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!
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.
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?
And it was a sad time.
Then, July 24, 2011…The second 2 years
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.
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.
For more about this beautiful family, visit: http://hitachiin1.blogspot.ca/