The Birds & the Bees: Our Story Part 1

As a twin mom, you will find that one of the questions you get asked repeatedly, is ‘Are they natural?’ Whether it’s their business or not, everybody seems to want to know if you saw a fertility specialist and what methods you tried. I figured that because everyone wants to know, I should start at this point in our story.  

 

I am thankful that we were able to conceive without the side effects of clomid or the expense and invasiveness of IVF, but getting pregnant was still an emotional rollercoaster that took us over a year. We got married in June of 2014 and started to try to conceive by August of that year. I had been off of birth control about 18 months at that point, but my cycle was still very irregular. In high school, I had a consistent 28-day cycle, but that wasn’t the case anymore. Some cycles were as short as 2 weeks and once it was as long as 4 months.  I think that many factors played into my hormone irregularities to some degree, but I can talk about that later.  The point of me telling you all this is because when you are irregular it can feel nearly impossible to track your cycle and identify your most fertile time. Which of course led me to ovulation tests. 

I started with a more expensive, easy to read brand of ovulation tests. But a couple months in, I knew this was likely going to be a long arduous process.  To save some money I switched over to a much less costly bulk variety. If you read the instructions, ovulation tests will tell you that you don’t have to start peeing on them daily until a certain day of your cycle depending on how long your cycle typically is.   Then once you hit your peak fertility you stop testing until after your next cycle.  As I already said, my cycle was all over the place, so I started by day 5 and sometimes would pee on a stick each and every day for months straight.  It was a drag, but it was my only hope so I clung to it. Every time I had a positive ovulation test, I would anxiously wait 14 more days before using a pregnancy test and time after time it was negative.

I tried to stay upbeat and not worry about it. I trusted that everything would happen in good time. By June of 2015 I was getting anxious and looking forward to scheduling with a fertility specialist.  I really wanted to be a mom and I was looking for some hope. I also knew, they wouldn’t talk to me unless we had been trying to conceive for a year so I had to wait a couple more months.  Then, later in June, we booked a trip to a Sandals in Jamaica with two of our friends.  Sandals is an all-inclusive resort and part of me thought that not being able to partake in all the beverages would be a bummer, but I also felt that being pregnant would be worth it, so we kept trying.  The only 2 things this changed was A) I put off calling the fertility specialist in August and B) I had less anxiety surrounding getting pregnant because I figured that I wouldn’t mind sipping mimosas on the beach every morning while we were there.

By mid-December we still were not pregnant.  I scheduled a fertility appointment for mid-February and decided to focus on the holidays and get excited about vacation.  Jamaica was amazing and the perfect get-away.  Gorgeous weather, sandy beaches, delicious drinks, incredible food. We explored Dunn River Falls, lounged in the ocean, soaked up the sun and I was the most relaxed I had been in years. I hadn’t realized how stressed my body really was with my job, but a few days into our trip on January 16th, 2016 I ovulated (yes, I packed these stupid strips half way across the world).  I figured things still wouldn’t work, but also knew that each ovulation brought a new opportunity.

We got back to the freezing climate of the pacific northwest and went back to our daily grind. I was really busy trying to catch up at work so thankfully the countdown until January 28th, when I could do a pregnancy test, was flying by. The night of January 27th, something was different. My chest was so sore that I had to sleep on my back. This was not a normal symptom for me and I began to get excited. All night I tossed and turned in my angst. I couldn’t wait to take a pregnancy test.

At 4:30 the next morning I got up and ran to the bathroom to take a test. I used one of the cheap ones that came with my bulk ovulation tests. I peed in the cup, dipped the stick and set my timer. Was there a line? If it was, it was the faintest thing I’d ever seen. Was it all in my head? I tried a second test.  Still, an ever-so-slightly present line. Next step was to pull out one of my more expensive pregnancy tests, maybe it would be more clear. Nope, still very faint.  So, I did what every trained medical professional does and sought out primary literature. I’m kidding, I did what everyone does and pulled up trusty old Google. It said that a positive is a positive no matter how faint.  I couldn’t fully believe it. I had hoped for this day for so long, but when it came, I immediately found myself trying not to be too hopeful.

No matter how hard I tried to contain my excitement, I couldn’t. I ran to the closet and pulled out my announcement gift.  I had wrapped it for my husband, Farmer, over a year prior and hidden it up in our guest room closet behind some American Girl Doll trading cards. When he came downstairs for coffee, I gave it to him and told him to open it. He was met with a note about Baby Bryan being on the way, a soft baby blanket, lots of WSU baby gear (the perfect unisex baby clothing) and a book titled ‘I love you Dad’. He was pumped and his eyes glazed over with happy tears as he asked if this was ‘for real.’  I wasn’t terribly reassuring as I said, ‘I think so!’

That morning, on the way to work, I called my doctor’s office to cancel my February 7th fertility appointment and asked to get scheduled with an OB/GYN.  It felt a little surreal, but she placed an order for lab so that I could stop by for a confirmatory hCG blood test. HCG stands for human chorionic gonadotropin and is the hormone released in pregnancy. I couldn’t get the lab draw until after work, but later that night at 9:57pm, we got our level back. It was 206. I wasn’t very pregnant, but I was pregnant.

They wanted to do one more test about 5 days later to make sure levels were climbing normally.  HCG levels should double every 48-72 hours. So, prior to getting my levels checked I did some quick calculations. I wanted my next level to be somewhere between 687-1030. On 2/2/16 at 10:25pm my results came back at 3,286.  I knew I hadn’t done my calculations wrong, and I knew that levels could vary significantly, but for a short few minutes I wondered if I had twins. Thank God for Google. I was quickly reassured that, ‘High levels of HCG is common and does not mean you will have twins.’

Thanks for reading. 
Continue on to Part 2 HERE

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