Fertility treatments helped this couple deliver twins. But that was only the first surprise.
My family is almost exactly the way I always pictured it would be. My husband, Grant, and I had it all mapped out: we wanted to have four kids before I was 35 (I was 26 when I got married), when I knew it might become harder to conceive. As the oldest of six children, I was definitely leaning toward a big family.
It sounded great at the time, but of course not everything goes according to plan. One key point was that I wanted to space my kids a few years apart, since it would be good for the children and easier on me. Fate, however, had something else in store for us.
A Rough Start
When Grant and I started trying to have a baby right after our wedding, I feared I’d have some difficulty getting pregnant. I’ve had irregular periods all my life, making it hard to predict when I would ovulate. Nonetheless, I did get pregnant after four months, but miscarried. It was a heartbreaking experience. I underwent three D&Cs [dilation and curettage] over the course of two months but I was still determined to get pregnant. A month after the last D&C we started trying again under the supervision of an ob-gyn who specialized in infertility. I charted my cycles and used ovulation prediction tests to improve our chances, but after three months, I still wasn’t pregnant.
The doctor put me on Clomid, a pill that can level out an irregular cycle by stimulating your ovaries to produce mature eggs. Grant and I had high hopes, but the Clomid didn’t help. I got a positive result from a pregnancy test after I’d been taking it for four months, but when the doctor performed the ultrasound, there was nothing there. I’d had a “chemical pregnancy”—an egg had been fertilized, but hadn’t implanted.
By now Grant and I were feeling the strain. I avoided baby showers and friends who had children because it was too painful. Fortunately, everyone knew what we had been going through and understood. But the hardest thing was that there was nothing to “fix”; I just ovulated infrequently.
Success At Last
In January of 2003, it was time for a fresh start. We began using an injectable fertility drug called Gonal-F, and I was overjoyed when I got pregnant right away. I knew that the drug increased the odds of having multiples because you may release more than one viable egg, so I was almost disappointed to learn there was only one heartbeat. But when the doctors checked me again in my second month, they found two. It was thrilling, but I was cautiously optimistic since Grant and I had been disappointed before.
Amazingly, the pregnancy went smoothly, and on August 30, 2003, I gave birth to a son, Samuel, and a daughter, Olivia, via c-section. I was full of elation and relief. When they were placed in my arms, it was a feeling I wish could have lasted forever.
Back at home, the twins were a challenge. My mom helped out during the day while Grant was at work, and his parents would come to our rescue in the evening. I barely got any rest as I tried to get Samuel and Olivia on the same feeding and sleeping schedule. Not surprisingly, having more children was the last thing on my mind then, but I decided not to go back on birth control since I’d had so many hormones pumped in me already. I returned to charting my cycles, though my doctor did issue a warning: a woman’s body can “reset” itself after childbirth.