37 fertility cycles, 5 losses, and my last shot at expanding my family end with a twin pregnancy. While others may leave the doctor horrified at the idea of multiples, I felt like I got a bargain buy one get one free deal! It’s hard to believe that the twins are here now after all the hardship and heartache I have experienced on this journey.
My pregnancy was an interesting experience carrying 2 babies. Towards the end, I could barely sit, stand, walk, or sleep. My belly hung to the left side and there were constant dance parties in there between 10-2:30 am. I attended 6-7 doctor’s appointments a week to monitor my “geriatric pregnancy” constantly probed and monitored for the high-risk complications that can happen with twins.
The End of Pregnancy:
In July, I was put on bed rest after a preterm labor scare at 29 weeks. I was given steroids to help the babies’ lung development in case they were born earlier. This was an “oh crap!” moment for me where I realized I had been counting on the babies to stay in the whole time (my daughter was 42 weeks overcooked when she was born and had to be forcefully evicted) and now I needed a plan B. I continued to coach clients virtually, as usual, giving them each a maternity packet to continue their goals during my leave and in case I went into labor before.
In August, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and cholestasis of pregnancy…all normal complications of twin pregnancies and “old age.” Diabetes I was able to manage with diet alone, however, my cholestasis numbers kept rising even on medication so I scheduled an extra appointment on September 8th with the specialist to possibly move my early due date up from 37 weeks on 9/25 to 36 weeks on 9/18.
Then, September 8th at 4 am at 34 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I instinctually woke up, heard a pop, and knew Baby A’s water broke. Even though we don’t know the cause of labor…60% of twins are born around 34 weeks. I am only 5ft, so I think my body was just out of room for these 2 and my other complications didn’t help matters on the inside. Of course, this happens on my daughter’s first day of school! Off to the hospital, we went. I bulk e-mailed my clients I was officially on leave in the car on the way to the hospital and the twins were born 3hrs later.
Their birth was a strange experience for me compared to my daughter’s arrival. While going into labor on my own was a first for me, having premature twins threw me for a loop. I knew their weights were around the 5lb mark before, so I thought they would both be alright. However, both twins were whisked away in plastic bags to the neonatal intensive care unit (the NICU) immediately after birth. I didn’t get to see them at all, but I did hear each of them cry. I also had a poor reaction to my spinal and was left barfing and highly monitored for the next 24hrs while my husband went back and forth to the NICU to check on the babies.
Both babies were in the most intense unit, having difficulties regulating their temperature, breathing, and eating. When I was finally able to see them for the first time the late next day, I was not able to hold them as they needed to stay in their temperature regulated isolettes (which I called the “fish tank”). It was extremely difficult for me to see my tiny humans hooked up to so many wires and tubes, it really broke my heart.
My husband and I visited the NICU every day for 3-4hrs to bond with our little ones driving back and forth to the hospital. At 1 point they were in different units and so we had to split our time between them to see both babies. I was also re-admitted for postpartum hemorrhaging 1/2 way through their NICU stay, which I will spare you the details, but that was a scary experience in itself.
The twins gradually moved from the most intense unit to the “middle of the road” unit, down to the least intense unit over time. Holding them was a different experience, being mindful of their wires and anxiety struck when an alarm would sound. Eventually, Baby B was sent home first with Baby A following a day behind. It took a village of friends and family to help us during this difficult time of recovery and adjustment.
Keep in mind, this is also during COVID, so there was mask-wearing 24/7, you couldn’t leave the room without a reason and we were frequently tested for COVID. We and the babies were allowed no visitors and no siblings were allowed in the hospital.
October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month:
Did you know that 1 in 4 women lose their babies by the 20th week of pregnancy? That means if you go out to eat with 4 women, at least one of them has experienced this loss. As you know from previous posts, I have experienced 5 losses myself from 6-20 weeks. If you have experienced a loss and are reading this post, my heart goes out to you. No one truly understands unless they have gone through this themselves. You are strong, brave, and not alone.
The Twins are Here!:
Every day I truly feel blessed by these tiny creations. My family is finally complete now that the twins are here. and home. They have come a long way from my infertility treatments to coming home. Their bodies are right now in premature clothes, but I know one day soon I will look at these tiny garments as memories of their thriving survival and strength.
And the moment you’ve all been waiting for…Here they are!
Rion, 5lbs, 2oz born 7:07 am and Bodhi, 6lbs born 7:08 am on September 8th
Credit: Lauren Alissa Photography