Category Archives: trying to conceive

the thomas twins birth story

I wish I could tell you that we made it to 38 weeks with no complications, but alas, I can not. It was a Thursday morning, I was 37 weeks pregnant and heading to the doctor for our last appointment before my scheduled c section. I was scheduled for an NST (non-stress test) and then we were scheduled to meet with the male doctor in the practice (we had never met him before). My blood pressure reading was over 160 during the NST, and the doctor was concerned that I was developing pre-eclampsia, so after speaking with my primary OB, they decided that I should go to the hospital and that I may be having the twins that day.IMG_7693

When we left the doctors office we decided to go straight home to pack our bags just in case. Walking into our apartment, I grabbed my dog and I sobbed. I’m still not sure why I cried at that moment; fear of delivering sooner than I had expected, sadness for having to leave my dogs, fear that if something happened to me during surgery and I didn’t not survive, I wouldn’t be around for my pets or these babies that I held inside me for so long, fear of the unknown, or a combination of it all. What I do know is that I wasn’t crying because I was happy.

When we arrived at the hospital, the nurse was very sweet and kept everything pretty lighthearted. She was the same nurse that we had met during our hospital tour so I was immediately comforted by a familiar face. They strapped my belly back up to the NST monitor and monitored my blood pressure for over an hour. All of my readings were normal, and after about 3 hours they sent us home with the expectation that we would come back on Saturday for more monitoring and that I would no longer go to work as I needed to limit stress.

Saturday (37 weeks, 3 days pregnant) we arrived at the hospital for more monitoring. Another few hours on the NST and blood pressure monitors and I continued to have normal readings. They sent us home with the expectation to go into the doctors office on Monday for a blood pressure check.

Monday (37 weeks, 5 days pregnant) morning I decided that I wasn’t going to the doctors office for the check. I was feeling fine and resting. My C section was scheduled for that Thursday (38 weeks, 1 day) and unless I began feeling signs of high blood pressure (headache, visual changes) I was going to just stay home and relax.

Wednesday night, we made sure that everything was packed in the car for Thursday morning. We had to be at the hospital at 5:30am for my scheduled C section at 7:30am so we wanted to be sure that we had everything packed and ready to go.

(I’ll make a post all about what was in our hospital bags, what we actually used and what we could have done without, at a later date.)

That night, we got a few hours of sleep but I was so uncomfortable from being so large that good sleep was not something I was accustomed to nor something that happened – at least for me. I was focused on making sure my husband slept because it was very important to me that he was well rested so that he could be there 100% present when these babies came into the world.

We arrived at the hospital a little after 5:30am on Thursday, March 1st, 2018. It was still dark out when we got there but I do remember it was a little chilly. We parked the car and walked in. At the front desk the security guard sent us right up to the 6th floor (the maternity floor) of the hospital where we checked in with our nurses and was brought right into the OR prep/recovery area. An IV catheter was placed and two or three nurses asked me many of the same questions – to say that I felt like I was being interrogated is an understatement, but they were all very nice. IMG_7886They asked about family history, medical history, if I felt unsafe at home, and all of the typical “being admitted to the hospital” questions. Before surgery the one nurse shaved the area that would be where my incision would be, after I apologized for not coming in clean shaven but I just couldn’t see/reach and figured they’d do a much better job than I would anyway (she laughed and said not to worry, as most people don’t). Around 7:15am my doctor arrived and had me sign a consent form for the surgery, and then she went off to scrub in. I was wheeled off to the OR while my husband was kept right outside in the hall while I was prepped. The nurses and anesthesiologist were great and held my hand/talked me through all of it. I was asked to sit on the OR table and lean over where the nurse stood in front of me to help keep me calm and help push my shoulders down. Apparently when you are tense, you scrunch up your shoulders which makes it difficult for the spinal to be placed. The anesthesiologist talked to me about what he was doing, and walked me through each step which I greatly appreciated since I couldn’t see what was happening. The lidocaine was an unexpected painful few injections. I don’t remember offhand how many there were but there were quite a few times where he said “just a little pinch, warmth, stinging.” I’m not too sure when the spinal needle actually went in because the lidocaine did its’ job with great success but I do remember not being able to move my feet. It’s a very hard thing to explain as I didn’t feel like they were missing, I just couldn’t move them. They laid me on my back and began prepping for surgery. The anesthesiologist and nurses put up the blue drape, strapped my arms down out the side (more on that later), and set up my IV fluids and monitors. Immediately I started asking for my husband, and they brought him in moments later. He sat down next to me on my left side and held my left hand. I started feeling very nauseous, and was having trouble breathing. The anesthesiologist said it was from the spinal and put a little kidney pan next to my face on the right side so I could vomit (which I did, multiple times) and kept assuring me that I would feel better and it would be ok. I’m not sure if they gave me zofran but I did begin feeling better soon after but felt like I was in a bit of a haze which honestly worried me that I was losing too much blood and was going to pass out (thankfully I did not). In the few moments that had passed after that, I asked my husband if he could see anything to which he replied that he wasn’t looking. I could see the reflection of what was happening in the surgical light above me, so I wanted to be sure he was okay and wasn’t going to pass out on me. I kept asking him if he was okay and of course he said yes. I remember the doctor saying “she’s having surgery and she’s asking if he’s okay? How sweet these two are” and the doctors (yes I had two – Dr Kleban and Dr Jhang) having conversation about their weekend plans. I remember laughing and saying to my husband “are they really just having conversation like we aren’t even here?” Soon after one of the nurses said “Dad, are you ready with your camera? Baby A is about to be born” followed by some “oh look at him” and the first of what would be MANY cries from our first born son. They immediately took him over the to warmers where they announced his weight at 5lbs 6oz, and his length at 18.5”. Seconds later the same nurse said “dad, do you have your camera?” Followed by cries that sounded almost identical to the first babies, from our second born, our daughter.IMG_8069

My sight was very limited as I could only see my husband, who was bright red with tears of shear joy streaming down his face and lots of people surrounding the two warming beds weighting, measuring and cleaning off our babies. They announced that Baby B was also 5lbs 6oz and measured 19”.  The nurses then asked what their names were. Our response: Baby A is Declan Gerard Thomas, and Baby B is Teagan Marie Thomas. Soon after they had left Declan in his warming bed pretty much alone and all of the nurses and baby doctors were with Teagan.  They explained to us that she was having some breathing issues which were totally normal for the second baby of twins to have and they were going to bring her to the nursery to be monitored. At this point the nurse distracted me by bringing over our son to take some photos of him next to my face. She took my glasses off which made me annoyed and I told her to put them back because I am never without my glasses, plus I can’t see without my glasses and I wanted to see my son.

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He was then swaddled and put in the bassinet for Daddy to wheel out while I was moved back to the recovery room where we could do skin to skin and begin trying to breastfeed. Soon after, we were informed that she was being transferred to the NICU for monitoring but would hopefully only be there for a few hours. We had to wait until she was settled in the NICU before my husband could go see her, so we spent that time with our baby boy, worried for her, but excited to be spending time with him. Once he was able to, he went to visit Teagan in the NICU. Little did we know, she wouldn’t leave the NICU until Sunday.

The following few days were a bit of a blur between visitors coming in and out, our daughter being in the NICU, settling into this new role as parents, and dealing with post operative pain management.

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… Stay tuned for more on our hospital stay, my thoughts on my c section recovery, being first time parents of multiples, and breastfeeding twins! 

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Pugs, Push-ups, and infertility?

There’s no doubt that the things I like are pretty straightforward – fitness and animals are kind of my thing… but babies?? Growing up I never saw myself as a mother. I mean, sure I imagined being old and having children that were older taking care of me but I never thought about being pregnant or birthing children myself. My husband and I spoke once in the beginning of our relationship about how lovely it would be to be able to adopt a child from Haiti (my husband is Haitian and Dominican) but up until a year ago the thought of having my own seemed unrealistic.

There’s a lot of reason for this I suppose; when I was 12 I was a victim of rape. He was a man who I knew and thought that I had trusted, the years following were some of my darkest. I had zero self-esteem or self-confidence and I looked towards men for the answers, for the love and acceptance that I didn’t give myself. It wasn’t until I had completely given up on relationships that I found my (now) husband. You see, I spent a good 18 years being pretty stupid. I was on birth control for only a short part of that because it was making me feel sick and I didn’t like it. When I was in college I experienced what I thought at the time to be a miscarriage while on birth control (the patch). I’m not sure if I’ve made up my mind as I’ve gotten older that it wasn’t, or that I am just really unsure about what it was and the doctor couldn’t fully answer my questions since I waited too long to go visit out of fear that my suspicions were true. Anyway, that was the absolute only time I have ever experienced even the slight possibility that I may have at some point been pregnant in my over 20 years since my first menses. That’s a lot of months!

Over the last 8.5 years my husband and I (who have been married for 4.5 years) have been having unprotected sex (sorry if that’s TMI.. but you clicked on the post about infertility .. if that was too much I suggest you look away now). We have had times where I’ve thought it were possible that I was pregnant, even went to the doctor because I swore I was twice! The first time the nurse made me feel horrible laughing at me because I was there for a confirmation when I had not gotten a positive on a home test. The second time I had gotten one (what looked like positive) but no other test was positive. The doctor confirmed that I was not pregnant but was hopeful that it was just a chemical pregnancy which means there’s hope that I could conceive.

In April 2013 I had a TV (transvaginal) ultrasound after a car accident that had found some incidental findings on my CT scan. In January 2016 I had another TV ultrasound which came back basically normal except for two small myomas in my uterus (the doctor called these fibroids but the scan report said benign myomas – the doctor also told me that these should not affect my ability to become pregnant). The ultrasound also showed follicles which means I have eggs — but does not mean that they are being released or that they are mature when they are being released. Anyway, we were sent off to try for a year, the doctor said since I was under 30 years old we should try for a year and that most couples are successful when they really try (not just once or twice a month) after 6 months.

Six months came and went and I spent many mornings peeing on ovulation predictor test strips, temping using a basal thermometer, and tracking every little twinge and tickle I felt. After about 8 months of getting my hopes up and then getting let down I began to take Vitex, a supplement that is supposed to help lengthen your LP (luteal phase). The only difference I noticed with vitex was that my cycles went from 30-33 days to 29/30 days long and I began to get more fertile cervical mucous (sorry, I warned you).

This month marks our 1 year mark. 1 year of trying. 12 months of doing everything we can think of to try to have a baby, 9 months of buying ovulation predictor test strips, 6 months of tracking my temperature (I wasn’t consistent with this one) and 4 months of taking vitex (This last month I actually just took it when I remembered as I started to think it wasn’t doing much). We’ve timed everything to a T and been let down time and time again.

Next steps:  My husband has an appointment for semen analysis on December 9th. My OB didn’t want us to do it right away even though I insisted. I’m pretty sure it’s better that we didn’t because my husband just came around to the idea and is really nervous. He’s beginning to think he’s the problem – even though I still think it’s me. It’s so hard not to think it’s you when you’ve been “able” to conceive for over 20 years, 18 of those years you were pretty promiscuous, and you have never actually been pregnant, at least not to your knowledge. Last night while I was unable to sleep I purchased 25 HCT tests from Amazon. They are planned to arrive on Tuesday so I will be taking one on Wednesday morning which will be 13dpo (days post ovulation) and 2-3 days before my expected AF (aunt flow/period).

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Although I love fitness, it’s not a secret that I’ve struggled with both my nutrition and my weight. I’ve also struggled with consistency in my workouts especially this year while TTC. In an attempt to do everything in my power to conceive I’ve decided to try to take a more plant-based approach to my eating style. Over the last few days it’s been pretty easy because I’ve really wanted this beet burrito at the local taco/mexican place. It has beets, goat cheese, rice and beans, salsa verde, and spinach. I’ve wanted it so much that I decided to recreate it today! It wasn’t nearly as good but it definitely hit the spot!  I’m not going to make assumptions but it is kind of weird that I want beets. They aren’t exactly a food that I eat often – but it’s so hard to say with my food cravings and eating habits because I have a long history of weird eating habits.

As I’m writing this I’m 10dpo. The last two nights I’ve had a lot of trouble sleeping, 8 and 9 dpo I felt like I couldn’t spend 5 minutes without having to pee. Yesterday I was exhausted and had this funny feeling – not necessarily nausea but something was very uneasy about my stomach. Today I have felt pretty good. I’ve had a bit of cramping/pressure in my right lower abdomen, this morning I had to urinate more but after I taught my class at the gym I haven’t had to pee more than normal I don’t think. I did have a burst of energy today – I wonder if it’s possible to nest way before you even know you’re pregnant! (that’s sort of a joke, sort of not). I cleaned my living room and moved my furniture in preparation of the Christmas tree going up (it’s supposed to go up tonight)! I cooked lunch (those beet burritos! So yum!) and I’m even doing laundry! It’s only 6pm but I don’t feel very tired today like I have the last two days. The only other random thing is that my nose was very stuffy the last two days but today it was running during my class and has been clear since. I really try not to symptom spot but this month we really did pull out almost all of the stops. We timed our intercourse perfectly, and I got the most positive OPK I’ve gotten all year! I can’t help but think how wonderful it would be if we could announce our pregnancy on Christmas day. How wonderful it would be to become a mom. How wonderful it would be to bring a child into the world (regardless of how F’d up it is these days) because I would love my child more than I’ve loved anything else in my entire life.

Well, this is the first blog I’ve written about our TTC journey and although I look forward to the updates, I am nervous that I will have to update this often in the future because I don’t know what lies ahead. We have discussed medical intervention and I think we’re prepared to do more testing first, to see if there’s a reason why we have been unable to conceive – starting with semen analysis. I am interested in finding out if those fibroids have grown, if my tubes are clear, if I’m ovulating appropriately, and if there is anything else we can do to be successful naturally. If we must, we would pursue IUI (intrauterine insemination) but IVF is not something either of us are prepared to do. I am also unsure if we would want to do clomid or any other medication that is supposed to help a woman ovulate because of the chances of multiples. I’m not sure multiples is something my husband and I are comfortable or prepared for (but please don’t get me wrong if we got pregnant and we had multiples I’d be in utter disbelief and extremely excited)!

I’ll end this here for now, I’ll know more about how much I’ll be updating once I know the results of that semen analysis and once I take this test on Wednesday morning to find out if I’m pregnant this month or not. If I am this blog series will surely be taking a bit of a turn (I can hope!!)

**Baby dust to all those TTC**

Update: this was supposed to be posted after the appointment on December 9th but I decided to post it sooner because my period came. I made an appointment with my OB on December 12th so we can start the conversation of what our next steps are. I will be starting a Youtube channel to document our journey to conceive starting with those two appointments and I will update here occasionally but I promised my husband that I would try to keep our story off the personal pages. I’ll update here with the story behind the youtube video’s I think — since some people would rather read and others would rather watch (I think?). Well, stay tuned for the updates as we’ll hopefully know more about where we stand in a week or two!

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