But they decided to try once more. Scott feels it may be her mother's experience that led her to have faith that persistence pays off. "I believed that I could do it, and I'm not one to accept that just because something is hard you shouldn't do it."
She was helped by friends and family—including online friends—who gave their unconditional support, and by the support of her medical team. "When I made up my mind and told them I wanted to try again, even though the thought of another loss terrified them too, they put their heads together to find a way to help me and my husband," says Scott. "They are a wonderful group of human beings."
The Scotts conceived through the help of IVF. Scott had a cerclage at 15 weeks, was hospitalized from 16 to 17 weeks for uterine irritability, and spent the next five months on bed rest where she battled gestational diabetes and pregnancy-induced hypertension. Scott says that she coped with the unending support of her husband and healthcare providers, and during her second trimester, the medications Prozac and Xanax. Without them, she had panic attacks so severe they caused dangerous contractions.
Even more important, adds Scott, was the setting of goals and milestones. "First it was to get past the point where I lost the twins, then to 24 weeks, then 26, and 28, etc.," says Scott. "By the time I hit 34 weeks, I was ready to be done! It just felt great to know how healthy my baby was with each passing week."
Amazingly, Scott made it to 37 weeks, five days. Baby Kate weighed seven pounds, 14 ounces, and was perfect. Holding her for the first time, says Scott, was "indescribable joy."
"We have a videotape of the moment she was born," says Scott. "You hear her cry, and then you hear my husband and I start sobbing. My four-day hospital stay felt like a honeymoon."
"I've known some couples who don't keep trying after heartbreak because they are afraid it won't work and their hearts will be broken again," says Scott, whose daughter is now eight months old. "There is so much hope! Doctors know more all the time—not nearly enough yet, but we're moving in the right direction."
How Families Persevere
"I think today pregnancy is considered glamorous, even stylish. But what people don't realize is that some pregnancies can be very, very difficult," says Lynn Finocchiaro, LICSW, a social worker at Woman and Infants Hospital of Rhode Island.
What helps? A sense of control, says Finocchiaro. Knowing what to expect throughout the pregnancy—when ultrasounds will be performed, what tests and treatments may be offered and why, what the plans are if something begins to go wrong—can be extremely comforting to high-risk families, especially those that have been through a loss.
Support is very important as well. "If a high-risk mom has one person, be it her partner, friend, mother, or sister who takes an active role in doctor's visits, helps her figure out childcare, gets groceries for her—then she definitely will cope better," says Candace Hurley, co-founder and executive director of Sidelines National Support Network, an organization that serves women with complicated pregnancies. "She needs to have the family take part in and acknowledge that she's doing the hardest work possible."