Can I write to you about my experiences as a first time twin momma, who had tried for years to get pregnant? No specialists could seem to figure out the problem…they couldn’t find anything really wrong…but that’s a tale for another letter (see the post My Fertility Journey). Maybe you can relate? Maybe you’ve tried for a long time too?
During the “two week wait” after my embryo implantation I googled everything I could find about early pregnancy signs and symptoms. I was on heavy progesterone suppositories so that can cause a lot of the symptoms and so it was really impossible to tell and that soon. I felt a little crampy on and off (which was scary). One night, I can remember talking long distance – very long distance (I was in Hong Kong) with my best friend and I felt these weird pulling sensations in my lower abdomen. I'd never felt that before. It was then that I thought – this could be it! I could really be pregnant. But that old protective wall I’d built with brick by brick of disappointments – held firm and I needed proof. Still, there were a few cracks of hope breaking through it.
It happened in the middle of the night after that looooong two week wait. Why we can’t know immediately when we’re pregnant I’ll never know! I had planned to test that next morning because I had read you needed first morning pee for the best results and after what we had been through…I wasn’t taking any chances! I woke up having to go to the bathroom really bad and looked at the clock. 2 am…ok well, I guess that’s first morning pee! I went into the bathroom, peed on the test, set it on the counter and finished my business. Then I took a deep breath, bolstering up all my courage and peeking over that metaphorical wall I’d built over the years. How many negative tests had I stared at? Why would this be any different? But I couldn’t believe it when I looked! Two VERY distinct lines! I had to look again. I had assumed it wouldn’t show anything because, well, why would it after all we’d been through?
I was in such shock (and it was 2 am) that I actually went back to bed! Yeah,even I wouldn't have expected that reaction. But, I did. That was the early morning of October 5, 2012. When my husband and I both got up that next morning I told him – we’re pregnant! He didn’t believe me even though the test showed it. "I’ll wait to hear what the doctor says tomorrow” he responded – afraid to let down that fragile guard we’d both built up regarding our fertility and ability to be pregnant. But I knew it was finally true. I'll never know how I got through work that day.
The next morning I tested again and got a darker line! Then we were off to our doctor’s office. It was the two week testing day. I thought they’d take my blood but no – they had me pee on a test. And it came up with an even darker line! “Congratulations you’re pregnant!” they said. My husband and I just lost it. We were really pregnant!!!!!
Now the big question – with one or with two???
They told me I was considered 4 weeks along. And just like that my pregnancy journey began. Only I didn’t know it was a twin pregnancy journey.
I was a kindergarten teacher at an international school in Hong Kong. Each morning and each afternoon session we’d do the calendar time – day of the week and month of the year and I’d watch as the days slipped away one by one – counting the days until my next appointment…
One morning, when I was 6 weeks along, I got up to use the bathroom and there was some spotting. Not much and no cramping but I was so freaked out! I was still considered a patient at the IVF clinic and they got me right in. By the time I reached the office it had stopped and I had to wait a bit to be seen so my husband went on to work.
They finally called me in and did a vaginal ultrasound and the nurse said “congratulations, there are two heartbeats – twins!” Wait, what? Really? Two babies???? And they’re ok? “Yes, see this is one heart beat” she replied pointing to the screen “and this is the other.” And so the one appointment in the WHOLE entire process my husband wasn’t there for - IVF to birth - was the one we found out that there were two. From not expecting it to work at all to having two. Wow. It was deemed that they were fine and at that point there was no cause for concern and I went on my merry way. More like shocked way!
At 7 weeks we were released to the care of an OBGYN and were awaiting our first appointment with him. A parent of one of my students who was a doctor also and who’d played a large part in our IVF journey recommended her doctor friend and we got set up but I wasn’t to see him until 11 weeks.
Then one quiet unassuming afternoon I was working in the break room for my once a month prep work time as a sub taught my class. I got up to go use the bathroom as normal. I remember so clearly walking through the large multipurpose area where we did indoor PE and held our Christmas concert on the little stage. The room was full of chairs and prospective parents and the principal was giving them a power point presentation. It was a part of the weekly tour of the school. Some moments just get etched in your mind.
I went into the bathroom and sat down on the toilet. I can remember hearing the principal speaking and looking down to see red, red blood just dripping profusely into the toilet. The whole world got dim and I clearly remember thinking not after all this! My breathing got shallow and I just sat there not knowing what to think or do. I felt fine. I had no cramping. But so much bright red blood was dripping out that there had to be a problem! I finally got myself together and white faced went back to the classrooms where I got my team mate next door. The whole kindergarten had walked this journey with me and were so supportive. By then the principal had finished and had come back to her office. They had me lay on her couch and by then the bleeding had stopped. My friend and teammate called the Doctors office for me and had them get me in. They got me a taxi and my friend rode with me. We called my husband and he met me there where my friend passed me off into his care. This was my first time meeting this doctor and under these circumstances. I was nervous and scared and numb. He got me right in and did an ultrasound. There were still two strong heartbeats. They were okay! Shock and relief flooded through me and I was so weak with fading adrenaline and gratefulness I just lay there limply.
Thankfully that was the last of the bleeding issues. We never knew for sure what had caused it….some say it can be a fibroid. Some say it's the two embryos. Some say hormones. But there was no cramping and strong heartbeats.
When I was almost 12 weeks we were scheduled for the chromosomal ultrasound. I’m not sure if it’s the same in the US but they do a blood test and an ultrasound to determine the risk of Downs Syndrome. I’ll never forget my amazement when they put the wand on my stomach and a whole baby appeared on the screen! It was so real at that moment - alive and moving around with all it's parts. I was in absolute awe. At that moment the wall of fear and disappointment crumbled down. First they scanned one, then the other. Both so perfect and amazing and alive!
One morning when I was 14 weeks I was lying in bed after I woke up just imagining what the “nursery” would look like and how I’d go to the crib and greet my babies happily smiling in the morning. Remember – first time mom here. And then all of a sudden I could feel what felt like little bubbles popping in the same spot on my left side. I know now it was my little Lily and her first kicks. A few weeks later I felt the other baby – my little Emma. Such amazing miracles!
Hi! I'm a mom of 5 year-old fraternal twin girls. While I'm by no means an expert - I do have stories to tell and ideas to share.