I wrote the post below when I was around 20 weeks pregnant so it's been sitting in my draft folder for a very long time. When I read it now I realize how sensitive and hurt I was when I wrote it. While I agree with the majority of this post, I now understand the second paragraph was written by someone with severe pregnancy hormones (times two)! At the end of the day, however, I still stand by what I say. So with that...
(Written in the summer of 2012)
I've gone back and forth on whether or not I want to share this information. Why? Because it doesn't matter. However, I've been very open with our journey thus far and I know there are readers who have connected with me, with us, and with our story from the very beginning. The following post is strictly our story and I will absolutely admit I can be extremely sensitive. You've been warned.
When people find out you're expecting twins, they react one of three ways: They simply congratulate you (with a look of terror in their eyes--always), they ask if twins run in your family, or they ask if the babies are "natural" or the result of fertility help. I put the comments in order from my favorite to least favorite. No one thinks to ask the last question when you're only expecting one, but once it's multiples it becomes an obvious (yet still inappropriate) question. What's funny is those closest to us simply congratulated us. I'd hold my breath and wait for the "Are they natural?" and it never came. Not once. Complete strangers (ladies working at Neiman's) or acquaintances have no problem asking if I've had IVF, etc. The funniest question I've received was from the dental assistant: "So did that just... uh... happen?" My advice to you is this: Never ask someone if their twins are due to fertility treatments. A woman's body is made to reproduce. Some women choose not to, which is perfectly fine. Others (like me), try, succeed, and then fail (two miscarriages). Asking someone if their babies are the result of (any level of) fertility treatments is like saying, "Did your body succeed or fail? Did YOU succeed or fail?" While I know that is most likely not the person's intent, I'm letting you know what it feels like for me to hear those words again and again (and again). If the couple wants you to know their fertility plan, they will let you know. Otherwise, consider it none of your business.
So here was our fertility plan: I suffered my second miscarriage in mid-June of last year. It was devastating. We stepped back and took a break. Remembered what it was like to simply be us without the thought of having a baby. Traveled to San Francisco and Sonoma. After several months we decided we'd try again. A month or so later my body did some weird things so we decided to take my OB's advice and visit a fertility specialist. This was something I absolutely dreaded because I felt it was admitting defeat. In actuality, it was simply admitting there was a problem. I had an appointment in late January and the doc went over my entire history: low progesterone, two miscarriages, MTHFR mutation... and then he smiled and said (obviously I'm paraphrasing), "I don't think this has anything to do with MTHFR and everything to do with low progesterone. You're obviously ovulating because you've gotten pregnant twice but the egg isn't strong enough and without a boost it's never going to succeed. This is a relatively easy solution. You don't need IVF, you simply need the smallest dose of Clomid (hormone therapy). This will help build a stronger egg, which will create more progesterone, which will allow for a viable pregnancy." I'd done a bit of research on Clomid and asked about multiples. He said the chances of twins went from 1% to 8% when one took Clomid. Ever since Michael and I have been together we've said we'd love to have twins. Looking back on our "luck" with the past two pregnanices, I knew better than to think we'd have twins. He wrote me a script and I left.
I took a tiny pill for five days. During the middle of my cycle I met with the specialist to see if the Clomid worked. He saw two eggs on my left ovary and said one egg would "dominate" (absorb) the other. So now it was just a waiting game. I again asked about twins and he said under absolute perfect circumstances there was a chance we could have twins, but it was highly unlikely. Many women receive a trigger shot (tells your body to release the egg) and begin taking progesterone at this time. He didn't want me to do either and just wanted to see what the five pills alone would do. Two weeks later I took a pregnancy test and saw two faint lines. I couldn't believe it. One cycle, five pills, one positive pregnancy test. I went in that day to have a blood draw and my HCG and Progesterone levels were through the roof. Rather than think, "Hmm, those numbers are strangely high," I just left with a huge grin on my face. I came back two days later and repeated the tests. They want the numbers to double and mine had more than quadrupled. Again I thought nothing except, "I am PREGNANT!"
At six weeks Michael and I went in for our first ultrasound. The tech began the search and I grabbed Michael's hand. I was absolutely terrified. She smiled and said, "So... remember how you had two eggs?" Michael and I did not say a word for at least a minute. We couldn't believe it. Twins. The absolute perfect scenario that even our doctor didn't expect.
So there is the story of our "unnatural" children. When someone asks me, "Do twins run in your family?" I am honest with them. Yes they do, on my mom's side. When someone asks us, "Were you shocked with the news?" we are honest with them. Yes we were. And still are.
Jude and Sloane are our greatest blessings and while we wish our journey didn't include heartbreak and anguish, it all happened for a reason and those two incredible reasons will be here before we know it.
When I see their lips, their noses, their hands, their feet, their hearts... there is nothing more natural in this world.