My amazing talented cousin is getting her masters in photography and asked several moms she knew to be a part of her thesis. Ideally, I'd write a letter, but my handwriting is terrible and I want to be able to look back and read this one day. So here goes...
How did YOU respond to the initial news that you were pregnant? Did you experience fear, happiness, relief, anxiety? Were you trying to have a baby or was it a pleasant (or not so pleasant surprise)? ... Feel free to opt out of answering any part of the question that you don’t want to, or that you feel is too personal.
With Hayden, we had been actively trying for over three years to get pregnant. I had suffered several miscarriages, been through ALL kinds of fertility treatments that left my body and mind a mess. We had moved to the East Coast for Chip's work and decided to do IVF. I went back to our doctor in Texas, where we began our fertility treatment journey, and was absolutely ecstatic to find out we were expecting! They implanted two embryos and only Hayden "stuck". I did have sadness about that and was nervous for most of my pregnancy - mainly about STAYING pregnant. Then on December 22, 2009, our lives changed forever - in the most wonderful way possible.
Fast forward a few years, and despite our best efforts, we were still not pregnant. We decided to thaw two of the embryos from our IVF cycle that gave us Hayden. They put two in and - they both "took"! We were thrilled but also terrified at the reality of having three kids ages 3 and under!
How did you emotionally respond to your changing body? Did you embrace it and love it, were you confused and horrified, did you not care at all?
I embraced and loved being pregnant with Hayden. I even "enjoyed" morning sickness because it was my daily reminder (until 20 weeks) that I was still pregnant.
With the twins, it was fun at first because I wasn't in the "ate too many burritos" phase very long. I looked 10 weeks further along that I was since I was housing two precious babies. However, I had ALL DAY sickness and had to do twice weekly outpatient IV therapy and take medication to not throw up all day. I threw up until 24 weeks and only have a five week "grace" period before things went downhill.
Did you have a “turning point” during your pregnancy where you went from happy to sad or vice versa... Maybe you reached a point of acceptance like I did, or perhaps you went from happy to scared?
At 29 weeks, I went to my high risk OB appointment (I went to a high rish doctor because I was having twins) and found out that my cervix had shortened and I was dilated. I was put on FULL bed rest - which is quite difficult to do with a three year old. I also starting having Braxton Hicks pretty often. My body thought I was 39 weeks pregnant and I ended up in the hospital at 32 weeks due to contractions causing me to dilated to a 3 and become 80% effaced. After a HORRIBLE magnesium drip, the contractions stopped and I was able to come home after three days. The following Tuesday, I went to my regular OB appointment and my blood pressure was alarmingly high. Back to the hospital, where I was admitted. They had a hard time controlling my blood pressure and I ended up having an emergency C section that Saturday (the day before Easter) - March 30, 2013. Chip had taken Hayden to an Easter egg hunt (at my insistence) and literally made it to the OR two minutes before the twins were born. I was absolutely terrified - since I had the babies at 33 weeks 5 days gestation - and knew they'd have to go to the NICU. Hearing them cry was the most wonderful sound ever. It was VERY hard not being able to hold them or go see them. Despite the fact I was on a magnesium drip (which makes you feel awful), I still managed to drag (okay, I was pushed in a wheelchair) myself down to the NICU to hold my babies. It was amazing (other than the part where I literally bleed all over the floor and chair, that was a little horrifying)! Except - I couldn't hold Ansley because she wasn't doing so well. I would have to wait until the next day to hold her and then wouldn't be able to hold her again four days later due to her destating in the NICU and needing more support.
I would say that I felt relieved (that the babies were okay), overwhelmed & guilty (because it was "my body's failure that caused them to be delivered early) and a huge sense of peace and love (that was the biggest part).
God and adrenaline got me through the two weeks the babies were in the NICU. I had to pump non stop, was making trips back and forth to the hospital daily, playing with Hayden and trying to make his life as "normal" as possible, trying to work (I'm self-employed, so no maternity leave), hold my babies, keep everyone updated as to what was going on and sleeping only in 1-2 hour increments at night (no naps for this girl). I felt so awful the last few weeks I was pregnant due to being pre-eclampsic, that having a c-section and delivery was actually less physically stressful. Emotionally though, it was a daily roller coaster of having to make BIG decisions to help my babies...
Now, the babies are happy & healthy 7.5 months old bundles of love with the most amazing almost four year old big brother ever!