The Birth Story

 I had a really hard pregnancy.  Two babies were born and we all lived happily ever after.

Our first IVF attempt, a year and a half after first TTC, resulted in 6 embryos that couldn't be transferred for a number of months because I hyperstimulated.  People say that during an extremely traumatic time, your mind goes black and you block out and suppress all of reality to get through that time.  This is what happened to me.  I was so sick and in so much pain that I don't recall much of being hyperstimulated.  Jeff tells me stories of what went on and when we recount that time, we both end up in tears.  It was, and for that matter still is, very painful.  Of the 6 embryos, 4 of them survived thaw and all 4 were transferred in October, 2008.  I did get pregnant and miscarried a week before Thanksgiving. 

The following winter was dark.  Feelings of denial, anger, sadness, and so much more were buried deep and suppressed to try to "think positive" and enjoy the holidays.  We tried desperately to focus on the future and our second IVF.  The truth is that I don't think we will ever "get over" those feelings.  They will always be a part of us, although as the time passes, they don't sting quite as much.

In February of 2009, we went through IVF #2.  On February 21, we transferred two perfect (as close as can be) embryos and froze another.  In March, we found out I was carrying twins.  Our reaction was obviously full of joy, but also anxiety of having twins loomed over us.  Because I had hyperstimulated, I was on a strict diet of lots and lots of protein and lots and lots of water.  The first trimester went pretty smooth.  I had about a week of morning sickness! The second trimester started to get a little hairy as my blood pressure slowly, but consistently crept up. 

By 18 weeks, I was getting monitored pretty often and was on restricted duty because my ankles were HUGE (and so was my belly!) and my blood pressure was always high.  We found out at our 19 week ultrasound that we were having girls!  I was SO excited. I had actually been bracing myself in case one or both were boys!  It's not that I would love them any less, but I always wanted girls.

In the mean time, Jeff worked on the house almost night and day getting the nursery ready, trying to keep up with laundry, cleaning, cooking, and working. 

At 24 weeks (early September), The doctor put me on bed rest.  My blood pressure wouldn't stay down and my ankles were so swollen, I couldn't even wear flip flops.  I was instructed that if my blood pressure peaked (top number went above 150 or bottom number went above 110) then to go to the ER.  Then I went to have my first stress test done at the hospital and what should have been an hour thing turned into 8 hours of monitoring and watching my b/p.  I was released and came back a week later for another stress test.  Same sort of thing. 

At the end of September, my b/p peaked and I went to the ER.  They monitored the babies (or tried to) and found out that I was having contractions.  They couldn't give me terbutaline because of my blood pressure, so they put me on magnesium sulfate (which I lovingly refer to as the devil drug).  "Mag" as they called it, made me feel terrible.  First, it felt like I was laying in a pool of boiling water.  It made me feel anxious... Like I needed to tear my IV out and run away anxious.  It gave me scary dreams and I awoke and felt like the hulk.  It was awful.  On top of which-You can't have any water when your on this drug!  So on a Tuesday morning, after being there a week, I was released.  That night, I had a 102 degree temp and a kidney infection.  I spent the night trying to get rid of my fever taking 3 ICE COLD baths and packing ice packs all around my body.  All I kept thinking was, 'I am boiling my babies!'

The next morning, October 7th, my fever broke and I was feeling better by that afternoon.  Jeff went to get me a blizzard and I layed in bed.  When he got back, as he was handing me my blizzard-my water broke!  Back to labor and delivery!  This time to deliver.  I was 34 weeks 4 days.

The doctor on call happened to by my original OB (before two years of fertility treatments) (who technically didn't deliver babies anymore).  I was incredibly thrilled with this because, in our semi-small city, he was the best.  He came in and discussed with me the possibility of delivering the girls naturally.  He said that we would be in the OR just in case we needed to move to an emergency c-section.  Let's do it! I had an epidural and labored for the next 4 hours (2 hours had already passed).  At one point he came in to check on me and I recall making small talk saying that at my last ultrasound the girls were right around 5 pounds each.  I was crushed when he replied, "you don't have 10 pounds of baby in you."  "Oh."  I replied, feeling crushed because I tried really hard to grow 'em big as I could.

I remember at around 1 in the morning the doctor came in and checked me and simply said, "lets go." Then it was like a race to the finish line.  Jeff could barely get his sterile outfit on and practically had to chase us down the hall!  I thought it was in my head that they were moving so fast, but Jeff confirmed later that I was right.

There was a huge clock on the wall right in front of me in the OR.  It was 1:20 when the doctor said, "on the next contraction, I want you to push and let's see what happens."  He was SO calm.  So I pushed!  "PUSH!" he told me in a calm, yet firm voice.  I did!  I remember at least 9 people in there with me:  The doctor, Jeff, Jeff the anesthesiologist, the u/s guy, and at least 5 nurses.  All of them cheering me on.  Later, one of the nurses actually told me that while I was delivering, there was only one nurse left on the floor.  Haha.  Talk about special treatment!.  At 1:32 a.m. Madison was born.
5 lbs, 7oz. I will never forget her cry.  It was beautiful.

The doctor didn't skip a beat.  I didn't have time to rest as he was telling me "PUSH!" again.  I did, even as tired as I was, I pushed as hard as I could.  At 1:38 a.m. Mackenzie was born.  5 lbs, 1 oz.  It took longer than a couple seconds for her to cry.  Long enough for me to begin to panic.  But, then, there it was.  She let out a beautiful scream! 

I got to hold them for barely a couple of seconds each before they whisked them away.  The doctor sewed me up and I couldn't stop shaking.  For the life of me, I could not stop shaking!  The doctor said it was normal because all my muscles had worked so hard.  It seemed to go on forever!  He then came over and congratulated me and said, "I didn't think you had ten pounds of baby in you, but you sure did!  Good job mama."  I cried. 

The girls were only in the NICU for 8 days.  They never needed oxygen or a feeding tube.  They were treated for a little jaundice and were released when they started gaining weight. 

I, on the other had, developed preeclampsia after the girls were born.  One of those rare things.. so of course it happened to me! I was put back on the devil drug to calm my nervous system and my visitors were restricted to only Jeff.  I couldn't even see my babies!  (Though, the sweet, sweet nurses snuck them in to see me twice.  I was so grateful!)  I had to keep the lights turned down almost all the way.  The nurses used flash lights when they came to check on me.  I couldn't even watch TV for fear that it would trigger a seizure.  I was in my 'cave' for two days. 

I finally came off the mag and was in the hospital one more day.  Released two days before the girls. 

Looking back, I don't know how Jeff did it.  It makes me tear up just thinking about his devotion to me and the girls.  If the shoes were on my feet, I don't know if I could have done it.  He kept up with all the house work.  He was at the hospital with me every opportunity he had.  He went into the NICU every three hours feed the girls, only missing a few feedings.  He slept at the hospital. He went to work for a couple of hours a day too!

The girls were released on a Friday.  And the rest, as they say, is history.