Tuesday, August 26, 2008

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…..it 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.

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