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Guest Blog: Secondary Infertility and 25 week premie twins

The past 4 years can be broken down into two 2 year brackets, the first two years was the heartache of ttc (trying to conceive) a baby. The second two years (starting July 24th 2011) was the moment I knew we were having another baby, little did we know Avery was hanging out too!

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Auntie Mae took pics of our 19 month olds

Let me start with the first 2 years. Of infertility, sadness, and living in the dark about it.

Matthew and I knew we wanted to have at least 3 kiddos. It was one of the earliest discussion we had as a dating couple, and one that he started. Matthew said outright “I want kids, I want more then two. If you are not on the same page, lets just end this now and still be friends”

I also wanted kids so it worked out well.

Rhys our little ninja baby was a happy surprise. He was a one shot deal. No charting cycles, no keeping temps, not even fully knowing what CD I was. He was a miracle due to my odd cycles. I remember being a young teen and discovering that I would have issues getting pregnant, and that I should try to have them younger to give myself the best odds. So because of all of this Rhys was even more of a surprise.

Due to the fact that our wedding was coming up, we decided to wait to ttc until just before the wedding.

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Little Ninja at our wedding

Rhys was 18 months at our wedding, and we wanted to try and keep the kids close together in age. We didn’t know how long it would take.

I quickly discovered a great support group online. I never knew how common infertility was, or how long people could try for a baby and what they would be willing to do to have one. Some of these women I’m still friends with today.  Did you know that about 70% of infertility is secondary infertility. People who have kids and then for some reason can’t get pregnant again.

Infertility is like a big taboo. You don’t talk about it with anyone but your partner and even then you try not to talk about it too much. You try not to dwell, you keep to yourself and you blame yourself. I was worried to talk too much about it with Matthew because I -knew- it was because of me. Yet even with that knowledge I still had to convince my doctor that I needed to figure out what the issue was. That took longer then it should.

At the beginning, the only people who knew we were ttc (other then my online friends who were also ttc) were Matthew, myself and Gwen’s godmother. After a year and a half I told Rhys’ godmother, and that was it.

Why can’t we talk about it?

Why must people who are going through this feel as though they have to live in secret about it?

It’s sad.

And it was a sad time.

Then, July 24, 2011…The second 2 years

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Actually this is the one from Aug 2, 2011 I saved my expensive test for when I -knew- it would be positive

I couldn’t have been happier! It was as if all the worries, concerns and heartache dissipated. And then discovering at 8 weeks that there were two babies.

But then after the happiness of being pregnant, of having twins came the fear of loosing them. The discovery of dilation and needing to be put on trendelenburg bedrest. The odds of only a 10% chance of surviving birth. Each.

Blame in bedrest, believing that it was all on me. Every day was a struggle, a fight with my own body. The first night I couldn’t sleep, I was crying talking with my mother-in-law about her experience with three bedrests and two preemie deliveries. One was a very sad outcome that was too close to my own situation, the other was my husband.

And that is just the emotional side of the bedrest. Physically it took a great tole on me, for the first 4 days I had a major headache from being head down, and my neck throbbed. I tried my best not to complain, to not think of my physical discomfort because I believed that if I was too concerned with my own pain I wouldn’t win the fight to keep the girls safe inside.

I was told that I would last at most 4 days due to what the medical staff had seen before. That at 6 cm I was too far gone to give them more time. But I am stubborn and I knew that even 4 days would get them to 24 weeks and would give them better odds. I also knew that I would set a new bench mark, that I would last longer and give the girls as long as I could.

We fought for our pregnancy, I was going to fight to give them the best start before they began their fight. But on the Sunday when I couldn’t get comfortable we quickly learned that I finally hit 10 cm. But I wasn’t going to give in yet. I gave them another 4 days. 4 days to get just past 25 weeks, before the doctors said that it would do more harm with risk of infection. But because I lasted 14 days on bedrest I got them to a 60% chance of surviving their birth.

The sadness of their early delivery was overwhelming. Going in, we didn’t know if they would survive delivery, or if I was only going to deliver Gwen and go back to bedrest for Avery. Pushing for over 49 mins on Gwen I had believed that she was gone. That it was too much on her little body. But she came out screaming and did really well. Avery decided that she wanted to come too and only 9 mins later she came into the world toes first wiggling all the way.

The NICU was at least a calm spot for me. Yes my girls fought for their lives there with their medical staff, but it was no longer in my hands. The girls did what they could and I trusted the nurses and doctors fully. I knew that they would do whatever they could to to keep them alive. I met other parents who were watching their little babies fight and we still talk to this day and I love their kids like family.

Gwen - Jan 22, 2012 (27)

Gwen

Avery - Jan 24, 2012 (5)

Avery

Lingering health issues and doctors appointments. I naively believed that if they survived birth and the NICU that they would be fine. I quickly learned that between all the things that had to be done to them to help them survive could actually cause lasting affects. I should have known better, but after seeing your children defy the odds part of you believes that that is what they will continue to do.

They were followed by everyone, everyone.

Avery had blood pressure issues, and had a voice issue that we discovered overtime that was due to a paralyzed vocal cord. She will always have it, and it came about due to her PDA surgery, without the surgery she would have died.

Gwen’s prolonged ventilation, her three bouts of jaundice, the antibiotics they put her on many times her temps spiked until they found out if she had an infection and her extremely low birth weight all contributed to her hearing issue. Auditory Neuropathy, why did it have to be such a complex diagnoses.

But the positives of being followed by everyone is that we now know Avery is nearsighted, and it isn’t due to her premature birth, it’s genetic. She will need glasses before she starts school, and will get them before most kids vision problems get picked up. Without being born early, we wouldn’t have know this.

Without being born early I wouldn’t have learned as much as I do about blood pressure, hearing, vision, development. Many doctors and nurses have commented that I would do well in the medical profession due to how much I retain and study about all of the obstacles the girls have faced. My response is that I am their advocate, if I don’t understand everything then I can’t fight properly for them. I need to give them the best chance for them to develop and grow like normal kids. Not like preemies. Not like kids with disabilities.

So. Looking back, what was worse?

The first two years were hard, I hit some of my lowest points during that time. But it ended with the happiness of becoming pregnant, and some online friends that I will always have.

The last two have seen some of my happiest and saddest moments.

So they both were bad in their own way, the only way the last two are more manageable is because I have my girls, I have the support of others and I’m not covering up my sadness.

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Avery

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Gwen

For more about this beautiful family, visit: http://hitachiin1.blogspot.ca/

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Guest blog: Embryo Adoption

This is my first guest blogger, in a series (I hope), of various topics. Myself, and my guest bloggers, hope to inspire others by sharing these stories. If you have something to share, please email me @ Baby4Lisa(at)gmail(dot)com. Please comment with any questions for the guest blogger or myself.

One thing I’ve learned is that there are many different paths to parenthood. Our own personal journey led my husband and I toward embryo adoption.
For us, adoption was always a backup plan. Years ago – before seven IUI’s, two IVFs and a small fortune in meds/procedures – we explored our thoughts and resolved that if we can’t get pregnant, we will adopt.
We felt that our second round of IVF might be our last hope of having our own biological child. We started with two fresh cycles, but both failed. So our last FET with two leftover embryos from the previous cycles truly seemed like our absolute last chance. It resulted in a pregnancy, but then sadly a miscarriage after nine weeks.
According to our original plan, our next step was the adoption agency. We had already selected an agency about a year ago, and had learned as much as we could about the adoption process.
But during this very sad time (I was miscarrying), my acupuncture doctor suggested embryo adoption. I had heard of that option before, but as with other possible options, I had never really considered it.
While lots of my friends in my support group were discussing donor eggs, I really was not drawn to that. And surrogacy never came to my mind either, maybe because of the enormous expense. We agreed that we are not going to have a child and be completely broke.
But somehow embryo adoption sounded more and more interesting to us as we looked into it. If you know anything about regular adoption, then you know that it can be very expensive, with lots of legal requirements.
Embryo adoption -as presented to us- seemed like a much easier route. Basically, couples that have had IVF treatments often have left over embryos that are kept preserved in cold storage. If they conceive without using all of their stored embryos, they can choose to donate their leftovers for adoption.
For people in our situation, this process bypasses many of the legal hurdles of full adoption. And often- not always- there is only the cost of the frozen embryo transfer and legal fees. Altogether, it can be up to ten times less expensive than adoption!
Not all IFV clinics have an embryo adoption program, but we were lucky enough to be referred by my acupuncture doctor to one that does. While some embryo adoption programs can be a lot more complicated than others, on the whole it’s less complicated than the full adoption process.
I had accepted that my being pregnant was not as important as having a child of our own no matter how we got there. Still, I find the prospect of being pregnant and carrying our adopted child to be a major plus of embryo adoption. Of course I know that there is no guarantee of success, but as ever, there is always hope.
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During these long and sad years hoping for the kid I always was wondering why our wait is so long. Now I can tell that I was waiting for my sweet little boy. He fits so perfectly into our family. We are so happy and blessed!
If anyone has any questions I would gladly answer.
Babydust to all!
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Hospital Bag and post-partum care: What I actually used

I thought it might be helpful to do an updated post about my hospital bag and post-partum care items. Click here for the original post.

This was my list:

Hospital Bag:
•Photo ID, insurance card, list of medications, and birth plan (also pediatrician info if you have one) –

  • These items were a must.

•A couple changes of clothes (loose-fitting maternity clothes) –

  • I only needed one outfit for going home. I stayed in my hospital gown because things got messy.

•Underwear –

  • I didn’t use any. The hospital provided mesh underwear to wear with huge pads. I definitely would not have wanted to wear my own right away. I bought depends to wear for the first week or so, with a pad inserted inside. The bleeding was very heavy.

•Bras/nursing bras –

  • I only wore one on my way home. Since I cannot breastfeed due to medical reasons, I had to wear a bra 24-7 for a couple weeks after giving birth, to help keep my milk from coming in. I only had a couple days where my breasts swelled, got sore, and leaked a tiny bit.

•Breast pads –

  • Only needed them for a couple days, since I am not breastfeeding.

•Socks –

  • I didn’t need any. The hospital wanted me to wear their socks that had tread on the bottom, so I wouldn’t slip and fall.

•Flip flops –

  • These were a MUST for me! My feet began swelling massively the day I left the hospital. I had a pair of cheap flip flops that were kinda big and loose on my feet, thank goodness.

•Slippers –

  • Didn’t use any.

•Chapstick –

  • Very important! My lips got soooo dry during labor.

•Nipple cream, if nursing –

  • I didn’t need any. My milk hadn’t come in anyway, so even if I was nursing, I would not have needed it. (If you are breastfeeding, you probably should bring it.)

•My own shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, body spray, hair gel. –

  • I LOVED having my own stuff when I took a shower!!

•Hair ties and/or headbands –

  • Definitely needed those!

•A couple snacks –

  • Hubby needed them, since it was such a long labor. Glad we brought some.

•Hard candies for me to suck on (some people bring suckers or popsicles) –

  • I actually didn’t use any. The hospital had popsicles, and I mostly sucked on ice chips.

•Change for vending machines –

  • Hubby used it all.

•Extra batteries for the camera –

  • We didn’t end up needing any extra ones. We took some photos on our camera, but used our phones a lot.

•When ready, we will grab the camera and my phone and charger (Andy’s phone and charger, too). –

  • Definitely needed those!

•Our laptop isn’t working, or we would bring that as well. –

  • N/A (Would have been nice to have, but my phone worked fine.)

•Pillow for me and boppy nursing pillow –

  • I didn’t bring any pillows. I kind of wish I had. The hospital pillows SUCK so bad!! Although, my pillows would have gotten messy, most likely. I could have maybe gotten some cheap pillow cases and waterproof covers or something.

In a smaller duffel bag:
•A couple outfits for Graham –

  • We only used one outfit for going home, but we probably could have used more if we wanted. We were glad we had different sizes, since he was a lot smaller than we thought he would be.

(Hospital will provide all items needed for baby’s care while you’re there).
•Extra space to take as many hospital goodies as we can (LOL, everyone does it). –

  • We took everything we could! The nurse told us to.

Items on hand to take care of my post-pregnancy body:
•Depends –

  • These were great to have.

•Super heavy, long pads –

  • I am STILL using a ton of these! I should have bought like 10 packs of them!
    (Hospital will provide mesh underwear and other personal care items while you’re there).

•I’m hoping to get a peri-bottle at the hospital to take home. –

  • They gave me one. It’s important to use every time you go to the bathroom.

•Extra underwear –

  • Since I used Depends during the heaviest days, I haven’t had to throw any out now that I’m wearing them. Larger underwear is a must. They don’t have to be granny-panties necessarily. I have hipsters, which are roomier.

•Bras/nursing bras –

  • I was glad I had a couple bras that were a little loose on me, because my boobs got bigger when my milk was trying to come in. Now, they are about the same size they were during pregnancy. They might be getting a little smaller.

•Breast pads –

  • Barely used. You will need plenty if you are breastfeeding.

•Nipple cream –

  • Didn’t use. You will need it if you’re breastfeeding.

•Tucks Pads or Preparation H Wipes (look for witch hazel as the ingredient) –

  • Oh yes, you will definitely want these!!

•Colace (stool softener) –

  • Very important! I have hemorrhoids from giving birth, and it hurts to go # 2! I still take Colace everyday.

•Ibuprofen (pain reliever) –

  • I definitely had to take some all day long, everyday. I still need it. I also had Vicodin, but still needed Ibuprofen.

•I found this awesome recipe on Pinterest to make your own “padsicles”, which are pads soaked in witch hazel and then frozen. They’re supposed to feel pretty amazing on your lady parts after giving birth. *Click Here*

  • I didn’t end up making these. I should have though. The hospital had some iced pads, which felt nice. I took a few home with me.
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Graham spam

I have some more photos to share, including the pictures we had done at the hospital! They did a nice job. We’d like to order more of the poses when we have a chance.

We’re all doing well, except Graham’s tummy issues haven’t improved like I thought. The gripe water seemed to work great after the first and second dose. Then, things went downhill again. It usually helps with hiccups, but his gas is still so bad. Poor baby. Just 2 days ago, we switched formulas to a sensitive brand, bought different nipples for his bottles, and picked up a more expensive brand of gripe water (it’s supposed to be better, but who knows).

We’re still trying everything the pediatrician and our friends/family have recommended. Belly massage helps a little bit. I know this may continue to be an issue no matter what we try, but we want to feel like we’re doing everything we can to make Graham feel better. I think there’s a possibility he has reflux, so I will ask the pediatrician at our appointment next week.

The day before yesterday was my due date! Graham is growing like a weed! My doctors definitely made the right decision to induce early. He is thriving! He makes me so proud. Everyday he grows stronger, becomes more responsive and alert, makes me laugh, and makes me fall in love with him even more. He’s curious and wide-eyed and wants to look around at everything. He’s gotten a lot more wiggly! He smiles a lot! I know they say it’s only gas, but I swear he smiles when I say certain things or play music he likes. 🙂 I’ve never seen anything cuter than my son’s smiles, even if it is gas!

You can follow us on Instagram @ lisabttc

1 week old ~ 8.10.13

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2 weeks old ~ 8.17.13

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17 days old ~ Due date (8.20.13)!

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18 days old ~ 8.21.13

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18 days old ~ 8.21.13

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2 days old ~ Hospital photos (Andy’s hand holding him) ~ 8.5.13

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2 days old ~ Hospital photos ~ 8.5.13

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