Monday, August 25, 2008

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.

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