Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Two Years Later

Some days I will look at my Blogger Stats to see which posts people are currently reading. And when it's been awhile, I'll click on that post too. Earlier this week, I clicked on my IVF posts and kept reading through the pregnancy posts.

You know, like when we found out that our two transferred embryos had turned into four babies.

I don't really need to look back at the controversy aspect of it anymore. I'm completely over it I think. And I get it. But I don't for a second wish that I had done anything differently (past the decision to transfer two embryos). And I have this amazing son to show for it all.

So instead, I have been looking at it in a personal way. It's sad to see how such an exciting time (the first 6 weeks) turned into the opposite. Yes, I was incredibly thankful that I was pregnant, but all of the excitement was replaced by physical sickness and fear. I was incredibly scared of having a higher order multiple pregnancy (only 3 of the babies continued to progress normally). I was scared of reduction. I was scared about losing the entire pregnancy.

After the reduction I felt a great sense of relief. And I enjoyed the following 10 weeks. But the scar of the preceding months was still there. So I don't think it was the same unadulterated joy that many other women feel.

And then I went into labor at 23 weeks and time basically stopped. I definitely didn't enjoy the 17 Magnesium Sulfate and painful contraction-filled days of hoping that I wouldn't go into labor.

I never had a chance to even consider a birth plan, so I wasn't fazed by the actual birth which surprisingly was able to be vaginal (but in the OR just in case). I definitely can't call it a beautiful or amazing experience. I was just happy that the 20+ doctors in the room (maybe that's an exaggeration, but not by much) delivered Dylan safely and took care of me well and especially happy that I heard him cry and got to touch him before he was taken to the NICU bed that was already waiting for him.

Is it a coincidence that all of this is coming up on the 2nd anniversary of his birth? Probably not. I think for the past two years I've focused on how thankful I was that everything turned out so well when the odds were not in our favor. And I think now I'm feeling more anger at what was lost in the process.

What we went through was amazing in so many ways and in a weird way, I appreciate it. It was very special to watch and help Dylan develop through such tough odds. But I still marvel every day at the people who have perfect term babies and hold them after birth and breastfeed and bring them home a day or two later. Many of them don't get how lucky they are. I don't want anyone to have to go through what we did, but it's just a weird feeling watching how it is supposed to go. And I don't for a minute pretend to think that many people don't have traumatic birth experiences or severe medical issues that have nothing to do with prematurity.

And that brings me to an article I saw on Facebook yesterday about a couple pregnant with quads after trying for a baby for 7 years and transferring 2 embryos. They are excited (and shocked) and are planning to have their four babies. And I hope beyond hope that everything goes perfectly. There were quads born during our NICU stay and they were released after like 2 weeks in perfect health. Amazing! But I worry for this couple. I just hope everything turns out okay. And I wonder how often this happens? How many other people out there had quads (or triplets) after transferring 2 embryos? One couple per year? More? Do we not hear about because it's rare? Or common? Or because many of the couples reduce the pregnancy? I think there needs to be more data collected so that people undergoing fertility treatments have as many facts as possible.

I didn't have a third trimester. I barely felt Dylan kick and I definitely was not able to bond with him before he was born. I was a zombie during weeks 6-13 of my pregnancy and hooked to machines and IVs for weeks 23-25. I spent what would have been weeks 25-27 staring at my tiny 1lb 15oz baby and touching his head to comfort him. During week 27, I finally got to hold him, but not again for quite awhile. During week 28, I waited through his heart surgery (PDA ligation). That was on Halloween. I cried through Thanksgiving, but smiled as the head Neonatologist dressed up as Santa a few weeks before Christmas. That would have been week 32. By his due date, I knew he was still not ready to come home and that's when the bitterness got worse. It was all borrowed time before then. He finally came home 5 weeks after his due date, two weeks after our 5th holiday in the NICU, Valentine's Day.

I am angry about what I went through and I think about it often.

But now I have a two year old. He walks and talks and eats and laughs and smiles and dances. He dances! I can't say that I wouldn't change parts of our journey if I could. But I sure wouldn't change my little Angel.

Happy Second Birthday Dylan!


  1. Thank you so much for this post today. It hit so close to home for me. I do remember when you were forced with the decision on reduction and I remember how I looked up to you for being so strong when put in such a bad place. I know it wasn't easy for you and I know it wasn't easy when all those people were attacking you so brutally for the decision you made.

    I know that my girls made it further than D, but I still can't help to feel like I was robbed of things that I should have experienced. Of course with that being said, we have a long road ahead and I can only look forward and do the best by my girls.

    I am so happy that things turned out the way they did for you and your beautiful family.

  2. Happy Birthday Dylan. I've followed you story for a long time. I'm really glad to see him doing so well. My due date was very close to your original due date and a had a scare in late September that my cervix was shortening, I spent two weeks on bed rest but it turned out everything was ok. I'v e often thought that our positions could have been reversed. I continue to cheer for you guys. Hugs. Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. Happy Birthday Dylan! I remember having my own (much shorter) NICU stay while Dylan was in the hospital, and how it helped to be able to read about someone with a similar experience. For the most part, I don't think about C's premature birth on a day-to-day basis, and when I do, it's not as upsetting to me as it was even a year ago. But as her birthday approaches, those feelings definitely come back. So I think it is totally understandable that Dylan's birthday is bringing up that anger and sadness for you.

  4. I don't have a preemie and was blessed with a full term baby who I took home the next day. I cannot compare our scenarios even for a second. But I cried at the end of this post. I am so glad that you have come so far and he is absolutely perfect.

  5. Happy Birthday Dylan! He's such a cutie, I love that pic of you guys :)

    I feel you on this post man. I'm still angry too - I wonder if that feeling will ever go away?

  6. I remember you going through all of this, but it wasn't until we faced our NICU stay that I really began to understand what you went through.

    I too have moments of bitterness that things didn't go as planned. That instead of getting to hold my babies they were whisked away so they could survive. And even though our NICU stay was short (only 1 month), the pain I felt on the day I had to leave them at the hospital is forever burned into my soul.

    There are many who will tell you to get over it. To look at your son and how amazing he is and that this should be enough. But I think reflecting and processing, especially when you aren't constantly holding your breath and waiting for the other shoe to drop, is important for healing.

    May this celebration of anniversary of Dylan's birth be a happy one. You all have earned it.

  7. Two years and such change and resilience! Happy Birthday to Dylan!

  8. And look how far you've come. Love to you both!

  9. Awww! Thanks for sharing! I am so glad all turned out for the best in the end, but you sure had a lot to get to this point!!!

  10. I remember your journey too. I have tears in my eyes, remembering parts that you shared with us as you went through it. This picture if you and Dylan is so damn beautiful - I am so glad you posted this!

    Happy birthday to Dylan and a wonderful hooray to you for staying strong for all this time. It takes an amazing amount of guts to make it through intact. It takes time to process the trauma - years after the blows we start to understand what has happened to us and we begin to heal.

    I echo Cristy's thoughts and agree that processing is a really important step in self-healing.

  11. I cannot BELIEVE we have 2 year olds! It seems like yesterday I was in the middle of our NICU journey and reading about your new experiences with a preemie. Happy birthday to your precious gift!