After trying to get pregnant for five years, learning my husband and I were going to have twins was one of the most joyous moments I’ve ever experienced. Hearing that my pregnancy was likely to end in the loss of my babies was one of the most devastating. Facing a Terrible Choice During the 20th week of my pregnancy, I was in my hometown of Boston for a baby shower. I got sick from a cold while traveling and even though I wasn’t scheduled to see my doctor for another three weeks, I felt I needed to get checked out when I got home. The doctor took an ultrasound and found that my cervix was compromised, meaning my cervix had started to shorten and open too early. My body could go into labor at any point, leading to a miscarriage or premature birth at the potential cost of the twins’ lives. Alarmed, I asked what needed to be done. For a single child birth, doctors in this situation will usually perform a cerclage, or a surgical procedure to close the cervix until the babies are mature enough to be born. But many doctors either won’t perform a cerclage for twins or don’t know how, because the extra pressure on the cervix makes it extremely difficult for the surgeon to sew it shut without tearing the cervix’s lining or damaging the uterus. My doctor told me to go home, rest, wait to see if anything changed, and then I would have to decide what I wanted to do. He said you have two choices: terminate the pregnancy or have them at the high risk of one or both of the babies winding up deformed. My mind reeled at the thought of having to choose. Emotionally overwhelmed, I felt that somehow I had failed my unborn daughters. They are completely healthy in the womb, I thought, and it’s my body that is malfunctioning. Taking Action to Find Answers I knew this mentality wasn’t true, that there wasn’t anywhere to assign blame for this circumstance, but I also knew I couldn’t accept those choices. I left the doctor’s office and began to research. I found a support group for families of twins called Mothers of Multiples. There is a chapter in Los Angeles and I was able to speak with a woman who had also gone through a complicated pregnancy with twins. She told me I needed to call a maternal and fetal medicine specialist named Dr. Khalil Tabsh at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, and helped me find the best way to reach him. Dr. Tabsh called me back within 10 minutes, virtually a miracle for a doctor as highly sought after and busy as he is. I went in to see him and after examining me he decided to perform the twin cerclage. But not only was I practically in labor because my cervix was so dilated, my water bag was bulging. This meant he would have to carefully rearrange it while performing the surgery. If the water bag broke during the procedure, I would go into labor and lose the twins there and then. The doctor told me there was a 50/50 chance that the surgery wouldn’t work, but I took the chance anyway. Amazingly, the surgery was successful and I wept from relief when Dr. Tabsh told me he was able to safely perform the cerclage. I was assigned to stay on bed rest for seven more weeks until the twins were ready to be born. In my 29th week, Dr. Tabsh performed a C-section delivery. Both girls, Elizabeth and Madison, went to the NICU for over eight weeks. Elizabeth weighed 2 pounds, 8 ounces and wasn’t breathing when she was born. Madison had a heart murmur and some brain leakage. Gratitude for Two Healthy Girls Thankfully, the care they received was phenomenal and they are both healthy 2-year-olds now. I also received great care during my recovery and throughout my stay in the hospital. Dr. Tabsh’s specialty is to save babies’ lives and that is what he was able to do for my girls. When I look at them, the reality that at one point I didn’t know if they would live never escapes me. Two years after I was fighting to save their lives, we are able to take them on vacation with us to Disney World. The story of how they were born makes them that much more precious to me. My advice for anyone going through a serious health event is to always seek a second opinion and trust your gut. If you aren’t comfortable with choices you’re given, you need to act as your own advocate and investigate further. If I hadn’t reached out to the Mothers of Multiples group or took a chance to call Dr. Tabsh, my girls may not have lived.