Between our pregnancy and actually being pregnant- I don’t know which one I struggled with more. Maybe It was the entire experience I am having trouble getting over.
We had decided after a year or so to seek some help. Come to find out our doctor discovered Endometriosis on my ovaries (which by the way is very common and in some cases easy to remove). It was recommended I remove it not only for cleaner ovaries but for a calmer period moving forward as well.
We made the decision to go through with the surgery and after that, give my body some time to heal and maybe see if it would happen naturally. After several months of trying we did our first round of Ivf. I’ll never forget how hard it was to maintain a life while trying to do treatment behind closed doors. On top of everything we were going through, we also had so many commitments and having to leave them all just so my husband could give me a shot of medicine in private was extremely hard. It honestly felt like we were doing something wrong. I swear I’m still sore from all the shots. For that round of Ivf, it was recommended we do implant two eggs. Unfortunately, they did not develop correctly so the chances of them surviving were low and after a month we received one of the hardest phone calls of my life. I broke down on the floor at work. We were not pregnant. Neither egg took.
Our doctor gave us a couple days to process the news before figuring out our next steps and when the best time to try again would be. After another long hard few months of shot after shot we received the best news on Christmas Eve that we were going to finally be parents! It was such a long, two year process but in that moment, hearing that news, we didn't care how much time passed.
At our eight week appointment we found that both our eggs took- we were having twins! I can’t tell you the excitement that rose through our bodies hearing that news. It was hard over the weeks that followed as we couldn't tell anyone the great news because we were extremely worried something would happen. Once we received the green light, we quickly spread the word. Pregnancy was going well and I was growing fast and large!
At about 22 weeks, I started to feel some back pain. That’s when I realized this pregnancy wasn’t going to be as easy as I once thought. We had several scares of different pains and many trips to the emergency room. At about 27 weeks, I got sick. So sick. So horribly sick. I ended up being diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum in my second trimester. HG typically causes constant nausea and vomiting in the first trimester and subsiding around or close to a woman's second trimester. When I was diagnosed, I was at the end of my second trimester so this wasn’t something they were used to seeing- in fact my team of doctors had never seen before. I was a tough case for them.
One day, after several hours of constant vomiting without any consumption of fluids or food, we realized I needed help or the babies would be at serious risk. I was admitted into the hospital that day and didn’t leave for three weeks. It was the hardest three weeks of my life. During that time, I had two IV polls; one for fluids to keep me hydrated and one for food for my babies. I also had a PIC line inserted into my arm for my heart so that my babies could get the proper nutrients needed to stay alive.
Every single day, every three hours, I had monitors put on my stomach to listen to my babies to make sure they were not in stress. I still can't believe that they were not effected by the constant raddling of my stomach
I vomited about 30 times a day with no relief. I can’t explain how depressing those few weeks were. Thank God, I had so much support from my family and a few amazing friends who sat with me on endless nights to lift my spirits! During my stay, I visited with a therapist to make sure depression did not set in. To lift my spirits, nurses would take me on walks, even outside so I could see some sun light. Going for walk wasn’t easy though. I had to drag around two polls of medication and sit in a wheel chair. Being confined to four walls all day, everyday and the only thing to do was get in and out of a bed was a horrible feeling. Each night, I would cry at night because I dreaded the fact that it was time for me to sleep. The anxiety still hurts just thinking about it. I honestly can’t thank my husband, parents, sisters, aunts, works friends, my dear friend Katie and Leanne for driving down from out of town to be with me on several different days just to keep me company.
My sickness didn't just effect me. It was also an incredibly painful time for my husband. For three weeks, he slept on a tiny little pull out chair in my hospital room. His dedication and willingness to stay by my side will always make me smile.
When my husband would leave for work during the day, I looked forward to company so that i it kept me from singing coom ba ya to myself or looking out a window of nothing but a parking garage.
I ended up becoming really close with the nurses at that hospital. In fact, each morning at their morning meeting, they would argue over who got to take care of me that day. The nurses also reminded me that they had never seen a case like mine and they were counting down the days until they were born.
After three weeks, my doctors decided to send me home and receive at-home nurse care. I was getting extremely depressed in the hospital and they thought if maybe I was home, it would cheer me up a little and some of my vomiting would subside. It actually got worse. The only tiny bit of relief I had was getting in our shower so my husband generously put a chair in it so I could just sit in and relax a tiny bit. I would take at least six showers a day just to feel some relief. It was the only time I was able to have something to drink without throwing up. In between showers, my husband would hook me up to a TPN (nutrients). It was a back pack filled with white liquid that my husband said smelled awful.
This routine lasted up until my water surprisingly broke at 37 weeks. I’ll never forget that night. Earlier that day, my dad took me for a walk. When I saw walk, I mean a circle around my back yard so not very far at all. I was having lots of back pain and had to stop several times but my dad was on a mission to help me feel better. My medical team refused to intervene and take the babies out until I was 38 weeks. My family couldn’t take looking at me another day in pain.
That night, like every night at 1:30 in the morning, I was in a lot of pain. I woke my husband up telling him I was going to go in the tub. Before I got in the tub, I went to the bathroom and noticed my mucus plug had passed. My husband sat in the bathroom with me for a little while before reminding me that if my water broke while I was in the tub, we may not be able to tell. I got out of the tub and immediately felt super nauseous. We went in our bedroom where I started to get sick and mid-vomit my water broke like a waterfall. We called the doctor and my parents and then rushed to the hospital. Around 2:30 AM, our doctor told us it would be meeting our babies very soon! Unfortunately, I felt so sick that in that moment I was more excited to have them out so I could stop vomiting and feel some relief. The nurses prepped me for a C-Section and at 5:57 am and 5:58 am we had a baby boy weighing 8 pounds 6 ounces and a baby girl weighing 4 pounds 11 ounces.
As soon as they were delivered, the babies were both rushed to NICU- the start of our next adventure with our dear NICU family. A few hours after my surgery, I ended up passing out and requiring oxygen and gave me two blood transfusions. That day, I didn’t feel good enough to meet my babies. It’s so sad to me that I let an entire day go by before I met my miracle babies. In my fog, I didn’t even know that my baby girl needed oxygen and tubes down her throat to keep her alive and that my son had low blood sugar. Ultimately, I guess all that vomiting did effect them. I can’t begin to explain how awful it was to be a new mother and have no control over anything taking place. I had always had a picture perfect vision of my family coming in to visit the babies and instead they were under supervision of the NICU. This was not the Huggies commercial I thought it would be!
Once I had the two blood transfusions, I felt a lot better and was able have my bed rolled over to the NICU to visit my babies. I was able to hold them both for a very short period of time. I still couldn't believe this was real. In my head I kept repeating, "are they mine? Are you sure there mine?"
What an amazing feeling! We were finally parents. More so than ever, I was determined to feel better and be there for my children. I was ready to get the catheter out and get rid of both of those IV polls. Once they were gone, I felt free and the vomiting had finally ended. For the first time in months, I could eat! In my excitement, I invited everyone to come watch me eat a meal. It was the best feeling.
The babies were now six days old and I was feeling much better so we decided to remove the PIC line. A few short hours later we were told we could take Thomas home. We were so excited! That said, we were also very upset because Amelia was still having blood sugar issues she needed to stay in the hospital. Our family would not be complete until she was home and in our arms.
We had been home for two days with Thomas when out of nowhere I start vomiting again. It was violent and excessive so my husband brought me to the hospital. At this point, my daughter was still in the NICU at one hospital, I was in another hospital, and my son was at home. I ended up staying in the hospital for another two weeks. My body must have been in so much distress throughout my pregnancy that I was still trying to fight back. I ended up losing about 60% of my blood and needing 7 blood transfusions. They also took my gallbladder out because it was completely destroyed from my pregnancy.
During my pregnancy, I was so excited to breast feed- it was a dream that I felt strongly about. Since I was so sick and was on so much medication, they told me that I wouldn't be able to nurse. I was so upset. Once I was released, it took me several months to heal not only from the C-Section but from all of the trauma I had just experienced.
Thankfully, my daughter was able to come home after 3 weeks of living in the NICU. Her blood sugar just couldn’t get straight but she turned a corner and was feeling much better.
In hindsight, I think I had major post-partum depression from the separation my twins and I experienced. After giving birth, I didn’t get to hold them in my arms there was no skin to skin. In my head, I felt that maybe these babies were someone else even if they did look like me. My pregnancy was such a hard experience. I don’t think I would be here today if I didn’t have the love and support of everyone around me, especially my husband. I think about that a lot now. My poor husband was traveling from work to hospitals for over three months- I don’t know how he did it. I don’t know how he took care of our home, our pets, the twins and me. This experience was atrocious for my but it was equally awful for him.
Over the past year, our son Thomas has been extremely sick with over six visits to the ICU and hospital with severe breathing issues. We are actively getting to the bottom of his current health issues and taking every precaution we can. That said, he's incredibly happy!
Today, my babies are a year old!!! The love I have for them is a feeling I have never had for anyone and while I would never want to go through my pregnancy and complications again my love for those twins makes it all worth it.
The past couple of years have been rough but not rough enough to break us. We are strong and ready for anything. Our twins have changed our life so much for the better. My husband and I feel so blessed even despite the roller coaster it took for us to get where we are today. Life is good! I now believe that as a family we can conquer anything and we’ll get through even the toughest moments! We’re ready bring it on!