‘I went into sheer panic. I knew something was seriously wrong.’ Mom recounts emotional twin birth after infertility battle

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“Bryan and I got married in July of 2013. We were so excited to start a family but knew we wanted to wait at least a year to start trying so we could be a married couple before it was no longer just us. In March of 2014 we started trying for a family, every month hoping we would get good news. After a year of trying we decided maybe it was time to see a doctor and find out if there was something wrong, or if we just needed to give it more time.

Husband and wife smile in selfie
Allison Vandal

The doctor we saw had me start on Clomid (a fertility drug) and do a basil body temperature tracking in order to watch my cycle. After 2 months of doing this I became depressed, didn’t want to be around anyone, which is not like me, and Bryan and I were struggling in our marriage. We immediately got me off the Clomid, as depression can be a side effect of this particular medication. We then let my body get back to normal and in August 2014 I called an infertility clinic in Colorado to schedule an appointment.

We saw the doctor and he placed me on Letrozole and I continued to track my cycle with ovulation tests. After 6 months of this, we decided that we needed to try another route. My OB in Wyoming decided to keep me on the Letrozole, but we would begin to do IUI’s (Intrauterine insemination) where they take the sperm, and then place them into the women’s uterus, making it easier for the sperm to reach the eggs. After doing 7 of these and them not working, Bryan and I went to see a urologist. The urologist suggested we do IVF because he didn’t see anything wrong with Bryan, and since none of the doctors could find anything wrong with me either, we were at a loss.

Financially we were at the point where we couldn’t continue to try anything because infertility procedures are not covered by insurance. Finally, my best friend’s stepdad, who is an OB, asked to see us, as he knew what we had going through. He got us in contact with an IVF clinic in Utah and a doctor he thought we would click with. After talking with Dr. Gilliand in March of 2017, he talked me through the process of IVF, the options and options of how to financially cover the huge cost. We immediately decided this was the route we were going to go because nothing else had worked, and we committed to being in the group of women the doctor would work with in June of 2017.

Woman holds up ultrasound after battling with fertility issues
Allison Vandal

We spent 13 days in Salt Lake at the end of June seeing a doctor every other day to be monitored, doing shots, and keeping our sprits high that this was going to be the answer to our prayers. After doing egg retrieval we learned I had 18 eggs, and 17 fertilized. We waited over the next 5 days to find out if all the embryos we got would continue to grow. By the 5th day when we went in for transfer we learned we had 7 left, and only 4 had high ratings. After many tears we decided to transfer 2 embryos, hoping 1 would take. We then had to wait 10 LONG days to find out if it had worked. A blood test told us our prayers had been answered, we were PREGNANT!

Our first ultrasound was 2 weeks later. We were told that yes, there were two sacks, but one was so small it wouldn’t continue to grow. My heart was happy, we had gotten a baby, what we wanted right? But a part of my heart broke because I knew how hard the journey had been, how hard we worked for the embryos we got, and to lose one made me sad. I spent the whole 8-hour car ride home crying. A week later we went back for another ultrasound to hear the heartbeat and the nurse instantly told us there was not one, but TWO heartbeats. We were beyond excited! We finally shared the news with our family, and then when I was 13 weeks pregnant, we made the announcement to our friends. It was so special. The amount of love we received was incredible. I had a wonderful pregnancy, felt great, got to feel the boys move constantly and was anxious to meet them when I was close to 36 weeks.

Husband and wife who battled fertility issues hold up sign saying, "we prayed for 1170 days he answered"
Allison Vandal

Fast forward to 26 weeks pregnant. Since I was being monitored closely, my doctor decided that he wanted to play it safe and give me the steroid shot to get the boys’ lungs growing just in case something happened.

Pregnant woman who had fertility issues smiles while holding up book titled, "What to do when you're having two"
Allison Vandal

The day after Christmas I went to the doctor because I just felt something wasn’t right. After being monitored, I discovered I was having contractions every 3 minutes. They were able to stop my contractions and I was put on bed rest. I went home, took a nap and then 4 hours later got up to use the restroom. I felt a gush and immediately thought, ‘Oh my gosh, my water broke!’ I felt around and my hand was covered in blood. I went into sheer panic because I knew this was not right, something was seriously wrong. I was rushed to the local hospital and life-flighted to Denver where they have a NICU. The whole time everything was happening I was put at ease only because the boys never stopped moving, so I knew they were okay.

When I arrived at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Denver, the team of doctors and nurses checked to see if the babies or I had an infection. They determined that baby A had broken his sack due to an infection and they tested baby B’s amniotic fluid to see if he had the infection as well. We weren’t even able to get the results back because 3 days later I went into labor, and 24 hours later I delivered our miracle babies.

But we were terrified. We had waited so long for these babies, and for them to come at 27 weeks, we knew the situation could get scary due to how early they were. Baby A, Maddox, weighed 2.1 pounds. Baby B, Beckett, weighed 2.5 pounds. Nurses and doctors rushed them to the NICU, and Bryan went with them until I had recovered enough to go see them. It was the longest hours of my life waiting to see the boys!

Underweight twin newborns in NICU after mother who had fertility issues gave birth
Allison Vandal

They were the most perfect babies, and I knew that God wouldn’t have given us this opportunity to be parents, and then take these angels away from us. They were tiny, fragile and had an uphill battle to face, but they were perfect, with 10 toes, 10 fingers and little button noses.

Mother who had fertility issues holds one of her underweight newborns in NICU
Allison Vandal

We spent 77 days in the NICU watching the boys grow, smile, laugh, cry, and worry that they would be OK.

Mother and father who struggled to get pregnant smile of newborn in NICU
Allison Vandal
Mother and father who struggled to get pregnant smile while holding twins who recovered from NICU
Allison Vandal

Finally, we were able to go home when they were 38 weeks gestational age. We are so thankful to be home, and living the life we dreamed of with our perfect babies.

Mother and father who struggled to get pregnant crouch down next to twins in car seats
Allison Vandal

Our hope in sharing our story is to inspire and give hope to others who struggle with infertility. It’s hard, it’s stressful and heartbreaking. We were there, being happy for our friends who told us they were expecting, but hurting inside wishing it was us. We were there, trying everything, at any cost to get the baby we wanted. Don’t give up, trust in God’s plan for you and your life.

Mother who struggled with fertility hold twins in her arms at home
Allison Vandal

Today our hearts smile at these amazing boys, because they were fighters from the beginning and we have seen them develop a bond like no other. Here they are, holding hands.

Newborn twins holding hands while sleeping
Allison Vandal

LOVE, strength, never giving up and remaining true to our faith has gotten us to this point. We wouldn’t be the parents we are to these little boys today without the struggle we went through to get them. We couldn’t imagine life or our journey going any other way, and we are forever grateful.”

Father whose wife struggled with fertility lies on ground with twin newborns in his arms
Allison Vandal
Twin newborns whose mother struggled with fertility lie on ground in blanket with wooden B and M for their names
Allison Vandal

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Allison Vandal, 29, of Casper, Wyoming. Submit your story here, and subscribe to our best love stories here.

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