Saturday, August 23, 2008

Of loss and love... my journey to twin motherhood.

My story is one that reflects the "darker underside" of twin mania... the very real risks that exist that are easy to overlook when we see celebrities posing with their adorable newborns. I became pregnant with twins after my first IVF, in the fall of '05. My husband and I were ecstatic- and only grew more so when we learned we would have a boy and a girl.

The first five months of my pregnancy were remarkably easy- marked by our growing excitement and my expanding waistline. Shortly after Christmas, our world came crashing down. With no warning, my cervix dilated and one of the sacs bulged through. We had no choice but to deliver two perfect, tiny, and tragically lifeless babies- Carynne and Lucas. I held them in my arms and marveled at their perfection, tears streaming down my cheeks. I asked myself what I had done wrong, how I would survive, and if I would ever be able to move forward. And in that darkest hour, I found my strength. I knew love and I knew God in a way that I never had before... and told myself that Carynne and Lucas' legacies would be love, hope, and strength- not sadness, tears, and regret.

And with this love as our guiding force, my husband and I did move forward. We faced countless other challenges in our struggles with infertility. We wondered whether we should give up, whether our chance to conceive and bear our biological children had been lost. But that love drove us forward.

A year later, we conceived again. Twins. Once again, a boy and a girl. I underwent invasive surgery to allow my body to successfully carry this risky pregnancy to term. Four months were spent on modified bed rest, each day bringing us a step closer for the children we so longed for.

At 34.3 weeks, our children were born. First Julien, a feisty baby boy who we affectionately call "Bubba". Then Isabelle, a more observant and gentle soul who seems to possess the wisdom of the ages, even at her young age. They were healthy, and my husband and I truly felt as though we had been blessed with two miracles.

People often ask me now if it is hard, if raising twins is exhausting. Of course it is, but not a day goes by that I do not feel blessed by the challenges these babies bring to my life. My joy in having this opportunity to parent them is indescribable - and I often think to myself, "my life belongs to these children, and I am the luckiest woman in the world to have the opportunity to mother them".

My twins- both sets- have inspired me to embrace love in my life in all its scary, wonderful, overwhelming forms. Without Carynne and Lucas, I might never have known the strength that lies within my spirit, within the love of my family, and within the love of God. Julien and Isabelle's lessons to me continue each and every day... but above all, they have taught me to approach life with a profound sense of gratitude for the joy and challenge that are inherent in loving as fiercely as I do my miracle children.

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