 4.14lbs) and twenty seconds after that, from Madisyn Grace Coccia (Baby B, 4.12lbs). Watching not 1 but 5 nurses, doctors, and neonatologists around each of our girls was one of the scariest moments. Minutes later they were whisked away to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Nine hours after delivery, I officially met our twin girls for the first time. Seeing both girls hooked up to monitors and intubated was something you cannot prepare for. Our journey in the NICU was stressful with its ups and downs. I sat in the hospital bed three floors away in tears, with a feeling of hopelessness. We spent the entire next day in the NICU just staring and praying. There are terms we now know that we never thought we would need to know–ventilators, CPAP, PICC lines, bradycardia events, apnea events, etc. Each milestone was amazing, from getting to hold them, wearing a shirt, meeting their big sisters, getting their PICC lines removed, to breathing on their own. It is an incredible feeling that rolls over your body when your tiny little miracles make progress.
Our girls were in separate rooms for the first three weeks they were in the NICU. I could feel that Maisyn wasn’t doing as well as Madisyn and needed her sister to make progress. They moved them to the twin room and both girls made tremendous progress. At day 32, Madisyn Grace was able to come home. This was another hurdle we had to overcome, bringing one baby home without the other. Since it was flu season no siblings under five were allowed to visit the NICU. The rule prevented Madisyn from visiting Maisyn, which in turn prevented me from seeing Maisyn as often as I liked. Maisyn truly needed her sister there to continue progressing. After a few days of feeling terrible about not seeing Maisyn as often, my husband called the hospital and within two hours, we were walking through the NICU doors with Madisyn to visit her sister. They had been apart for eight days. When we arrived, Maisyn’s heart rate was very high and as we placed Madisyn in bed with her, it immediately slowed down as she turned towards Madisyn and calmed down. It was one of the most memorable moments of our NICU experience. Five days later, Maisyn Olivia came home! Madisyn spent 32 days in the NICU and Maisyn spent 45 days in the NICU.