I always knew that I wanted to be a mom someday. Never in my wildest dreams, however, could I have predicted what motherhood would be for me. Our first set of twins, Braeden and Raegen, were born in September of 2010. When Tom and I found out we were pregnant with twins earlier that year, it was somewhat of a surprise but not a total shock. We did IVF and put two great looking embryos in, and were fortunate for both to implant. We were thrilled, and our families were too. I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy up until about 34 weeks, at which time I was told to take it easy. The babies were born healthy at 35 weeks, and only spent a short time in the NICU transitioning and learning to eat. The first several months at home were hard, adjusting to being parents and getting the babies into a routine. Having twins was just as other twin moms had told me- the first year is rough but then it DOES get easier.
Fast forward a few years. We started talking about trying IVF again right around the time that our “babies” turned 3. I think if you have twins and always know that you want to have another baby, it is really difficult to decide WHEN to do it. I don’t think I would have been ready any time in the first couple of years. But with the kids being potty trained, feeding themselves, and finally gaining some independence and personality, things finally felt a little “easier.” We had 4 frozen embryos, and I was absolutely adamant that I only wanted to transfer one this time. I really wanted to experience what it was like to have a singleton pregnancy and one baby to care for. In November, we thawed 2 embryos and put one in. The embryos are frozen in vials of 2, so unfortunately you have to thaw both. The one that we didn’t use did not survive, and the one we transferred did not implant. A few months later, we decided to give it one last shot with our 2 remaining embryos. I really struggled with what to do- should we put in 1 or 2? After a lot of thought, we decided to go ahead and put both in. We saw this really as our last chance and my doctor told me that even with putting both in, the chances of both implanting was pretty low. A couple of weeks later, we got the good news that I was pregnant! We went for our first ultrasound to make sure everything looked ok, and one perfect little “blob” popped up on the screen. Tom asked if the doctor was sure there was just one, and he said he was sure. I think we both breathed a little sigh of relief at that moment. The plan was to go back in a week or so for 1 more ultrasound and then I would be released to my regular OB.
The following week, I had some bleeding so they had me come in a few days early for that second ultrasound. I told Tom that he didn’t need to take off work again to come with me, and that I would just call him after. I was actually scared that I would go in and find out that I had miscarried because of the bleeding. During the ultrasound, my doctor reassured me that everything with the baby looked great, and that some people just experience bleeding early on. I was on all the right meds and he really felt that everything would be fine. As he was finishing up, he moved the wand over and I saw it before he said anything…there was another baby in there. He quickly said, “wait, we didn’t see 2 last time, did we?” I think my exact response was, “Are you serious?” I think he was just as surprised as I was, but told me that everything looked great with that baby too. He sat back and started talking about what might cause the bleeding, what they would be looking for, etc. At least I think that is what he was talking about. I honestly was not even listening. Up until about 10 minutes ago, I thought I was pregnant with one baby. Now he was telling me I’m having twins again? To say that it was the shock of my lifetime would be a complete understatement. I think he sensed that I wasn’t focused so he told me to call him if I had any questions. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. I got in the car and thought about who I could call. Tom was at work and I knew he wouldn’t be able to focus the rest of the day if I told him, so I called my mom. As soon as I said the words out loud, I lost it. I am almost embarrassed to say that I cried. I was so overwhelmed with so many different emotions, and my mind was racing. I was so happy to be pregnant, yet terrified to have twins again. I blurted out exactly what I was thinking to my mom- what is Tom going to say? We are going to need a bigger house, a new car! What if my body can’t handle another twin pregnancy? There’s no way I will be able to keep working full time with 4 kids! How will we handle it financially? This was not fair to my older two! And so many other things…
My mom tried to calm and reassure me, but there wasn’t much she could say at the time to make me feel better. I then decided that I needed to tell Tom- there was no way I could keep this to myself all day. I drove to his work and met him in the parking lot as he was coming back from lunch. I didn’t say anything, I just handed him the ultrasound picture. We were very familiar with a twin ultrasound picture so he knew right away. He was silent for a couple minutes but then said, “Ok, well it is what it is. We will deal with it and everything will be ok.” I couldn’t believe how well he was handling it.
I was very anxious and emotional for about a week, and then it finally started to sink in. Don’t get me wrong, I was never disappointed or unhappy with our situation. I was scared, overwhelmed, and worried. I am a NICU nurse, and I think any of the nurses that I work with would agree when I say that working there really puts a damper on pregnancy. What should be a happy time in your life is actually 9 months filled with anxiety and worry because of all the things we see. And I think I was actually “mourning” the fact that I would never know the feeling of carrying one baby, of giving my undivided attention to one baby.
When we told our families our news a couple months later, everyone was shocked but so excited. I really started to feel better and more at ease after I saw everyone’s reaction. Tom and I truly have the most incredible support system. You know the saying “it takes a village to raise a child,” well we have that village. An amazing one. After I had some time to process everything, I was able to realize how lucky and blessed Tom and I really were. Braeden and Raegen were the best thing to ever happen to us. They have brought so much joy into our lives, and they are the best of friends. They have a bond that they will never have with any other person. And now we were going to experience that all over again.
My second pregnancy was definitely different than the first. I felt exhausted the whole time, and chasing after 2 toddlers didn’t help. At 31 weeks, my water broke suddenly. I was put on hospitalized bedrest in an attempt to keep the babies in until 34 weeks. It was a rough time for not only me, but for my husband and kids as well. I hated being away from them. A couple days after I hit the 32 week mark, I started contracting and bleeding and the doctors decided it was time to deliver. Daniel and Quinn were born that night, weighing in at 3 lbs 13 oz and 3 lbs 12 oz. They spent just under 4 weeks in the NICU. They were perfect and did everything right on track. Having my work friends take care of our babies was a blessing. I never had a doubt in my mind that my babies were in the best place they could be. I was nervous to bring them home, but also ready to have my whole family under one roof. The babies are now 12 weeks old, and I would say that we are all still adjusting. We have good days and bad days, just like anyone else.
Our life is busy and chaotic at times, but good. Sometimes the babies will be playing on the floor and the older 2 will be talking to them and entertaining them, and I just stand and think that I cannot believe all of these little people are mine. Braeden and Raegen are the best big brother and sister in the world. They are always willing to help and are absolutely in love with their babies. I am much more relaxed this time around, and I have some experience under my belt. I have come to accept some things: My house will always be a mess. I will very often have spit up or food on my shirt. Some days I won’t get 5 minutes to myself, or even time to shower. There will be great days, but there will also be very challenging days. I will get looks of pity in public and hear “you really have your hands full” more times than I care to hear. But I also know this: I will never be bored, and I will always have someone to talk to. I will always have a full house for birthdays, holidays, and special events. I have a family dynamic that not many people have. My best friend and I get to spend our lives together with our 4 amazing kids. My heart is full of love and joy for all of my babies, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our family.
Our journey will not be an easy one, but I know that it will be worth it. I think all twin moms agree that having twins is unique and amazing. I’m so blessed to experience it twice!