(post originally published 9/5/08)
So I promise that this blog will mostly be about silly stuff like how Eleanor laughs when she toots and boring stuff like what we did over the weekend, but I do want to record things about our journey to our current happy, contented state. Because the four years leading up to Henry and Eleanor were definitely NOT happy and content. We pretty much lived in a state of “How could things get any worse? Oh wait, here’s how” for four years. I know everyone reading this (hi, Mom!) probably already knows our story, but let’s refresh with a little timeline, shall we?
Andy and Jennifer decide to have babies. How hard could it be, right? Jennifer doesn’t like to ovulate and is prescribed Clomid. Clomid turns Jennifer into a raging bitch, at one point prompting her to tell Andy, “I can’t even look at you right now.” Still, after four months, they manage to get pregnant.
Andy and Jennifer go to their 12-week appointment only to find out instead of a baby they have a blighted ovum. Oh yeah, and Jennifer also has a weird lump on her left ovary that needs to be checked out, ’mmmkay?
Weird lump turns out to be dermoid tumor. Dermoid tumors can sometimes grow hair and teeth, but sadly, Jennifer’s didn’t. Jennifer wakes up from surgery to find out not only is she now missing one tumor, she’s also missing her left ovary and left fallopian tube, too.
Andy and Jennifer are gluttons for punishment and decide to try to get pregnant again. Jennifer goes back on Clomid, Andy goes back to trying to avoid her wrath. Three months later, Jennifer’s right ovary morphs into Superovary, spitting out two eggs. Andy and Jennifer are shocked and thrilled to learn they are pregnant with twins.
Jennifer learns at her 20-week ultrasound that she’s dilated 3 centimeters. The next week is frantically spent trying to save her pregnancy—a rescue cerclage, turbutaline and mag sulfate—but Samuel Elias and Emilie Anna are born on August 4, 2004. They each live for about an hour. Andy and Jennifer become parents, but in a way they never imagined.
Grieving and not sure what the next step should be, Andy and Jennifer decide to start trying for another pregnancy. After three months, they take a break, go on vacation, come home and book an appointment with the fertility specialist.
Before they can start fertility treatments, surprise! Jennifer finds out she’s pregnant. Without drugs, even! But after a few weeks of monitoring because something doesn’t seem right, surprise! Jennifer has internal bleeding! Surgery discovers that an ectopic pregnancy has burst, rupturing 75% of Jennifer’s right tube along with it. Out comes the ectopic along with Jennifer’s right tube.
Andy and Jennifer pay the equivalent of Luxemborg’s GNP to the fertility clinic and start their first round of in vitro fertilization. Eight weeks later, after over fifty injections, bloating, surgeries, ultrasounds, and blood tests, they find out they were unsuccessful. Andy and Jennifer are quickly losing hope and decide to take a reproductive break. They go to Paris and eat crepes.
Andy and Jennifer decide on a whim to do another round of IVF. Track marks soon reappear on Jennifer’s stomach and rear end. Superovary is a rock star and spits out 21 eggs, seven of which become embryos. Two embryos are transferred to Jennifer’s uterus by a female fertility doctor, while an embryologist, nurse, and Andy look on. Andy and Jennifer realize there will be some interesting “birds and bees” discussions in their house if these embryos develop into people. Ten days later, bleeding and convinced she’s not pregnant, Jennifer finds out she’s pregnant. Two weeks after that, Andy and Jennifer find out they’re having twins. Again. Panic ensues.
Determined not to lose another pregnancy, Jennifer goes under the knife and gets an abdominal cerclage. While awake, she’s cut open and a stitch is placed around her cervix. These babies are staying put, and Jennifer now has the 6-inch-long scar to prove it.
At 35 weeks, measuring 46 weeks pregnant, Jennifer has contractions and high blood pressure and has a c-section two weeks ahead of schedule. Eleanor Jean and Henry Nicholas were born one minute apart, small but healthy. The world breathes a sigh of relief.
And there you have it. Hopefully I haven’t made too light of our situation. These truly were the worst four years of our lives. Am I still angry that we had to go through all of this? Absolutely. Am I also a little bit grateful? Absolutely. If we hadn’t had these experiences, I don’t think I’d see Henry and Eleanor as the true miracles they are. Every day with them is so much sweeter because of how hard we had to work to get them here.
I’ll write more in-depth about Sam and Emilie later, but for now, it’s back to our regularly scheduled programming.