Our story began in 1999 when my husband and I met in high school! We were 16 and 17 and knew right away this was it. My senior year of high school we started saving for our wedding. Along with all the wedding talk we daydreamed about kids and what our family would be like in the future. We agreed we wanted a whole football team's worth (and if we had Brad and Angelina's money we probably would by now), but we would wait until after college. Fast forward 5 years: We got married and after 4 months I went off the pill. We tried on our own for a year, but I sensed something might be wrong, knowing that I have endometriosis. We saw my doctor and after a long testing process we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. My doctor told us "some people just aren't compatible that way." It nearly broke my heart, but we were confident that God brought us together and would not deny us the deepest desire of our hearts forever.
Over 3 years we did artificial insemination (or IUI) 4 times, tried a variety of fertility meds, and even took months off in case we "were trying too hard" as many people commented. Insurance covers nothing and adoption is even more expensive than treatment, so we would save up and try again. Finally, God showed us a way. We found a new clinic and my husband's insurance changed to cover parts of fertility treatment. We were advised to do an IVF and with some financial help now we could try. Getting the phone call from the nurse telling me the good news was a moment I will never forget. I had gotten too many calls that began with "Leah, I'm so sorry..." and I wept (in front of my kindergarten class!) when she told me we had done it.
Two weeks later we went for an ultrasound and we joked about twins (secretly wanting them) and the doctor looked at us and said, "here's one and here's the other!" My husband and I burst out laughing and then shock set in. High-risk pregnancy, twice as many diapers, clothes, formula, day care costs, college tuition, and the list went on. We were nervous, but elated. After a difficult 8 months, our twins were born on May 2nd, 2008 at 36 weeks. Grace and Tate had to be taken immediately to the NICU and they they stayed there for an additional week. Any mother of a preemie can tell you how heart breaking and scary those days can be. Coming home from the hospital my nerves were shot, I couldn't sleep or eat, and I was diagnosed with post-partum depression. The task of caring for two tiny newborns was so overwhelming we moved in with my in-laws for 3 weeks for help (which should tell you how desperate I was!). The first 6 weeks were a blur of constant feedings, worry, and sleepless nights (multiplied by two), but we got through it. The main reason we survived was God and family caring for us in ways we could not do ourselves, but the other reason is an online community I joined when I got pregnant.
The Nestbaby.com has a "multiples" board that I began to go to for advice and trends, but it became a place where I could vent, cry, ask hard questions, get support, and relate to women all over the country going through experiences so similar to my own. During the darkest days when I wanted to give up due to my depression, they told me I could do it and more importantly, that they had been there too. Now is a time of celebration. At almost 4 months old, my twins are thriving, laughing, (draining our bank account) and filling our hearts with the greatest joy my husband and I have ever known. I still go the the board every day for advice and a pep talk on really hard days, but I can also encourage the new members who have just begun a journey of their own. Having twins is difficult, expensive and seems to invite comments from every stranger in the grocery store ("Are they REAL twins?""Did you take drugs?" "Better you than me!"), but I am trying to live each day in the calming space of gratitude. Grateful I was able to conceive at all, grateful God blessed us twice and grateful I have community to support me.