Category Archives: Friends

Happy four weeks!

Today is the boys due date and marks four weeks since their birth. Wow time really does fly! The last few weeks have been both the toughest and the happiest weeks of my life. I’ve never had so little sleep, felt so inept, or cried so many tears, but at the same time I’ve been delighted at just how magical our little boys are and have revelled in the fact that these two little men have graced us with their presence. They say the first 6 weeks are the hardest, that things can only get better, and if that’s the case things are going to be great. I’m under no illusion that this parenting gig will be easy, I know there are going to be tough times ahead but I’m optimistic that if my hubby and I can survive these few weeks (albeit with a lot of help from friends and family) we can survive almost anything. I did say that about our infertility journey though also!

So there’s not too much to report on the blur of the last four weeks. The boys have gone from tiny premature infants to more traditional newborn babies, they’re in a reasonable routine of sleep-change-feed-sleep every three hours or so, although in the last couple of days have really craved (and received) a bit more social and activity time. We’ve been told by a couple of our medical monitors that activity time shouldn’t be happening for another couple of weeks but our boys are alert and actively seeking it out so screw what they should be doing, I’m going to give them what they need….and they’re loving it!

They spent a good 10 minutes hanging out with each other on their floor mat earlier today, and absolutely loved checking each other out and interacting with each other (something they haven’t been too keen on until now.) They’re also doing amazingly with their head/neck control and seeking/maintaining eye contact, and they love their cuddle time. No smiles just yet, other than the gassy grins that come after feeding but I’m hoping we’re not too far off that.

They’re also going from strength to strength on the weight front and having been monitored by NICU Homecare, our obstetrician’s midwife, and now Plunket, have been weighed and measured on a pretty regular basis. Bee began life with a weight of 2210g, a length of 46cm, and head circumference of 32cm. He’s now (as of two days ago) 2740g, 50.5cm,and 35cm. And Bumble is doing his best to catch up, initially 1980g, 45cm and 31cm, he’s now 2370g, 49.5cm and 34.5cm. I’m so proud of them.

There have been challenging nights (and the occasional day). Mostly occurring when Bee, who suffers a fair bit from an upset tummy (lots of gas that he just can’t release despite all our best efforts and/or medication) screams hysterically and will only settle (eventually) when laying tummy to tummy on my husband. This means no sleep for hubs from around 10pm until anywhere between 4 & 6am. It’s tough, both the lack of sleep and the fact you know he’s in pain and there’s just nothing you can do about it. It’s heartbreaking.

Those times are far outweighed by the good however – the snuggles, the milestones, the funny faces pulled, the times they surprise even themselves. Bumble had a wee grizzle last night. He’s always been our quiet one, even his cries are small and cute, and last night was no different until suddenly he let out one big yell amongst his little whimpering’s and gave himself such a fright he threw his hands up, looked shocked, and shut himself up. My in-laws and I got a fright as well but proceeded to burst into fits of laughter at Bumble’s reaction to his own cry. It seems a little cruel to laugh at a cry but with the fact that he was so shocked by it himself we just couldn’t help ourselves.

We’ve been inundated with both visitors and gifts – I swear the local courier driver must think we’re running some sort of strange mail operation here with the number of times he’s come to drop stuff off, it’s nearly a daily occurrence! Fitting in all the visitors has been a little tricky as, until this week, the boys haven’t spent that much time awake and get easily overtired if stimulated (even through being held or looked at) too much. You desperately want people to come and see them – both to show them off and for the adult company – and you know how badly people want to meet them, but then you have to weigh that up with over-stimulation and the pure logistics of fitting people into their three hour cycle. Hopefully with the increase in activity time now things will get easier on that front.

We’ve also been brave enough to venture out of the house, making our first journey with the boys (other than the trip home from the hospital) to the exciting venue of the pet store when they were just under three weeks old. Since then we’ve ventured up the road for lunch – a nice stroll with them in their stroller bassinets – and to the local community centre/library for Bee’s follow-up hearing test (he passed!) The initial journey was terrifying, and I was paranoid something would go wrong, but once we had that under our belt things got a lot easier. It’s been fantastic being able to get out of the house as I was going a little stir crazy holed up in here.

My hubby and I have also managed a couple of lunches out by ourselves, thanks to my Mum babysitting. The first passed quickly in a buzz of nervousness at leaving the boys, and the second was a bit of a blur in our sleep-deprived state, but they’ve been awesome. It’s been fabulous to be able to have some ‘couple time’ so early on. Mum’s also stayed over a few nights and helped us out with the evil night-time and early morning feeds…thanks so much Mum!

My in-laws have also been amazing, coming over one to two times a week to make us dinner and take over the midnight or 1am feed using expressed milk so that my husband and I can get a decent amount of sleep in a stretch. I can’t put into words how much this helps and how much it means to us.

On top of that we’ve had other family members and friends come round with groceries, send food and gifts, help with feeds or with watching the boys while we sleep. We’re just so incredibly lucky to know the awesome people we do and to have such a massive amount of support through this time.

So that’s been the first four weeks. The boys have graduated from both NICU and midwife care and are now solely monitored by Plunket, we’re managing enough sleep to get by, and we’re rejoicing in everything our boys have to offer…except for maybe those all-nighter screams! Happy four week ‘birthday’ Bumble and Bee!

 

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The final countdown

And the roller coaster never ends. Monday we get given our C-section date and my blood pressure is high. Wednesday I have a Doppler scan to check the umbilical cord blood flow. Thursday we get the not so good news. And Friday I’m back in hospital. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning.

As mentioned in my last post, on Monday the 7th, we had an appointment with our obstetrician and he surprises us with our C-section date mere minutes before taking my blood pressure. It’s high which then puts us on pre-eclampsia symptom watch. Obviously this is not so fun, especially when my first cankles experience shows up later that night adding to the worry and nervousness around symptoms. Personally I think it’s just the timing of having my blood pressure taken and spending too much time on my feet that has caused the symptoms but after going through so much to get where we are I can’t help but worry.

Roll on Wednesday and the cankles have pretty much gone (I’ve been trying my best to rest and keep my feet up). I head in for my Doppler scan praying I have a different sonographer to last time. Alas, it seems that no one is listening to my prayers today as the same lady comes out and calls my name. Doh! She seems slightly more competent this time but still flusters at the beginning and just can’t seem to get her head around the simple fact that our twins have swapped places, so the one who is now our leading twin (the one nearest the birth canal) is actually titled “twin 2” while “twin 1” who USED to be leading has now taken a backseat. Again it takes a while to get what we need but at least we don’t have to do growth measurements this time. The Doppler readings look ok to me, and the amniotic fluid, although borderline for our leading twin, is acceptable so off I trundle home again.

Thursday. On getting back to my car after lunch with a friend there’s a voice message from our obstetrician on my phone. “Not too urgent but can you give me a call back.” Oh-o this can’t be good. I return his call and am transferred straight through to him. That never happens so now my heart is racing. Turns out it’s not so bad (I must have just caught him between patients) but it’s not good either. Apparently the Doppler scans show the blood flow to at least one baby is becoming compromised. While not urgent at the moment, this will require much closer monitoring so I’m booked in for twice-weekly visits to the Day Assessment Unit at the hospital. Not so convenient unfortunately as it’s 20 minutes drive away (rather than the 5 minutes to our usual scan place) AND I’ll have to pay for parking (exorbitant prices versus free). None of this matters though, as long as our boys are safe.

At each visit they’ll do a CTG to check out the boys heartbeats, a Doppler ultrasound to check blood flow, my Obs to keep an eye on blood pressure, and every fortnight (although realistically this probably means only one more) a growth scan ultrasound to measure the boys growth. Theoretically this should all fit into roughly an hour, yikes! Our obstetrician has booked me in at the Day Assessment Unit the following Tuesday (for CTG and fluid/blood flow check) and the next Friday (for CTG and a growth scan) – it’s all go and I cancel my pre-booked growth scan at our private radiology clinic (yay, no more useless sonographer!).

Friday. I’m not sure if it was the events of the previous day but one of our twins has decided not to really move for a good 24 hours. I’m sure everything is ok but it’s hard not to worry, especially with the ups and downs we’ve had lately, so eventually we call our obstetrician and head back to the Women’s Assessment Unit for some monitoring. I arrive pretty promptly and am hooked up to the CTG. Bee has still been quiet so I’m still stressing but of course within 10 minutes of the sensors going on he’s wriggling around like a fish. Typical. I feel bad for wasting everyone’s time but it’s better to be safe then sorry. My blood pressure etc. also look good so I’m out of there again just over an hour later. Talk about dramas!

The weekend is pretty uneventful and we truck through a few more of the things on the list in order to get the house ready. On Tuesday I head into the Day Assessment Unit for my first monitoring session. The fluid around each baby looks ok, still a little marginal for Bee but better than the scan we last had at our private clinic. The CTG is eventually fine too although it takes a while to find the two boys as the midwife (who I later find out is just helping out due to a busy day) is a bit hopeless…she actually blames her incompetence on me a little saying “it helps when the mother knows where the babies are” – um, you try having twins, especially ones who have already swapped places, and then let me know if you can tell me which way they’re lying! Anyway, the good midwife who usually runs the clinic manages to get the monitor to pick them up and after about 45 minutes (someone wouldn’t stop wriggling!) we have a reading. Although the scan report hasn’t come through yet I’m allowed to go knowing that our obstetrician will call later in the day with the results.

He does eventually call, the scan report took AGES to come through, and the rollercoaster hits a dip again. The fluid is marginal as we knew but it’s also looking like the blood flow to the babies might be becoming further compromised. I’m advised to skip breakfast on Friday and take my hospital bag in with me when I attend Friday’s monitoring session, just in case they need to do an emergency caesarian on Friday afternoon. Oh my god I’m not ready! I mean my hospital bag is pretty much ready to go but mentally I’m not prepared for the boys to arrive that early. At 35 weeks on that day I know they’ll be in reasonable shape but I have my heart set on getting them just a little bit further.

Turns out I needn’t have worried as Friday’s scan and CTG results are great. The boys are still measuring a little small for their gestational age, with one at approximately 1800g and the other around the 2kg mark (3lb 15oz and 4lb 6oz) instead of the recommended 2250g (4lb 15oz) but they’re not too far off. I ask our OB about the weight difference between the two but he’s not concerned. They only worry about a difference of 20% or more and that’s ours is only 10% so we’re ok. The fluid looks good – the boys have moved a bit allowing better fluid measurement (Bumble, although not the leading twin anymore, is head down, and Bee is breach, bum first) – and the blood flow looks fine too. The CTG takes only 15 minutes, it seems everyone is behaving today, and my obs are fine too. All in all a great result and a good day! Up goes the rollercoaster again.

And then it plummets once more when on Saturday evening I notice some tinting when I go to the bathroom and by Sunday morning I’m spotting again. Will this drama never end?!? It’s old looking and there’s not too much of it but my hubby suggests we call our obstetrician just in case, so we do. He’s not too concerned and thinks it’s probably just left-over from my last bleed 5 weeks ago. He’s happy for me to stay at home and keep an eye on it, especially given our latest monitoring results were good. I’m happy with that, I’ve spent enough time in that hospital lately and it won’t be too much longer before I’m back in there for the big event with just over two weeks to go until our scheduled c-section.

It turns out that time is actually much shorter than we anticipated.   We have friends around for a Sunday afternoon tea and my husband’s phone goes with “No caller ID” displayed on the screen. He silences the call and goes to put the phone back in his pocket. “It might be N” (our obstetrician) I say so he ends up taking the call. I hear our obstetrician on the other end of the line confirming that it’s indeed him but then I hear no more. It’s torture to only hear half the conversation and I feel my skin prickle and my hands and feet sweat with nervousness. Our poor friends having to sit through me anxiously waiting to see what he has to say, I feel a bit rude but I can’t think straight until I know what’s up.

My hubby gets off the line and says “Friday.” My heart races. WTH?!? Apparently our OB has been reviewing our notes and with the spotting occurring this weekend he thinks it’s a good idea to pull our c-section forward to the next available elective slot this coming Friday. While I think that’s true I also think it has something to do with him being out of town on holiday the following week, secretly wanting to be the one to deliver our children (seeing as we’re his freakishly young USA donor egg patients – he’s never had anyone like us before) and not wanting to chance me needing a c-section from one of his off-siders while he’s away. He’s going to be on holiday the following week too but being back in the city was going to pop in to do our caesar on the 5th….see what I mean by I think he wants to deliver our babies!

Oh my gosh, I’m seriously sweating now and have gone into shock. Our friends think it’s funny and I guess it is. All that comes our of my mouth for the next wee while is “Oh my god” and various swear words, before I finally pull it together enough to return to a normal conversation. Our mates depart and I return to my panic. There’s still so much I want to get done before the boys arrive…not much that HAS to be done but definitely things I wanted to have crossed off my list purely for my piece of mind and satisfaction.

I start to work through the plan for the rest of the week and we let our parents and siblings know what’s going on. We decide not to tell our friends for the moment (other than the ones who were there when the news broke obviously, as there was no avoiding that), partially because it’s not guaranteed that the operation will go ahead on Friday – it depends on whether my scans continue to look good, on whether all the necessary staff line up, and whether there are spare beds for the boys in the hospital nursery (all things that will be confirmed later in the week), and partially because we want it to be a surprise for them. There hasn’t been much we’ve been able to surprise them with over this journey so it will be nice to be able to make the phone call/texts/emails that other ‘normal’ new parents get to make after the boys arrival.

Keeping it secret proves harder than I thought. Honesty is a value I hold dearly so feeling like I’m lying to my friends really grates me. I make a point of not outright lying to anyone as I just couldn’t handle that, but more skirt the tricky questions and answer in more general terms. “Next monitoring session on Friday?” gets a reply of “The Day Assessment Units monitoring days are Tuesday and Friday”, “Any chance they’d let you go longer if things are still really good a week from now?” gets “No, not a chance, our OB doesn’t want to risk anything.”, “Want to catch up next week?” = “Sure!” (I just won’t tell you it will be a catch up in hospital! I still feel bad doing this but for some reason I just need this to be a surprise.

I guess it’s a little to do with wanting to feel ‘normal’ and a little to do with buying ourselves some extra time to bond with the boys. I know how excited everyone is, how desperately many of them want to meet the twins, and understanding this (as well as being excited for them to meet the boys too) I know I would be hopeless at trying to delay people coming in. It’s a momentous occasion that hubby and I need to fully experience and accept without anyone else around. We’ve waited years for this.

The monitoring session on Tuesday goes well again; even more fluid around the boys (they’re obviously moving around), good blood flow, and a great CTG; and I think our obstetrician is slightly second guessing his decision to pull the c-section forward. In the end he decides it’s still the right call, we’re trading off a little extra prematurity (not too much at 36 weeks) for the boys arriving safely, and I tend to agree. The spotting isn’t really letting up, although it isn’t getting worse either, and I don’t want to risk anything going wrong at this late stage.

Following the monitoring session I’m booked into a pre-op admission session at the hospital across town so make the mad dash there for that. I meet with a nurse who measures my blood pressure (a little high from my dash across town), weight and height, and takes me through what I need to do the evening before and morning of my operation. Take a Ranitidine tablet (to reduce stomach acid) Thursday evening, nothing to eat after midnight, another Ranitidine on Friday morning, water only until I arrive at hospital, and be at the hospital day surgery unit (ORDA) at 8:30am. I can handle that.

Next I see the anesthetist. She’s not the one who will be there for my c-section but she performs all the checks and writes copious notes for the one who will be there on the day. She’s really lovely and walks me step-by-step through the operation including the people who will be there, how and when they’ll administer the anesthetic, what to expect in the operating theatre, and what will happen afterwards. She demonstrates how they find the correct place for the epidural/spinal and makes me feel better by commenting on how good my back is for finding the right spot.   She details post-op pain relief, possible side effects, and likely length of hospital stay, and I leave feeling pretty comfortable about everything.

Blood tests on Thursday to check that I’m ready to go and to identify the details they’ll need should I require a blood transfusion in theatre, and all that’s left is to await the confirmation call from my obstetrician to let us know that it’s full steam ahead. My husband and I head out for a nice yum cha lunch (probably our last for a while) and to check out a part of our local museum that they’re closing down and was always my favourite when I was a child (on a sidenote for Aucklanders – can you believe they’re actually closing the Colonial Auckland exhibit?!? Especially after all these years!)

The call from our OB comes around 2:45pm and we’re still all up in the air. There’s one spare bed in the nursery but not two. This could of course change overnight, for better or for worse, so he’s going to call again tomorrow and give me an update then. So the ideal plan is no food after midnight and it all goes ahead as we hope but, failing that, he’ll admit me to hospital for daily monitoring and we’ll take the first slot we can once beds are free. Plan B is far from ideal but I guess it’s a matter of whatever’s best for the boys (lucky we didn’t tell everyone it was tomorrow!). I’m disappointed. I like the 25th of September as a date, and I’d really like our OB to deliver the boys before he goes on holiday, but whatever will be will be and I just have to roll with it. The rollercoaster’s not quite done with us yet.


The ever-so-elusive baby shower

And I’m out of hospital just in time for my baby shower! The following weekend, when I’m 31 weeks and 2 days pregnant, is the long held date for the event we really weren’t sure we’d ever come to see.   I’m shocked that I’m actually pregnant and am having a baby shower of my own after heart-breakingly attending so many others over the years, and I’m doubly shocked that I’ve managed to stay out of hospital and stay pregnant with the boys long enough to make it to the big day.

Two of my dearest friends have organised the event and I know nothing except that I’m to turn up at a lovely restaurant on the waterfront at 3pm for high tea. Turns out I’m one of the first to arrive (so unlike me!) and it looks amazing! We have a semi-private room in an enclosed balcony; a long table in the sunshine with a view out over the harbour. The table is decorated with ribbons, little blue prams, blue baby shower ornaments, and two giant bottles – one filled with jube lollies for my husband and one filled with Pineapple Lumps for me (and if you don’t know what Pineapple Lumps are you need to find out and get some in your life!)

There’s already a pile of presents in the corner and this grows and grows (both with baby shower presents and with hand-me-downs) as the guests trickle in. It’s a really nice group of people – much of my family, and some of my oldest friends. We order tea and are bought out tiered trays of delectable food. It’s totally surreal and I find myself in a bit of a daze for the first 45 minutes or so as I just can’t believe this is ours – a party to celebrate the gorgeous boys that are finally in my tummy.

Of course, being a baby shower, there must be games. Firstly a sock game where you need to pair and fold as many baby socks as you can within the 20 second time frame. While this is occurring there are two ‘twin’ quizzes – match each celebrity with the names of their twins, and tick who of another list of celebrities is a twin and who isn’t. We’re in teams of two and the quizzes are hard! I’m not much one for gossipy magazines or anything so I have next to no clue. My brother-in-law and I take a guess at most of them and I’m pleased to say we take out the prize. I also take out the sock game with 10 socks paired and folded…yep, I’m totally ready for kids, hahaha!

The next few hours are spent eating, drinking (many with champagne but not me), and chatting. The food is fantastic and the company even better. I’m told I have to open the presents there and then which makes me a little nervous as I hate being the centre of attention. We’ve been utterly and ridiculously spoiled by our amazing friends and family, and I feel so grateful to have them all in our lives. I surprise myself by not crying, despite coming close a couple of times, but truth be told I do only skim over the cards as I know they’ll set me off. I settle down later at home where I can remove my makeup, and am free to bawl, to reread them properly.

Around 6pm people start to leave, kids to get home to etc. My husband and his Dad come into the restaurant to join us for a drink then we head home too. It’s been an absolutely amazing (and surreal) day and I just can’t put into words how much it has truly meant to me. CI and CB, thank you so much for organising it. And to all our friends and family who could make it, thank you so much! You all mean the world to us and I wish I could properly express how lucky we are that you are part of our lives. We love you all dearly.


25 weeks, 6 days

It’s been a good week. As previously mentioned, work is busy but at least that’s keeping me occupied, our house is slowly getting back into a somewhat tidy state which is nice, I also had a great pregnancy yoga class on Tuesday, followed by a great dinner out with my in-laws on Wednesday. A busy week but a good week.

Thursday rolls round and I’ve got another dinner planned with the girls from work for Thursday night. I can’t wait! For once we can all make it (something that is highly unusual for the group of six) and we’re going to a fab restaurant after drinks (non-alc for me of course) in the work bar. And then disaster strikes. I head down to the bar to meet the girls just before 6pm. Nip to the loo before settling down, and there’s a bit of blood in my underwear. Not a huge amount but enough to give me a bit of a fright and dash into one of the meeting rooms to call my hubby.

OK, I admit it, I’m starting to freak out a little. We’ve come so far, surely it can’t all turn to shit now can it? Of course it can, but I’m trying hard not to dwell on that. My hubs tries to call his Mum (a GP), no luck, then finds me the number for our obstetrician so I can call them. Of course it’s only just outside office hours and I end up with the after hours service, on the phone to some poor clueless call centre person who asks me how to spell “spotting”, I mean really?!?! And can’t give me any indication of when I can expect a call back from my OB…..I don’t want an exact time, just a will it be tonight or am I waiting anxiously until morning, that kind of thing.

I’ve let slip a few tears, I’m so so nervous. I need our boys to be ok, I already love them so so soooooo much! Luckily my OB phones back almost straight away. He’s thankfully back from holiday and is on duty at the public hospital tonight. He asks me what’s been going on, what the bleeding is like, and other symptoms. He says just to keep an eye on it, bleeding is reasonably common with twins, and to call back straight away if anything else happens. Phew. He doesn’t sound too concerned so I try to relax a bit and look forward to dinner out.

I stop quickly by my bag (which is sitting with the girls in the bar), trying to hide my tear-stained face, and head back to the bathroom to try and clean myself up. I don’t make it there unnoticed and one of my buddies knocks on the door of the bathroom soon after I enter to make sure I’m ok. I let her know what’s going on, trying unsuccessfully not to shed a tear. We chat for a bit and I promise I’m ok, but halfway through our conversation I feel that horrible sensation of something leaking out of me (sorry TMI). “I’ll just go pee,” I say “and then I’ll be out to join you.” She leaves and I hurriedly close the door, quickly pulling down my pants to have a look. There’s a heap of blood.

It’s dark and old looking but I’m totally freaking. I put myself back together and rush back to the meeting room to call after-hours again. I don’t mess around this time “I just called before for Dr W, can you please get him to call me urgently.” I can’t believe this is happening. Hang in there my darling boys, you have no idea how much I want you, how much I need you, just not in the outside world right now….in fact, ideally not for another 11-12 weeks!

Dr W returns my call and I’m told to come in to hospital to be checked out. A quick chat to my hubby and he’s on his way to collect me, there’s no way in hell I’m driving myself there. I return to the girls to wait for hubs, let them know what’s going on, and try to remain upbeat. Looks like we’re not all going to make it to dinner tonight after all.

Hubs arrives just before 7pm and I wish the girls a great dinner, making them promise to order my favs, before heading off. It’s an anxious, but luckily not too long a drive to the hospital. We’re not quite sure what to say to each other, too scared to discuss what this could (but hopefully doesn’t) mean. We make our way to the Women’s Assessment Unit and I spot our OB sitting out back behind the reception desk. Someone’s just given our room away (first in first served) so we’re whisked into a shared room with visiting family and children before being redirected to a different, rarely used room around the corner. It looks like it’s almost set up for deliveries which, although I know isn’t intended for us, is a little freaky.

I’m glad they’ve found us this other room, despite being overflowing tonight, as the check-up isn’t pleasant. First we get a scan of the boys, which is great. They seem fine regardless of my bleeding. I’m then switched to the next bed over where Dr W performs an internal exam on my cervix. Ouch. “It’s a little like a smear test,” he says “only there’s more discomfort when you’re pregnant.” He’s not wrong. Initially it’s just a little uncomfortable but then, as he examines further inside it gets down-right painful and starts to remind me a little of my hysteroscopy. Admittedly it’s not as excruciating as that was but it does hurt and in a similar way. At least that hopefully means I’ve still got a tight cervix. Yep, it’s still closed. Phew! That means the twins aren’t on their way immediately.

So what DOES it mean? Well, there’s no obvious cause of the bleed, but they think it’s either a little blood coming from the cervix or the placental edge. It’s mostly old blood so that’s a good sign too. What’s not a good sign is that it’s happened at all. Although bleeding IS common amongst twin pregnancies, having bleeding at 26 weeks could be a sign that our twins will come earlier than we’d like. There’s initially talk that they could potentially arrive this weekend but post-exam this is scaled back to “they shouldn’t show up in the next 10 days or so” and “we just need to keep an eye on it over the weekend and see how we go”. And just like that I’m admitted into hospital.

While waiting for a bed on a ward I’m given a steroid injection in my butt (ouch that stuff is thick!) to try and boost the boys lungs, and therefore their chances, just in case they do make an early appearance. I’m knackered and after shedding a few tears (still absolutely terrified for our gorgeous boys) I close my eyes for a while. And then an orderly turns up and I’m wheeled over to Ward 96. It feels very odd being in a wheelchair but with the tightening in my stomach at that point in time even the walk to the chair is difficult.

It’s somewhere approaching 9pm by this stage and I’m ravenous. I’m also shivering and exhausted. Too much stress and anxiety in too short a time period. It’s almost like I’m in shock, and I guess I am. A lovely midwife, H, gets me checked into the ward, shows me around, takes my weight and gets me settled into a bed. Next she does my obs and we finally get to hear our babies heartbeats for the first time ever (our obstetrician’s machine never has any batteries in it). It’s beautiful, our little boys are in there and going strong. It’s amazing how every extra little piece of information, each little experience along this pregnancy road, makes them so much more real, so much more human, and so much more ours. I can’t even begin to express how much I love them already, it makes me well up just thinking about it.

Once all the necessary procedures are done and dusted my hubby heads of home to grab me some things and to nab something for me to eat. I rest my head and try not to worry about things that won’t necessarily come to be. It’s hard though, I’ve been so determined to get these boys to 37 weeks (or anything mid-thirties onward) I’m not mentally prepared for them to arrive now at 26 weeks. I know if they were to show up now they’ve got a good chance of survival and a normal life – my niece was born around this time and she is now a lively, boisterous, and beautiful seven year old – but I’m really not ready for them to enter the world just yet. I’ve only just had the chance to start enjoying this pregnancy, I LOVE feeling them move inside me, bonding with them, and I don’t want to give that up yet, not when it’s potentially at a detriment to their quality of life.

Hubs is back with my things and some burgers, which we scoff before he heads home again, and I’m left alone with my thoughts and a very broken and anxious sleep until morning. What a never-ending rollercoaster this is turning out to be.


19 weeks and gender revealing

So it’s been over a month since I last posted something. The morning sickness has continued, and although as of last week I’m not vomiting every day any more, I’m still nauseous and exhausted. It’s basically taking all my energy just to get through my normal work day, eat dinner and go to bed, which means there’s little room left for writing unfortunately.

It’s amazing how much energy being pregnant with twins takes out of you. Maybe it’s just me but I am knackered! By the time I get up and get set for work in the morning I’m about ready for another lie-down, by lunchtime I’m totally pooped, and by 3pm my eyes are closing at my desk and I’m really struggling to get my work done. It’s nuts! Luckily my hubby started a new job this week which means we now have two cars and I can leave work when I need to…not that I leave that early, I feel guilty finishing up too far from my normal ‘go’ time.

On top of feeling physically sick I’m also struggling (especially today) with the emotional side of being pregnant after infertility. While fertile friends, 4 days ahead of us in their twin pregnancy, are totally ecstatic and rushing around buying everything they can find, I’m still not quite able to believe that this is real, absolutely terrified that something is going to go wrong and we’ll chalk up another failed treatment to the endless infertility blackboard. There are so many extreme emotions.

I’m nervous things will go wrong, disbelieving that this could actually be our time, worried about every little twinge, distressed when there aren’t twinges, sad that the naïve joy of a fertile pregnancy has been stripped from us, then on top of all that I feel guilty for feeling all these things, knowing that there are so many still in the infertility trenches that would kill to be in my place.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. At 19 weeks tomorrow my belly is finally starting to grow and, although not quite looking pregnant all the time, I think I’m definitely coming out of that ‘eaten too many pies’ phase.   As someone who’s always been conscious of weight it’s nice to be able to enjoy watching my belly grow knowing that our two little miracles are pushing it outward. This is one thing infertility has given me, the ability to feel good about my changing body, with little care as to what I will look like post-birth (I do like to feel healthy though so I’m sure I’ll be back doing weights at the gym as soon as I have the time and energy after the twins arrive).

I’ve started feeling movements too which is reassuring. I felt my first tiny flutterings around 11 weeks (although I know most doctors will tell you otherwise!), with them becoming more and more frequent, until now they’re more solid taps than flutterings and quite predictable at certain times of the day (mainly when I’m lying down morning & night). This is something else I’m loving and I can’t wait until I feel them all the time and can tell who is who.

We’ve had two proper scans, at 16 and 18 weeks, and the bubbas were growing well and on track at both. At 16 weeks they were worried one of the placenta’s (twin B’s) was too close to my cervix but that seems to be righting itself (fingers crossed) as time goes on. Twin A’s placenta is anterior while Twin B’s is posterior (one front, one back) which probably means, although not definitely, that the majority of the movement I’m feeling comes from Twin B as they’re closer to the outside, without a placenta between them and my tummy.

We also found out the twins sex at our 16 week scan which was so exciting! And we’re having twin boys! The result wasn’t really what we were expecting, which seems weird I know. My initial feeling weeks ago was two boys but then I’d convinced myself we had one of each, so to hear ‘two boys’ came as a real shock. Both hubby and I were stunned into silence for a minute or two, and even finishing up the scan and booking our next one I was so amazed and excited that I was barely coherent. We are totally team blue!

I was so disbelieving, again I have no idea why, that I emailed the clinic in San Diego to ask them to confirm from our PGS tests that I’m indeed carrying boys. Funny eh! I also got them to send through the sexes of our remaining frozen embryos and it turns out we had an exact 50/50 split. So we’ve got another 2 boys, 4 girls, and 2 unknown/untested embryos waiting for us in the States. I keep teasing my hubby that we’ll go back for a girl although I’d always planned on only two kids (ah, those plans of a pre-infertile mind) but I guess I’d never say never to a third. Let’s just see how we go with these two first eh! Any embryos we don’t use we plan on donating – preferably to another couple in need.

Once we knew the sex we started planning our gender reveals. We weren’t hooked on a big gender reveal party, I guess because of all the stuff we’ve been through to get here, but I knew I wanted to surprise my mum in some special way and I’d always planned on a gender reveal gimmick for a small group of our friends who have supported us right from the start.

For Mum we got two boxes and put a blue helium balloon in each, then tied them up with blue and pink ribbon. Our announcement coincided nicely with Mothers Day so my brother, his partner, my younger sister and stepdad were there as well which was great. Mum was convinced we had one of each purely because we’d used both pink and blue ribbon on the boxes. Haha, fooled you! My Mum opened one box and my brother the other, both to squeals of delight. It was cool.

They were then sworn to secrecy as the gathering with our group of friends wasn’t for another whole week. We let the rest of our families know in the intervening days then prepared for the big reveal to the friendship group. I had the crazy idea to make cupcakes….it was a mission. I couldn’t find half my baking stuff so it was a bit of a makeshift job and took way longer than it should have. Still, we got there in the end and turned up to the party with a batch of cupcakes looking plain on the outside but with little blue centres. We’d labelled half “Twin A” and half “Twin B” so half the group would find out one twins sex and the rest of the group the other twin.

Gender reveal cupcakes

Having sent a photo of the cupcakes (above) to a couple of my girlfriends pre-party, excitement was running high. At least one of the kids had already voiced their opinion “I don’t want a pink one!” Eventually it was time for the reveal. The kids all gathered around the dining table, were handed a cupcake each and told not to eat them until we said “Go!”. “3, 2, 1, go!” and the kids were away. I think the adults got a bit frustrated as the children were politely nibbling away at the outside, so a couple of the parents jumped in to rip them open.

“Twin B is blue!”

“Ooooooo! What’s twin A? Who’s going to yell out Twin A?

“Twin A! They’re both boys!”

Cue squeals and applause. It was awesome and I’m so glad we filmed it. Perhaps almost cooler was the video I received about a week later from one of the crew. Her son was playing ‘gender reveal’ by putting coloured discs into teacups – “if we’re having a boy it’s red….and if it’s a girl it’s pink.” Too cute!

So two boys it is and I think that’s actually starting to sink in. Let the preparations commence!….that is if I can bring myself to accept things will go right for once.


Surprise! (written 5th March 2015)

It is officially the longest morning of my life. I’m slightly nauseous as I wake but can’t decide if it’s from lack of sleep, anxiety about today, or morning sickness. I’m awake early which doesn’t help, but even the last hour from 9:15am until we leave for the clinic seems to take a lifetime. I can’t find enough to keep me occupied and spend a good deal of time swinging on one of the barstools in the kitchen telepathically sending messages to the clock to tick faster.

Eventually it’s time to leave. My hubby’s excited but I’m more nervous than I’ve ever been and on the verge of tears. We only live 5 minutes’ drive away from our clinic so before long we’re pulling into the carpark and heading up in the lift. It’s only a short wait before our doctor comes out to get us and with shaking legs I follow him into his office. He knows I’m nervous so doesn’t delay, “scan first, then we’ll talk” he says.

It’s still early days so it’s an internal ultrasound this time rather than the gel on the tummy number. One final date with dildocam (I hope). I lie there with my pants off waiting for the machine to start up and praying to the universe for a good result. Finally it’s time. The ultrasound wand goes in and my doctor exclaims “Well straight away I can tell you that there are two sacs.” I gulp, please let there be a heartbeat in at least one of them.

He has a closer look. “Yes, there’s the first heartbeat” he says, and I look at my tiny Bumble’s heart flickering away like a little moth on the screen. I’m trying hard not to cry. My baby is alive. It’s amazing, exciting, fear-inducing and surreal all at the same time. “Now let’s see if we can find the other one. It seems ‘the other one’ is a little trickier with the sac tucked right up in the uterus where it’s hard for the ultrasound wand to reach. A moment later he’s found it though and there’s little Bee’s heart fluttering away as well. We’re having twins.

My husband is supposed to be filming this but he’s so caught up in the moment that I have to frantically gesture to him to capture at least some of it on his phone. Our doctor takes a few screen shots, including one with both our babies in the frame, and then it’s done. Hubs and the doctor leave and I get dressed with shaking hands then head out to chat.

We get the usual warnings that it’s still early days, that things are riskier with twins, about vanishing twin syndrome. However our doctor does add that with such a young donor (21), and the good condition the embryos and sacs appear to be in, that our chances of carrying them right the way through to somewhere near a twins full-term (38 weeks) is good. Our chances of miscarriage have now theoretically dropped to 5-10% per embryo. My fingers are crossed.

I’m still in total shock. Our doctor is asking me questions about the medication I’m on and how many embryos we have left in the States and I’m struggling to answer. I feel as though I’m moving in slow motion. We collect information booklets from the nurse and then we’re off home to let the news sink in and start sharing the news with our family and close friends.

My mum squeals then bursts into tears, my hubby’s mum has more of a philosophical approach to it, my siblings are somewhat disbelieving and excited. I tell the friends that ask, sending them just two baby face emoticons in a text. Everyone is stoked and so are we, although we’re both still in daze of amazement. We have heartbeats. Plural.


Telling the others (written 20th February 2015)

Having this blog, and everyone knowing we’ve been to San Diego and why, means we don’t have the luxury of the 12 week grace period most fertile couples have, so we have to devise fairly quickly a plan on who we’re going to tell and how. We want to tell people in person which also adds to the difficulty of the situation but we manage to pull together a bit of a plan and set about getting the various bits and pieces we need for it.

We’ve told Mum on Friday night, as mentioned in an earlier post. Saturday morning we have brunch with two of our good friends who have recently gone through IVF themselves. I’m nervous as anything as we wander towards the café, unsure how to hold it in and fit it naturally into the conversation. I don’t last long. After a brief chat about how we’re doing, I’m asked how I’m sleeping. “Not so well this week,” I reply “But quite good last night because we got a positive result yesterday.” Cue tears and hugs and congratulations. It was hard not to get too emotional as we’ve wanted this moment for so long!

On to Sunday. As soon as we got our positive result on the Friday afternoon I started trying to tee up a catch-up with some of my close friends. These four girls have been amazingly supportive over the last few years, making sure we’re ok, checking up on us, one was even our donor in our last cycle, I need to tell them soon as I can. I send out a group text “Argh! This wait is absolutely killing me. I need some distraction. Anyone free for a cuppa over the weekend or dinner early next week or anything? Save me!” Trying to play it cool. And a date is locked in for Sunday afternoon.

I’d bought a little gemstone inscribed with an inspirational word for each of them and my plan had been to give the stones to them as a thank-you for supporting us, then say “and I thought that every time you look at them from now on you can remember the moment I told you I was pregnant” (remember they’ve been waiting just as long as we have for this). Unfortunately it all turns a bit to shit and only half of them can make it but I go ahead with the plan regardless. I pick CI up from home and we head to a nearby café next to the beach. I manage to brush off any talk of our treatment by saying we have a blood test on Monday – it’s the truth, we do have one then, it’s just not our first one!

We arrive at the café but my other friend, D, is running late. We buy drinks and sit outside to wait for her, chit-chatting away about this and that. D arrives about 15 minutes later and we wander along the beach (talking about cars of all things!) before settling on a grassy bank overlooking the water. My heart is racing as I somewhat nonchalantly exclaim “Oh! Before I forget, I’ve got something for you two.” And the plan is kicked into action. I bust out my line and wait….”Oh good” they say, and a few seconds tick by, then “Wait! What?!? Are you???” Teeheehee. More tears and congratulations. I’m absolutely shaking. It’s so surreal finally being about to say this. Needless to say the rest of our conversation centres around babies.

An hour or so later I drop them both home and call my other friend, CB, saying I’m in her area and is she free for a cuppa. Luckily she is as CB is one of those exceptional friends who always goes above and beyond for you, and I can’t have the other girls knowing but not her. I pop in and chat while making tea, all the while wondering how I’m going to reveal my news amongst our conversation. She asks how I’m doing, and is my mind telling me anything, to which I reply that it doesn’t need to tell me anything because I’m officially pregnant. She has the same reaction as the other two, bewildered as the news sinks in, then it hits and again the conversation turns to babies and pregnancy. I’m enjoying this, for once I don’t feel like an outsider playing house in the baby arena.

The Sunday announcements continue as I nip home to collect my hubby then head back to my Mum’s to tell my little sister and Step-Dad. For my three siblings (and their partners/family) we’ve bought picture books and written a note from Bumble in each – something along the lines of “Dear Aunty/Uncle, Looking forward to you reading this to me. See you in nine months! Love Bumble”. Although they’re all slightly different.

For my younger sister we’ve purchased a ‘touch-and-feel’ Hairy Maclary hardback. She smiles as she reads the inscription, much happier than I thought she’d be at the news and gives us both big hugs. My Step-Dad also finds out at this time as he’d been away at a conference when we’d told Mum. Mum grabs the box we gave her on Friday and shows him (I can’t believe she’d managed to keep it quiet so long!). He’s going to be a Grandad and I think he’s stoked.

Onward to a family dinner at my Dad’s house. This really is the Sunday of announcements! My Dad’s not overly keen on young kids so for these two we buy a nice bottle of wine that should last a while and add the note “To Nana and Grandad, We know young kids can be a little annoying sometimes but hopefully you can enjoy drinking this with me in 18 years or so. See you in nine months. Lots of love, Bumble.” This we give to them before my brother and his partner arrive at the dinner.

For my brother and his partner we’ve bought ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and give it to them just as we sit down at the dining table. They’re expecting news on the Monday as they know that’s when our test is, so this takes them by surprise as I reveal we did some home pregnancy tests then a sneaky Friday blood test. They both leap out of their seats in excitement and give us hugs, and we sit down to a lovely dinner.

Monday morning. It’s time to tell the two girls I work with. Like many of my friends, they’ve been with me through my many ups and downs. In fact, CH is one of the few people who has been there from the beginning. I remember her whisking an upset me off to a local café for a hot drink upon finding out that our second month trying (I know, four years later that’s laughable now!) wasn’t successful. I take a snapchat of the lab sign as I leave my morning blood test (2nd beta) and send it to them with the caption “Let the seven hour wait begin” to throw them off the scent, then head excitedly into work.

CH gets in about half an hour later and she’s not having a good day. We chat for a bit then I say “Oh! I’ve got something for you!” and grab her pressie out of my bag. “This is just to say thank you for always being there for me” I say, and hand it over to her. She slowly opens it. Inside I’ve wrapped a Pandora charm (a baby carriage) for her charm bracelet, and have written on a piece of origami paper in big black letters ‘I’m pregnant!’

She doesn’t even look at the charm, it’s in a wee Pandora bag, as upon reading the note throws everything onto her desk, yells “You’re fuckin shitting me!” at the top of her lungs, then bursts into tears as she leaps up to hug me. I’m half laughing, welling with tears, hugging her back as two of our HR team (who also know what we’ve been going through and read the blog) come running round to see what’s going on. They look at me raised eyebrows, “are you?”, I nod, and there are more hugs. I‘m nervous about telling so many people, feeling like I’m going to jinx it but it feels nice to be able to say this after four long years.

The other girl I work closely with is offsite at a meeting so I send her a sneaky snapchat of our digital pregnancy test that reads “pregnant”. Totally inappropriate timing as I know she’s still in the meeting, but I get a reply back almost immediately. “Yaaaaaaay!”

Next come my in-laws who have unfortunately been away on holiday so we’re unable to see them in person until the Monday night after our second blood test. They walk in the door knowing we have a result so there’re no surprises there (they figure we would’ve cancelled dinner had the result been negative). Nevertheless, we’ve bought them a book (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), included a note from Bumble in it, and popped it in a box with a photo of our positive digital pregnancy test. Despite already having a clue of the news we’re telling they’re super excited about the result.

Tuesday night I tell my mum’s best friend, primarily to give her someone to talk to about it (she cried, so cute) and while I’m there my other friend K (one of the girls I’d wanted to tell on Sunday) texts asking how things are going and when test day is.   So I give her a call and let her know the news too. She screams excitedly for a good minute or so, hehehe, we chat and hangup, and then I get a text through “Oh my goooooooooddddddddddddd!” I think she might be in shock. Hahaha. I love my friends.

I have to wait til Wednesday for my older sister to find out (the last out of my siblings) as unfortunately she lives five hours drive away. I obviously can’t tell her face-to-face so decide to make it total surprise and wrap up her picture book (In the Night Kitchen) and courier it down to her as soon as we get our blood results Monday (just in case it had all gone wrong by that stage). It takes a couple of days to arrive – useless NZ Couriers, so much for next day delivery! – and I get a call from her excited to be an Aunty to our Bumble/s.

At the same time I courier the book, I post a photo to my Aunty, Uncle, cousin and his girlfriend. I write nothing at all on or with the photo, merely address the envelope to them and put my sender address on the back. It’s a pic of our digital pregnancy test. It takes two days to arrive (same as the courier!) and we get a text Wednesday afternoon “OMG I can’t stop crying. So happy for you guys!!!!”

Over the next couple of days I fill in a few more of my friends at work and the leadership team (who I also work closely with) and everyone is absolutely stoked for us. It’s a bit scary telling so many people so early on but they all know what we’ve been through and half of them are asking, so it’s not like we can keep it from anyone. The good thing is I don’t feel weird about telling any of these people of a miscarriage or anything, should we be unlucky enough for that to happen for us, so that makes me feel a little more comfortable with people knowing. Fingers crossed we won’t have to tell them anything of the sort!


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