Sides SURPRISE Twins Coming this Fall

(Written on Saturday, March 13)

It's been eight days since I learned I was pregnant, seven since I thought I was miscarrying, and five since I found out I hadn't miscarried and I was, in fact, still pregnant.  With twins.  

T w i n s.

Did I mention I have a IUD?

T w i n s.

Unplanned and unexpected.

T w i n s.  

Also known as kids four and five.  Let that sink in.

T w i n s.

The Mirena (IUD) is over 99% effective.


t w i n s.

Identical, too.  So not only am I the less than 1 in 100 women who got pregnant on the Mirena, but that embryo split and resulted in two identical twin babies.  The chances of that, I've read, are 1 in 250.


Alas, let's start at the beginning.

Around February 18, I started bleeding.  More like spotting.  Which was weird, because in 4+ years on the Mirena, I had never once had a period.  A few days later the spotting had turned into a full blown period (or so I thought).  A good reminder that I was due for my annual obgyn checkup (a couple months late), so I called and scheduled an appointment for the following Friday.

The appointment came and went, as did my "period."  The nurse practitioner I saw (I always schedule my annual check ups with a the doctors for the women who really need them......ahem, me in about a week and a half) said my Mirena was in position and the bleeding could be a normal thing; she said to call if it continued.

That same day I had my first bout of morning sickness.  I just didn't know it at the time.  Craig and I were supposed to meet for a day date at a local brewery; we still made it work, but I almost cancelled because I felt so sick.  

The nausea continued the following week.  I wasn't sick enough to stay home from school and had only moments of nausea versus full days, but it was definitely enough to notice and wonder what was going on.  I even told Craig (and a few friends) that "the closest I could equate it to was morning sickness"  The bleeding also returned.  I chalked it up (both issues) to an imbalance of hormones and went on with my day.  I also called my doctor's office to further discuss the bleeding, but of course it was a Friday afternoon (March 5) and by the time they returned my call, the office was closed for the weekend.  The nurse told me to call on Monday to schedule an "IUD check."

Later that evening (at Brantley's basketball game), I mentioned my issues to a nurse practitioner friend/neighbor, mainly because I wanted to know if she had any NP friends who specialized in OBGYN.  She didn't, but asked if I'd taken a pregnancy test.  I'm pretty sure I laughed.  One, I had the Mirena which is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, and two, I'd been bleeding for two weeks, a sure sign that one is not pregnant.

Nonetheless, I had Craig stop on the way home so I could get a test.  I got the cheapest one.  We went straight to a friend's house and I didn't think twice about taking it in their bathroom, 1000% expecting it to be negative.  Thank goodness my friend Ali was in there with me because the blue "pregnant" line appeared faster than the control line, something I had never experienced, and I was floored...I needed the support.  (Our other babies were all planned, so I basically peed on a stick the moment I could, and had to squint to determine whether there really was a pregnant line.) 

My first thought was confusion.  Followed by panic, nervousness, sadness, and an overwhelming amount of emotion.  I had always said I wouldn't mind a fourth baby, but in that moment, I was terrified and decided it wasn't at all what I wanted.  

My thoughts went straight to the IUD.  As much as I didn't want that positive pregnancy test, I was immediately worried for that baby and what the IUD might mean.  

Ali got Craig and another friend, Katie (the NP)...I honestly can't remember who was there first.  Craig, of course, was a bit freaked out, but to my surprise, he seemed very grounded, and even a bit...excited?

By that point several of the basketball dads were there, so of course there was no hiding of our news.  One minute I was living my normal life, even drinking a beer; the next I was pregnant, and several of our neighbor friends already knew.

I didn't sleep that night.  I just couldn't shake the feelings of anxiety brought on by an unplanned pregnancy.

The weight gain.  Missing out on social gatherings.  Three upcoming vacations.  Constant worry about a healthy baby.  Potential labor without an epidural (track records of 6, 4, and 2 hours of labor, respectively...surely this baby will be born on the highway).  Sleepless nights.  The stress of breastfeeding.  Maternity leave with no plans of doing so.  Losing the weight.  So many months of pregnancy.  All at 38 years old.  Which is considered "old" when having a baby.

The next morning, I woke up nauseous and threw up a total of six times that day.  At first I thought it was morning sickness.  Looking back, I think it was morning sickness on top of anxiety, but add in a hangover.  I didn't have more than three drinks the night before (before the positive test, of course), but had experienced the same thing the weekend prior (feeling way too hungover given the few drinks I'd had).  My theory is that your body reacts more violently to alcohol while pregnant.  

A few hours later, the bleeding returned, only it was worse than it had ever been.  It was so bad that I could only assume I was experiencing a miscarriage.  Honestly, the blood brought feelings of relief, as I hadn't had time to process the pregnancy, let alone become emotionally attached.  At one point, it was so bad that I told Craig I needed to go to the ER; instead I got ahold of the on-call doctor at my OBGYN office.  He said there was nothing the ER could do for me, and to avoid it (because of Covid) unless I was experiencing severe pain, as that could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy, which can result from an IUD pregnancy.  I never felt pain beyond mild period cramps.

I was feeling mostly better on Sunday but decided to take the next day off so that I could call my OB's office and go as soon as they could get me in.

On Monday, March 8, I went in at 10:45.  Craig offered to go with me, but I was feeling very much at peace about the situation and wasn't sure of the Covid restrictions anyway, so I told him it wasn't necessary.  

The sonographer started with a urine test.  It showed an instant "pregnant" surprise, I'd just experienced the same thing less than 72 hours prior.  In the sonogram room, I explained to her what I had experienced over the weekend and she began the sonogram.

It wasn't but a few minutes later when she said, "There are actually two in there."

I immediately starting shaking.  Two?!  How??  What?!  Why?!  What on earth was Craig going to say?!  How would he react?  How is this even possible?!  The only thing I could mutter was, "And they're alive?"  She proceeded to show me both heartbeats, beating away.  I sat there quietly (except for lots of heavy breathing, which in a mask, is not easy) while she continued taking measurements.  She did mention that I was taking it better than most people.  I think I was in such shock that it was hard to react!

Both twins were measuring at eight weeks.  She also determined that they shared a placenta, which meant they were identical.

When she left me alone (with some crackers and juice) to calm my shakes, I Facetimed Craig.  He could barely hear me due to a poor connection, but heard enough to know that I was still pregnant...with twins.  I'm not sure if he hung up on me due to pure shock, or because the sonographer came back into the room, and honestly I didn't blame him either way.

The songrapher transferred me to an exam room, where I first met with the nurse practitioner.  I cried, and in some way, I think she felt at fault.  It wasn't her fault at all but I think she felt guilty for not recognizing the potential signs of pregnancy the week prior at my annual checkup.  

Because the doctor's office had squeezed me in on a whim, I was not supposed to meet with my OB; however, given the circumstances, they found a way.  (See? Save those doctors for the ones who really need them!)  My doctor gave me the longest, sweetest hug ever.  (So much for Covid rules.)  She said there was no explanation for what had happened.  She briefly explained the situation (mono di twins) but didn't want to overwhelm me with information.  She suggested I take some time to process and said we'd chat more in a week.  Of course, she also explained that I had options, but terminating this pregnancy, when it seemed they were gifts from God, was never an option for me.

Upon leaving the office, I sat in the parking lot and cried.  I called Craig, and together we called my mom, who was shocked but so supportive.  It felt like such a dream...or nightmare?

That afternoon, I went and got a pedicure.  It was a Monday and I had taken the day off work.  My kids were in school and I just needed to do something for myself.  Something normal.  So I got a pedicure, while Craig went for a run.  We both needed to cope in our own way.

We shared the news with several neighbors that evening.  Since I took the pregnancy test in the presence of so many of them, they knew about the pregnancy and potential miscarriage.  We couldn't leave them hanging.  I also don't think I could have gotten through those first few days without the love and support of our friends.  Of course, they were all so excited.  It's easy to be excited when it's not your own body/family/finances.  But I don't also fault them one bit; I'd be excited if it was someone else, too!

We have not yet shared with our own kids.  I'm not sure what we're waiting for, other than a special way to share the news.  I have no idea how they're going to react.

It's important to note that I don't fault or blame anyone.  Not my doctor, not Craig, and certainly not God.  Craig and I have joked that it is each of our faults - me because I never wanted him to get that vasectomy (Mirena is over 99% effective, they say...), him because - duh - he wanted to do it on that one particular night when all the stars were aligned!  But truly, I am not mad at anyone.  

It is interesting to be pregnant when it is not planned.  When planned, you worry constantly, mostly about a potential miscarriage at this point.  But when it's not planned, there are few expectations.  I'm certainly not hoping for a miscarriage, but open and at peace with whatever may happen.  

At the same time, I don't want to appear ungrateful for these blessings, as there are so many women who would kill to be in my shoes and I want to be empathic of that.  I could have received news much worse than what I did (cancer, etc.) and so I'm trying to focus on the positives.  Don't get me wrong...I cried every day for over a week, but concluded that we've been gifted these babies; therefore, I am trying to be grateful for the opportunity.  (The crying has since turned to laughs because let's be honest, this story is just crazy and one can't help but laugh at the absurdness!  It's something that happens to a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend...certainly not to you!)

Oh, did I mention we've sold everything?!  Of course we have!  The last of our baby things as recently as January, the same month we would have conceived.  Life can be so ironic.  

As for the bleeding, it's due to something called a subchorionic hematoma, which happens in some pregnancies.  It could be a result of the Mirena, but could also be unrelated.  It's not something to be super concerned about, but it does put me (the babies) at a slightly higher risk for complications.  

IUD pregnancy + twins + subchoionic hematoma + advanced maternal age = high risk city.  Prayers are welcomed.

Speaking of the Mirena, at this point, it's less risky to leave it in there than try to remove it.  So it shall stay put for the time being.  Apparently there are stories of babies born with an IUD in hand.

So there's the story.  Our story.  Of our soon-to-be family of seven.

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