By: Christine Villeneuve – CSC Surrogate Support Worker
“I hope you are all prepared for twins – those were two amazing looking embryos!!” said the IVF nurse to us as she handed us a photo of my IP’s two embryos we had just transferred into my uterus that late November day in 2014. We all looked at each other in a moment of panic, which passed just as quickly as it came. Having experienced a late first trimester loss of a singleton 4 months earlier, we were all on board with whatever was coming our way.
We got our first positive pregnancy test three day past transfer which is really early, this was our first indication that maybe both embryos stuck! At 13 days past transfer, our first beta HCG blood test came back at 3215, which was fairly high from the averages that I was seeing between 300-800 for first betas. Two days later, our second beta number came in at 8212!! Holy moly, I was SURE it was twins.
Two weeks later I went into my local hospital to have my 6 week ultrasound. Sure enough, there were TWO growing babies with strong heartbeats. I called my IM when I was done and we laughed and cried together, we both suspected that we would be getting the twin news that day. I got a couple of photos from the ultrasound tech and I sent copies of them over text message so they could see their two growing babies, it was such a special moment.
The first trimester went by quickly for the most part. I wasn’t any more nauseous than with my other pregnancies. I took ginger gravol to help in the day time and slept as often as I could. The progesterone also causes tiredness so I took advantage of as many naps and early bedtimes as I could. For the most part I felt pretty good and didn’t have any major issues through the medicated part of the first trimester.
The nausea followed me up until about 16 weeks before it finally disappeared. My belly started to grow and I was full time into maternity clothes. It was also right around 16 weeks that I started feeling little flutters and bubbles in my tummy from the growing babies. It was so amazing to know that there were two little babies happy and safe inside me just oblivious to what miracles they were and how very much they were already loved and wanted.
My mid-pregnancy scan was to be done right around March break, so I made a plan with my IP’s to come to them (they live 9 hours away from me) and have the scan done there together. They still weren’t sure at that point if they wanted to know the genders of the babies. I was in for a good hour before they allowed my IP’s to come in and have a look at the babies. It was all oooohhhh’s and ahhhhhh’s and we were all so thrilled that babies looked so good…now gender, they decided to find out!! Then came: I’m sorry, I can’t tell you the genders. We have to wait for the radiologist to look over everything and he will write the genders in the report. URG! We would have to wait another week at my next OB appointment to find out.
The week passed quickly and I was finally at my OB’s office, and, the report was not there!! Seriously, it was so disappointing! I saw the doctor, did the regular checkup stuff and she said she would re-request the ultrasound report from the hospital. They told us that they would call with genders of the babies once the report was in. My IM and I were both feeling pretty disappointed, when I got in my vehicle and had a thought: I was going to ask my OB to call THEM first, before me. And so they did. I got a message around dinnertime with a picture of TWO BIG balloon arrangements: BOTH BLUE!!! I cried, and was so happy that they go to experience together before they shared it with me. It was such a special moment.
I had frequent ultrasounds with the twins, as we were considered higher risk. It was at the 26 week ultrasound that they told me that my cervix had begun shortening. They put me on modified bedrest, prepared us all for all of the possible complications that could happen, including premature birth. They also told us that it could just be technician error or position of babies that caused what was seen as a shortened cervix. I went to the hospital and received the two shots to help mature the babies’ lungs, just in case. I had a follow up ultrasound the following week and my cervix was back to normal and we were back on track to a complication-free pregnancy.
It was around this time as well that I developed pregnancy induced nighttime tendonitis which I had to get special braces for my hands to help me sleep. The braces took a little while to get used to, but they really did help me not have any more issues with my hands hurting at night.
Once I hit 30 weeks, I was really able to enjoy feeling the babies move around in my tummy. My children would often talk and sing to them. They were so excited and happy that mommy was going to help another couple have TWO babies! They would take turns putting their arms around me to measure how big I was getting, I told them by the end, they wouldn’t be able to touch their hands together behind my back. They loved hugging me and putting their hands on my belly feeling them dancing around.
I was told that I was one of the lucky ones to not have very many complications with my twin pregnancy. I didn’t have any food aversions, no major aches and pains, limited amounts of heartburn and little to no lack of mobility. I took my kids to the carnival only about 3 days before the babies were to make their way into the world. I was very blessed to have been able to experience a relatively easy twin pregnancy.
At one day shy of 37 weeks, A&W made their grand entrance. After 36+ hours of labor (and baby B being “transverse”) we elected for a C-section. The boys were 7lbs and 6lbs5oz respectively. Their parents stood by me the entire time, and even got to come into the OR to watch their little miracles be born. They got to snuggle them in the nursery for a little while, waiting for me to come out from recovery. They were standing in the hall as the nurses pushed my bed into my hospital room. They were so excited to introduce me to their babies. We stayed together until late that night, when they took the babies to their own hospital room just down the hall and I was able to get a really good night’s sleep (thank goodness for meds!). We spent the entire next day together just cooing over their little boys. They even left them with me to go grab us a quick snack. All I could do was stare at them in amazement. A lot of happy tears were shed that day.
My kids came that afternoon as well and were able to take turns holding each baby. They loved looking at their little hands and faces. I felt so completely at peace in those moments, I knew that this was always meant to be and that those little boys were sent straight from heaven, through me, into their parents arms. The next day as the parents packed up their vehicle in preparation for their long drive home, I buckled the boys into their car seats. I was feeling pretty emotional, but I knew in my heart that I would see them grow up, even if it was from afar. Their parents had given me a beautiful bracelet with little trinkets that represented our journey together, something that I will treasure for the rest of my life.
We said our emotional goodbyes, and all had mixed emotional tears. My IF took me in his arms hugged me in a way that I will never forget: it was his thank you. I felt it, and I knew that I had done something for them that they would be eternally grateful for and it filled my heart and soul with so much love and contentment. As they each took a baby in his carrier, they started to walk down the hall to leave. My IM turned and looked at me and said “We feel like we are leaving you behind” – and I just knew that they weren’t just my friends anymore, and were part of my forever family.
Fast forward 2.5 years, the boys are happy, healthy and thriving. Their mom has become one of my best friends and I see them on a regular basis (even though I’m still 9 hours away from them). To see their little smiles and hear them laugh brings so much joy into my life. I’ve enjoyed so many great experiences with them over the last few years, I really truly feel like I won the lottery with this family. They will always and forever hold a very special place in my heart.