Sunday, August 28, 2011

our big news

The twins are here!  They were born last Wednesday morning at 3:21 a.m. via c-section.  They were at 34 weeks and 1 day.  Both are in the NICU, but they are both doing well for their gestational age.  To fill you all in, here's how the labor/delivery went down...

I had an appointment last Friday, and there were no signs of labor on either the ultrasound or the cervical check--everyone thought we were still weeks away. I was uncomfortable over the weekend, but nothing very different from what I've been feeling for weeks now. On Sunday, I began worrying about baby girl, thinking she wasn't moving as much as normal. This feeling continued, so on Tuesday I called in and went for an ultrasound. Again, everything looked perfect. Tuesday night I had a board meeting, and towards the end of the meeting around 7:45 I had two really strong contractions. I didn't feel anything else, though, and thought nothing about it. In fact, on my way out of the meeting, I kept telling people to expect the babies in about two weeks.

A and I walked the dogs around 8:15, then we opened and began playing with our new video baby monitors. A had the light off in the nursery and was making faces into the monitor, and I was downstairs checking to see how well it worked. We were laughing, joking around, but when I started back up the stairs I only made it to the third one. Suddenly, my water broke, just like on a was shocking! I called up to A, "Honey, my water just broke," and he thought I was joking. When he looked over the railing and saw me standing in a puddle he realized this was the real deal, and he immediately began freaking out. Neither of us had packed, so we began throwing stuff together. I finally got A calmed down, we got enough together to get us through the day, and off we went. Luckily, my doctor was on call, so he met us at the hospital.

In triage they quickly confirmed that my water had broken, and the doctor said we'd be doing a c-section within the hour. I wasn't contracting yet, so I was still pretty calm. I was upset that the babies were coming earlier than expected, but I knew there was nothing we could do. Unfortunately two emergencies came in, pushing us back, and I began having strong contractions around 1:00 a.m. We were finally wheeled to the OR at 3:00, and at 3:21 a.m. on August 24th we heard the most beautiful sound--our two babies crying. I saw them very quickly in the OR, and A got to hold them each for about 30 seconds, then they were whisked to the nursery. A and our families got to watch them being evaluated and stabilized, but I was stuck in my room recovering. Finally, 6 hours later, my babies were wheeled in to meet me. It was bittersweet--they were the most precious things ever, but they were in isolettes and I couldn't hold them.

The babies headed to the NICU across the street, and I was taken to postpartum. A and the families got to go visit in the NICU, but again I had to wait. This was truly excruciating. I was hearing about my babies from everyone else, when I should have been the first to know them. Finally, around 3:00 p.m., I got to visit the NICU and touch our son and daughter. Since then, A and I have been visiting as much as possible and soaking up every second with our babies.

As of now, baby boy is on nasal oxygen. He is receiving my milk via tube to his stomach, and is digesting better and better. We really hope his breathing improves soon, as we need to get him more stable so we can start working towards other goals. A and I have both gotten to hold him (inside his pouch) a few times, and we cherish those special moments.

Baby girl is on a respirator and is on medication to close a valve that failed to close after birth. Once she is off the medicine, she will hopefully begin eating via tube. We have gotten to change her diaper, but have not yet gotten to hold her, which is breaking my heart. I am aching to have her in my arms!

Although it's terribly difficult to not have them here, we know they are in the best hands right now. We are incredibly thankful for all the wonderful doctors and nurses there. We will keep you all as updated as we have time to, and we beg you to continue to pray for the twins' health and development.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

nyt magazine

This morning in the New York Times Magazine, there is an article called "Unnatural Selection."  The article is about the increasing demand for twin to singleton pregnancy reductions.  I am pro-choice.  I firmly believe that a woman has a legal right to make choices regarding her own body and her own reproductive health.  As a woman who has lost three children and is now anxiously awaiting the birth of my 32 week twins, this was quite a difficult read.

After our journey with recurrent loss, we were elated to find out we were having twins.  I literally felt like I had won the lottery, only this was better.  We were having two children.  Sure, two children at once brings up scary questions about time and money and energy, but after working so hard for a pregnancy, these fears paled in comparison to the joy we felt.  Reading that many women, after undergoing fertility treatments, choose to reduce to a singleton for social or financial reasons is baffling to me.

What is more difficult, though, is a quote near the beginning of the article.  One of the women interviewed stated: "If I had conceived these twins naturally, I wouldn't have reduced this pregnancy, because you feel like if there's a natural order, then you don't want to disturb it.  But we created this child in such an artificial manner--in a test tube, choosing an egg donor, having the embryo placed in me-- and somehow, making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice.  The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control."  Why would any woman say this, allowing such garbage to be published in an international publication?  These are the very beliefs that we, as members of the infertility community, are trying to fight against.  Whether conceived through IUI, IVF, with donor eggs or sperm, our children are not "unnatural" or "artificial."  Calling fertility treatments "consumerish" implies that you can somehow go pick out the kind of child you want and then be guaranteed to take that child home in 9 months.  But we know it doesn't work that way.  Despite ours and the doctors' best efforts, treatments often don't work.   

When members of our own community are making such ignorant statements, we have a long way to go in making people understand infertility and its treatments.  Here's hoping that not many people read this article.

Monday, August 8, 2011

32 weeks

Tomorrow we will be 32 weeks pregnant...if you had told me in February that we would get to this point, I'm not sure I would have believed you.  Yet here we are, with a son and a daughter poking away in my belly.  We do have some concerns now, though, so the length of this pregnancy may be shorter than I would like.  Baby boy is doing great.  His growth has slowed a bit, which is to be expected with twins, but he is still gaining a good amount of weight.  Baby girl, however, has dropped to the 7th percentile (5th or less is considered growth restricted).  She is not gaining much at this point, so there is a possibility the doctor will want to deliver early.  We should know more after meeting with our doctor on Friday, and I am praying for at least a few more weeks.  Every week they are in my belly and not in the NICU is a little victory.