This is dedicated to the legacy of Jenna Blaisdell Hinman (11/21/87 – 05/05/14) – a courageous young mother who gave her life to bring two beautiful twin girls into the world. Please take a moment to read her heroic story –
After great difficulty conceiving, Jenna and her husband, Brandon, were overjoyed to learn that they were going to be parents of twin girls. Jenna’s husband had been serving in the US Army, which kept him away for long stretches of time in Afghanistan. Because carrying twins is harder on the body than carrying a single baby, the Army allowed Brandon to remain stateside for the duration of Jenna’s “high risk” pregnancy – but no one ever could have predicted just how high the risk would be. Early in the morning on March 3rd, 2014, Jenna began experiencing shortness of breath and pain in her abdomen. Brandon quickly realized that his wife was in crisis and called 911. Jenna was rushed to the ER where she delivered two premature but healthy, beautiful baby girls via emergency C-section – Azlynn Mary and Kinleigh Anne. Jenna briefly saw her sweet babies before they were rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The joy of the moment was quickly overshadowed by Jenna’s worsening condition. Within hours of the birth Jenna’s lungs were failing – doctors suspected pneumonia. Jenna was placed on a ventilator and ultimately her husband had to make the agonizing decision to allow the doctors to place his wife in a medically induced coma. Days passed while Jenna’s body got weaker and the mystery of why her lungs were failing gnawed at her loved ones and her medical team. It was finally discovered that Jenna’s condition was far graver than anyone could have dreamed – it was cancer. The cancer had spread through her entire body; and had completely filled her lungs with tumors and lesions. The initial suspicion of pneumonia was also correct – and that added complication would become as great of a challenge in Jenna’s fight as the cancer itself. The cancer, called Choriocarcinoma, is is a quick-growing form of cancer that occurs in a woman's uterus (womb). The abnormal cells start growing in the placenta, the organ that develops during pregnancy to feed the fetus and then spread rapidly through the body (National Institute of Health). This type of cancer is often very treatable, but Jenna’s case was complicated. Jenna’s lungs were so weak that even with the ventilator her body wasn’t oxygenating her blood enough to sustain her life. Her situation would surely be fatal if not for extreme intervention. A special team was assembled and Jenna was placed on an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine – which basically removed Jenna’s blood from her body, oxygenated it, and pumped it back through her veins (since her own body was unable to do so). This lifesaving tactic was itself, a great risk. While on the ECMO machine Jenna remained in a medically induced coma and she received the highest doses of chemotherapy possible. Her body and spirit fought hard – there were dramatic highs and lows. Her family never left her side – taking up residence in the ICU lounge and at her bedside. Her babies were in the NICU, just a few floors above her in the same hospital. At one point, though she was not conscious, the NICU brought the babies down and laid them on her chest – it was everyone’s firm belief that this skin-to-skin contact would be more powerful than any medicine. As Jenna’s body began to respond to chemotherapy and pneumonia medications, the medical team began to draw her out of her medically induced coma, though she was in tremendous pain and discomfort. Eventually, Jenna’s lungs had recovered to the point where the ECMO machine was removed (though she remained on the ventilator). She began physical therapy – trying to strengthen her fingers and hands. Her personality began to shine through again – she was able to nod her head, smile, and gesture with her hands and arms. Eventually the twin girls were well enough to be discharged from the NICU – and the family was then forced to divide their time between caring for the babies at home and holding Jenna’s hand in the ICU. Finally the day came that everyone had been waiting and praying for – Jenna was exhausted, but alert, and the babies came for their first real visit with Jenna. It was a beautiful, unforgettable moment as mother and child were reunited. As weak as she was, Jenna’s maternal instincts kicked in immediately and the girls knew their mommy. With the help of her own mother, Jenna fed the babies and burped them. She rubbed their little backs and tummies. Brandon showered Jenna was kisses and praise. After that visit Jenna continued to gain strength and determination and her cancer count was incredibly low. But no sooner than had everyone begun to believe that Jenna was in the homestretch – the unthinkable happened – an infection. Jenna’s body could withstand no more trauma and within the blink of an eye her physical body was relieved of its pain. Jenna passed away on the afternoon of May 5th, 2014 – her husband and family by her side.
In the wake of her loss all those who loved her and came to love her through this page have mourned the ending of a beautiful, important, and courageous life. This page, which was originally titled Prayers for Jenna, was renamed Twice Blessed: Jenna’s Legacy. The creators and administrators of this page were two of Jenna’s dearest friends. When we started this page we never dreamed it would become so widespread and so important to others – but it really shouldn’t be a surprise, since Jenna was such a remarkable, beautiful, and kind person. Whatever the reason that you feel connected to Jenna – we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued prayer, positive energy, and support. We will continue to share updates on the twins as they grow. Thank you for sharing in Jenna’s Legacy.
**The twins currently reside with Jenna’s parents, Kim and Jeff, in Jenna’s hometown in upstate New York. They are loved and cared for by countless family members and friends. Specific details are kept private to protect the safety and wellbeing of Jenna’s babies and family. Thank you for your consideration in that matter. For more information on Choriocarcinoma or to look at news articles relating to Jenna please visit the “links” section on our page.**
Choriocarcinoma is a quick-growing form of cancer that occurs in a woman's uterus (womb). The abnormal cells start in the tissue that would normally become the placenta, the organ that develops during pregnancy to feed the fetus.
Choriocarcinoma is a type of gestational trophoblastic disease.
Choriocarcinoma is an uncommon, but very often curable cancer that occurs during pregnancy. A baby may or may not develop in these types of pregnancy.
The cancer may occur after a normal pregnancy. However, it most often occurs with a complete hydatidiform mole. The abnormal tissue from the mole can continue to grow even after it is removed, and can turn into cancer. About half of all women with a choriocarcinoma had a hydatidiform mole, or molar pregnancy.
Choriocarcinomas may also occur after an early pregnancy that doesn't continue (miscarriage), ectopic pregnancy, or genital tumor.
A possible symptom is vaginal bleeding in a woman who recently had a hydatidiform mole or pregnancy.
Other symptoms may include:
Irregular vaginal bleeding
Exams and Tests
A pregnancy test will be positive even if you are not pregnant. Pregnancy hormone (HCG) levels will be high.
A pelvic exam may show uterine swelling or a tumor.
Blood tests that may be done include:
Quantitative serum HCG
Complete blood count
Kidney function tests
Liver function tests
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