Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hands full of love

I have always been a planner. So when my husband and I were ready to have children I figured I could plan this too. I estimated it would take us 3 months to get pregnant and we would be blessed with one beautiful bundle of joy. To my surprise we got pregnant the first month trying. And the ultimate surprise came at our 8 week ultrasound. When the tech told us we were having twins I was speechless. My husband starting crying (tears of joy) and I immediately turned to him and said "We need a new car. What am I going to do about work? The nursery will be too small." The planner in me came out again. I eventually calmed down but it took a few month for it to actually sink in that we were having two babies.

My pregnancy went well considering I was carrying two babies. I did have to stop work at 30 weeks after fainting in the middle of church. I was also so big at the end that strangers would ask me if I was having twins. I made it to 37 weeks and had a scheduled c-section because baby B was breech. Nicholas John was 6 lbs 8 ounces and Avery Ann was 5 lbs 9 ounces. We were lucky enough to all come home together.

Now I can't imagine life without them. There have been challenges along the way but we always find a way to face them. I have mastered tandem feeding, grocery shopping with two babies in tow, and many more. Anytime we feel like we can't do it anymore, one look at their smiling faces makes it all worth the sacrifices. I feel like I have been given a blessing many women never be a mom of multiples. Seeing them snuggling together in their cribs, holding hands on their playmats, and staring at each other is such a wonderful gift. I wouldn't change it for a thing! People always ask me if I have my hands full. I reply, yes...full of love!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

That Was Easy!

I remember the last time I heard my husband say that and I now know that is the last time I will ever hear him say that for a long time. We both have jobs we love...he's a chiropractor just starting out and I'm an assistant women's basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. We knew that we wanted to try to plan our pregnancy around my season because I work a lot of hours for five months a year...we're talking many 12-16 hour days with travel and such. We decided to start trying in July of 2007 even though we knew we were going on vacation with his family and it was going to be difficult to time it right. After we got home from vacation I was exhausted!! I needed a nap every day and he kept teasing me that I needed a vacation for my vacation. Well, after three days of tsting with the Dollar store tests, I decided to try a digital with my sample that was still collected. I wasn't anxious because I couldn't see the line on the other one so I just read my magazine. OMG...I was pregnant! I ran to Starbucks to get my husband a coffee and a gift card. I came home and woke him up and he said," what's this for?" I said, "because you're going to be needing a lot more of these, Daddy!" During this time I was jumping up and down holding the test, which he couldn't read without contacts. He said, "What? You're pregnant? That was easy." We were very lucky to get pregnant so quickly and are thankful every day.

Little did we know that it was twins. We found out at our 12 week appointment and I immediately found my "Nest" friends. These women helped me through my entire pregnancy...up to seven post a day I'm sure. I mean who wouldn't flip out that they were going to be doubly blessed with two beautiful babies? It's the other things I needed them for: what stroller to buy, is this normal, how many cribs, am I crazy for feeling this way?

I had a relatively easy pregnancy (lucky again), although those 12-16 our days did cut back around 28 weeks and I was unable to travel with my team for a few big games. On March 17, 2008 I went in for a NST, with my c-section scheduled for Thursday. They checked both A&B Wilson and "B" was still transverse, so nothing new there. However, I was in the early stages of labor and because "B" had stopped growing, they decided we would have St. Patty's day babies(there's that luck thing...I should've known all along). I called my husband and told him he better get off of work because he was going to be a daddy.

At 5:00 pm Baby A or Aidan Taylor was born at 5 pounds, 1/2 ounce and Baby B or Brody Thomas was born a minute later. Both we rushed off to the NICU with dad as I needed immediate attention for blood loss. It was a scary situation, but I have the two most beautiful boys in the world.

I am so thankful for everything I have, even though as parents of twins my husband I face daily struggles; organizational, emotional and financial struggles. Throughout all the struggles, I have my nesties by my side (online) and without them, I know I couldn't make it through a single day!

I decided that if anyone can help me and my Nestie friends, it's you, Oprah. I decided to start this blog as a record of our trials and tribulations of infertility, pregnancy, and motherhood. Please read our stories and see how unique the bond we have is. It truly is phenomenal and I think that makes good television.

My 27 week belly picture...Showing my passion for my job!My team of young women...I love you guys!
Maternity pictures...Pictures at the hospital...
My boys at 5 months...

the (condensed) story of the peaches

(because nap time is apparently no longer for naps, which means mommy has zero time for herself, i just copied this from our blog: -little bites of heaven- with the hope that someday i will be able to rewrite it!)

john and i met in september of 2002, were engaged by january of 2003 and married in july of 2004. lydia was born in 1996, and when john and i got married, he adopted her. on january 14, 2007 we found out we were expecting a baby. two and a half weeks later, on the 31st, we had our first ultrasound and found out that instead of the one heartbeat we expected to see, there were actually three little blips on the screen. john almost passed out and had to leave the room for a minute to compose himself and when he came back we just looked at each other and said, what are we going to do with three babies. although we were a bit unsure how to feel at the time (it was a jumbled mix of emotions ranging from terrified to thrilled), it has turned out to be the most wonderful gift we have ever been given. raising these 3 precious babies, plus our incredible oldest, is simply amazing.

the pregnancy was anything but normal and after spending 6 weeks on modified bedrest at home and 8 weeks on complete bedrest in the hospital, we finally welcomed james, ella and cameron into the world on july 8, 2007. the girls had developed complications from sharing a placenta (they are identical) and the babies had to be delivered via emergency c-section. they were born 10 weeks and 5 days early and all weighed under 3 pounds. james andrew (baby a) was born first and was the biggest at 2 lbs. 10 oz. , "ella" elizabeth garrett (baby b) was born second and she was the smallest at only 1 lb. 10 oz. and cameron grace (baby c) was born last weighing 2 lbs 7 oz.

on august 14, 2007, after 38 days in the nicu, we were finally able to bring james home. cameron joined us at home only 3 days later on august 17, 2007 and ella was ready to come home 4 days after that on august 21, 2007. all 3 of the babies came home weighing under 4 pounds. after 101 days in the hospital combined (56 days for me and 45 for the babies) everyone was finally home.

then...and now. james, ella and cameron (completely unintentional, but in the same order)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

childhood dreams of being a mother

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to be a mother. My own mother has always been such an inspiration to me and her dedication to me and my two siblings has constantly amazed me.
My husband and I met in 2000 and were friends for over a year before we started dating in the fall of 2001. Once we started dating we quickly realized how much our two families had in common, even though we were from very different parts of the country. One of the things that we have always agreed on is that being one of three siblings was a great way to grow up, and that we would definitely have more than one child once it was time to start our own family.
We were married in 2006 but waited a year and a half to get "adjusted" to married life and our new jobs before we started trying to get pregnant. Luckily it didn't take long and in February after only a few months we found out that I was pregnant! I had always imagined myself having the "perfect pregnancy" where I gained weight only in my belly (not too much of course) and carried on with all of my normal activities and exercises right up until my due date. I was sure everything was going to be fantastic!
I started to get my first signs that things weren't going to go exactly to plan when my severe morning sickness kicked in at around 6 weeks. At our first doctor's visit I was a total wreck, I was losing weight and worried that the baby would have problems. As the doctor turned on the ultrasound and showed us the heartbeat I felt instantly relieved, that is until she showed us the SECOND heartbeat... two babies! My husband and I were in complete shock! The idea of having twins had never even crossed our minds, but we always knew we wanted more than one baby so we were thrilled to hear we'd be having two at once!
After doing some research into twin pregnancy I realized that my dream pregnancy was probably not going to happen. A twin pregnancy comes with all of the hardships of a single pregnancy, times two! I was put on bedrest at 26 weeks to stop me from going into preterm labor,something my doctors began to fear when I started experiencing contractions that would not go away. I have now been on bedrest for several weeks and will stay here until I deliver, hopefully in another 6 weeks.
The pregnancy has not been what I imagined at all and I can certainly say I've put on weight in many more places than just my belly, but I know that everything will be worth it in the end when I see my two beautiful babies for the first time! Having multiples is definitely something that never figured into my childhood dreams of being a mother. I know that it will be so much more work, with so much more sacrifice, and so much less time for my husband and I. It has taken me time to accept all of these facts and to work them into my dreams of what life will be like once I do become a mother, but now that I know my two babies are on the way I couldn't imagine it any other way. My only wish now is that I can do as well raising my children as my mother did raising me!

Surrogacy Twins

Published on behalf of Amber

Our multiples story begins when I was 15 years old and was diagnosed with MRKH, born without a uterus. I learned the only way I could have my own biological children was with IVF and a gestational carrier. The story begins again 1 year after I married my wonderful husband, Matt. We started to put out the word to our family and friends that we were looking for a surrogate to begin our family.

This is when a family member introduced us to Lora. She had a family of her own and had been a surrogate the year prior. We were so excited!!! After 3 IVF retrievals, 1 miscarriage, 1 emergency surgery for ovarian torsion, and almost 1 year later we are expecting our twins in December!!!! It has been an emotional road but every day will be worth it when we get to hold those babies in our arms!!!


Baby Feet

It's Better!

Posted on behalf of goldengrace

Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought that I would be the mother of twins. My husband and I were married for almost two years when we found out we were expecting. We had our first appointment with my Doctor when I was 7 weeks pregnant. She did an ultrasound in the office and said that she saw one perfect heartbeat. We were thrilled.

Fast forward to the end of my first trimester. We had an ultrasound appointment, and we so excited to see out little one. As I laid on the table, the tech asked us if this was our first ultrasound. We so no, and she said "Oh, so you know you are having twins then!" We laughed and thought she was just kidding. The she told us to look up at the screen, and there they were, our two little babies. To say we were in shock is an understatement. This was not what we had planned but we were thrilled, thankful, and terrified.

From that point on my pregnancy was normal until 26 weeks. At that point, I started contracting and going into pre-term labor. Over the next few months, I was rushed to Labor and Delivery three times, thankfully they were able to stop the contractions. I was sent home each time with a medication to try keep the contractions at bay, and on strict bed rest. Not exactly what I had imagined, but all that mattered at that point was keeping my boys in for as long as possible. Once again, this was not what we had planned.

On New Year's Eve 2007, I was at my Doctor's office for some routine testing. She noticed that I was contracting and that my blood pressure was a little higher than normal. She made the decision that today would be our boy's birthday. I was terrified. I was only 34 weeks pregnant and knew that the boys were not fully developed yet. I have never experienced that type of fear before in my entire life. Brandon Orlando was born first at 11:56 weighing in at 5lbs 1oz. Brody Craig came next am weighed in at a whopping 6lbs 1oz. Both boys were immediately whisked away to the NICU.

The next morning, I was finally stable enough to be wheeled in to see my boys. They were beautiful, I was instantly in love with both of them. All I wanted to do was hold them and never let go. The boys did well in the NICU. The main issue they faced was their feeding. It took them both two weeks to master it and then were finally able to come home. Those two weeks were the hardest two weeks of my life, this was the farthest thing from what we had planned.

Brandon and Brody are almost 8 months old now and are perfect, happy, and healthy little boys. Brody is my cuddle bear and loves to snuggle into my arms every night before bed. Brandon is my happy go lucky boy, his smile melts my heart. Although there are days when having two screaming babies makes me feel like I just might go crazy, all the other moments with them make up for it. I am so blessed to have these two boys and know they will bring us a lifetime of joy. There are many days that go by and I think... this is not what we had planned, its better!

This is the part where you hold my hand

One year ago today we went to the Dr. for our first ultrasound. I was 8 weeks pregnant and we had just returned from an 11 day vacation out "West" with my parents where we drove over 5,000 miles in an RV and actually returned with all of us remaining friends. :) Unfortunately, I wasn't much fun on vacation since I had "morning sickness" the entire trip. (which ended up being "all-day sickness from 6 weeks-30 weeks!) My mom and I joked that maybe it was twins since I was so sick. Jeff told me to quit saying the "t" word but my mom and I still joked about it and I secretly wished. Little did I know that another "t" word was in my future!

When we went to the Dr. for that first ultrasound I was so excited that I had been feeling sick because it made me believe that this pregnancy was healthy. Since I had experienced 2 miscarriages over the previous 2 years, I was just so happy to be pregnant, but I was so anxious to hear a heartbeat so when the Dr. was taking extra time and wasn't saying a word, I finally spoke up.

Me: Is everything ok?
Dr: Yes, I'm just looking all around.
Me: Do you see a healthy heartbeat?
Dr: Well...*long pause*...I actually see 3 healthy heartbeats.
Me: uh hum, what?
Dr. I see 3.
*long pause*
Me: Jeff?
Jeff (from where he is sitting behind me): Yes? (said in the deepest, most serious voice ever)
Me: Are you still with me?
Jeff: Yes.
Me: Then this is the part where you hold my hand.

So Jeff came up beside the table and held my hand the rest of the appointment. Tears of joy and absolute shock were now falling down my face. I just couldn't believe it. I didn't know what to think. Jeff didn't really even speak. He didn't know what to think and honestly I think he was scared. After the appointment, we barely said much to each other in the parking lot before getting in separate vehicles and both driving to work. We were ecstatic, shocked and mostly unsure.

Immediately I started reading messages online at the “nest” MOM’s board. I'm not quite sure what I would have done without that message board and the wonderful mom's I have met on there. I truly consider some of them to be close friends and I haven't even met them in person. But the bond we share as moms of multiple babies is amazing.

Once I read every article and book I could find on triplet pregnancies I was ready for my first high-risk OB appointment. I felt pretty darn good throughout my pregnancy except of course for the "all day" sickness, but honestly, I was so excited that it was a healthy pregnancy that I was actually glad I was sick. Not every moment, but you know what I mean.

Around 18 weeks, the ultrasound tech guessed it to be all 3 girls even though I would have sworn I was having 2 boys and 1 girl. I think because I always envisioned myself to being a mom of boys. Not sure why I thought that. The tech was pretty sure, but we decided to wait until the 20 week ultrasound to see again before we shared the news. Sure enough...3 GIRLS!

A few days after Christmas at one of my regular appointments, the Dr. decided to send me over to the hospital to test for pre-term labor based on my cervix measuring a bit shorter. I was so scared! I didn't want these babies to come that early. I wasn't ready and was so worried about their health. I had to stay overnight for some tests and started the series of my now-favorite FFN test which basically tests to see if the babies are likely to be born within the 2 weeks following the test. Luckily it came back negative, but from that moment, I was placed on bedrest at home to make sure these babies kept growing as long as possible. I was so relieved that the girls were ok, but I was also so disappointed that I was on bedrest. I'm usually a go-go-go type person so for me to stay in one house, let alone, on one couch all day, every was a bit daunting, but I knew it was for the health of the girls so that is all it took for me to do it.

I literally just sat around and waited for my wonderful baby girls to grow. I still felt great and really it wasn't until about 33 weeks or so that I really started to feel the heaviness of my belly and started to get uncomfortable. My goal the entire time was to make it to the Dr's recommended "full term for triplets"-- 36 weeks. I was uncomfortable, but if it was for the health of the girls, then bring it on! Over the weekend I noticed that my ankles were really swollen and my feet were super puffy. Since this was new for me, I decided to call the Dr. just to let them know. He had me come in to the hospital for some testing and sure enough, I was starting to develop the symptoms of pre-eclampsia. At 4:06pm, the Dr. said I was going to have the girls that night....say around 7:30pm? WHAT?! Did he just say tonight? I wasn't ready, I still had 9 more days until 36 weeks! I felt was just swelling. Well, what did I know? I wasn't a Dr. so no argument....just sit back and get ready. My mom rushed home for my bag (packed and ready...but at home) and also our camera!

She made it back in time with the camera and Jeff got suited up. So at 34.5 weeks I had a c-section that went very smoothly. I remember seeing the girls for the first time and looking at Jeff for the reassurance, that they were all healthy and doing ok. I could see it in his eyes...we were truly blessed. Anna Caroline was born first at 7:19pm weighing 4 lbs 7 oz, Ava Jane was born next at 7:20pm weighing 5 lb 3oz, and Alexis Marie was born third at 7:22pm weighing 4 lbs 2.5 oz. They were absolutely perfect and we were now a family of 5.

The girls did great and just needed to gain a bit of weight and maintain temperatures before coming home at 8 days old (Alexis) and 11 days old (Anna & Ava).

I didn't have a clue how the news we learned a year ago would change our life forever, but I feel so incredibly blessed and fortunate that this is my life. I get to wake up each and every morning next to a wonderful husband whom I love more now than ever and spend my day hugging, kissing, and loving 3 beautiful little ladies. The girls are nearly 6 months old and doing fantastic. Being a stay at home mom is one of the most challenging things I have ever done, but it is also THE MOST REWARDING. What more could I ask for?

~~~posted on behalf of Marie (WinterBuckeye)

A sweeter life…

Most people would say how could life get much sweeter than owning a bakery…well it can! On May 10, 2008 my life as a MOM began with the birth of our boys Colton and Cooper, fraternal boys born at 37w6d at 6lbs 7oz each and 20” long.

Our lives have always been filled with a bit of adventure…from running off and getting married in the Bahamas just the two of us to my dreams of owning my own bakery to traveling every spare moment that we have to our favorite little town on the Pacific coast of Mexico where we plan to move and raise our children in the next five years.

We were a happy and content couple with two fur babies (Forrest and Bubba our golden retrievers) when the itch to add to the family became insatiable. I needed to have a baby! It took about a year before Scott was ready to commit…four months of trying and bam I was pg! I must have peed on 10 test sticks and the lines just kept coming up!!! I should have guessed something was up from getting a positive test 6 days before a missed period, to the most HORRIBLE morning sickness (that I suffered from all the way thru!) to the extreme exhaustion. The day finally came for the U/S at 7w2d and in we went. Well the U/S machine was a new one and the sales rep was there teaching the tech how to use it. Up pops one baby and everything looked great! No need to see if there is another one. Well my pictures would not print so the tech said to go into my appointment and then she would figure out how to print my pics…so we go see the doctor and Scott then leaves to head to work and I head back to the U/S tech to get my pics.Well they would not print so she says “lemme do a quick one on your belly you have to have a first picture!” THE MOMENT SHE PUT THE DOPPLER ON MY TUMMY I SAW TWO BABIES! OMG my husband has left for work; I am alone and am freaking out!!!! I call Scott and I put the tech on the phone because their was no way he was going to believe me that there were two now LOL. All I can say was stunned silence came from the other end. For the next 30 weeks we watched as our little beans grew from looking like little gummy bears to the perfect babies they are today. I definite had my ups and downs with being pg with two babies from major morning sickness for the entire pg, to pre term labor brought on by dehydration ( this happened three times!) and trying to do way to much to having contractions 6-7 minutes apart for almost two weeks before they arrived!

People ask me all the time has my life changed and is it so hard having twins. First off my life is NOTHING like it was a year ago and I would not change it for anything. I owned a nationally recognized bakery that I have now closed and put it on the backburner for when I have the time to spend on that “baby”. I am a freelance baker now so that I can take on projects that won’t take me away from my children. I love being a Mom and am blessed to be able to stay home with my children. Now I cut coupons, shop at consignment shops for baby clothes, don’t go out and drop money like I used to but I love being home and I have no problem doing that! Our “nightlife” is now a game of Rummikub or cards with a baby on each of our laps! Sure I have rough days but even a Mom with one has rough days!

I tell people all the time that I know my life would twins would not be as organized and does not feel overwhelming ( 95% of the time) thanks to my ladies on The Nest. Without these women I know my pg would have been different and I know that raising two babies at once would have seemed like a mountain impossible to navigate. Not anymore…each of us is either one step ahead or behind the other with words of encouragement to make it thru the next phase in our blessed lives.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Faith reborn – twice

“A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on.”

In June 2007, my husband Kris and I decided to expand our family and start trying for a baby. To our shock and surprise, we got pregnant the very first time trying! I remember taking the pregnancy test and seeing the faintest of two lines, walking into the bedroom to tell Kris, and thinking to myself how our lives would imminently change. If I only knew then what was truly in store…

Excited and anxious, my doctor allowed us to get an early peek at our little “jellybean,” as I called my growing embryo, by ordering an eight-week ultrasound. The technician had Kris wait in another room at the start of my ultrasound so she could perform routine checks and make sure everything looked “normal.” I can only imagine how nervous Kris became when he heard me crying from the other room. Unbeknownst to him, these were tears of joy as the ultrasound technician told me, “now don’t get freaked out, but there are two in there.”

Seeing Kris’s face as he stared at the ultrasound screen is an image I’ll never forget. We didn’t tell him that there were two babies at first… instead, we just pointed out where the “baby” was and looked at his bewildered gaze. Eventually, I whispered to him, “we’ve having two babies,” and all he could utter was, “wow.” It is such a priceless memory for both of us.

At five months, a severe case of food poisoning landed me in the labor and delivery ward. The dehydration from the illness caused me to have contractions, and my cervix began shortening and funneling. After four days in the hospital, the doctor sent me home on modified bed rest. Needless to say, I thought the worst and resigned to the notion of giving birth to premature babies.

To my surprise, I actually had to give my twin girls an eviction notice! The bed rest seemed to do the trick, and I underwent a planned c-section at 38 weeks, two days. On March 21, 2008, I welcomed two healthy and beautiful little girls, Mya Katherine and Camryn Rachel. The babies weighed in at 5 lb. 3 oz. and 4 lb. 11 oz., respectively.

An awful coincidence brought a tragic twist to my post-partum happiness. Nineteen days after the girls were born – two years and three days after my mother passed away from a long battle with breast cancer – my father died unexpectedly. It was known that he was in the beginning stages of liver disease, but no one expected his passing. I thank God that he was able to meet his twin granddaughters, if only once.

I dealt with such an extreme mix of emotions – the sheer joy of becoming a new mother while experiencing the loss of both of my parents in a sad twist of fate. During those first few weeks – usually after a 3:00 a.m. feeding, no less – I found great solace on the MoM’s board. Knowing that there was a place that I could ask any question, regardless of how silly or commonplace, or simply a place where I could just vent, was wonderful.

Mya and Camryn are now five months old and are truly a blessing. I tell them every day that they have two guardian angels looking up from above.

A few weeks after my father’s death, I came upon this quote from Carl Sandburg: “A baby is God's opinion that the world should go on.” Now more than ever, I believe that to be true.

Bookend twins (singleton, twins, singleton)

My story begins in 1996, 12 years ago. I was a freshman in college, 18 years old and engaged. I got pregnant with my son. Unfortunately, he cheated on me and I broke off the engagement. But, I had my son and I wouldn’t have changed anything for the world.

I planned to stay single after I had several relationships that didn’t pan out. But, someone I worked with wanted in the worst way to fix me up on a blind date with her nephew. I kept thinking “oh great” her nephew, what’s wrong with him that he’s 29 and not dating, turns out he was 30. But, to make her stop I agreed to go. George, her nephew, was late to the date. I was annoyed but he and I still went….with his aunt. We went to a karaoke bar. He and I talked as we laughed at his aunt who got drunk and started dancing on the bar. We didn’t have much in common but we did both like seafood and sci-fi. We went back to his aunt’s house and talked until 5 in the morning! The next date, he went to my apartment and we ate shrimp scampi and watched Sponge Bob Square Pants! The following day he met my son. I knew from that moment on that he was it, the one.

A couple of days later, I went for my annual GYN exam but found out I had an abnormal PAP. Several years of abnormal paps, HPV, CIN stage 1, 2 and 3, cryosurgery and cone biopsy and D&C and it was still abnormal. By this point in our relationship we were getting married. George and I married on July 10, 2004 and 2 weeks later we drove to Hershey Medical Center to meet with an oncologist about where to go from there. He told us to start trying for a family because the felt that we should have another procedure done and it would make my cervix so week I wouldn’t be able to hold a pregnancy.

George and I had agreed to not start trying for a year or so after we were married so he was reluctant to agree. However, he finally did in October. We were told to go to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. I made an appointment with Reproductive Management Associates of NJ. We met with the RE, had the testing done and found out that IVF with ICSI was our only option. We were waiting to have my cycle start up again to start the IVF cycle but knowing that my cycles are always 2-3 months long I called to talk to someone about it. They suggested coming in for a pregnancy blood work test. We found out I was pregnant after we were told we had no chance of doing it on our own! George’s mom’s birthday was that day. I ran out and bought a card to give her and a little gift. We called up our parents. My father cried and laughed and then asked us why we took so long. Little did they all know… ended up being an eptopic pregnancy and I had to have methrotrexate to stop any further damage to my fallopian tube. We were told we would have to wait until February to cycle again due to the shot.

We started our injections the end of January, had our retrieval and transfer around President’s Day in February. I bought cheepie internet tests to test the HCG out of my system and to use to test if I was pregnant or not. I remember calling up my mother-in-law and my mother bawling telling them I was convinced that the IVF didn’t work. But, I complained to my mother-in-law that I had gotten up several nights in a row to pee and I was very thirsty. She was telling George’s cousin how upset I was thinking the IVF didn’t work and she ended up telling George’s mom those were her early symptoms. The day before my beta, I took the pregnancy test knowing full well that it would be stark white. But, instead of it being white I thought I saw a faint second line. I ran down my stairs and started shoving my peed on pregnancy test in my sister and her boyfriend’s face! We were jumping up and down then he asked if I told George. I went upstairs, woke up my husband who mumbled “That’s nice”, rolled over, and went to sleep. Later that day he called me at work and asked me if I was pregnant. I went for my beta in the morning and it was positive! I called my mom, a teacher, who ran down the hallway screaming “IT’S A POSITIVE!!!’

At 4 weeks I became nauseous, couldn’t deal with certain foods or smells. At 5 weeks, I had my first ultrasound to find out how many stuck. We had put two embryos back and I wanted both but was scared to have twins due to my cervix issues. It was my husband’s birthday and I bought a shirt, wrapped it and brought it with us. The shirt said “I love twins”. They found one baby and even though I was disappointed I had only one baby I was carrying I was also relieved to know I wouldn’t have the complications that would happen due to my cervix and the removal of part of it. The following week we set up an ultrasound to find the heartbeat.

We went to the 6 week u/s and the doctor immediately started with “So, how many did we see last week?” I vaguely remember telling him that if there was more than one he needed to put one back. They showed us the heartbeats and I bawled during the second baby’s heartbeat. I was so scared about the potential issues that could happen. We got out of the car and called my mom up. She answered and I replied with “Hello grandmother of 3” and waited for her reply. She thought we were joking. She called me later that day asking if we were playing an early April fool’s Day joke. We called George’s mom and she was thrilled! I hadn't taken his shirt back so I gave it to him after this ultrasound.

7 weeks and I start throwing up. I start and couldn’t stop throwing up. I ended up being admitted to a high risk maternity ward of a hospital due to dehydration. I found out I had something called hyperamisis. In all I lost around 20 pounds with my twins. I was on a zofran pump, PO raglan and pepcid and had home iv therapy for several weeks as well.
They started monitoring my cervical length at 16 weeks and it was a bit low but not bad.
At 18 weeks it was 1.8; I was put on bed rest. At 21 weeks I had a rescue cerclage done which put me into pre-term labor. So, I visited the hospital frequently for not only the hyperamisis but for contractions. At 28 weeks I was put on mag. Sulfate to stop the contractions. At 32 weeks exactly, I was at a monthly growth ultrasound and we decided to take George’s mom with us. George knew I was having contractions but we didn’t want to tell his mom. She figured me out and began timing them at a minute apart. I was admitted and put on mag. Sulfate again and told I would be on hospital bed rest and they wanted to buy me a few more weeks. I was taken off the mag at 32 w 3 days.

While on the phone with my son at 32w4d, on September 17th, 2005, I heard a loud, audible “POP” then felt a warm gush. My water broke! I called my husband and woke him up! He was at the hospital in around 20 minutes; it takes 20 minutes from our house to the hospital. He showered and drove to the hospital. His parents were there before he was. I called my parents and, like the good college football fans that they were, they had to give their football tickets away. They called to let everyone know I went into labor and all of my family and their friends asked about the football tickets instead of the babies! I had a c-section due to baby B being transverse. My parents arrived from their 4 hour drive just as I was being wheeled into recovery.

At 1:24 and 1:25 our boys arrived. Jonathan Frederick was 4 pounds even and 17 inches long and Matthew James was 3 pounds 15 ounces and 17 inches long. They each spend 18 days in the NICU. Both boys needed CPAP, billi lights and to learn to suck, swallow, and breathe.

This was Jonathan at a few hours old.

Matthew at a few hours old.

When they were around 11 months old, I went to my GYN about my cycles and they mentioned something called PCOS to me. George and I felt there was no need to use birth control pills at this point considering my cervix issues and PCOS and his morphology issues... We decided to use ovulation predictor kits and avoid during the peek times. When February came around I felt a bit “off” and decided to take a pregnancy test. I remember calling up a friend and telling them I was but to expect it to be negative considering all we went through to have our twins. Much to my surprise, it was positive! I was due on October 18th but had my youngest son 5 weeks early due to pre-eclampsia. Our youngest son was born 4 days before our twins turned 2.

We now have a 10 year old son, twin sons who are almost 3 and a son who is almost 1!
Life with 3 under 3 has been hectic but well worth it. My boys, all 4, are best friends (and worst enemies!) and I wouldn't have it any other way.

A Scary Start to an Amazing Journey

My husband and I found out on September 1st, 2007 that we were expecting and got quite the surprise a few weeks later when we saw not one, but TWO heartbeats on the ultrasound. Identical twins, they told us. After adjusting to the thought of double everything, we realized how blessed we were and couldn't imagine having just one baby. A few days after Christmas we found out they are boys and the excitement and reality started sinking in. Everyone said they would be here before we knew it... we just didn't realize it would be quite so soon!

On Tuesday, January 15th, I noticed a slight increase in cervical fluid and thought I should call the doctor just in case. After debating whether it was stupid to call since it seemed like nothing big - I had no cramping or spotting or pain - I finally left a message for my doctor. Dr. Macey called back and said it could be normal, but they should probably check it out just in case-- Thursday (2 days later) should be fine for an appointment. The next day, I just wasn't quite feeling the best. Again, nothing specific and absolutely no cramping or spotting, but I just didn't feel "right." So I called the doctor and they squeezed me in on Wednesday morning instead of Thursday. Of all the decisions I have made in my life, this could very well be the most important one of all.

Dr. Macey was in surgery all day, so I saw Dr. Thornburg instead. She didn't seem too alarmed by my symptoms, but wanted to check my cervix. After checking twice, she told me that I was in preterm labor and already dilated. I needed to get dressed carefully and my nurse Lori would take me to Labor and Delivery by wheelchair. I immediately began sobbing and knew it was way too early for our babies to arrive. Luckily the doctor's office is connected to the hospital so we were there in less than 5 minutes. I was immediately hooked up to an IV and started receiving Magneseum to stop my labor. I was 3 centimeters dilated and contracting every 6-7 minutes-- all of which I never felt. Not a single contraction. I was 23 weeks and 3 days along in my pregnancy and in labor-- with no significant symptoms.What if I had waited until Thursday to see the doctor? At the rate I was contracting and dilated, every minute made a difference. At 23 weeks and 3 days, the boys would not have survived if they were delivered. Talk about the importance of following your instincts.

Luckily the doctors were able to stop my contractions and I made it through the weekend without dilating further. I hit 24 weeks on Sunday, January 20th and was then able to receive two steroid shots to help the babies' lungs develop. This was a big milestone, but the neonatologists were still telling us that their chance of survival at this point was not great. If they were born before 25 weeks, we would have to decide whether to try and save them or not. Not a decision we wanted to think about.Besides a few episodes of contractions after I was given the steroids, the next two weeks were pretty calm. A handful of contractions throughout the day, but overall I was stable. I settled into my room in the Antepartum wing and made friends with all of my nurses. We received flowers, gift baskets, food, cards and packages galore... not to mention visitors too. We have never felt so much love and support from our family, friends and co-workers. We are forever grateful!

On Saturday, February 2nd, I had some big and painful contractions. They started occurring every 10-12 minutes, then every 8 minutes, and then every 5-6 minutes. We were pretty scared and thought this might be it. The doctor gave me a shot of Indomethacin, which finally stopped the contractions. They also gave me an extra shot of steroids for the boys' lungs-- as "icing on the cake" (since they already had two doses at 24 weeks) in case they were born soon. Sunday was pretty calm and we enjoyed the Superbowl without too much action. We both knew the day was close and prepared ourselves for the boys' arrival. I had made it 18 days in the hospital, which allowed me to receive 3 steroid shots and hit 26 weeks, which was great according to the doctors. Ideally I would make it to at least 28 weeks, but there were many babies born at 26 weeks who grow up healthy. My husband and I said a prayer of thanksgiving that night for making it so far, and we put our trust in God to carry us the rest of the way.

My husband went to the office on Monday morning, February 4th, with his cell phone in hand waiting for an update from me. Dr. Macey came by and said we'd be doing our weekly ultrasound on the boys and to check my cervix to see if it had dilated any further. Around 10am, the ultrasound tech came to my room and checked the boys first, who were doing great. She couldn't see my cervix very well so Dr. Kang, a specialist from Maternal Fetal Medicine, did a manual exam. Her face went completely blank and she said "You are complete (meaning fully dilated) and are having these babies right now." I said a few curse words, for which I apologized, and was wheeled immediately to the operating room. I called my husband at 10:15am and told him to get here now because the babies were coming. I told Dr. Kang he was 10-15 minutes away and asked if he would make it, to which she replied "I'm not sure."

There were about 10 people in the operating room when I got there, including several anesthesiologists, a NICU doctor, two NICU nurses per baby, and some other nurses. Dr. Macey was literally running from his office to the OR and made it a few minutes later. They gave me drugs through a spinal because we had no time for an epidural, and before I knew it they started on the emergency c-section. My husband made it about 5 minutes into the surgery and held my hand and distracted me the entire time. At 10:44am and 10:45am, Tyler Francis and Maximilian "Max" Andrew were born at 26 weeks 1 day gestation. We got to see each of them for a few seconds before they were immediately rushed to the NICU. After staying in recovery for a couple hours, we headed down to the NICU to meet our sons. They were hooked up to all kinds of machines, but the doctors told us they were doing well considering how early they had been born.

After 67 long days in the NICU, Max and Tyler came home and are doing great. They are almost 7 months old and weigh more than 12 pounds. They are rolling over and smiling and "talk" to each other all day long. Looking at them now it is hard to remember the terrifying days in the NICU when we weren't sure what each day would hold. Although being a mother of multiples can have its challenges, it is the most amazing experience in the world. We have already been blessed a million times over by these little boys and can't wait to see what our future holds.

Max weighing 1 lb 13 1/4 oz on his birthday at 26 weeks 1 day gestation

Tyler weighing 2 lbs 1/4 oz on his birthday

Max and Tyler at 6 months old - doing great!

The BEST and the WORST day of my life...

We were excited to find out we were pregnant with our 2nd child. On our 5th week, I started bleeding and immediately got an ultrasound to find out if our baby was okay. As the tech looked at the screen, my husband and I quietly, but anxiously waited for her findings. Then, she showed us the heartbeat of our baby. The tears welled up in my eyes because I was so happy to see that our baby was okay. Then the tech paused and said, “Baby is okay….and here we see another sac.” Of course not knowing what that meant, in my head I wondered, “Sack of what??....Sack of potatoes, sack of rice???” Well, she elaborated and told us the best news….we were expecting twins!!!
My pregnancy was great! We found out were were expecting a boy and a girl. The pregnancywas a challenge, yes, but knowing that there were 2 babies inside me, it made everything bearable and worth it. However, the great pregnancy I had was about to bring the worst day of my life.
It happened at about the 37th week of our pregnancy when we came in for our routine Non-stress test. As the test went on, we were told that one of the twin's heartrate was dipping. An emergency c-section was needed – immediately. So I was rushed to the operating room and within the hour, my husband and I heard the first cry. Noah came out screaming and we were thankful that he was okay. And so we waited for Isabella, our precious little girl. We waited and waited. I didn’t hear her cry yet. No cry. Where was my little girl? What was going on? There was something wrong.
Our little girl was born lifeless. She had no heartbeat. No breathe. No movement. She had an Apgar score of 0. Her limp body was “worked on” to try to resuscitate her. My heart broke. The NICU nurses told us that she was finally intubated in an attempt to revive her.

In what seemed like forever, she miraculously took her first breath! She was literally brought back to life and my heart made whole again. She was such a fighter! She bounced back so quick that she even extubated herself! She’s had enough of the tubes and wanted to let everyone know that she was okay.
That hour of my life was the best and the worst. This story is the greatest and the hardest story I will ever tell. Knowing that my daughter came out limp and lifeless, just breaks me, but knowing that at the end, we were able to bring home both our son, Noah, and our little miracle, Isabella, gave us hope and really made us thankful for every breath each of our child takes.

a.k.a. gr8joy

We better start negotiating...

Those words "We better start negotiating" were our fertility doctor's words to my husband when we went in for our first ultra sound and he said "You better only find one." We had found out in the summer of 2007 that I had PCOS and would need fertility treatments in order to get pregnant. We were very disappointed and discouraged to learn before we had even started to try that we would need help. We had original planned to wait until after our 2nd anniversary to start trying, but with the words of caution that it may take several cycles maybe even up to a year to get pregnant we opted to start right away. We were all surprised to find out I was pregnant after our first IUI, and ironically I was due on our 2nd Wedding Anniversary. As we drove in for my first ultrasound at 6 weeks, I asked my husband if he was prepared to have more than one, as it was a possibility, and he was certainly not at all prepared. After uttering the words about negotiating and the screen was flipped on and two beautiful little blobs with little flickers appeared I was certain my husband would pass out right then and there.

My pregnancy wasn't too difficult, but I did have some minor complications and scares along the way. I had 2 trips to the hospital due to bleeding caused by a complete placenta previa. At about 30 weeks, I started having regular contractions and was given drugs to stop them. On May 30th at my weekly non-stress test, my OB said, "I'll see you Monday, don't worry about those 2 big contractions they were like 20 minutes apart." I was almost 35 weeks, he made me promise I could make it 2 more weeks. That evening our first son had bigger and better plans, he was ready to come out and meet his mom and dad, my water broke at 3:30 in the morning! They were born on May 31st, 6 weeks early at about 1:30 in the afternoon, John weighed 5 lbs 14 oz and Luke was 4 lbs 14 oz. Luke was rushed off to the NICU and spent almost 3 weeks learning how to eat. John spent 2 extra days in the hospital before coming home with us.

For the months that I was pregnant, we wondered how we would manage with two, could we really do this? we constantly asked ourselves. We have no family close by, my parents live 4 hours away and my husband's family is 7 hours away. So we often wondered how we would cope with no family support and just the 2 of us with 2 infants.
Here we are almost 10 months later and doing great. I would say our biggest struggle has been sleep. We have one outstanding sleeper and one who just hates sleep, but he keeps us on our toes! I wouldn't trade them for the world. And as crazy as we are, we're thinking of adding another to the mix!

It's absolutely amazing to me just how different they are. John weighs a whole 3 lbs more than his brother now. He is laid back and relaxed and very quiet, just like me. Luke is much smaller, but doesn't let that get in the way, he has the loudest cry ever, he is our professor. Always studying everything, constantly staring off at unknown objects of interest. He's like his dad when it comes to that, a thinker. I look forward to seeing how they will evolve into their own people and enjoy the fact that they are so different already.

The best thing about being a mom is these 2 are great at producing the most wonderful smiles at the perfect moments. They seem to realize when I'm having a rough day or really tired and sometimes I must admit I get frustrated, but one of them will flash me that huge smile and I melt. Boy I'm in big trouble if they realize that as they get older!

Was that two heads?

Other than that it took us a while to get pregnant, my pregnancy began like every other uneventful single pregnancy. No morning sickness. Great heartbeat detected. Great first ultrasound. Fast forward to our level 2 ultrasound at 20 weeks. We were elated because we were going to find out the gender of our baby and were actually giddy while the tech was getting ready. On came the screen, down went the wand, and I immediately saw two perfectly round white balls next to each other on the monitor. The tech shut the screen off and rapidly flipped through my file. I was about to have a heart attack thinking there was something wrong with the baby when my husband belted out "Was that two heads?" The tech put on the screen back on and said, "they didn't tell you were having twins?" I was in complete shock and didn't even say a word. Tears of joy and fear ran down my cheek. The tech could say that they were in one sack and looked to be girls but I had to see a perinatologist to finish the ultrasound. I had a great pregnancy the rest of the way and delivered identical twin girls via c-section at 37 weeks 1 day after an amnio deemed them ready. Megan Ann weighed in at 6 lb 1 oz and Claire Marie weighed 4 lb 14 oz. Neither girl need the NICU at all which I am so grateful for. They are now nine months old and into everything. It has been difficult at times but such an indescribable blessing.

* posted for Deb by beefsbride

Monday, August 25, 2008

"Its Twins" at 20 weeks

Those were the words that my husband and I will never forget. Life for us started in March 2002 when I met my future husband. I was 20 and he was 23, we hit it off immediately and fell in love fast. We dated for 3 weeks and then moved in together. My parents were a little shocked and concerned. We were both trying to finish up college and enjoy our life together. Craig proposed to me February 21, 2004 and we were married the following March 2005. Our first year of marriage was like any other, we enjoyed our time with family and friends. In early 2006 I decided to take myself off birth control, I had been on the pill for close to 8 years and I was ready to be done. We decided we would not prevent getting pregnant, but that we didn't want to get pregnant too fast either.

I took a trip to Destin Florida with my parents late April 2006. I was over 2 weeks late, but just figured it was because my body was adjusting to being off the pill. The day after I returned from the beach I woke up and decided to take a pregnancy test. I remember this day like it was yesterday. I peed on the stick and within 20 seconds I saw 2 lines. My husband was in the kitchen making breakfast and I came running out saying "we're pregnant". He was like "are you sure", so I took another one, same result. We were in total disbelief, no-one gets pregnant that fast. It had only been 2 months of being off the pill. I knew at that moment we were truly blessed to be pregnant. I called my ob and they set up an appointment for some blood work to confirm pregnancy and then I started with monthly appointments, but no ultrasounds.

20 weeks comes along and its time for the BIG ultrasound, I was 100% sure we were having a girl, I had her name picked out and her nursery designed in my head. Were we in for a huge surprise. We get to our appointment early and had to wait forever. Finally, the u/s tech comes out to get us and we head back to the room. I'm a huge camera freak and made my husband take a picture of me and the tech as I'm laying on the table. Craig goes to put the camera away, this is after she has started the u/s. She says "you might want to take that camera back out" we say why? and she states "you're having twins". I will never forget how I felt in that exact moment. Life stopped for a few minutes while I picked my jaw off the ground and made sure my husband wasn't going to pass out.

Here is the exact moment we found out it was twins and then identical twin boys

Life went by really fast after we learned it was twins. I was over 20 weeks pregnant, that is 5 months. I didn't have enough time to plan everything and then on top of it worry about carrying 2 babies. I was scared, I never really told anyone, but I was terrified. How could I love 2 babies at once, how could I care for 2 babies, would we be good parents? All these emotions ran through my head.

I had a very easy pregnancy, we were lucky. I was never put on bed rest and never stopped working, even though I begged my OB to put me out. I worked up until 3 days before the boys were born. I was huge and uncomfortable, but extremely happy my boys stayed put until 37 weeks and 3 days.

I was induced on December 4, 2006 at 6:07pm. I was in labor for about 12 hours when I was given the green light to push. I pushed for about 2 hours when Andrew Michael Harris was born at 8:15am weighing 5 pounds, 10 ounces. Once Andrew came out, Ethan (baby "b") flipped and when the mid-wife examined me she said "all I feel is hands and feet" and with his heart rate dropping dramatically I was rushed to the OR where they did an emergency c-section to get Ethan out. Ethan Dale Harris was born at 8:25 am weighing in at exactly 6 pounds. We had 2 perfectly healthy boys and I was in heaven.

A & E (as we like to call them) are now almost 21 months old and will turn 2 in 4 short months. These last 21 months have been the happiest times. Being a mom is amazing and being blessed with 2 babies at once is remarkable. We have truly enjoyed watching our 2 tiny babies turn into 2 big boys. Each day is filled with laughter and joy. My heart will forever be full of love.

On a last note, I wanted to say thank you to all the amazing women and MoMs on the nest multiples board. I have found some life-long friends and appreciate all the help over the last 21 months. Thank you, MoMs ROCK!

More Than Lucky - Multiple Multiples

Posted on behalf of jodynjames2005

When I met my husband, James, I already had three children from a prior marriage. Two of whom were twins! After having a placental abruption at 25 weeks and making it to 35 weeks (including 6 long weeks in the hospital on bedrest) before having them, we thought that they'd be fine. Heck, an amnio even confirmed that Emilia, my daughter, had sufficiently developed lungs. But, as it turned out, they tested the wrong twin's fluid. Camden, despite being a hefty 5 pounds and a 35-weeker, crashed, died, and had to be resuscitated the night of his birth. He spent 9 days on a ventilator, in a medication-induced coma. We could only touch him with our pinkies because anything more led his vitals to go haywire. Finally, on day 9, the vent came out and I was able to hold him. And, 21 days after his birth, he came home.

We were very blessed because Camden had no long-term health problems. Emilia was healthy as a horse from the get go. But, they weren't easy babies. Oh no! Emilia had colic and screamed for 3 months straight. Neither one would sleep without being held, upright, for the first 6 weeks of life. Since my ex-husband was deployed on a 3-month cruise when they were 11 days old, it was all me, all the time. And I had a 2 year old, too! I remember sitting on the couch, holding two babies, and just sobbing pretty much around the clock out of sheer exhaustion. I used to wish that I would die, not because I was depressed, but because it sounded incredibly restful. Imagine just laying there, alone, in silence! Needless to say, I didn't off myself, and eventually things improved. Babies slept through the night, I learned to juggle three children, and I even figured out how to do it on my own once I left my ex-husband when the kids were only 2.5 years old and 8 months old. Sure, I once left Toys R Us with two infant carriers slung over one arm and a kicking toddler in the other arm, with all three kids screaming, and once the three of them conspired to greet me with a kitchen literally coated from floor to kid-height walls with ranch dressing and dog food when I woke up, but for the most part… we made it. We were a family.

And, then… then I met James. And we got married! Well, ok, we got married 5 long years after we started dating and about 4 years after I started dropping hints, but, we got married. And, we always joked that there was no way in heck that we'd ever have kids together. I mean, why the heck would we?! We had three already. And, seriously, I'd been lucky to survive their infancy! But, lo and behold, one day I said to James that I might like to have a baby. He looked at me like I'd sprouted a second head and that was the end of it. Then, one day, a few months later, he told me that he might like to have a baby. I looked at him with similar horror, and that was the end of it. But, one day, another year later… we both knew. We wanted to have a baby together.

Since I'd had my tubes tied with Camden and Emilia, we knew we had two choices: a tubal reversal or IVF. I initially looked into tubal reversal but quickly found that the cost was actually higher for us (since IVF was covered by our insurance but not a reversal) and the success rates were comparable. As it turned out, James is infertile, and rather impressively so. Not only did we need IVF, we needed ICSI, too. His sperm couldn't find my eggs if they bumped into them in a petri dish, much less in my uterus!

We began our first IVF with all of the confidence in the world. I was hyperfertile and had naturally conceived triplets (we lost one at 6 weeks), for god's sake! There was no reason to expect any issues. We talked baby names, and nursery d├ęcor, and planned for a beautiful baby girl. We even spent an extra $5,000 to choose the gender since we were so sure it would work. And, it did. For about two seconds. Our little girl tried to stick, but failed, and we walked away with a BFN and shattered hopes.

I'm not sure that I would have had the strength to do IVF again on my own. IVF wasn't as difficult physically as I'd expected, but it ripped out my heart and broke it into a million little pieces. But, James never doubted. He said we'd keep trying until we succeeded, no matter how many tries it took, or how much money it cost (our insurance covered just under two attempts). And so, I dragged my bitter, cynical self to the RE for another million sessions with the dildo cam, and we did a second cycle. But, I was afraid to hope. I no longer believed that it would work. Until about 2 days after our transfer. When I just knew. I knew I was pregnant, and I knew it was triplets. A few days later, I peed on about my 100th stick and I got a BFP! And, a few weeks later, it was confirmed. I was right. Three beautiful little sacs, with three beautiful little heartbeats. Triplets!!!

Since we already had three children, you might think that we were somewhat dismayed by the news that it was triplets. But, we were probably the happiest people in the world to be having triplets. We were over the moon with excitement. We emailed ultrasound videos, and created a blog, and couldn't wait to meet our three little angels. We never doubted and never regretted it. We were having triplets, and we were thrilled.

One day, at 9w5d, I had a teeny tiny spot of blood. That's it. Literally one spot of blood. But, my MFM said to come on in and get it checked out. On my way there, I kept imagining what I'd tell people when we found that one of our babies had died. I had no reason to suspect that one speck of blood meant that we'd lost a baby. But, I knew. Baby B no longer had a heartbeat. He'd been wiggling and waving at us on the ultrasound only one week before, but now he was gone. I've never cried that hard in my life, and there is not a day that goes by that I do not think about what should have been, or the baby that never was. He lives in my heart, and I miss him deeply.

But, this isn't a sad story. Because, after 22 weeks of bedrest, six weeks in the hospital (including Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's!), two placental abruptions, and about a million hours spent Nesting, our two beautiful girls were born: Alice Priscilla and Charlotte Ellen. They were born at 32 weeks, and weighed in at 4 pounds even (Alice) and 3 lbs 13 ounces (Charlotte). They were perfect… but a little undercooked. Alice never really needed anything except time to learn to feed and grow, but Charlotte took after her big brother Camden and spent 7 days on the vent. Still, they both came home at just over 1 month old, and they have never had a single health problem since.

Alice is our go-getter, always on the move, always smiling, always ready to join in the fun. Charlotte is our cuddle bug, always giving kisses, fussy unless we're with her, and a mama's girl. These days, at just shy of 8 months old, they roll and sit and eat solid foods and sleep (sometimes) and laugh and smile, and generally brighten our lives every day. They are our sunshine.

Incidentally, James's mother had two sets of twins. I used to laugh and say "who does that?!" Well, the answer is me! And I wouldn't change it for the world.

Success After IF and Loss

Posted on behalf of Disney102399

We were your typical couple. We were young, just married and ready to start a family. Little did we know the path to a family would not be so easy.

After trying on our own for about 3 years we decided to talk to a doctor. She ran a bunch of test which all looked fine. So she suggested doing IUI. We did 6 cycles with no success. She recommended we see a RE. We went and met with her and she suggested we move onto IVF. We were a little surprised by this but were willing to do whatever it took. We started our first cycle in September 03. But it was a BFN. Did another cycle in March of 04. Also a BFN. I needed to take some time off. It was all really starting to get to me. So we decided in July of 05 to try again. We got the best news: I was pregnant.

At my 6 week u/s they told us we were expecting twins. We were so happy and excited! My pregnancy was normal. I had all the symptoms, morning sickness and I was tired all the time. At 18 weeks we found that they were a girl and a boy. Instant family! We were thrilled! Little did we know that 5 weeks later our world would change.

On December 28th my water broke. I was 23wks3d. Way too early. They determined it was my son’s water that had broke. But he looked ok on u/s. They put me on meds to stop the contractions. But the next morning I went into labor. Brian William was born @ 8:15 am on December 29th. He was with us for 14 hours. So now we needed to focus on my daughter. I had a bad reaction to the meds they had me on so they had to take me off. Three days later I started contracting. I delivered my daughter, Lillian Ruth, on January 1 @ 12:39 am. She was actually the New Year’s baby for the state of Maine. Sadly, she passed away 40 hours later. We were devastated. We just couldn’t believe after all we had to do to get pregnant that our precious babies would be taken away from us. We needed time. Time to process what had happened. Time to grieve our loss. Time to heal.

We decided to do another cycle in August 06 and it was a BFN. I knew I had one more cycle in me. On February 23 we got the best news again: I was pregnant. Six weeks later we found out we were expecting twins again. We were thrilled but also very scared. This time around we weren’t taking any chances. We started seeing a high risk doctor. At 12 weeks I had a stitch placed on my cervix. At 16 weeks it was confirmed we were expecting 2 girls. My pregnancy went very smoothly. After years of going to others’ baby showers, leaving in tears, it was finally my turn. My shower was so great. And so special. To see how many people cared about me and my family. It was so great! I was 34wks2d when I had some spotting. I was admitted to the hospital and stayed there till I gave birth. I was put on meds to stop the contractions. The meds worked great until the morning of September 30th. I woke up that morning and was very uncomfortable. The Dr checked me and said, “Looks like you are having some babies today”! We were so excited! Charlotte Lorraine and Margaret Theresa were born @ 2:39 pm via c-section. They were healthy and beautiful! Hearing them cry was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. The first time I saw them I was in disbelief. I couldn’t believe they were mine. I couldn’t believe they were finally here. But most of all I couldn’t believe that our dreams were finally coming true. We were finally parents. They spent about 15 hours in the NICU, mostly for observations, and then went to the regular nursery. They came home with us 4 days later. And to leave the hospital where I had said good bye to my precious babies 18 months early, now with 2 healthy babies, was the best gift in the world.

I look at my girl’s everyday and thank God for them. They are my pride and joy. They make me happier than I ever imagined I could be. I miss Brian and Lillian everyday. I know they are looking down on us and are smiling. And every time I look at Charlotte and Maggie I see them.

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My Road to Irish Triplets and a Spare

"I have a surprise for you!!"

That's what the ultrasound technician said as she put the wand to my belly. I already knew, though. I saw the 2 little surprises the instant the image came up on the screen.

"No, surprises... we don't want any surprises," I told her.

I looked to my left, and there was my husband (completely unaware of the life-changing news he was about to hear) holding our adorable 8 month old daughter, Lyndsay. I instantly thought of my older daughter, Kaylie, who was only 8 years old at the time, and Lyndsay, and thought of how huge their life was going to be altered.

"It's twins!" She said gleefully. I was instantly nauseated. We weren't ready to have another baby, much less TWO. We had a baby already, and there she was sitting on her Daddy's lap drinking her bottle. My mind was racing. I thought of having three babies in diapers, three babies in car seats, a toddler and two newborns! What the hell was I going to do?

I had only just come to terms with the thought of having two kids within 16 months, but this would mean 3 babies, THREE babies within 16 months. That's 4 kids by the time I'm 27 years old. I was terrified.

That was May 9, 2007.

As my pregnancy progressed, I went through the whole range of emotions that I think any MoM (mother of multiples) goes through: fear, denial, depression, fear again, and finally acceptance. According to my husband (who works 2 full-time jobs, mind you) it was going to be a piece of cake. "Nikki, it's like making sandwiches," he told me, "If you have the ingredients out, just make two more sandwiches." As if, changing diapers was, in some way, as simple as making sandwiches.

As for complications, I was one of the lucky ones. I had quite an easy pregnancy with no complications, no bedrest, no nothing. I only put on about 35 pounds and felt really good (well, as good as you can, I suppose). My only complaint was the normal aches and pains of a twin pregnancy. But by 37 weeks, I had it. I asked to be induced, and I was.

December 12, 2007, at 8:18 PM, Michael Jr (or Mikey as we affectionately call him) was born. Three minutes later at 8:21 PM, and after only one push, little Ashley arrived. They were perfect. Mikey weighed over 7 pounds, and Ashley was about 5 1/2 pounds, both very good sizes for twins. They were healthy and happy, and, really that was all I hoped for.

As I sit here typing this up, I can't help but think of how much we have all changed. Kaylie, my little helper, is 9 years old and has her first day of fourth grade tomorrow. Lyndsay, my little sweetie, is 2 and a little firecracker. And my two babies, Mikey and Ashley are so worth all the anxiety and nightmares that I went through while I was pregnant. Mikey is my sweet baby boy... tough and rough, the way a little boy should be. And little Miss Ashley, my little peanut, she's about 3-4 pounds smaller than her brother, very petite and quiet, but by far the snuggliest baby ever. Even my husband and I have changed. I feel like we are so much closer than we were before. We are really a team now, and we both work our (you-know-what's) off to keep our family going. I don't think we've even gone out on a date in almost a year. But through it all, we are still head over heals in love.

Although a blessing, every day is also a struggle. My husband and I don't really have anyone that is available to help us, and it's just been us since day 1. And, with my husband gone almost 100 hours a week for work, it is mostly just me here. And, it's not easy. I think that's it in a nutshell. Having multiples is not easy. But, it is the most rewarding experience I can think of. Seeing the way the kids interact with each other is priceless. But by far, the best thing has to be having those two little gummy smiles flash at you. That makes all the sleepless nights, never ending piles of laundry, and completely destroyed house, 100% worth it.

-Nikki Johnson

“Watch, we’ll have twins and they’ll both be girls!”

Our History
My husband and I went on our first date in 1999, despite attending different colleges and moving to different cities upon graduation - he moved to Baltimore and I to New York City. The timing wasn’t right during our early twenties, but somehow, we always kept coming back to each other and were finally married in May 2007.

We knew we wanted a family right away and started trying to conceive during our honeymoon in Italy. We didn’t get pregnant on our honeymoon, despite all the wine and romance, but didn’t have to wait long. We found out we were pregnant that September.

My husband loves surprises – he’s the type that doesn’t peek at his Christmas gifts – and insisted we let the gender of our baby be a surprise. I grudgingly agreed (I hate surprises and always hunt for my Christmas gifts!), but joked on a whim that if they were twins that we would find out their genders. Twins would be surprise enough! My husband responded “watch, we’ll have twins and they’ll both be girls!” Famous last words...

I was never someone who dreamed of having twins. Honestly, the thought never, ever crossed my mind as a possibility. So, when we went to the OB for our 8-week ultrasound, no one was more shocked than I when the technician started the ultrasound and immediately said “It’s twins!” Shocked in disbelief, I demanded evidence and asked her to show it to me on the screen – there it was, two tiny heartbeats! My mom was with us at the ultrasound, screaming and jumping around the room in joy. During all the chaos, I had to stop and ask “Where’s Ron???” My husband was sitting down in the back, stunned silent. After our initial shock, it didn’t take us long to be overjoyed by our shocking news – the best surprise ever!

Pregnancy and Birth
We told most of our friends and family the news immediately. I’m terrible at keeping secrets and felt that if something bad did happen that we would need the support of our family and friends. Funny enough, I never worried about the complications of carrying twins, despite the warnings from my doctors.
Gratefully, our girls were delivered via scheduled c-section at 38 weeks on April 30, 2008 without the complications that so many multiples pregnancies face (bed rest, pre-term labor, etc) and were completely healthy. Abigail Frances was 19 ¼ inches long and weighed 6lb 11oz and Liliana Ellis was 18 inches long and weighed 5lb 13oz.
The girls are 4 months old now and thriving. Abby is the outgoing, mouthy one with a personality all her own. She loves to babble away and "talks" our ears off! Lily is our sweet girl. She smiles with her whole face, squinches up her nose and has dimples.
We can’t imagine not having twins and there are so many benefits to having them. Our girls learned patience from the get-go and as parents, we’ve learned to go with the flow. The girls will always have each other throughout their lives and that thought just warms our hearts.

Multiples Community
One thing I never expected in my pregnancy was to find such an incredibly supportive thoughtful group of women as I found on the nest. I see so many daily displays of support and concern that go so far beyond what a friend would provide, that it’s amazing to think we are ‘strangers’!

The deluge of recent celebrity twin births makes pregnancy and infancy look idyllic and glamorous. But in so many cases, this just isn’t the real world and I think the public would be interested in an honest take on what being a MoM (Mother of Multiples) is like - the joys and the tears. The incredible strength exhibited by the women on this board is inspirational to all.

-Aimee (coffee bean)