By the time my blood test came back positive for the pregnancy hormone, I was already 4 weeks along. It's weird how they calculate it; don't try to understand it. It's just how they've always done it and it's consistent. So I had 2 more blood tests to make sure my hormones were increasing; because in IVF world it is possible to get a positive only to have it become a negative. This means that the embryo(s) probably started to grow but a chromosomal abnormality or hostile uterine environment stopped it. My numbers were moving up strongly, but it didn't occur to me it could be twins. Only one person mentioned that my last hormone blood test that was over 1,000 could indicate more than one baby. I thought he was crazy.
We had a follow up appointment with the fertility doctor at 7 weeks. This is a good-bye meeting because after this point they want you to be seen by your regular doc; IVF doctors do not deliver babies. So the object of this appointment is to check on the baby, answer any questions, and make sure we feel comfortable. He started the ultrasound and said, (this is Craig's favorite story, so maybe you've heard it) "Here's a baby sac and a baby. (Silence as he moves the ultrasound around.) "Here's another baby sac and another baby. Should I keep going?" What?! I knew I was pregnant but the idea of twins was whole other thing. I guess we were so consumed with happiness that it finally worked, we never entertained the idea of more than one baby. The doctor showed us the *tiny* heartbeats and said they both looked strong and there was no reason to believe they wouldn't keep growing.
We left that appointment stunned. A whole new boat of emotions overcame us. We have friends with twins; we know it's doable; and it's not like the doctor just told me I was going to be the next "octomom." So we decided our glass is half full. IVF didn't work the past 3 times and now we are getting 2 for the price of 1. But I was still skeptical; I really wanted to wait to tell people our good news until was out of the dreaded 1st trimester miscarriage zone. It's hard not to wonder why the other 8 embryos we transferred never took, and all of a sudden, at a new place, we put 2 in and get 2 back? I needed some assurance that these babies were going to make it before I became too emotionally involved. Craig, on the other hand, was just beside himself with joy and pride, that he pretty much told anyone he ran into!
Our 8, 12, and 16 week appointments all went well. Their heartbeats were strong. We knew they had their own sacs to grow in; their own placentas to receive nutrition. Since IVF is extremely planned, down to knowing the exact cell growth of the embryos, we had originally planned to wait on knowing the sex of the baby--that is, if we were going to have a singleton. With twins, it was all we could talk about! We wanted to know as soon as possible what each one was.
The 19th week we had an appointment with a maternal-fetal specialist (perinatologist), mostly for peace of mind that there wasn't a major defect and of course I knew they would be able to tell us the sex. It was a long anatomy scan of the first baby, the lower one. So we found out it was a girl and then had to wait another 45 min. as they finished her ultrasound before they moved on to the second baby. The big question for us was always if we were going to get 2 of the same or 1 of each. Now that we knew we had a girl, there was suspense for the next baby. Once they told us it was a boy, we both immediately started chatting it up! The long awaited unknown was over. We were excited to tell everybody.
The specialist recommendation was to have my cervix checked every 2 weeks and growth ultrasounds once a month for the boy since he was an ounce smaller. Week 22.5 I went in for these ultrasounds and the cervix picture didn't look quite right to me. But what I was really concerned about was if the baby boy was growing, it didn't even occur to me that my cervix was going to cause trouble. Normal cervix length is 25mm or longer. At the specialist's office, I was 33mm. Today I was 18mm. Not much fun to leave the doctor's office and have to go on immediate bed rest until next week's appointment.
So there I was, cruising through my pregnancy; feeling great. I didn't get sick, I was getting to the gym a couple days a week. Most days I didn't have any trouble making it through 8-10 hrs. of work and coming home to prepare dinner. Who was I to think I could have a normal pregnancy because the conception was so abnormal?
I'll save the saga of how my cervix issues go from not good to worse for tomorrow; there's just too much good stuff to put with today's post;) And I'll recap how I've been spending my long days of bed rest! Oh, and how my Craig's doing!