Today, Rhy from Welcoming a Heartbeat is here to talk about one particular bump on her path to surrogacy pregnancy and birth. They're having twins, and I know, honestly, exactly what she means. I've totally been there.
Multiple birth is a side effect of IVF and ART, it's not a goal. We knew that by agreeing to transfer two embryos, we were risking our surrogate getting pregnant with twins. It was a risk we felt compelled to take. After three years of trying, and after experiencing everything from failed cycles to surrogacy fraud, it was one of the few things we could do to increase our chances of actually taking home a baby.
When Kim called to tell me our surrogate was pregnant, I was so excited I could hardly breathe. Seeing the results of the beta hcg test made it clear that twins were a possibility. It was confirmed by ultrasound two weeks later.
We're thrilled. We feel blessed. And the next person who squeals "OMG TWINS ARE SOOOO CYUUUUUUUTE" is going to get a slap upside their damn fool heads.
Having twins didn't double my worry for our surrogate and our babies…. it increased it by a factor of ten.
A twin pregnancy catapulted our surrogate from low to high risk. Women who are pregnant with twins are more likely to experience hyperemesis gravid arum, gestational diabetes, and pre-eclampsia. Almost sixty percent of twins are delivered prematurely, and can experience life time complications from their low birth weight and preterm birth.
Drew and I are intimately familiar with the reality of caring for a medically fragile child. We know that no matter what happens we will be able to care for our children. We're confident that our surrogate and doctor are going to do everything possible to care for our babies to give them the absolute best chance for a healthy start.
Still. Twins are scary.
When a couple on Babble wrote about being "pissed" and "terrified" at the thought of having twins, I was one of the people who thought, "Cry me a river, you ungrateful jerks."
That was before I was in their shoes.
Don't get me wrong. both of my babies are very much loved and wanted. I'm thrilled that after years of pain and heartbreak, we're finally pregnant. I am overjoyed in fact.
But that joy is tempered by the sobering reality that twins are higher risk on every level. I'm terrified that my babies will be born too soon and too small. I worry about intrauterine growth retardation, lung maturity, placental abruption, prematurity, brain bleeds, cerebral palsy, and neurodevelopmental issues.
Loving my babies doesn't mean pretending that this is going to be easy. In fact, it's because I love them so much that I'm so worried.
I believe strongly in responding quickly to my baby's needs. I'm going to do my absolute best to continue to do that. We're fortunate to have lots of friends and family to help, but at two in the morning there will be one of me and two of them. Remembering the sleep deprivation of the newborn stage and multiplying it by two has me wondering just how much caffeine one person can drink before overdosing. Yesterday, while sorting laundry it hit me it's not double the laundry, it's probably tripling laundry when you count me needing to change clothes after being vomited on by two instead of one. As I buckled Q into his carseat this morning, that not only will I be buckling three kids into carseats this winter, I'll need to figure out how to do the grocery shopping with two infants and a six year old who still rides in the cart. (I wonder if the store would let me hitch a cart to one of their electric chair things?)
There may be some things that we won't be able to afford to do for two. I feel guilty they will have to share me with one another from their very first breath. I worry that people may stereotype one of them as the "good twin" and the other as the "bad twin."
When I had my first child almost thirty years ago, being a good parent meant that you kept them reasonably clean, well fed and relatively well behaved. Now it seems like parenting is an extreme sport where anything less than perfection is failure.
There are plenty of things for me to be anxious over in the next few months. Most of them are things I can't control. I can't control whether our surrogate develops complications or when the twins are born.
What I can do is accept the fact that parenting doesn't have to be a pass fail proposition. Maybe the twins will do just fine with a high mileage, slightly frazzled mom who is a little neurotic. Rather than shooting for "bestest mommy ever" I'll go for the more achievable and infinitely less stressful, "good enough mom who loves you all the same."
Don't forget to visit Welcoming a Heartbeat for more on this incredible journey.