I still remember the day the embryos were implanted in my uterus. I remember being in the hotel room where we staying picking up a book about pregnancy and reaching a chapter about all that could go wrong! My blood chilled at the horrors described. I was frantic, in a total panic, and wanted to jump up and down and get the little suckers to fall out instead of being implanted! My husband saw my horror and assured me that events such these were rare, something the book also maintained, and would never happen to me . . . WRONG!

25% possibility having twins—it did not sound like much, and so I naively accepted this as unlikely. My doctor said at worse I would have to be on bed rest. Uh huh! No, not so much, hardly a reality.

Incompetent cervix—I want to a tier one school for my doctoral degree, but somehow, my cervix did not follow because it failed miserably in its pregnancy duties! It began receding week 12 of my pregnancy. Yes, week 12, with 28 weeks to go!

Cerclage

Cerclage

Cerclage—sounds French, even sounds a bit like a fancy éclair, but no such luck! At 16 weeks gestation, I was told that I was already a little late to ensure a successful cerclage, but without it, I was told I would be unlikely have gestational viable babies. So after five attempts to get the IV into my hand, I had to submit myself to a procedure no one could guarantee would not end the pregnancy before the end of the day. I was absolutely beside myself with fear.

Gestational diabetes—did you know that having twins increases the probability of developing gestational diabetes even if you didn’t have any of the risk factors? Neither did I! So, you guessed it. Another complication! I had to watch all the carbs and sugars I ate.

Gallbladder disease—pregnancy hormones change the way your body works, slowing everything down, including your gallbladder! So, I first developed sludge and then stones! Nevermind, that it hurt like hell, the pain led to premature labor several times. I had to have my gallbladder removed three months after the babies were born but could hardly eat any fats during the pregnancy. Between the gestational diabetes and my diseased gallbladder, I could hardly eat! I was the thinnest mother of twins I have ever met.

20 Weeks of Bedrest!

20 Weeks of Bedrest!

Muscle atrophy—after being on bed rest for 21 weeks, my legs hardly worked by the time I gave birth. It was an absolutely miserable experience that left me weak and dependent on others when there was no one to help. My husband was working the graveyard shift, so I was alone at night and he slept during the day. I was quite concerned that I would drop one of the babies because my legs could not sustain me. Fortunately, that never happened!

Depression—thankfully, I did not develop placenta previa or preeclampsia but did get to the point in the pregnancy when I could no longer deal with the possibility of another complication. I lived in terror of giving birth to a baby that would not survive or survive but have a poor quality of life. Much worse, I the idea of giving birth to a stillborn haunted me. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat (which lucky for me I couldn’t do anyhow), and began crying over nothing, all of the time. I was in a perpetual state of exhaustion and terror, which in turn made me hysterical. Fun, huh?

The thing that I hate the most about this experience is that people always focused on the positive. Yes, I was pregnant.   Got it then, and I get now. But, I wish just once, someone had said, “Yep, this sucks! I feel for you, man.” Like all women, I had a picture of what my pregnancy would be like, which to be honest was normal ups and downs. I wish someone had told me it was all right not to be strong when my hormones were crazy, and the situation was less then optimal. So, because no one said it to me, I want to say it to you if you are going through or went through something similar. Here it goes:

I’m sorry you are having a shitty pregnancy. You have my permission to stab anyone with a fork (no, not really) who tells you to be brave or to feel lucky that you were able to get pregnant at all. You have a right not to be happy about your situation, even though world hunger has not ended. It’s okay to do whatever it is you need to do to keep sane during this trying time. Most of all, forgive yourself for not being perfect! You don’t have to be.

Those of you that have been there and done that, be proud of your badge of courage. Remember that without fear, courage cannot emerge. Don’t apologize or regret; you did what you could, given the situation! You made it to the other side, perhaps a little bloody and torn, perhaps figuratively or literally, but you made it. Enjoy your prize—the beautiful children your body, despite all it’s challenges, managed to nurture into your arms.

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