Sunday, June 5, 2011

Our Pregnancy Story: The First Trimester

In honor of the babies' upcoming first birthday, I am finally going to record our pregnancy and delivery story. Since their birthday is Wednesday, I must stop procrastinating and start reminiscing! Watching Emily and Drew grow from embryos the size of appleseeds to smart, funny, toddling babies has been the greatest joy and blessing of my life. With awe and a heart overflowing with gratitude, I am honored to share the tale of our first trimester.

Marty and I in Mexico the month before we got pregnant.

After years of imagining what it would be like to be pregnant, I confess that the early days of my twin pregnancy did not fulfill any of my preconceived notions.

Despite an ultrasound picture that clearly showed TWO babies, I still felt strangely not pregnant.

All of my pregnancy books warned that being pregnant with twins often means double the morning sickness. Not for me. Again, I felt strangely not pregnant.

Between my 5 week ultrasound and six week ultrasound, I found myself sniffing strong odors, hoping for a wave of nausea, or feeling my boobs, hoping for a twinge of tenderness. Surely, if two babies were growing strong, I would feel something. I felt strangely not pregnant.

Then, one day before my six week ultrasound, I started spotting. This was not the sign I had hoped for.

Frantic, I emailed my doctor, who casually reassured me that spotting occurs in one third of all pregnant women. He tells me, “You are going to do fine.” I needed the boost of confidence.

I so wanted to know I was really pregnant.

We arrived early for our appointment the next morning, and our doctor was right. Our babies were still there—this time with precious heartbeats, flickering fast and furious on the screen, one slightly slower than the other. I remember the doctor even remarked then that maybe we had ourselves a girl and a boy.

The doctor also assured me again that the bleeding was common, and he even guessed about a possible cause. A darker spot on the ultrasound, he pointed out, suggested there could have been a third—a vanishing triplet—that never made it past the very earliest stages. To a reproductive doctor, this is a very common occurrence in the conception process; to a mother, the possibility is a question that I often ponder, with a sense of sadness and curiosity, thinking “What if?”

Still symptomless, time ticked on to our last appointment with our fertility specialist. We had another ultrasound at seven weeks that once again revealed growing babies. Our RE’s work was done. He was releasing us and our “dichorionic diamniotic twin gestation” to the capable hands of an obstetrician with experience in high risk multiple pregnancies.

At this point, I still felt strangely not pregnant—except for the weight gain. My pants were snug. My shirts were clinging around the middle. I could not completely blame babies for this sudden swell. It was probably a combination of babies, milkshakes, and the residual effects of the fertility meds that had left my ovaries and my mid-section plumped. Still unwilling to buy maternity clothes, I opted to go to Old Navy and buy some pants and loose-fitting shirts one size up. Those fit well for about another two weeks. If I had only known that by twelve weeks, full maternity would be needed, I could have saved myself the trouble.

At eight weeks we went through the lengthy first ob appointment. Family history, medical history, blood work, paper work, and another ultrasound. Again, I cried as I saw two beautiful circles on the screen, both measuring right on track for a June 21 due date.

We learned during our visit that we would never make it to that date even if things went perfectly. With twins, 38 weeks would be considered full term. Our doctor was very clear on the risks we were facing. A twin pregnancy meant more monitoring, more appointments, more chances for complications, including early delivery. To be safe, they advised home rest starting at 28 weeks. I remember the doctor telling me that I would be begging him to take me out of work at 24 weeks. I remember thinking how far away 24 weeks seemed.

We decided to go ahead with the pre-pregnancy birthday trip we had planned for Vegas. I would be right at 11 weeks. The doctor felt it would be safe but wanted to check me again before we left, so I had another appointment the day before we left. They would see me again at 12 weeks when would we finally hear the heartbeats on the Doppler. At 12 weeks, it would also be fairly safe, according to my doctor, to announce our pregnancy to the world.

Apparently, he doesn’t know my family. They can’t keep a secret. The word was out almost four weeks earlier.

We left the appointment, carrying a bag of coupons, pregnancy magazines, and hospital registration forms, with our minds filled with a competing sense of reality and disbelief.

June still seemed so far away.

Vegas as a pregnant woman is slightly different from Vegas as a single woman. This time I held my pants together with rubber bands instead of wearing skimpy club shirts. I drank copious amounts of water instead of casino drinks. I gambled and dreamed of spending my winnings on cribs and baby clothes. I avoided smoky areas and was in bed by midnight. I was extra cautious about my coordination at the Grand Canyon. I overcame my fear of airplane bathrooms.

Mommy-to-be at Red Rock Canyon

Hitting the jackpot for me didn’t happen in Vegas; it happened when we finally hit 12weeks. We had survived the first trimester. Our risks dropped and our chances of a successful pregnancy went way up.

I finally felt pregnant.

Maybe now it would be okay to take a pregnancy belly picture without fear of jinxing myself.


Johanna said...

Can't wait to hear about the next two! :)

Andrea said...

Beautiful first trimester tribute! Like Johanna I can't wait to read more! Have a great week!

Shell said...

I love reading pregnancy stories! You're lucky you didn't have bad morning sickness!

dollimama said...

You had a lot of Ultrasound photos! That is a lovely story and I am excitead about hearing the rest.

Beth said...

I love the look back at your pregnancy! Weren't you lucky to avoid the morning sickness? I'm eager for the rest.

Chelsea Leis said...

I'm sure that this moment in your life definitely makes you smile whenever you look back at it. This is actually one of the memories that can make you go "Aww~ They grow up so fast~"

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