Outspoken and tough-talking television host Nancy Grace, who made a name for herself covering some the country's most high-profile criminal cases, returns to the airwaves tonight after maternity leave turned into a life-threatening pregnancy.
Viewers followed the 47-year-old during the ups and downs of her pregnancy since she announced she was expecting twins in the summer.
The opinionated cable host wanted to work until the day she delivered, but becoming a mother in her late 40s was no simple task.
"I had been in a wheelchair actually for a couple months, but the viewers didn't know," Grace said on "Good Morning America" today. "I've been through it. It's grueling. It's very, very difficult. It's hard to do."
Grace suffered near constant complications during her pregnancy and they sent her to the emergency room repeatedly.
She also maintained a strict protocol on her television show, with signals to let producers know how she was feeling.
"Between my two producers, Dean and Elizabeth, we had a series of hand signals [to let them know how I felt]. I would touch my necklace during break if I couldn't breathe or to throw up. All types of hands signals — to roll sound, to go to a guest, to keep the guest talking — to try to keep going until the twins came," Grace said.
A complication forced the fiery former prosecutor to deliver almost two months prematurely on Nov. 4, instead of the expected January 2008.
"I had no idea what was going to happen that day. I was getting ready to go to church. It was Nov. 4 and I couldn't breathe," she said. "I started coughing horribly. I coughed so violently I started getting sick. Then I bent over and I knew I had to go to the hospital...David took me to the hospital and doctor knew immediately that I was just full of fluid edema. My lungs were swimming. I had no idea."
After giving birth to fraternal twins, Lucy Elizabeth and John David, a week later, Grace suffered a blood clot in her lungs that almost killed her.
Despite all the difficulties, Grace said she would definitely repeat the process, but doesn't encourage older women to have children so late in life because of all the potential problems.
"Forget about it. Don't do that, everybody. Please listen to me. The health risks are incredible and I had no idea going into it. On the other hand, if I had to do it all again to get Lucy and John David, I would do it in a heartbeat," Grace said. "I'm glad I did it, but I wouldn't want to wish that on anyone else."
Grace said she waited so long to have children because for a long time she didn't want to get married after her fiance was killed several years ago.
"It's no secret, after my fiance was murdered many, many years ago, I didn't want to put myself out there for my world blowing up again. I didn't want to marry, didn't want to have children. But I desperately wanted a family," she said.
When she married David Linch in April 2007, Grace had the opportunity to have the family she had always wanted.
However, Grace said her new role as a mother won't soften her.
"I prosecuted so many child molestation and child murder cases during my career. Now that I've held John David and Lucy in my arms, I can't imagine — on a whole different level — how anybody could hurt such an innocent little creature. And I want to lock them up and throw away the key even more than before," Grace said.
Grace heads back to television tonight to continue what she considers her duty to crime victims. She's trying to strike a balance between career and family.
"I'm going to find a way to juggle, having these twins and giving them 100 percent and giving crime victims 100 percent, too," Grace said. "My mom did. My grandmother did it. She worked in a factory and raised a family. If they can do it, I'll do it."
She said it will be difficult to leave her children for the first time.
"All weekend I kept thinking, I got to get prepared for the show. Of course, I ended up holding the twins and feeding them the whole weekend," she said. "When I'm away from them, I'm totally torn up with guilt. And I just want to be with them. I just want to hold them, bathe them, feed them, everything myself. I just waited so long to have these children and to have a marriage. I couldn't be happier."