Monday, April 27, 2009

Baby A


This is Baby A, also known as Tweedledum. The head of the baby is on the far left. You can still see the tiny yolk sac just below the baby.

Baby B


Here is our Baby B, Tweedledee. The baby's head is on the far right. You can make out some arm buds in this picture. They are just below the baby's head.

Our Babies. The Tweedles.


Here is my favorite picture of them. They are mirror images in this picture. You can really see Tweedledee's arms and legs in this photo.
Their heads are on the far ends, their little feet are both in the middle.
Joel and I named the babies when they were just Day 5 blastocysts. It gave us a way of feeling connected to them. We didn't want to refer to them as babies since we didn't know if they were going to stick, but they weren't just embryos to us. They became our Tweedles- Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

9 weeks, 2nd ultrasound

I think Joel and I had been most scared for today's appointment. At the last appointment we weren't sure what we were going to encounter. Now we have expectations, and two babies to be worried about. Sure I've been feeling sick, but "is it sick enough for twins?", or "did we lose one along the way?" My mind always goes to the worst possible scenario.
Well, no need for worries here. The babies are looking wonderful. They are measuring right in the range at 8 weeks, 5days, only one day shy of their actual age. We were able to see and hear their heartbeats. Those were the most wonderful little sounds I have ever heard. The heartbeats came in at 175, and 183 bpm.
We saw how their little arms and legs are developing and even got to see one of the babies squirming around. I am still in shock that all of this is happening in my body. I am so used to an u/s being used exclusively for measuring my endometrial lining and follicle sizes. It's amazing how just a few months later, using the same machine, I get to see my babies growing.
I think that the clinic switched the labels of Baby A and Baby B in the photos. She said it doesn't much matter right now, not until the placentas have established themselves do we really know which baby will be considered which. All that matters right now is that they look like they are developing on track, which they are.

The best part about our visit today was that it was back in our old clinic. The one we started out at and did most of our fertility treatments through.It was really sad for us when we weren't able to get pregnant with their help. They are such kind and caring physicians and nurses, and we always looked forward to the day that we could return with our good news. When I checked in I was surprised by how thick my medical file was, and that just reminded me of how far we have come.
The triage nurse came out to check and see who was scheduled for appointments that day. She saw my name, and that I was scheduled for an early OB appointment. She congratulated us and said that she had been thinking about me the other week, and wondered how I was doing. She passed on the news to the u/s tech, who announced my name with enthusiasm when I got called back. I got hugs and huge congrats from her. It made me tear up having all of these women care about us so much.
During my u/s, my midwife, who was my first fertility specialist popped in. She had just heard the news that we were back in the clinic, pregnant this time. She wanted to come in to congratulate us and the see the babies. She asked who I was going to use as an OB, I told her that she had been my first choice, but obviously wouldn't be able to do the delivery because of the twins. She then said that she wanted to be at the birth of the babies, which just about made me cry.
She will take the time out of her personal life to attend the birth of our babies just because she wants to be there to support us, because she has a connection with us. She guided us through the difficult times of infertility, we worked with her for 1 year and 7 months before we had no other choice but to move on. I am so happy with where I am. I feel so absolutely blessed to be here.
The Lord was looking out for us, and while the road of infertility was long and hard, and heartbreaking, I can honestly say that I wouldn't change it. We were meant to travel that road, and endure those hardships for a reason. Getting to see those babies on that screen and hearing their perfect heartbeats makes it all worthwhile. I won't ever forget what we went through to get here. It will forever leave a scar on my heart, but that scar will heal, it has healed, and it has somehow left my heart stronger.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sick and Tired

Those are the two words that best summarize how I have been feeling lately.
The morning sickness has continued to plague me morning, noon, and night.
I still haven't actually vomited, just a constant feeling of needing to run to the bathroom at any second. I've tried virtually every trick out there, nothing seems to work. I'm not dying, and I'm still able to eat, so I'm not rushing to my doctor to get a prescription or anything.
The exhaustion has left me wiped out beyond belief. I look at both of these things as signs that things are progressing and developing how they are suppose to.
I haven't done much lately other than sleep and muster up the energy to head to work.
I am counting down the weeks to the end of my first trimester, as well as hoping that I am one of those women who loses the exhaustion and illness overnight. I guess we'll see.
They say that two babies equal double the aches and pains, so I try to remember that this is just the beginning of what's to come.
Joel and I have been doing some reading up on twins. It's mostly been pregnancy information, and so far we have learned a lot.
Nutrition with two babies is a top priority, as is gaining weight. Twins don't gain their weight in an upward climb through 40 weeks like singletons do. They start to slow down around 28 weeks since they essentially run out of room to grow. The goal is for me to gain about 30 lbs before 24 weeks, and then continue to increase that through their birth. If I am able to do this, then the babies should have a higher birth weight, and spend less time in the NICU. I haven't gained anything yet.

We've learned that even though my due date is December 1st, I'll probably have them in late October. Twins are typically born at 36 weeks, but 35% are born before 35 weeks. It's scary stuff to think about. While we are so excited to have two, sweet babies, they also come with a lot of risks.

We have our second u/s tomorrow, and I am excited to see how much they have grown. I still don't have my first OB appointment for another 2 weeks. It's a bit backwards having had 2 u/s before even my first OB appointment. I'll have seen the babies twice before I've even heard their heartbeats on the doppler!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

7 weeks, 1st ultrasound

For some reason the image wants to upload on this blog wrong.
If everyone could please turn their head to the right they might notice- Baby A, and Baby B. We've got two baby beans baking! We're having TWINS!!!

We had our appointment yesterday afternoon. I was a wreck all morning. I kept praying over and over again just to see a heartbeat, one beautiful heartbeat.

When I was laying on the table I just stared at the CNP performing the u/s, trying to get a good "vibe" and hoping for good news. Joel was able to see the one screen in the room while I, of course, wasn't able to see it. He saw the two sacs right away, but waited for her to say something, and gave me no hint of what he was seeing on his face. In fact, I think he looked a little confused, so I just ended up staring at the ceiling and praying.
She said "There are two sacs, and there is definitely one heartbeat." I started to cry and grabbed Joel's hand. One heartbeat, that was all I wanted, if the second baby hadn't made it, it would be terrible, but I could deal with it. Then she probed around a little trying to get a good view of the second baby and added "And there's the second heartbeat." Ahhhhh!!! We told her that this was the best news we had heard in years.

My parents say they knew it all along. Joel said he had a feeling, although when I pressed him last week on a prediction he wouldn't answer me. I guess I was the only person out of the loop. Strange, considering I'm the one carrying them. I guess looking back I should have known. I've had all day and all night sickness from 4 weeks on, and I've been ridiculously exhausted. I had just been attributing it to the IVF.

We are so thrilled by this news! We are also scared out of our minds at the same time! More money, more time, more space, but so much more love to give and receive.

The consensus from everyone who has heard the news so far is that we are having one of each. I've got no "mother's intuition." Even if I did have an idea, I wouldn't believe anyway, I thought there was only one baby in there!

We've officially been released from my RE back into the hands of my OB.
The next u/s is scheduled in two weeks, OB appointment in four.

I'm just a plain, pregnant gal with twins. It's nice to finally join the rest of the world!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Struggle and Loss

I came upon a poem the other day. It was one that I always carried with me, tucked away in a small pouch in my purse. When I was having a sad day, or when I sat in the waiting room before an appointment, I would take out this poem and read it. It would remind me that the pain that I was going through was to make me a better mother.
So I'm putting this poem here for all of us who are struggling or struggled to become mothers, and for anyone who has experienced the loss of a baby, or babies.

I've never agreed with the first stanza. I would never say that my struggle makes me a better mother than a woman who didn't struggle. I will be a much better mother than the one I would have been had I not experienced the torment of infertility.

There are women who become mothers without effort,
without thought,
without patience or loss,
and though they are good mothers and love their children,
I know that I will be better.

I will be better not because of genetics or money or because I have read more books,
but because I have struggled and toiled for this child.

I have longed and waited.
I have cried and prayed.
I have endured and planned over and over again.

Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.

I will notice everything about my child.
I will take time to watch my child sleep,
and discover.
I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life.

I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold, and feed him and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot or cry tears of a broken dream.
My dream will be crying for me.

I count myself lucky in this sense; that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child.

Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love.

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured. I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend, and sister because I have known pain.

I know disillusionment, as I have been betrayed by my own body. I have been tried by fire and hell that many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.

I have prevailed.
I have succeeded.
I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.
I listen.
And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely.

I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth when life is beyond hard.

I have learned a compassion that only comes by walking in those shoes. I have learned to appreciate life.

Yes, I will be a wonderful mother.

- Author Unknown

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Goodbye Meds!

I am completely done with my meds. Yahoo!
My P4 levels came back great. The average progesterone levels in a first trimester pregnancy are between 9 and 47. Mine came back "well over 100" according to my doctor.
So no more shots in the butt! (My rear end is very happy) I was getting really bruised, and Joel said that he was running out of areas to inject.
I am officially now on my own in this pregnancy, no help from any meds other than the baby aspirin and prenatal vitamins.
I'm feeling really great so far. Meaning, that I am still nauseated, bloated, exhausted, peeing constantly. Every time that I feel like puking, or I start to dry heave, I say a prayer to the Lord and I thank Him.
I also ask for strength, and for Him to look over the baby(ies) that I am carrying.
We just have another week or two until we get to have our first ultrasound. It's very early compared to when most women have them. That's partly for the purpose of confirming the pregnancy which is, of course, important to the couple, but also for the CDC, since this is ART. Every cycle that was started, retrieval that was attempted, transfer that took place, positive blood test, and confirmation u/s must be recorded specifically for the clinic and for the United States' IVF statistics.
I will remain with my ivf doctor until the pregnancy is confirmed through the ultrasound, once at 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 weeks and then 2 weeks later. Once everything looks like it is progressing normally, I will be released back to my regular ob/gyn.
Speaking of my ob/gyn, she called me up the other night at 7:30pm just to congratulate me on the pregnancy! She had gotten the fax from my ivf clinic and wanted to call and check up on me. She asked how I was feeling, and said that she was really happy for us, and that she was looking forward to seeing me very soon.
I thought that was such a sweet thing to do.