Monday, February 28, 2011

Dinner For Schmucks

So my husband and I had some friends over for dinner on Friday. They are people with whom we enjoy spending some time when we can all get together. We have been to their weddings, we exchange Christmas cards, but it's not like we hang out every weekend, we are not "besties". We had dinner on Friday, SO WHAT, right? Normally, I would agree, except for 2 GIANT elephants who were in the room that night. Both women are pregnant. One due in April and one in June.

I would be lying if I said I was not VERY hesitant about this soiree we had planned. The woman who is closer to her due date has, apparently, not been the most gracious pregnant woman. Everything has been an inconvenience to her. I was very unsure of how I would feel being around 2 very pregnant women. How would I handle the complaints, the excitement, the questions, should they come my way?

To add insult to injury, I wished to hell I was in their position, anxiously awaiting the arrival of a little one. You're probably wondering, WHAT? Why would I with 3 children under the age of 2 at home even contemplate the prospect of another child. The bottom line is, I feel like I should have 4 HERE. A few weeks ago, I actually felt like maybe that was what was meant to be. I found out on MLK day that I was pregnant again, against ALL odds, as we had been using protection.

The second I found out, I felt as though Boe were talking to me. Mommy, if you can't have me, then I'll send you an earthly angel to love until I see you in heaven. As shocked and surprised as I was by this pregnancy, I was excited, hopeful. I found out 1 week later that my baby was not viable, and I had a miscarriage. So you see, that night, I should have been at the tail end of my 1st trimester. Instead, I was laughing it up, drinking my wine and reassuring the nervous mommys to be that hemorrhoids DO go away ( I would not know, I never got them).

I had warned my husband ahead of time that I did not know how I would be able to handle the evening. I told him I was definitely worried about complainer mommy, and that I may need to excuse myself to avoid making a rude or snide comment if she got out of hand. Currently, I have very little patience for those who do not recognize how lucky, blessed, fortunate they are to be preparing for parenthood. You see, I DID recognize all those things, and I still had the rug pulled out from under me.

As it turns out, complainer mommy started the evening by saying she promised not to complain because she knew I had been pregnant with not one, but 3 babies at once and she had no idea how I had done that. I smiled graciously, but thought she still doesn't get it. Parenthood, in its entirety, is a precious gift. The wonder of the journey begins from the second you find out there is life within you, and it is a voyage that does not end until the day you close your eyes and do not open them ever again. Pregnancy is not an ends to justify the means. Pregnancy is part of the "work", the "job" of parenthood, meant to prepare one gradually for the lifetime of hard "labor" (pun intended) ahead.

This mommy admitted to me that she is amazed that any of us get here because she HATES being pregnant. Don't get me wrong, there were times I was VERY uncomfortable, but I LOVED every single cotton pickin' second of my pregnancies. To love being pregnant is to love the life inside you from the very first moment you are possibly aware of its existence. Perhaps, she will change her tune when she holds her daughter in her arms for the first time. My guess is she won't.

I just want to let all the earthly angels waiting up above to grace us with their presence here, for every "mommy" who wishes they could just "get" a baby without going through all the life affirming changes that happen to one's body and heart over the 40 weeks it takes, there are SOOOOOOO many "mommys" who get it from the start and who are happy to do whatever it takes to have you here. Remember US.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Today it has been 10 months since we lost Boe, but it has also been 10 months since we welcomed Adler and Cameron. I have been crying a lot lately. I feel so isolated. I am with my children all day, which I love, but I miss being around adults. Adults, even though they may not get what I have gone through, get sadness, anger, resentment, all of which I feel.

It has often been so hard for me to not breakdown sobbing in front of my children. I find myself smiling through tears or silently crying into their hair because I don't want to frighten them. I don't want them to see me weak, vulnerable, and utterly helpless. After that feeling passes, I pause, and ask myself is THAT healthy? Can't I honor Boe best by being honest about the fact that I miss him like hell? Can't I parent them better by showing them that feelings, good or bad, are OK?

What happened to us 10 months ago sucks. There is no rhyme or reason to it, it is not natural, it is not what anyone expects or aspires to in life and it is NOT fair. But you know what else sucks? Trying to hide how I truly feel because I am afraid that it will scare my children or make somebody else uncomfortable. I am taking a stand here and now - FUCK THAT SHIT.

What is not natural, and what is not fair, is for me to force myself to pretend that everything is OK; it is not. My baby is dead. Acting like all is fine is the worst disrespect that I could pay to my children (both alive and dead), my family, my friends and myself. Acting like everything is OK is like pretending that Boe never existed. He did, I held him, I saw him with my own 2 eyes. Boe's death is something that has forever changed me; never again will I be the Kirsten I was before I went to the doctor on 4/22/2010.

I want to honor Boe by becoming a woman who is as close a version to the pre 4/22 version of me as possible. I want to keep him alive by crying for him, laughing with him or just plain thinking about him when the urge strikes regardless of how it may "look". I want my children and husband to see that I can be weak, vulnerable and helpless, and still be OK. That this is healthy, I am not some robot who goes through life, stoic and without emotion.

Perhaps the best way for me to grow is to realize that in being weak, in allowing myself to feel pain and show it, I am, in fact, stronger. I can be a better wife, a better mother, a better me. I would be fooling myself to believe that this experience is something that I will "get over", but maybe, just maybe if I open myself up I can get through it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Yes, Jesus loves me (????)

The days that followed Boe's passing and the boys' birth were so busy. Everyone kept saying I should rest, I had just had major surgery. Rest?? How was I supposed to do that with 2 newborns, whom I was dying to hold, in the NICU and a service to plan for Boe?

A service. That is something you plan for your parents when they die peacefully in their sleep, not the baby you bore who never opened his eyes, took a breath, squeezed your finger. When Adam and I were first told we would need to plan a service, and therefor make some decisions about Boe's remains, I was very disturbed.

Everyone at the hospital was very helpful and compassionate. They provided us with so many resources for planning Boe's service and navigating through our grief. Family and friends stepped up in so many ways to help ease our burden so that we could get to know Adler and Cameron and grieve Boe properly.

The first decision I really struggled with was whether or not to perform an autopsy. My initial thought was HELL NO! The thought of having my little boy spread on that cold stainless steel table with a Y incision in his tiny chest was just too much to bear. I really did not even want to discuss it with my husband. To me, it was not an option, Boe could not be subjected to that. In hindsight, I should have been more open to the discussion and heard my husband's thoughts. I knew having an autopsy would not change the outcome, Boe would still be gone. Having a why to put with his death might have been healing; now we'll never know.

The next decision was what were we to do with his remains? The thought of a teensy weensy casket and a headstone with 1 single date on it was so heartbreakingly tragic. The thought of cremation brought to light another set of images, also so difficult to picture. In the end, we decided to cremate him and put him in the mausoleum niche with my "Opa" (Dutch for Grandfather). One day, when our other children are old enough to understand what transpired that day, we'll decide, as a family, where Boe should be permanently.

The final task at hand was Boe's service. Adam's cousins are very involved in our local church, and they made sure to set up appointments with the right people, make phone calls and gather paperwork on our behalf, etc. Were it not for them, I do not know how Adam and I could have made it through those first few days after Boe's death and Adler and Cameron's birth. They are our earthly angels, and I know there is a special place in heaven just for them.

In any case, the business of choosing friends and family to do readings, quotes for the program, how we wanted the program arranged, music for the service, began. The one piece that really got to me in all of this was that we needed to choose 4 pallbearers.

Why? I had purposely wanted to avoid a little casket. How could it possibly take 4 adults to carry the remains of a 2lb 13 oz baby into a church? We asked both of our fathers, Adam's Great Uncle, and my dear friend, Desiree. Seeing them carry the tiny little "arc", for lack of a better word, from the vestibule to the altar was one of the saddest, most empty moments of my life. I knew what was in that box, and I knew that, without question, once that box left the church I would never see my Baby Boe again.

The service itself was beautiful; Boe was baptized before it officially began. I was amazed at how many people turned up to grieve with us. Some, whom we barely knew or had never even met were there, and Adam and I were both so touched by the support and love that surrounded us on that day. The priest shared some wonderful words with us, some of which we still ponder when it really hurts to be without Boe.

There were some things that occurred during the service which truly stand out to me. First off, my father was a pallbearer and so he sat in the pew ahead of us. At one point during the service, as I was looking forward, I saw my father's shoulders heaving up and down as he silently cried. I have never told him that I noticed this because I know he would be embarrassed. To me, it was a very bittersweet moment. Bitter because, daddies don't cry. I needed my daddy to be the strongest most steadfast man for me and my husband, and he was crumbling. It was sweet because I knew that this most raw and vulnerable moment was an outpouring of how loved my little boy was and how dearly he would be missed here on Earth. He was loved by not only his parents, but scores of others too. Somehow, I found odd comfort in that.

Another moment which sticks with me is the point during the service where Adam and I had to bring the gifts to the altar for consecration. Gifts, that seemed so ironic and cruel to me. Wasn't the gift supposed to be Boe squirming in our arms, waiting to be baptized?? The gifts were not wine and host being presented at Boe's funeral mass, yet here we were bringing them to the priest like the dutiful little Catholics we are. As we headed back up the aisle a medley of "Yes, Jesus Loves Me" and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" began to play. To this day, that fucking song reduces me to a heap of tears, and I must excuse myself from mass. Jesus loves me... Really? If he loves me so much, then why did he bless me with 3 little boys only to yank one away? If he loves me so damn much, then why was it so difficult for me to conceive in the first place only to have this triple curve ball thrown my way?

The final moment that is frequently at the forefront of my mind is the very end of Boe's service. He was brought back in to the vestibule and his little urn removed from the "arc". We asked his Godfather/Grandpa, Adam's father, to carry him out to the vehicle that would return him to the funeral home for transport to the cemetery. As the little blue urn was placed in his hands, I saw his shoulders cinch up to his ears. I could tell he was trying not to break down as he carried Boe out of the church. That was an incredibly difficult moment, Adam's father is a retired Air Force General. How could a man who has served our country in Qatar, been stationed in Antarctica for months at a time and flown over Ground Zero just hours after the Twin Towers fell on 9/11 be reduced to tears over a baby boy he never saw, never held, would never truly know? In that moment, I realized how many lives my little angel had touched, in how many hearts he would be tucked away, and that although his physical presence may no longer be felt, he would always live on through our love and celebration of him.

I am sure that as my Father-in-Law carried Boe out, that little box must have felt as though made of lead. The sound of the car door shutting was deafening. Louder and more final than any gunshot, explosion or similar sound I could ever imagine. It meant my little boy was gone for good. This was really happening, we had really lost him. I guess I'm supposed to be OK with that, because Jesus loves me, right?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Day the Earth Stood Still, Part II

When my doctor arrived he checked the boy's heart rates right away. He immediately turned to me and Adam and said we were going to get to see what our boys looked like on the outside. Apparently, Adler's heart rate was decelerating and the doctor felt it best to deliver them that day. The next 40 minutes flew by. Family and friends who had gathered were ushered to the waiting room, and I really don't remember seeing too much of Adam. I had form after form shoved in front of me to sign for consent to operate, to this, to that, to God only knows what.

The nurses unhooked me from the IVs and monitors and led me to the bathroom. Here, they proceeded to give me the WORST bikini wax in the history of mankind. Helen Keller could probably have done a nicer job than they, but I guess a sightly bikini line was not really their goal, was it?

I was led down the hallway to the OR where my C-Section would be done. It was all abuzz with nurses prepping, the doctor running to and fro. I was surprised by how ordinary the room looked. Nowhere near as glamorous as the rooms you see on TV or envision in your mind. The fact that 80's music (one of my favs) was playing through the speakers was a bit disarming, but it gave me something to divert my attention.

The nurses guided me to the table and helped me up. I was suddenly aware of how very narrow this table was. All I could think was, "Please don't roll off, please don't roll off". I was given my spinal block and laid down on the table. I could feel nurses moving my legs and positioning them to be strapped to the table, but as the sensation left my legs, it became a very odd thing to go through.

After I was all settled on the table, a very sweet and shy nurse approached me. She asked in a very subdued voice if I wanted to see and hold Boe after the procedure was complete. Tears instantly sprang to my eyes. For just one second, I had fooled myself into believing that this was only a happy day. I'd be meeting my boys, Adler and Cameron. That question forced me back to reality so quickly and with such brutal honesty, I had to ask her to repeat herself.

That's right. I was here, really, because Boe had died. I was not here beacuase Adler and Cameron were meant to be born today, I was here because Boe was gone and to save his brothers they had to be born today. I mustered up what voice I had left and told the nurse in broken sobs that I was not sure, I had not really thought about holding Boe.

Truth be told, I had not thought about it, not one bit. This was not supposed to be happening. I had not made it this far in this pregnancy to have one of my babies not make it, why would I even contamplate such a horrific and tragic outcome?

The next hour or so is on of the most surreal of my life. I remember Adam finally coming in and sitting on a stool right next to me. The doctors began to operate and I heard 2 thready little cries at once. Adler and Cameron had been born at exactly the same moment. Those cries were the most joyous little sounds I had ever heard in my life, but they were not enough. I wanted more, I wanted Boe. The neonatologist held both boys over the draping for me to see; they were perfect. Small little boys, but pink and perfect. Before I knew it, Adam had both of them in his arms, and I thought if only I had one to hold too. Just as soon as it began, Adler and Cameron were whisked away to the NICU.

The doctors began the buiness of delivering Boe and putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. I remember thinking how odd it was that their conversation seemed so light, so normal, given the circumstances. They were discussing Coen Brothers films and the fact that "The Big Lebowski" was one of their favorites. I informed them that "Fargo" is, by far, my favorite.

My doctor ushered Adam over to an area of the OR that I could not see. He showed Adam the placentas and pointed out that Boe had barely been holding on throughout the pregnancy. It was his best guess that Boe had simply not received enough nutrients to survive, but he had held on as long as possible for his brothers' sake.

I was wheeled in to recovery and family was allowed in to say "hi". I remember being so surprised and touched to see my younger sister there. She had just given birth to her her 3rd child 5 weeks earlier and I knew it was hard for her to get childcare.

The same nurse who had asked me about Boe in the OR came in and asked if we wanted to see Boe. My husband and I lowered our heads to hide our tears and nodded, "Yes". Our friends and family got the hint and left us to meet our baby boy; only my mother stayed.

The nurse returned with a tiny little bundle wrapped in a soft blanket. She handed him to me, and I wept silently as I held him. He was perfect; he looked just like his brother Adler. His little mouth hung open as if he was in the most comfortable slumber ever, and I was gratfeul to see how peaceful he looked. I had not known what to expect when I saw him, I had never seen a dead baby before. This may sound silly, and probably only those who have lost a child will relate, but I expected him to be hideous. I expected him to be not fully formed, but there he was, pink, beautiful and still. I unwrapped his swaddle to see all of him, I had such precious little time.

He was all there, teeny little toes, perfect belly button, all accounted for. The nurse had brought some Holy water, so my husband and I said a simple prayer and blessed him. My husband held him, and then my mother; I remember seeing her chin quiver with grief as she held her little grandson lost. That was one of the most difficult moments of my life, because in that moment, I felt such complete failure.

I felt I had let my mother, my husband and my baby down. I had somehow failed 3 of the most important beings in my life. After a few moments, my mother left Adam and I with Boe. The NILMDTS photographer arrived and took some photos of Boe. I treasure them just as dearly as I treasure the feel of Boe in my arms. He smelled so sweet, and even though he only weighed 2 pounds 13 oz at birth, he was heavy in my arms and filled them completely.

After the anesthesia wore off, I was finally able to see Adler and Cameron in the NICU. My boys had been here for 5 hours, and I had yet to even touch them. As I was being taken to my room, we stoppped by the NICU so I could see them. I was only able to touch them through openings in their isolettes, holding would have to wait until tomorrow. The nurses assured me that, all things considered, they were doing great. Cameron, the bigger of the boys, was on oxygen, but they expected he'd be off it soon.

By this time, it was about 9:30 PM, and I was exhausted. I was still coming off the anesthesia and had yet to be put in a room. Once I was finally settled in a room, my husband and I had the difficult task of saying goodbye, as he had to get home to our daughter. Neither of us had seen her since 8:30 that morning when we had left for the doctor's office.

So, Adam headed home, and there I was alone in the hospital room. I got as comfortable as I could, and I cried until I could cry no more. I was convinced that if I could just fall asleep, I'd awake safe at home, in my own bed, Boe still safe and alive in my belly. The Day the Earth Stood Still.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Day the Earth Stood Still, Part 1

Where should I start? As I write this, 9 and 1/2 months later, the events of April 22, 2010 are so clear yet so fuzzy. Certain things stand out in my head with crystal clear clarity and others I must fight to piece together; perhaps this is my way of protecting myself from the pain.

It was a Thursday morning, and I had an appointment with my doctor followed by a biophysical profile at the hospital. My husband had taken the day off from work so that he could accompany me. He had not "seen" the boys since I had been hospitalized, so he was anxious to check in. The morning was rather uneventful. We got up, got dressed, fed our beautiful daughter, Libby, and waited for my friend Desiree to arrive so that we could leave.

As we headed out the door, something told me to grab the bag that I had taken with me to Long Beach. I had never unpacked because I knew it would not be too long before I needed my bag again. To this day, I still don't know what told me to grab that bag. What was nagging at me deep inside, telling me that today was a day I would never forget?

At the doctor's office the staff was pleasantly surprised to see that I was still pregnant. They were all very excited and supportive. We were ushered back to an ultrasound room and I was given a minute to get comfortable. The ultrasound tech began moving the probe over my enormous belly trying to get a lay of the land. She told us as she found Baby A's heartbeat and Baby C's heartbeat. They were very easy to find since they were right on top. Boe had always been a little bit more tricky as he was underneath his brothers. She kept moving the probe trying to orient herself and then her face changed. At that moment, I knew in the pit of my stomach that something was not right.

Nothing could have prepared me for the words that came out of her mouth.

"I am so sorry, but Baby B's heart has stopped beating."

My husband and I choked out a collective, "WHAT?" and the tears began to flow as we clung to each other in that tiny little room. The tech gave us a minute while she went to fetch the doctor. Although I kept crying, there was a part of me that thought maybe she was wrong. Maybe Boe was just hiding and the doctor would come in and say all was well.

The doctor did come in and took a look himself. He threw his glove down on the keyboard in anger and frustration. The tech's findings were correct. At some point in the last 12 hours, our little Boe had left. How had I not known? How had I not sensed he was in trouble? How could this be happening?

The doctor told us what some of his concerns were regarding Adler and Cameron's health. He was the most worried about Adler since he and Boe had been sharing a placenta. I was sent right over to the hospital for observation. The hope was that Adler would remain stable enough that I could carry the boys for another week so they could grow a bit more. Worst case scenario, they'd be delivered that day.

The thought of carrying a dead baby inside me for another week was heartbreaking. I wanted him out, I wanted him to be warm and peaceful, not wedged between his brothers receiving the brunt of their every move. Boe was not a punching bag, he was my precious little boy, and he was gone. I knew in my heart of hearts that if it was best for Adler and Cameron, I would do whatever it took, but I still struggled with the thought.

The nurses who checked me in were wonderful. They offered hugs, support, anything we wanted, except for food and drink for me. The doctor did not want me to have anything in my system in the even he needed to deliver the boys that day. So I sat there, thirsty, hungry and heartbroken wondering what came next?

The nurses hooked me up to fetal heart monitors, gave me steroid injections for the boys and magnesium sulfate to help with blood flow to their brains. Apparently, preemie babies have a higher risk of brain bleeds and this would help combat that. Now came the business of calling family and some friends. I know when I called my mom, I could not even respond when she answered. I just choked out the words, "Boe died." in the meekest smallest voice I have ever heard myself utter. She was there before I knew what had hit me.

Most people we informed had so many questions, and we had no answers so lots of messages, calls and texts from that day were ignored. Sorry people, it is what it is. We were surrounded by those who meant the most to us as we waited to fond out what was to happen next. The doctor came over to check on me at just after 3 PM.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Countdown to May 1, 2010

My perinatologist is a wonderful man. He was very open and honest about the risks associated with a pregnancy like mine and told us exactly what to expect and what his hopes were for me. He wanted me to try to make it to 34 weeks, that gave us an estimated due date of May 1, 2010.

I went in for weekly appointments to have the length of my cervix measured and the babies screened. We were told at about 16 weeks that A and B, our identicals, were boys. C was looking like a girl, but not 100% on that observation. We immediately began trying to come up with ABC names. As teachers, we both had several "No no" names. We also wanted to try ro avoid anything to trendy and stay away from family names (that way no feelings get hurt).

My husband had a very soft spot for his maternal grandfather, whose name was Eugene. I told Adam all I could picture in my head was that dorky guy in "Grease" named Eugene and hadn't we discussed no family names? He was pretty adamant, so we reached a compromise of sorts. We'd give one of the children the middle name of "Gene" in his honor and I'd get to pick ALL the rest of the names. Fair right?

And so, A became Adler Gene, B became Boe Holland, and C became Charlotte Jayne. One week later Charlotte Jayne became Cameron McKale when we learned that C was really a boy. We looked forward to our weekly visits with the boys and began the task pf planning how things would look at home. The boys would be sharing a room with their big sister, Libby, so how were we to convert her darling pink and brown room into a unisex nursery? Should we get a quad or triple stroller? What kind of carseats to buy? Not too many matchy-matchy identical clothes - first of all, I'm not that cutesy, and secondly, when you have 3 bodies to clothe, is it practical to have 3 of everything or lots of singles so you can interchange? Sorry if I'm a buzzkill, but that's how my mind rolls.

In any case, I enjoyed consuming 3,500 or so calories a day and getting bigger by the day. This might sound like a dream come true to some people, but trust me, it is not as glamourous as it sounds. The days, weeks and months flew by. It did not seem possible that I was SO pregnant with 3 boys!

At our weekly appointments, we had learned that Boe was the smallest. Our doctor explained that every litter has a "runt" and that even though he was small, he was still developing within normal range, just at his own pace. Adler and Boe were the trickiest kind of twins to have. They were monchorionic, which means they shared a placenta. Our doctor was ever watchful to be sure they did not develop Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. This occurs when one twin receives too much from the placenta and the other too little. For obvious reasons, this can be very harmful, even fatal, to both babies.

My pregnancy progessed well. I was never ordered to bedrest, something about which I am very proud, but I did slow down significantly. When I was 29 weeks along, Boe was still small, but again still within normal ranges. Since I was getting to a point where if the boys needed to be delivered, they could most likely survive, my doctor wanted to admit me to the hospital for a round of steroids and observation. He was heading out of town for the Easter holiday and said he would just feel better if I was close to a perinatologist 24/7.

Off I went for a week at the luxurious Long Beach Memorial Hospital resort. I got the steroids which were to help with the boys' lung development and daily ultrasounds to see if the steroids were helping, they were. During that week, I missed my daughter's first Easter, ate my weight in Easter candy, watched every episode of TLC's "A Baby Story" and "Bringing Home Baby" that ever aired, discovered the glory of Ambien (I highly recommend), and sat in bed through a 7.0 earthquake in Baja, CA contemplating whether or not I should get out of bed and stand in a door frame or not. I was released from the hospital on April 9, 2010 at 30 weeks pregnant.

At this point, my doctor gently encouraged me to stop driving myself around. This was quite inconvenient seeing as how I would now be going to the hospital twice a week for Biophysical Profiles. These are ultrasounds that check to see how the babies heartrates are doing, are they moving, practicing their breathing?, etc. They could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours, it all depended on how the little guys were behaving that day. My mother became my chauffeur to and from these appointments since Adam was at work and had already taken a fair amount of time off for other appointments,etc.

Each appointment confirmed that all 3 boys were doing what they were supposed to be doing, and I was sent on my merry way to "take it easy" until the next visit. My last profile was on April 19, 2010. The boys were breathing, moving, and Boe had even had the hiccups while we were watching. I was looking forward to a baby shower at work the next day and then just riding things out until May 1st. I was in the home stretch!

Baby, baby, baby!!!

December 3, 2009 was a big day for us Kinowskis. Adam and I headed in to my doctor's office expecting to see the first images of our new little bean. We knew there would not be much to see, as I was only 14 weeks along. The ultrasound tech began doing her thing and started to make conversation. Was this our first pregnancy? No? How old were our other children?, etc.

As she continued with the small talk, she stopped and mentioned that she did not realize she was screening for multiples. WHAT? Had we heard her correctly? Multiples? I politely told her she was not, in fact, screening for multiples; there must be some mistake. She began pointing at the monitor and telling us there's 1, 2, 3...

I think Adam droppped to his knees, and I was holding my breath willing her to stop counting. Triplets??? How could this be? We had tried for so long to get pregnant with 1 and now 3, all on our own? What more could I do than just laugh? I laughed and said, "Holy shit!" many times in succession.

The scan continued, she asked the obvious questions. Had we been using fertility? No. Do multiples run in your family? Yes, on both sides. She informed us that from what she could tell, I was carrying a set of identical twins and a singleton. The doctor was ushered in to confirm her findings and take over from there.

She told us that what the ultrasound tech had observed was real, I was cooking 3 buns! She said that I would be referred out to a perinatologist, a high risk pregnancy specialist, for the remainder of my pregnancy. We left the office with my new doc's information in hand and TONS of WTF's floating around in our heads. This was SO not what we had anticipated or planned, but as they say, life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Let's Start at the Very Beginning

My husband and I tried to conceive on our own for 2 years before our journey towards "The Parent Hood" began. In 2008 we were at a crossroads - adopt or try 1 fertility treatment? We, being teachers, only had the money for one or the other, and even that was stretching it. My gut was saying ADOPT. I knew we may have to wait a while, but at least we were certain we'd have a child. My husband, on the other hand, really wanted to try fertility.

Somehow, someway, he convinced me that fertility was the way to go. So, in July of 2008, I began daily injections and pills that were supposed to stimulate ovulation. After one week I went in to the clinic for an IUI - interuterine insemination. Basically, they took my husbands's strongest sperm and injected it directly into my uterus via catheter. After that, it was in God's hands. Knowing that my odds of conceiving with this procedure were no greater than "the old fashioned way" had me really nervous.

After 2 weeks of waiting, we went in for the pregnancy test. We found out within a few hours that we were, in fact, expecting. It had worked!!! I met with my fertility specialist for weekly ultrasounds and bloodwork during the 1st trimester. These weeks were filled with many highs and lows. We found out 3 weeks in that we were expecting twins, which excited us greatly. Only 2 weeks later, we found out that one of the embryos had stopped developing. I had NO symptoms of pregnancy whatsoever, which really freaked me out. I was afraid that my other little bean had ceased to flourish. But, such was not the case.

The rest of the pregnancy progressed wonderfully. We found out at about 20 weeks, that "Super K" as we were referring to the baby, was to be a girl. In an instant, Super K became our precious Libby Julliet. At 36 weeks and 1 day my water broke. Libby was born 18 hours later on March 2, 2009.

She was the most precious thing we had ever seen in our lives, and we could not love her more if we tried. Since we had sruggled for so long to become pregnant with Libby, we were not very confident that we'd be able to conceive on our own, and so, did not take birth control very seriously. Our philosophy was, if it happens great, and if not, well that's fine too.

In early October, 2009, when Libby was just 7 months old, I learned that I was expecting again. I was elated, I was NOT broken, I could get pregnant on my own!!! The early part of the pregnancy was great. My nausea and fatigue did not set in until around week 10, much later than they had with Libby. My husband and I were anxiously awaiting the first opportunity we would have to see our new little bundle. That would be December 3, 2009 when we went in for a routine Trisomy 18 and Down's Syndrome screen.