‘I went in for my first ultrasound to find an unexpected item in the bagging area.’: Infertility warrior shares journey to miracle twins, finding herself in motherhood

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Infertility Struggles

“I always knew I wanted to be a mom.

In school, I was basically taught that if I even so much as look at a boy seductively, I was going to get pregnant, so later in life it never occurred to me I would have such a difficult time trying to get pregnant on purpose.

After over five years of trying, two miscarriages, and all the non-invasive fertility testing my insurance would cover, we still had no answers. My OBGYN suggested three rounds of Clomid before she would refer us to a fertility clinic.

couple embracing at their wedding
Courtesy of Jenelle at For the Love of Two

At the time, we weren’t even sure if we were going to move forward if the Clomid didn’t work. We knew IVF was off the table. If we couldn’t get pregnant without having to take out a loan, we would move forward with our lives and live as DINKs (dual income/no kids).

With cautious optimism, I started my first round of Clomid, a series of pills taken orally to stimulate ovulation. When taking Clomid, the likelihood of having twins increases from 1% to 7% because it can cause multiple eggs to drop in the same cycle.

I linked having twins to winning the lottery because someone has to win eventually, but what’s the likelihood of it being me? Apparently, 7%.

Pregnancy Journey

I got my first pink line earlier than expected. I had always wanted to make a cute announcement to my husband. Still, when the time came, I was too excited to do anything other than tell him immediately with no flair but plenty of emotional dramatics.

It was the 4th of July when we had everyone over to celebrate our nation’s freedom and our impending lack of it.

After five plus years of preparing for this moment, I felt I was completely ready for motherhood. I had attended plenty of baby showers, priding myself in the practical gift baskets I had thoughtfully put together of all the things no one thinks to give, but you actually need.

It was like the movie 27 Dresses, but instead of weddings, I was the professional baby shower guest longing to be the mama-to-be.

Then I went in for my first scan, and there was an unexpected item in the bagging area.

Not only was this the first time we made it far enough to hear a heartbeat, but we also got to hear two! That glorious thump, thump, thump wafting through the room is a moment I will never forget.

Everyone in our lives was ready to spoil our dynamic duo. Everyone in my tummy was ready to spoil my latest meal.

twin onesies
Courtesy of Jenelle at For the Love Of Two

One of the most popular comments twin moms get is, ‘two for the price of one!’ and twin moms will correct you and say you pay full price for both upfront. Morning sickness, shortness of breath, fatigue, and two babies, plus your organs stretching your stomach to epic proportions are just a few common side effects of twin pregnancies, and I had them all. I spent the entirety of my pregnancy waiting for the glow I was promised.

It turns out that’s just the glisten from the night sweats.

husband and pregnant wife
Courtesy of Jenelle at For the Love Of Two

All adverse side effects aside, the feeling of little kicks trumps all of it. The security of knowing they were protected and safe all day wasn’t something to scoff at either. I also got to see them and hear their heartbeats much more often because twins are considered high-risk pregnancies.

By the end of my pregnancy, I was in multiple doctor’s offices multiple times a week.

Due to my short stature, no one thought I would make it full-term. The joke was on them because I made it 38 weeks for my scheduled c-section and the boys were both a juicy 6 pounds 8 ounces and 6 pounds 10 ounces.

twin boys
Courtesy of Jenelle at For the Love Of Two

Postpartum Depression

My initiation into motherhood was anything but graceful. I was outnumbered from the beginning, and there was only so much of me to go around. There were times when both babies sounded off, and I had to make what felt like a, ‘Sophie’s Choice,’ which caused me a lot of guilt.

I spent most of the first three months in a postpartum depression fog, obsessing over breastfeeding and feeling like a fraud.

On the surface, it looked like bliss as I tried my hand as an amateur photographer sharing perfectly curated social media posts. The truth was, I spent a lot of my days in the dark on the floor of the nursery bawling because I couldn’t get the boys to sleep, and they were inconsolable.

Courtesy of Jenelle at For the Love Of Two

Outside of the ups and downs of my mood, my postpartum depression primarily presented as an obsession to breastfeed and eliminate formula from the boys’ diet.

Per our pediatrician’s recommendation, we had been formula supplementing since birth, and I resented it like crazy. I spent hours researching how to increase my milk supply and tried almost all of them.

I ate oatmeal every morning for breakfast, took various supplements, drank copious amounts of coconut water-based sports drinks, fed on demand, and pumped religiously. I meticulously logged every ounce pumped and each minute nursed on an app I had pulled up on my phone at times. I also logged their sleep to the minute, so it was painfully obvious they were NOT sleeping well.

Somehow I had gotten it in my head if I couldn’t exclusively breastfeed or get my boys to sleep, I wasn’t a good mother, and it didn’t matter how many other things I was getting right.

Courtesy of Jenelle at For the Love Of Two

I eventually sought help and started seeing a therapist via video visits, but the only feedback I got was ‘get more sleep’ and ‘you need to have YOU time.’ I was a first-time mother to twins who were still waking to eat multiple times a night, with a husband who worked full-time as the sole financial provider, battling anxiety at the thought of leaving my boys with anyone in the middle of a pandemic. Yes, I needed more sleep and alone time. Here are my hundreds of dollars.

The boys eventually started sleeping through the night around seven months, and I was able to start functioning like a normal human being again. I settled into motherhood, and as my confidence grew, I got the boys on a routine I could manage myself.

twin boys
Courtesy of Jenelle at For the Love Of Two

Twin Mom Life

Following a daily routine was crucial to having a successful day as a twin mom. The boys did everything together in the same order, which meant the boys took predictable naps, and I got much-needed breaks.

Having scheduled downtime allowed me to be present in the precious moments and finally enjoy motherhood.

I started taking the boys on stroller walks around our neighborhood for fresh air and exercise. We loved them so much I kept finding new routes to extend our time.

As a family, we also started venturing into the world more as the pandemic lockdowns and restrictions were lifted. Twins in public are something to be seen, it seems. There wasn’t a time we went out a stranger didn’t approach us at least once to ask us some silly question or another about the boys.

mom with twin sons
Courtesy of Jenelle at For the Love Of Two

I had my favorite eye rollers such as, ‘Oh twins! Double trouble!’ ‘Looks like you’ve got your hands full.’ Then there were the head-scratchers like, ‘Twins? Boy and girl?’ I mean, one of my sons has beautiful hair we hadn’t cut yet, but it wasn’t as if it was to his shoulders; it was just barely past his ears.

Rather than be bothered, I just let it roll off my back. In the end, they thought my boys were adorable, and on that point, they were correct.

After the boys turned one, I converted the room off the living room into a playroom. Having creative projects helped keep me grounded.

twin boys
Courtesy of Jenelle at For the Love Of Two

Prioritizing Myself

When the boys were eighteen months, we enrolled them in a private Montessori school for three hours a day, three days a week. They had arrived and lived their entire lives in a global pandemic, and I wanted them to have experiences outside of their own four walls and even apart from me.

This turned out to be one of the best decisions because it allowed the boys to learn and develop with other children their age while also giving me space to explore the things I wanted to do.

It was effortless to lose myself in motherhood, and I was searching for something outside I could put my energy toward and feel accomplished.

At first, the downtime was disorienting because I was so used to constantly having to be in mom mode. Even during nap time, I was still on high alert, waiting for them to wake up. Outside of being a mom, I lacked purpose. I had no hobbies anymore because I had no time or energy to enjoy them.

Courtesy of Jenelle at For the Love Of Two

I took a part-time job as a technical writer for a local credit union for a short time but ultimately quit because it wasn’t a good fit. I tried social network marketing but realized very quickly I was not cut out for sales, even if it was social media based.

So, I started a blog.

Writing has been my outlet since my older sister gifted me a journal for my tenth birthday. Publishing my experiences and sharing them online has become cathartic and helpful in my recovery from postpartum depression and anxiety.

By sharing my triumphs and pitfalls, I hope to inspire other moms, particularly other twin moms, and be a resource for them when they find themselves Googling for answers in the middle of the night.

So, how do twin moms do it?

Well, we don’t really know; we just do it because we must.”

mother in car smiling
Courtesy of Jenelle at For the Love Of Two

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jenelle at For the Love Of Two of California, US. You can follow her journey on Instagram, Facebook, and her blog. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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