A mom of twin boys shares her and her husband's journey of fertility treatment – from being told they're infertile to going for IVF treatment.
"My husband and I struggled to fall pregnant and after countless tests were classified as a couple with 'unexplained infertility'. What a shock… how could it be unexplained? How could no test or doctor determine what was wrong? How could we not have that little bundle that we so desired?
We met an amazing doctor and his staff at a fertility clinic. He gave us hope and we saw that glimmer of a chance that we would one day be blessed with a child.
Again all the tests started: blood tests, sperm counts, ovulation... the list goes on and on.
The six rounds of artificial insemination
We began our journey with 6 rounds of artificial insemination (AI). Each time getting up at 4am to ensure we were at the clinic by 7am. I remember the nervousness of having to transport a sperm sample through the traffic and wondering, would we make it on time? Would the traffic be too heavy? Would the sample by alive when we arrived? Would it work this time so that we too can have a baby? All the questions buzzed through our minds.
But yet it was unsuccessful every time.
The difficult decision had to be made: do we continue on to IVF or do we accept that we would just not be able to have a baby? It was not an easy decision by any means. The financial consequences, the intensity of the procedure, the mental anguish every time we'd get the call to say we weren't pregnant... We debated and debated. Finally we decided to continue. We only had two chances at IVF but we were going to do anything we could to have our blessing.
Moving on to IVF treatment: round 1
The first round of IVF was scary. The medication and injections were a lot more intense compared to AI. Everything was timed to (what felt like) minutes. We even had to have an injection at 11pm at night. As neither my husband nor I could inject me, we had to drive to the hospital where we found a helpful nurse that could wait for us to ensure I got the injection at 11pm sharp! That was the doctor's instructions after all!
With the first round of IVF the doctors managed to harvest 4 eggs. One of the eggs was immediately classified as not viable. The remaining 3 could go to the laboratory for their touch of magic. Anxiously we waited. The following day only 2 eggs remained and by day 3 there was just 1 egg left. We hoped this would be our miracle. The 1 egg was implanted. But a few days and another blood test later, we were told I was not pregnant.
The second round of IVF began with even more medication as we needed to get more eggs. This was our last try and we needed eggs suitable for freezing should the implantation not work.
This time 13 eggs were harvested. Again one was immediately classified as not viable. The remaining 12 went off to the laboratory and... we waited. By day 2 only 8 were left and growing. When the day of implantation came around there were only 3 eggs left. Two were excellent but the third was weaker. It was not viable to freeze the weaker egg so my husband and I decided to implant all 3. It was risky but there was only a 3% chance of all 3 eggs successfully implanting. We were willing to take those odds.
The day came for the pregnancy test. The blood test was done early the morning and then the wait began. We knew this was the final chance.
Finally we got a positive! We were elated and couldn't believe we had a bundle on the way after being told we were infertile.
We had a second blood test a few days later to confirm the pregnancy. When we got the reading from the clinic, I realised (or should I say I researched) that the reading was very high for only 2 weeks since the implantation. My stomach started to get a nervous flutter and the idea of multiples started to become a faint reality.
The day of the scan arrived and the doctor confirmed what I had suspected: We were pregnant with twins. I asked the doctor to do the scan again as I wanted to be sure there were only 2 and not 3. Again the confirmation and reality – not only were we blessed with one bundle of joy but two!
Not easy, but worth it
The pregnancy took a lot out of me physically and emotionally. I was tired from the early stages of the pregnancy and my body was taking strain. The boys were growing at the pace of singletons and my body was struggling to keep up. But they were healthy and that's what was important. My body just had to cope.
I was admitted twice to hospital was Braxton Hicks contractions in the early stages of the pregnancy. I was 29 weeks when I was diagnosed with preeclampsia – a life-threatening situation for me and my babies. I was immediately admitted to hospital and told I would not leave until the babies were born – whether it took 1 day or the remaining 8 weeks.
On 18 February 2015, at 30 weeks, the doctor decided the preeclampsia was becoming too dangerous and it was time to deliver the babies. I had a C-section and the boys were born at 7:50, just a few seconds apart, weighing 1.6kg’s each.
They remained in the NICU for 10 weeks before finally being allowed to go home.
The birth was followed by weeks of illness, sleepless nights and struggles as they had to feed every 3 hours, and then finally every 4 hours. Most nights we would get by on 30 minutes' sleep. At the time we felt lost in our world but today we can look back and say even though it was incredibly difficult, we have two amazing little boys. They fill our life with laughter and unconditional love.
It is hard work raising twins but so rewarding. Nothing can be more wonderful than your twins calling out “mommy!” and “daddy!”. We were blessed to be given our babies and even more blessed to be able to have twins."
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