Thinking of my Snow Baby

It feels like eons since the last time I have posted in my blog. Most likely because I’m a  full-time working mom of twins. Having a child with a disability makes life even busier with occupational, physical, and speech therapy along with Early Intervention coming to the house for additional therapy throughout the week. Even with this hectic lifestyle, I can’t stop thinking about the one thing that’s on my mind multiples times a day…my last embryo, my snow baby, my baby boy.

The thought of going through the IVF process again makes me cringe in fear, but it’s a necessary risk I have to take. In fact, looking back I’m not even sure how I was able to give myself countless injections each day. However, the nausea from the fertility meds and the bruised body from the injections were nothing compared to what’s going on in the mind. Anxiety, the risk of failure, and the possibility of never having children again are the major battles I deal with mentally each day. It’s hard not to forget that I’ve already had a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) and it didn’t work. As you may recall, at my last FET Eric and I were called back into the operating room where my doctor informed us one of the embryos did not survive the thaw, leaving only one to transfer. That cycle didn’t work. Fast-forwarding to present day, we only have one snow baby left. A snow baby is a cute little term used to refer to your embryo once it is frozen. The statistics of him surviving the thaw is 50%. Not great odds, if you ask me. There’s something to be said about the underdog, though…

With IVF it’s easy to be depressed one moment and hopeful the next. It’s a constant struggle. It’s difficult to put into words what I’m experiencing now since I’ve had success after 3 rounds of IVF. I feel so incredibly blessed for my two girls. I shed tears looking back at my journey and am still in awe that I was able to experience pregnancy and motherhood. I know IVF can work. With that said, I will never forget those failed cycles and those feelings of hopelessness and despair, that heartache. To this day, pregnancy announcements rekindle those feelings I had for years of yearning to have a child. I can honestly say that I understand secondary infertility (the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more children) a little more these days . Now I know the love of having a child and want to experience that again. Often times I become stricken with sadness wondering if Brooklyn & Bella are my first and last children. Most people know when they’re having their final addition to the family and treat them as such. Maybe holding them and snuggling them a little longer, or allowing them to keep that pacifier a few more days, etc…I guess only time will tell.

There is no date set yet for my final IVF. We cannot afford to do any more cycles if this one doesn’t work nor do I want to go through this taxing process again. I can hear my coworker saying, “it is what it is” and she’s absolutely right. I would be ecstatic to add a little boy to the Hurless family and see his big sisters interact with him. Just the thought of who he will look like makes the injections all worth while. The best analogy I have is about one of my favorite sweets. After years of trying I got my “cake“, my little blessings I call B&B. My son would be the “icing on the cake,” a picture perfect ending from this mind-boggling adventure. So either way I’m blessed. Gosh, I’m so blessed…


Rainbow Babies

A “rainbow baby” is a baby born after loss. Just like a real rainbow, it is beautiful and bright, follows a storm, and gives hope. I’m so thankful for my rainbow babes and pray that my story still gives hope to others. Feel free to comment if you have a rainbow baby as well!




I’m a preemie mommy…

I’m a preemie mommy. Words cannot even begin to describe what all that entails. The fears, worries, ups and downs, and trying to stay as brave as possible are just a few emotions I would experience in one day with my girls’ stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I thought I was prepared for what lay ahead. I thought I was strong. What I came to found out that I wasn’t the strong one…my girls were.

994611_724652040895187_1810486386_nAfter a couple hours in recovery I was finally allowed to meet my girls. The nursing staff transported me on stretcher down to the second floor which was where the NICU was located. Eric was there, video camera in hand, to record these special first moments between a mother and her daughters. However, it didn’t go as I had envisioned. As soon as they pushed my stretcher next to the girls’ incubators, I became faint and nauseous. They placed a cold washcloth on my neck, an emesis basin beside my mouth, and took me up to my postpartum room on the 7th floor. The next morning, my family, Eric’s family, my pastor, and Sunday School teacher all visited and were able to meet the girls with Eric. While they were gone, my nurse informed me that the NICU called and wanted to know what formula I wanted to use because the girls were hungry. Panic swept over me, as I frantically tried to speak. I wanted to breastfeed. That had been one of my goals all along. My girls were tiny and could really benefit from breastmilk. The nurse listed a bunch of different formula brands the hospital provided and as I chose the first one she named, Similac, I began to sob. My nurse comforted me and said that I would still be able to breastfeed but they needed to feed the girls something right then. I anxiously awaited for the lactation consultant. I wanted my girls to have my milk.


Bella in the NICU

A few hours later, my family came back to my room with not only updates on the girls but also shared pictures of what they looked like. I never got to see Brooklyn. I had seconds with Bella. After the recovery period, those moments with the girls were a blur because I was so sick. I didn’t even know what they looked like. 😦 In a non childish way, it just didn’t seem “fair” that as their mother I was one of the last persons to see them. I even tease one of my coworkers because he saw them before me since Brooklyn needed a chest x-ray. It was only natural to harvest feelings of  jealously towards other moms on the floor. Whenever they wanted to see their babies they could just call the nurse and have them brought to their rooms. It was just Eric and I in my room. My babies were on a different floor. Eric tried to cheer me up by saying, “they’re probably jealous of you because you’re getting sleep without your babies in the room.” Maybe there was some truth to that. 😉 I used those feelings to fuel my determination to see them that day.

As soon as our family and friends left, the lactation consultant made her rounds to my room. With her was a breast pump with all of its many parts, packets of information on breastfeeding and pumping, and a cute little children’s book entitled, “eat baby, healthy” by Dr. John Hutton. “Your loving gift of milk will flow…with everything I need to grow” and “Always perfect, always free…our bond as it is meant to be” were just a few passages in the book. As sweet as those sentences sounded, no amount of reading materials, DVDs, or research online can prepare one for breastfeeding. It was very discouraging in the beginning. I began to pump every three hours and each time wouldn’t even get one drop of milk. Since the girls were 6 weeks early, my milk supply wasn’t fully in yet. I never gave up though and before long I got tiny drops of liquid gold and then was filling small bottles full of breastmilk. I was only allowed to breastfeed each girl for 15 minutes a day because they would exert too much energy and essentially lose calories/weight which meant that I had to pump around the clock. Pumping became like a full time job. During those horrific pumping days Eric was so supportive. He researched tips on pumping, made trips to Kroger for cabbage, massaged my engorged breasts, and helped me every three hours even through the night. Despite the pain I was enduring, my favorite part of each day was when I was able to breastfeed each girl and share that special bond with them.

Brooklyn in the NICU

Brooklyn in the NICU

In the midst of all my pumping troubles, I was being monitored for high blood pressure. Pre-eclampsia often times occurs during pregnancy but the same symptoms can occur after birth as well. I got it after delivering my girls which is called post-eclampsia. I was discharged on Friday with instructions to purchase a blood pressure machine and document my blood pressure three times a day. I was given parameters in which to call the doctor if my blood pressure wasn’t in the correct range. Needless to say, I was constantly calling the office and speaking to the on-call doctor because my blood pressure was out of the safe zone. Each time the doctor would increase my blood pressure medication and each time it still didn’t help. On Sunday, a couple days after I was discharged, my doctor sent me to the ER because it was 185/110! My blood pressure was dangerously high and could cause a seizure and/or stroke. The ER quickly triaged me and started a magnesium sulfate drip. (Basically an IV with medication to quickly lower one’s blood pressure and prevent seizing) I was readmitted to Post Partum and was given a catheter because with this medication one has to lie flat for 24 hours due to dizziness it causes. Eric had to go back to work so he left that night for home which was a hour and a half away. I never cried more than I did those two weeks post partum. I felt like I didn’t even have babies because I had a c-section and my girls were rushed to the NICU. I never got that “bonding” time right after their birth. I felt like they didn’t even know me because they spent more time with the nurses than their own mother. I felt alone. I was left in that hospital room with no family or friends for days, unable to see my girls, and in so much pain physically and emotionally. My friends and family were all miles away. Every now and then some of my coworkers would come to visit as I held back the tears until they left the room. Numerous doctors and internal medicine teams would round to my room to try and figure out a medication that worked for me. I tried several blood pressure medications that were safe for breastfeeding and none of them worked. Finally, after much consulting with these doctors, we decided that my health was the first priority so I had to stop pumping/breastfeeding. I was so disappointed with myself. I bawled and bawled. Every nurse and doctor saw me cry uncontrollably. I started to become friends with the nursing staff and countless doctors who would stop into my room to just chit-chat and console me. I tried really hard to provide breastmilk for my daughters and it still pains me that I couldn’t give them more than one weeks worth. My friend put it best about no longer breastfeeding, “It was the best and hardest decision I have ever made. But once I let that go I could let myself feel better and heal and enjoy being a new mom.” 

Even though I work at the hospital where I delivered and I’m familiar with the NICU, it’s just not the same seeing your baby (babies) hooked up to those monitors and tubes. They look so tiny and helpless. As scary as I felt each day, I knew that we were blessed. Some babies were in the NICU countless months on breathing machines and with multiple lines and tubes connected to them. My babes were the lucky ones. They were called “Feeder/Growers”. Brooklyn had a feeding tube until she learned to suck, swallow, and breathe. Bella, although much smaller, already had sucking down. Her main issue was weight. In order to leave the NICU a baby must reach 4 lbs. Within days, Eric and I became quite familiar with the NICU terminology, kangarooing (skin to skin contact), and taking care of our tiny babes. With any new baby there are countless things to learn, let alone being a mom for the first time to preemie twins. Two weeks passed and it was time to take our little girls home. As happy as I was to get into a routine at home with our girls, quite frankly, I was scared. Everything seemed so overwhelming: the apnea monitors, medications, preparing high calorie formula, weekly doctor appointments…but somehow I knew that if we could handle IVF and the journey to parenthood, we could handle being parents to preemies. Even now, 9 months later, with Bella’s recent diagnosis of Monoplegia Cerebral Palsy, we’re just trying to take one day at a time. I’ll leave you with this quote that fits Bella perfectly, “Babies born prematurely fight to survive. They are determined, strong, courageous, inspirational, and a miracle all rolled into one.” 



Every birth story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite.

The birth of my daughters seems like eons ago, yet I vividly remember that day like it was yesterday. As I sit here pondering about my unexpected delivery, their NICU stay, and my post partum re-admittance to the hospital, I am still in disbelief and am honored that I was able to experience pregnancy, delivery, and becoming a mommy. Here is part one of their birth story that will forever be cherished.

IMG_0688Monday, June 1, 2015– I had eagerly waited for this day for numerous reasons. Firstly, I was 34 weeks 1 day pregnant which according to my doctors was outstanding for having a high risk pregnancy with twins. Every Sunday my mom would call me and we would celebrate another week in the books. I wondered how much longer I could go though because I was having an extreme amount of pelvic pressure due to Baby A being head down in my birthing canal and having contractions. I knew it was just a matter of time. Secondly, I had made it to June which was my long term goal all along. I knew that if my babies were to come now they would more than likely be able to breathe on their own without assistance. Lastly, this was going to be the day that we tentatively scheduled my c-section. I was hoping to make it 38 weeks which just happened to be my 30th birthday. I had always wanted two kids by the time I was thirty and that dream was going to finally come true. All I can say is God works in mysterious ways and His timing truly is perfect.

A couple of times I was admitted into L&D.

A couple of times I was admitted into L&D.

Ever since I was 30 weeks pregnant Eric and I had our bags packed, video camera charged, car seats installed, and birthing photographer on speed dial in case at one of my appointments we were told we would be meeting our girls that day. Throughout my pregnancy we had multiple appointments a week with Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) and my OB. The further I progressed in my pregnancy the more appointments we had. At my OB appointment the nurse informed me that my blood pressure was high which was surprising. My entire pregnancy my blood pressure was normal and/or low which was remarkable for carrying multiples. My doctor examined me and then had the nurse recheck my blood pressure. She gave me orders to go to the hospital and check-in on the 7th floor where Labor & Delivery was located. I didn’t think twice about it because it seemed like I was becoming a frequent flyer there in the last few weeks. I had been admitted overnight a few times due to the girls’ heart rates decelerating, failed non-stress tests, and a scare of what I thought was amniotic fluid leaking. I knew the routine. I would be hooked up to multiple monitors to check for contractions and to monitor the girls’ heart rates, get hooked up to an IV, have my blood drawn, get “checked” (ouch!), and have an ultrasound to show the girls’ activity and growth.

hurlessnicu_0002When Eric and I left the OB office it was lunch time so I told him we had to eat before going to the hospital because once I get admitted I wouldn’t be allowed to eat. We had narrowed it down between Five Guys and Chipotle. I chose Chipotle. I had a delicious burrito fajita bowl with chicken, guacamole, chips, and water. I was nice and full when we left. We checked into L &D and within minutes everything that I had assumed was going to happen did. I was transported down to MFM to have my ultrasound where they did measurements of the girls. They informed me of their weights and went to discuss the findings with the doctor. I got into the wheelchair awaiting transportation back to my room and expressed my concern about Baby B (Bella) not growing as fast as her sister to Eric. We came to the assumption that everything would be fine because hopefully I could make it a few more weeks and she could catch up. The ultrasound tech entered the exam room and told us that the high risk doctor was calling my OB because I had to deliver the babies that day due to Bella having Intra Uterine Growth Restriction (IUGR). She barely grew from the last appointment and her placenta was dying off. This news took me by complete surprise! A rush of emotions consumed me as my heart sank into my chest. I was in denial. I told the tech that I wanted to speak with my OB. I was hoping to keep them in as long as possible. I knew they were going to be tiny and, quite frankly, I was scared. I was hoping to have a scheduled c-section and be more prepared mentally for what was to come. Eric excitedly exclaimed, “We’re going to meet our girls today!” Just the night before I was celebrating my grandma’s 75th birthday with my family as they felt my baby bump and were guessing when they would be born. Not even 24 hours later I was going to give birth. The day I had awaited for countless years was upon us.

Our view from my room on the 7th floor. God was watching over us.

Our view from my room on the 7th floor. God was watching over us.

When I returned to my room I received a phone call from my OB and she agreed with the high risk doctor. Luckily, my OB was on call that night and would be performing the delivery. Moments later, the anesthesiologist entered the room asking a list of questions. One of his first questions was when was the last time I ate and what did I have. I proceeded to tell him that I had eaten about an hour ago and had Chipotle. Due to this I had to wait at least eight hours with nothing to drink or eat before my surgery could be performed. I also had to wait on twin boys that were going to be delivered right before my twin girls. 🙂 In a way, I was glad I had time to let it sink in that I was going to be a mommy sooner than I imagined.


Twins071The nursing staff was great and relieved a lot of my fears by talking me through every step of the way. Ironically, my nurse happened to be my birthing instructor. Even though I was in the hospital room for hours, it seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. Before I knew it Eric and I were saying a prayer and then I nervously got into a wheelchair to head down for surgery as he gave me a kiss goodbye. The fear of the unknown was enough to make me teary-eyed. As I entered the operating room, I saw familiar faces, which was reassuring. Since I work at the hospital I was delivering at I knew almost the entire staff. They didn’t mess around and before I knew it I was sitting on the edge of the bed, leaning forward getting my spinal. I can honestly say that my biggest fear was getting that spinal because I’ve heard some horror stories about them. In my opinion a bee sting hurts worse than that poke. It didn’t take me long to realize why they rushed to get me into the correct position on the table. My legs quickly became numb extending all the way up to my chest. I was given a catheter which I obviously didn’t feel, and the room quickly became crowded with countless residents, respiratory therapists, nurses, and a NICU team for each girl. I could smell my own skin burning as they cut down the layers to get to my uterus. I felt a lot of pressure. I began feeling nauseous and immediately regretted my decision of eating Chipotle hours earlier. I started burping it up and was given medication to help with the nausea a few times.

I couldn’t have asked for a better nurse anesthetist. Having one of the best views in the room, he was able to inform me of what was happening. I felt more pressure and tugging and glanced at the clock when they said Baby A (Brooklyn) was born at 9:03pm. I was waiting for that bourning cry and could tell by the commotion in the room that something wasn’t right. I never heard her cry. I was told that she took in a big gulp of amniotic fluid while they were pulling her out. Exactly two minutes later at 9:05pm Baby B (Bella) was born and I could hear her cry. It was music to my ears. I heard my doctor chuckle and say how feisty this twin was. Bella had grabbed onto her gown and wouldn’t let go. 🙂 After much encouragement, Eric trimmed both of the girls’ umbilical cords and Bella was handed to him. The nurse anesthetist described what each twin looked like saying they had a lot of hair and were tiny. My birthing photographer showed me pictures of moments she captured on her camera since I couldn’t see anything. I thought it would help prepare me for how little Bella was. It didn’t. She was SO tiny. I reached out and touched her little hand for just a few seconds before they rushed both girls to the NICU. Eric and I began to sob. I had tears of joy and concern as I worried about my girls. I never even got to see my first born, Brooklyn. I began to shake uncontrollably and itch due to the drugs as they sutured me back up. Eric went to the NICU with the birthing photographer to see our girls. I wanted him there with them. I went to recovery and a couple hours later Eric showed me pictures and videos that he took of our little miracles.Twins051



Bella (her hand is always on her face)

Bella (her hand is always on her face)

First picture of them together.

First picture of them together.

Eric sharing the news with our family.

Eric sharing the news with our family.



Twins133Twins124Brooklyn June

5lbs. 2oz. 16 1/2 inches long

Meaning of name:
Water. Eric proposed to me underneath the Brooklyn Bridge in NYC and asked the night of the proposal that if we ever had a girl her name be Brooklyn. June means Young and was the month I was born.




Twins128 Twins121Bella Jean

3lbs. 5oz. 16 inches long

Meaning of name: Derived from Isabella which means God’s Promise. Bella also means beautiful. Jean means Gift from God. Jean is also in memory of Eva Jean Witten, Grandma Hurless’ sister.


The girls’ birth story was nothing how I imagined nor had planned. To this day I still cannot eat Chipotle. (Give me time though because it’s one of my favorite fast food places. 🙂 ) Whenever I drive by one I can’t help but smile remembering the events that took place on that special day. I’m realizing that sometimes the best things in life aren’t planned. Eric and I were just so thankful that our girls made it safe and sound. Despite all of the unknowns I couldn’t believe that I was a mommy and was eager to see my girls in person.



I can’t believe they’re mine…

It’s still so surreal. I can’t believe they’re mine. My baby girls were born unexpectedly via c-section on 6-1-2015. I was 34 weeks 1 day pregnant so the girls spent two weeks in the NICU. All is well now as we’re all adjusting to life at home. More to come later (when I actually have time to blog and I’m not so sleep deprived 🙂 ) but for now here is the girls’ birth announcement.

baby announcement


Baby steps

29 weeks pregnant today. Whew! Last week I entered my third and final trimester which was a relief in itself. The last few weeks have been quite the whirlwind of emotions, doctor appointments, and many concerns as I take baby steps towards my goal of delivering healthy baby girls.

My 26 week appointment entailed a variety of tests. I began the day with my glucose test (I passed), my thyroid blood test (I passed), and then went on to my OB for a checkup and was told to keep up the good work. I felt relieved for a change. I remember thinking how perfect this day was going. Eric and I grabbed a quick bite to eat in between appointments and then checked in with Maternal Fetal Medicine. Due to my high risk pregnancy, each ultrasound is started transvaginally to check my cervix. Then, the ultrasound tech squeezes an enormous amount of ultrasound gel all over my abdomen and does a doppler to check the girls. After each exam I always ask the tech how everything looks. I remember eagerly saying, “How does my cervix look?!” The ultrasound tech quickly said, “I’ll have the doctor review it.” My heart sank. I immediately looked at Eric and mouthed “somethings wrong.” Usually the response I receive is something like, “It looks great!” She continued to perform the rest of the exam and then went to discuss the findings with the doctor. Moments later she returned saying that my cervix shortened quite a bit (went from 2.8cm to 2.2cm) which could lead to preterm labor. I was told that the amount of weight pushing down on a woman who is expecting twins is greater than that of a singleton which can cause the cervix to thin and shorten. My doctor suggested getting two steroid shots, each 24 hours apart, to help mature the girls’ lungs just in case they were to come early. I started crying. I was so scared. I knew the girls were still so tiny. I feared if they came early they would have to spend most of their first days in the NICU. I was on a mission to do anything in my might to protect these girls and keep them in my womb as long as possible.

I began getting P17, or Progesterone injections, once a week since that appointment. P17 is suppose to help reduce contractions and prolong pregnancy. Studies have proven to be effective for singletons, although there isn’t much research with twins. After much debate with our doctors, we agreed that it doesn’t have any negative side effects, so why not try? I feel that even if these injections help me get a week further it’s worth it. Eric and I also decided I would spend more time on the couch and less time doing things around the house. I was extremely anxious for my 28 week appointment. This time I asked the ultrasound tech what my cervix was measuring and she informed us that it didn’t change from my last appointment. It was still at 2.2cm! I was pleasantly surprised. She went on to measure the girls and Brooklyn is exactly 2 1/2 lbs while her sister, Bella, is still on the small side weighing 2 lbs 2 oz. The good news is the girls are consistently growing; however, they still need lots more time in the womb to learn how to breathe, grow, and a few other finishing touches. Others often ask me for specifics to pray about pertaining to my journey. Please continue to pray for my little girls to stay in as long as possible and to grow. Pray that my cervix does not shorten and stays strong to hold them. Every Sunday is a huge milestone when I reach another week of pregnancy. I have made little goals to finish out this pregnancy strong. My first goal was 28 weeks (check!), my next goal is 30 weeks, then 32 weeks, and so on. I cry happy tears each Sunday, thanking God for blessing me with another week. I’ve already made it three additional weeks since that frightening appointment. Praise the Lord!

Since I have appointments every two weeks, Eric and I have a stash of ultrasound pictures of each girl. I have been wanting to share them for some time. Our little miracles…

They're first picture.

Their first ultrasound picture. (Day 5)

Looks like a tadpole.

Looks like a tadpole. (Week 6)

The girls side by side.

The girls side by side. (Week 8)

They start to move apart from each other. Brooklyn goes down and Bella stays on top. (Week 12)

They start to move apart from each other. Brooklyn goes down and Bella stays on top. (Week 12)

(Week 14)

Bella is on top and Brooklyn is on bottom. (Week 14)

Bella showing us her foot above her nose! (Week 16)

Bella showing us her foot above her nose! (Week 16)

First 4D ultrasound of Bella. She has Eric's button nose! (Week 24)

First 4D ultrasound of Bella. She has Eric’s button nose! (Week 24)

Bella has our mouth open. She is the easiest to see on 4D so she has the most pics. (Week 26)

Bella has her mouth open and loves having her hand on her face. She is the easiest to see on 4D so she has the most pics. (Week 26)

Brooklyn, as you can see, was difficult to get a good 4D scan. (Week 26)

Brooklyn, as you can see, was difficult to get a good 4D scan. (Week 26)

Brooklyn's leg kicking my cervix. (Week 26)

Brooklyn’s leg kicking my cervix. (Week 26)

Bella sticking her tongue out at us. Just like daddy! (Week 28)

Bella sticking her tongue out at us. Just like daddy! (Week 28)



National Infertility Awareness Week

088AA576-283A-432C-80EA-87158E9F0629.full“Infertility is a heart-wrenching, faith-questioning, relationship-testing, life-altering experience.” I found this quote online while I was struggling with infertility which explains it perfectly. April 19th-25th, 2015 is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). According to the National Infertility Association, 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. Infertility affects all races, genders, and ethnicities. I was able to meet a lot of diverse couples sitting in the fertility center’s waiting room. Despite coming from different backgrounds, we all had that same desire…to become a parent. Just over a year ago, after much research, Eric and I decided to travel down the IVF road due to struggling with infertility for countless years. In my mind I thought that IVF was guaranteed to work and didn’t seem that hard from what little I knew. Unbeknownst to me, IVF wasn’t as glamorous as society and celebrities made it appear.

Over one year ago we were informed that our first IVF cycle did not work. A few months later we found out that our second IVF cycle did not work. I quickly discovered that IVF wasn’t such an easy process nor always successful. I was tired of hearing, “Are you pregnant yet?” Needless to say, infertility and depression go hand in hand. I contemplated which title for my blog post should be next: No longer up to science, The adoption option, or Always want what you can’t have. After two IVF failures, Eric and I had so much on our minds. My fertility doctor told me after our second failed attempt that one of his patients had to try IVF 5 times before it was successful. I remember thinking if I could try 5 times eventually I would have to fall on the right side of statistics, right?! People would always tell me that they wanted what I had…a loving husband. I always thought to myself, why can’t I have the best of both worlds-a wonderful husband and a child? Eric and I researched adoption and surrogacy intently, but when it came down to it something in my heart told me to try IVF one more time. Looking back, I’m still in awe that IVF finally worked for us.

I’ve said this before but it’s so true, success after failure is like a huge slice of humble pie. Often times, I feel guilty for not documenting my pregnancy journey as much as I had hoped. I thought as soon as I conceived I would take multiple pictures of my growing bump. In all honestly, I haven’t taken many pictures because a part of me will always have those feelings I experienced with infertility. Pictures and videos of baby bumps and ultrasounds on social media were difficult to see while in the blues. As odd as this may sound, I still feel infertile. I was infertile for so long that you become part of the “infertility family”. I have feelings of guilt that I finally had success while so many others are still trying. A part of me also doesn’t want to get my hopes up too much. I remember like it was yesterday when I was celebrating 10 weeks of pregnancy. Then, the next day I was in the ER for a threatened miscarriage. In a blink of an eye I could have lost the babies. For these reasons I get choked up easily talking about my IVF and pregnancy journey. I remember when I got my blood drawn a week before my beta pregnancy test and the receptionist asked if there was any chance of pregnancy. I started crying. It was the first time in my life that I could answer yes. Moreover, my heart just melts as I get teary-eyed when Eric comes home from work and asks, “How are my girls?” 🙂

Infertility will always be a part of my life. It’s part of who I am now. Please be mindful of others traveling down this worrisome road. Whether it be a family member, friend, colleague, or acquaintance, there is more than likely someone struggling with infertility in your circle of life. I am very open about my journey; however, not everyone is which can make it even more difficult because they could feel alone. Please keep them in your prayers. For those of you struggling with infertility I know nothing I say will make you feel better. Quite simply, it’s just not fair. I remember those emotions of hopelessness and despair that go along with infertility. Just know that there is hope despite all odds. I’m living proof.


I found this chart in the book, "A few good eggs." It is so true and somewhat comical b/c my husband and I had to do a lot of these. (giving injection in car for example) ;)

I found this chart in the book, “A Few Good Eggs.” It brings back memories of our journey. It is so true and somewhat comical b/c my husband and I experienced almost all of these. (giving injection in the car for example) 😉F744A1C1-D032-44A1-A03B-6040962589C8




Moment of truth

I never thought I would receive that phone call. That conversation with a doctor who tells you something you don’t want to hear. Hearing results that were bad news is exactly what happened to me on Wednesday, January 21, 2015.

I received a phone call from my OB saying that one of my first trimester tests came back and showed low values for the PAPP-A test. PAPP-A, which stands for Pregnancy-Associated Plasma Protein A, is a test that measures levels of protein in the mother’s blood. I could tell by my doctor’s tone of voice that whatever this was wasn’t good. She informed me that we would have to see a genetic counselor due to my low levels. She said it could mean there is a problem with the placenta(s) or a sign that I’ll have preeclampsia. I could lose both of them. I was in disbelief. PAPP-A affects the placenta, something no one can prevent. When values are low it could result in complications like intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), placenta abruption, and fetal death. I tried to hold it together on the phone as I took in this nerve-racking information. I tried to be brave. Words tried to leave my mouth as my lips quivered and I started to get choked up. I cried. My mind was racing as my heart dropped. My heart was breaking. I could not lose another baby. This journey to pregnancy and pregnancy itself has been exhausting. I was tired of being strong. It seemed there was always something wrong. I could take the nausea, vomiting, sleepless nights, sciatica pain, injections in my butt each morning, bed rest, etc…I was just tired of being tired. Despite the dreadful news, all I could think about were my baby girls. They always looked so healthy on that ultrasound screen waving at us and looking cute as ever. I knew they were strong. They survived going through IVF, they survived a minor car accident, they survived that frightening day in the ER with all that blood loss, and now I had to hope and pray they continued to be fighters.

I bawled for an hour straight after that phone call. I didn’t know who to tell or what to do. Eric was in a meeting so I didn’t want to bother him nor tell him over the phone. When he came home for lunch he asked right away what was wrong as I broke into more tears. He took it like a champ as he comforted me. Maybe he was use to receiving bad news with me? I knew he was scared but wanted to stay strong for me since I was clearly falling apart emotionally. During that hour before he arrived home I researched online (“Dr. Google” as Eric likes to call it) about PAPP-A. I read forums and articles on this topic out loud to Eric, the most common issue with a low value of PAPP-A being intrauterine growth retardation. Eric and I already knew since we were having twins that our girls would more than likely be smaller. We were already preparing ourselves in case our girls have to stay in the NICU for a little bit due to their sizes. IUGR is a different story. If the girls do not continue to grow they can die in utero. I have only gained 3lbs. which is a concern because I’m over 4 months pregnant with twins. My BMI is in the normal range for a girl that is not pregnant. All of 2014 I wasn’t allowed to exercise due to IVF but continued to lose weight due to the powerful medications I was prescribed. Being pregnant with twins, I thought I would show sooner than most girls pregnant with just one. That hasn’t been the case for me. I expressed my concern with Eric about my lack of weight gain and how I worried about the girls being so tiny. He jokingly said, “we’ll just have Ohio State cheerleaders, that’s all.” 🙂 He was trying to make me smile. One thing I did know was how blessed I was to have him in my life. After Eric went back to work, I decided to call Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) because I was still alarmed by the findings online. The nurse informed me that they were concerned with the twin’s growth and would discuss more information with me at my next appointment which was on Monday, 5 days away.

On Monday, January 26, 2015, as Eric and I sat in my high risk doctor’s office, I couldn’t help but feel anxious about what he was going to say to us. The moment of truth was upon us and it took me by complete surprise. My doctor informed us that everything was perfectly fine with our girls. He said that the OB doctor should have never called me because it is very common for women expecting twins to have low levels of PAPP-A. We had an ultrasound done that showed that both girls weighed 5oz. each which is exactly on target for a twin pregnancy. To say I was relieved was an understatement. Since I’m being seen by MFM, I do not have a choice to opt-out of each trimester screening test which has proven to have false negatives. With that said, I am very thankful that I am monitored so closely at MFM.  I’m somewhat “spoiled” that I am able to see my girls every two weeks via ultrasound. In my next blog post I will be sharing ultrasound pictures of them showing their growth from a tiny tadpole to a fetus. The miracle of life is incredible. I remember leaving that appointment thanking God over and over for His protection and blessings.


Shake it off

Throughout my blog posts I have tried to educate others on infertility, specifically the IVF process. I honestly believe that others are now more aware of the “dos and don’ts” of what to say to couples traveling down this road. Personally, things became better for Eric and I after I expressed my feelings because people knew how to approach this sensitive topic after reading my posts. I thought once I became pregnant that the hurtful comments would completely disappear. I should have known by now things never go as I imagine…

To all of those who have provided  meals, sent cards, donated time and money, and most of all who have prayed thank you very much. We are beyond blessed to have such gracious people help us on the road of life.

To all of those who have provided meals, sent cards, donated time and money, and most of all who have prayed, thank you very much. We are beyond blessed to have such gracious people help us on the road of life.

Let me first start off by saying how grateful we are for our wonderful support group which consists of our family, church family, friends, co-workers, and the countless others who know our story and pray for us on a regular basis. We are blown away by the generosity of everyone. Eric and I aren’t use to receiving “hand outs” and feel almost guilty at times receiving support, such as meals from others. One of my friends asked me some time ago if she could start a “go fund me” account (GoFundMe) to help with the costs associated with IVF since insurance doesn’t cover a dime. If there is one thing I could change in the medical world, it would be that at least part of IVF could be covered by insurance. Eric and I talked it over and prayed about it for awhile. Multiple times going through our IVF journey we saw fundraisers, spaghetti dinners, auctions, and car washes for couples in the adoption process. There is much more acceptance and support for adopting than IVF. I’ve always wondered why there are more benefits and such for couples that are adopting. Maybe because people think it’s more of a sure thing (even though adoption is a very complex process and isn’t always a sure thing), where IVF can fail. My husband was adopted and I am very grateful for that and have a lot of respect for people who choose to adopt. I just wish the same acceptance of people helping and assistance was given to couples going through IVF. Once I was told that I had to be off work for another 12 weeks, and my income would be reduced due to receiving Short Term Disability, we wondered if the go fund me site was one of God’s ways of providing for us. We gave my friend our blessing and she shared the website. The response I received was overwhelming. I remember crying when we received the first donation and watched in amazement as more and more came in. These people, mostly anonymous, were big-hearted. I’ll never be able to thank them enough for helping us during this time. The happiness faded quickly as I began seeing posts on Facebook and hearing others saying, “it was your choice to do IVF” and “since we chose IVF, we should have known the cost associated with it.” With IVF there are so many unknowns, costs being one, which one wouldn’t understand unless they have experienced it. Furthermore, I wasn’t planning on being off work, but due to my health reasons I have to be.

The hurtful comments didn’t stop there. Before our gender reveal party someone said, “they tried so hard to get pregnant, why can’t they just be happy with what they get?” This person thought it was silly to do such a party and thought we would be disappointed if they were a certain gender. We knew from the beginning, the day of our embryo transfer, we were having girls and were thrilled to share the news with our family. I’ve always been a planner and for that reason wanted to know the genders of our babies. We heard and still hear countless comments about having girls. Comments like, “thank God I don’t have any girls” and “good luck with that!” The most insensitive comment was when someone said, “we cheated the system to get twins.” This one hurt deep within my soul. I didn’t choose to struggle with infertility. I never wanted to go through IVF. This wasn’t the life I had in mind. We struggled. We had failures. We’re now blessed. Ever since we found out we were having twins the most common question asked is, “are they natural?” When people ask this question it feels like they’re basically saying since my child wasn’t naturally conceived they’re not as special. Eric and I almost feel like some people think our twins are robots or some kind of fascinating experiment. A word of advice as to how to inquire about twins would be to say, “do twins run in your family?” That question is tactful, yet inquisitive.

Despite all of the jokes, sarcasm, and negativity, I know I just need to “shake it off” like the popular song by Taylor Swift suggests. It’s not an easy task, but I also need to remember what’s truly important in life. Others will always have their opinions and comments. I went through a lot to get where I’m at and cannot let others take away my happiness.