Surviving The First Two Years Of Twins

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Where The Journey To Twins Began

Over the last few weeks I have been reflecting over the past two years as I have been overwhelmed with the realization that I have two year old twins.  We just celebrated their 2nd birthday.  Where did the time go and how did we get here?  I am so proud of the little girls these two beautiful blessings are becoming.  I also can’t believe that two years have gone by.  This is the first part of a 3 part series that reflect over the past 3 years, starting with pregnancy and ending where we are now.

The IVF Cycle That Started It All

It all started with a phone call to the fertility clinic confirming that we were ready to start our IVF cycle.  This cycle was a lot “easier” as it was a frozen embryo transfer cycle.  For those that are unfamiliar with IVF, this means that there are less hormones involved as you don’t stimulate the growth of follicles.  In other words less needles this time, less discomfort, and a lot less time at the clinic.  Please don’t be misled, any IVF cycle is hard.  It’s not only physically hard on the body, it is also an emotional rollercoaster that is amplified by pregnancy hormones.  We got our “schedule” for the cycle and planned out our trip to Vancouver.

 

“We booked our flights to Vancouver and got ready for our IVFacation.”

We booked our flights to Vancouver and got ready for our IVFacation.  The day before we were to leave our oldest decided to have an asthma attack and required a trip to the emergency room.  Luckily she didn’t need to be admitted but it did take us all day to get her asthma under control.  The next day we flew to Vancouver while still having to give meds regularly to our oldest.  Nothing like sitting in an airport doing rounds of inhalers!

In Vancouver we were able to stay in a hotel within walking distance to 2 playgrounds, the mall, a swimming pool, and the public library.  This was perfect for a 2 year old!  We were also able to spend some time with friends and sight see between appointments at the fertility clinic.  This part of the cycle was amazing as we got to have a great family vacation with just the 3 of us before our family changed.  We didn’t know at this point just how much our family was going to change.

 

Family Picture on IVFacation

Just before our transfer date my mother-in-law flew out to Vancouver to join us.  We were so grateful for her help!  This allowed my husband to be with me for the transfer, this way we both got to watch our two little embryos being implanted.  This left us with a strong sense of hope.  We had implanted two embryos the first time and were blessed with our daughter.  So we did the same the second time, thinking only one would take.  We realized there was a good chance of having twins, and a slightly larger then average possibility of triplets but we didn’t care.  We knew that this would probably be our last chance as my body and mind take a beating and we were pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to do another cycle.

After implantation we were very cautious and followed all the guidelines that the clinic suggests for success.  We had decided that we would stay in Vancouver for 48 hours after the procedure so I could limit my activity without having to worry about travelling with a 2 year old.  Having my mother in law in Vancouver with us allowed for my husband to go out with his mom and our daughter while I laid in bed and had the day off.  I was really sore so I was glad to not have to play the mommy role for the day.  The following day we fly home with the help of my mother in law so that I did not have to lift a thing!

Grandma Time
The Two Week Wait
“For any woman that has one through IVF, this waiting period is torture!”

For any woman that has gone through IVF, this waiting period is torture!  This is the time between the transfer and the time you get your blood drawn for the hCG level.  I had taken this time off work so that I could have my stress level as low as possible for these two weeks.  It also meant that I didn’t have to do anything on the list of suggest not to do list.  The only thing I had planned during this time was a workshop at work for some additional training.  The rest of the time I just put my feet up and tried to keep my mind as occupied as possible.  Having a toddler at home really helped with that part.

The next morning I called the nurse at the fertility clinic.  She tried her best to reassure us that this wasn’t a sure thing that the cycle had failed.  I tried as hard as I could to stay off google but just couldn’t do it.  Of course I found everything that lead down the path of failure, mostly because I was looking for confirmation of my fears.  But all we could do was wait for the blood work that was scheduled for about 5 days from that event.

About a week in we had a large scare.  My husband and I had gone out for Date Night.  We thought sitting through a movie for an evening would take our minds off the mystery of success versus failure.  I still can’t tell you what movie we were watching, but what I can tell you is the vivid feeling of a “gush” while watching said movie.  I had experienced a miscarriage in the past and this felt different, so I went to the bathroom.  There wasn’t as much blood as I had experienced with my miscarriage but it was a lot more then the start of my period usually was.  We left the movie theatre in the middle of the movie feeling very deflated and frightened that the transfer had failed.

We were shocked when the blood work came back with an elevated hCG.  This was such a relief but we still weren’t of the woods yet.  We still had to do another test to compare to the first.  We very anxiously awaited the results of the next level.  The level is supposed to double to confirm pregnancy.  Well ours hadn’t quite doubled, which had us very worried.  Now all we could do was to wait for the confirmation ultrasound which is done at 6 weeks.

“Of course I found everything that lead down the path of failure, mostly because I was looking for confirmation of my fears.”
The First Ultrasound
6 week ultrasound

I can still vividly remember walking into the Radiology Office holding my husband’s hand.  I can remember hoping so hard that there was a heart beat as I was sure that the bleeding indicated the failure of our cycle.  We very anxiously waited for our turn trying to joke with each other but we could see the fear in each others eyes.  Finally after what felt like hours it was our turn.  I can remember holding my breath and squeezing my husband’s hand.

Laying on the table with the wand on my stomach we held our breath staring at the screen.  It felt like eternity but we saw it!  A beautiful strong beating heart.  I had tears in my eyes seeing that tiny heart beating.  I remember closing my eyes and being so grateful that there was a fetus with a beating heart.  I cannot describe the feeling of relief that I experienced in that moment.  I can remember holding my husband’s hand and looking at him while the ultra sound tech told us there was another heart beat!

12 week ultrasound

Many people have asked over the past few years whether we were shocked to learn that we were having twins.  You wouldn’t think after having two embryos transferred we would be shocked, but we were.  We couldn’t believe after all the bleeding that there were two beautiful beating hearts with two placentas and two sacs!  Due to the history of our journey to a family, we were convinced that the cycle had failed and were going to have to go through the painful loss of a miscarriage.  We even talked about whether we would do another cycle or just leave our family as is.  In that moment we felt truly blessed to be given the chance to complete our family.  Then about 3 minutes later we realized that life was changing forever!  After the excitement of being pregnant with twins sunk in, the terror of realizing we were having twins started to set in.

My Twin Pregnancy

The beginning of my pregnancy wasn’t too bad.  I had “all day” sickness but was controlled with Diclectin for the most part.  I craved fruit constantly and it seemed to keep the nausea at bay for the most part.  However, I was known to use a few patients waste baskets, gag behind my mask at work, and need to pull over on the way home to use my barf bucket.  All I can say is at least it was predictable in that it would occur at the worse time.

“It took me a long time to accept that I was growing 2 babies and it was ok to be tired.”

I was told in the beginning by my obstetrician that “there is no way I will let you work past 25 weeks.”  I was shocked by this as I wanted to work as late as possible and carry as long as possible.  I soon learned these were unreal expectations for my body.  It wasn’t long before I was working days only and shortly there after 8 hour days instead of 12.  I made it to 24 weeks before I was taken off work.  The babies were doing great but my body wan’t doing as well as them.  It took me a long time to accept that I was growing 2 babies and it was ok to be tired.

32 week pregnant with twins

My body is very sensitive to the hormone relaxin, which is the hormone that effects the ligaments in your body during pregnancy.  The purpose of this hormone is to prepare your body for labour and allow the joints in your pelvis to stretch.  This means that for me, my SI joint didn’t like staying together.  As a result I had incredible back, hip, and sciatic pain, in addition to randomly falling down.  I didn’t move much after that point unless I had to (which was a lot having a 2 year old at home).

The bonus of having a multiple pregnancy was the constant ultrasounds.  We got to watch our babies grow starting with biweekly and then weekly ultrasounds.  We knew what position they were in, who was who, and how big they were.  My girls didn’t switch positions much during my pregnancy.  Twin A liked her corner and stayed head down.  Twin B was our mover and shaker, she stayed in her corner but liked to flip and turn.  

Thank you for joining me as a reminisce about the journey to the arrival of my twin baby girls.  Please stay tuned to learn about our first year with twins.  If you have questions about pregnancy, twins, multiples, or infertility please reach out, I would be more then happy to talk.

About the Author
Jodi Head

Jodi Head

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Jodi is the mama of a busy preschooler and twin toddlers, a Registered Nurse specialized in paediatrics, sleep coach, lactation counselor, and prenatal educator. She is passionate about helping families reaching their personal goals.

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