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!