Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The "Birth" Plan

We had given so much thought to our birth plan.  We knew exactly what we wanted to do and who we wanted to be with us when the babies were born.  It was gonna be a circus, but we were looking forward to this joyous experience, and excited to share it with Sissy, Grandma, Abuelita and all the Aunties.

After we found out we lost Maximus, the birth plan took a very dark turn.  Our due date was August 13, 2015.  Thinking back, I have no idea how I managed knowing I had to carry his tiny little body until Grace was ready to be born.  It could be months.  I worried about her every day.  I was paranoid about her well being.  As much as I longed to hold her - touch her - smell her, I was dreading delivery day.  We had no idea when this would happen.  There was so much to consider and to be prepared for. Instead of rejoicing in anticipation of our babies, we were having to make decisions about whether we wanted to see him or not see him, hold him or not hold him, cremate him or bury him.  These were not the types of decision we were planning on writing into our birth plan.  In addition to that, we had to mentally prepare ourselves for welcoming our baby girl as we grieved for our baby boy.  How does one do that?

There were so many people who reached out to us to provide comfort and support.  One person in particular, Kristyn Von Rotz, was instrumental in helping us to connect with the appropriate high-risk doctors and facilities to see us through the remainder of our pregnancy, and help us to begin to navigate through all of the difficult decisions we were going to have to make.  Kristyn experienced the death of her own baby boy and co-founded an organization called Forever Footprints.  Their mission is to ensure that families who have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss receive the best support, comfort and resources possible.  They provide direct services, educate the medical community to improve quality of care and response, and offer opportunities for remembrance to aid families on their path to healing.  We were also introduced to the Paloma Comfort Care program offered through UC Irvine Health for families who are given the devastating news that their unborn baby has a life-limiting condition or will be stillborn.  The progam's purpose is to promote a nurturing environment for families by providing emotional, physical and spiritual support.  Both of these programs were invaluable to us as we set out to re-create and execute our birth plan.

The one decision that was easy to make was that we wanted to turn all our energy and focus on welcoming Gracie into our world.  She was going to need all our attention and we knew Max was already in God's loving hands.

We wanted all arrangements to be made prior to delivery, so we arranged to have him cremated and to honor him with a special service at some point down the road.  We picked out a lovely, simple, tiny urn.  My cousin made him a special burial blanket with his name engraved.  G-ma crocheted a very special purse for his belongings.  The hospital staff advised us they would do everything they could to obtain his footprints and handprints for us.  They would save his arm band and beanie and everything surrounding his birth for us to keep if we wanted them.

The decision that was not easy to make was whether we wanted to see him and hold him.  Due to the circumstances his little body would be extremely small and the doctors advised that he may not look like a baby due to the length of time he remained in utero after his demise.  Did we want to see that? Would it make it worse for us to heal having that be our memory of him?  What if we didn't see him, would we regret it.  Would we always wonder?  It was so hard to even comprehend, so we decided to just wait and see.  Who knew what we would actually feel like on that day - we would just have to play it by ear.  Hubby wanted to see him no matter what the case.  I was unsure.  We both knew that we wanted to hold him.  We decided to have the nursing staff take him promptly after delivery.  We would focus on Gracie and when things were settled and calm they would bring him back to us, fully wrapped, to spend as much time as we needed.  We wanted our parents and family there as well in case they wanted to say their own special goodbye.

We were planning for a natural birth - and by "natural" I mean not surgical.  I was planing on getting any and all drugs they would allow me to have!!   Our bags were packed and we were ready to go.

Now all we had left to do was wait and wonder.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Staying Pregnant

My last day of work before maternity leave was June 5, 2015.  I was very anxious to be off.  It was two months before our due date, but I was so ready to be done.  The hour and a half commute to and from work was killing me.  I'm not sure why I was so anxious.  I had done all my research and I knew exactly how much I would get paid, and when. I am very lucky to have the benefits I do and to be able to take a significant amount of time off of work, not only to take the time to rest and stay pregnant, but to also take a significant amount of time with the baby after she is born before I have to go back.  I think I've just been working for so long, it feels foreign to me not to have to.  It took the entire first week of leave for me to get used to it.  I spent a lot of time sleeping, and then washing and putting away the multitude of outfits we received for this baby girl.  I love walking into her room.  It's not even done yet, but I just love standing in there, looking at all the stuff in her closet.  I want it to be finished. We still have so much work to be done in this house before she gets here.

On Saturday, June 13, I woke up with lots of cramping and brown discharge.  I've actually had this discharge before, several weeks back.  But It was not a lot and I did not think much of it.  I just assumed it was more of the unpleasant pregnancy stuff you go through.  But this morning for some reason it alarmed me, coupled with all the cramping and the fact that I was not feeling her move as much as I usually do.  Since the news about Maximus, my paranoia was at its peak.  It was the morning of our baby shower, and Hubby's family had worked really hard to plan it.  We decided it was better to be safe than sorry and to head down to the hospital just to get checked out.  Hubby made me some breakfast in case it took a while, and we headed down and arrived there around 7 a.m.  The triage part of Labor and Delivery was empty.  We breathed a sigh of relief when we walked back there, hoping things would move swiftly since we were the only ones there.  They had me put on a gown and hooked me right up to the fetal monitors.  The baby was doing fine.  They proceeded with the routine tests, blood pressure, urine, etc, and then we needed to wait for the doctor on call to come examine me.  As we waited, the once very serene triage became packed, one pregnant lady after another.  Some were in labor, some were just sick, either way they were all worse off than me and what we thought would be a short hospital visit ended up taking hours.  Finally the doctor came in to examine me.  She indicated that she saw the discharge I mentioned on my cervix and that it usually indicated old blood.  She took some samples and said she would be back to do an ultrasound, and that she needed to consult with the high risk doctor on call.  She left the room and was gone for quite a while.  It was now around 11 am.  We were hoping she would come back soon so we could get out of there. When she finally came back, around 1 pm, she apologized for the wait and said she had been in surgery.  She also indicated that she talked to the high risk doctor and that they decided that they were going to admit me for observations for 48 hours.  They were concerned about the bleeding, and wanted to give me steroids to develop the baby's lungs in case of preterm labor.

We had told them about our baby shower, and they did have empathy for us.  They said that they would agree to let me leave for the shower, but that I would have to come back that night to be admitted.  We made the decision at that time that if they felt the need to admit me, we would not take any risks by leaving, besides, I was already there - who knew how long it would take to get a bed if we came back later that night.  So I was staying and Hubby would leave after I got all settled and go to the baby shower for both of us.  I was sad, but felt good that we were receiving good care and monitoring.  They finally moved me to my room and Hubby was able to take off in time to make it to the baby shower.  I thought I was fine with it; it was the smart thing to do - staying at the hospital instead of leaving to go to the shower - until Hubby face-timed me from the shower.  It made me so sad to see everyone there and all the work they put into it.  I was emotional and feeling sorry for myself.

What was supposed to be a 48-hour hospital stay ended up being more like 5 days.  Every day the doctor doing rounds would come in and advise me that they wanted to keep me another day - just to be safe.  The goal was to keep me pregnant - at least until I was 32 weeks.

After 6 days in the hospital, they gave me steroids to develop the baby's lungs, advised me to take it easy and get lots of rest and sent me home.

I needed to be prepared for early delivery, so my baby bag was packed, the car seat was in the car and we settled in for the long wait.  I think that is one of the hardest parts.  The waiting.  Especially at this point in the pregnancy, when you are so ready to be done. We still had quite a bit of work to do in the house, and I knew it was best for her to stay put, but I just wanted to hold her.

I had doctor visits twice a week and fetal monitoring.  They were watching me like a hawk, and I was so grateful to be in such competent hands.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Hole in Our Hearts

On Wednesday, April 22, 2015 I was scheduled for a routine ultrasound with the perinatologist.  I was 24 weeks pregnant.  Due to my high risk status I usually had ultrasounds every two weeks and they were done by the doctor at the fetal diagnostic center at the hospital, where the equipment was much better than that in the OB's office.  Hubby had a busy work schedule that day and my Mom was happy to take his place.  I worked most of the day and left a little early to make my appointment on time.  I met my Mom at the hospital.  We checked in and waited in the waiting room to be called back.  We talked about my upcoming baby showers and my baby registry, oblivious to the Mack truck heading straight towards us.

The ultrasound tech came to get us and took us back.  I've had this tech several times and she is super nice and very competent.  I laid on the table and she squirted the warm gel on my belly and started with her exam.  Baby A - Maximus - was always the difficult one.  We joked he was going to be our "problem child".  He was always scrunched up, upside down or in some kind of a difficult position for them to get the measurements they needed to get, especially the four chambers of his heart - but he always had a strong heartbeat.  "We'll get it next time," they would say.  There was no need for concern.  Baby B - Grace - was the easy one.  They were always able to get her measurements and view her organs to make sure they were developing properly.  She too always had a strong heartbeat.  The tech did her exam on Grace who was moving around like a dancing monkey in my belly.  She was great.  As the tech moved her wand around and around over Maximus, I jabbered on and on talking to her about this and that, asking a million questions.  Oblivious to the fact she was not responding to me.  She mused that Max was in a difficult position again and was going to fetch the doctor to see if she would have better luck.  She left the room and came back a few minutes later, only to gather my chart and leave again.  My Mom's spidey senses kicked into high gear.  She moved in a little closer to me.  She asked me if they had ever done that before - leave the room to get the doctor in the middle of an exam.  In my head I rolled my eyes - of course she was going to think the worst.  I assured her they had done this before.  In my mind I reassured myself there was nothing to worry about.  The tech came back into the room with the doctor in tow.  She greeted us and resumed the exam.  She had a puzzled look on her face and she searched and searched for his heart.  She said, "I'm not seeing a heart beat."  My brain turned a blind eye.  She just needed to keep looking.  After all, he was the difficult one.  She found his heart and magnified it on the screen.  Even as I looked at it, stagnant and still, my mind would not entertain the possibility.  The doctor said with empathy, "I'm so sorry honey, but this baby is deceased."   It was at that moment the Mack truck hit us head on.  I felt like someone stabbed me in the heart.  My Mom stroked my hair.  We were quiet for what seemed like an eternity.  I did not speak.  My Mom did not speak.  The doctor was talking but I could not hear what she was saying.  I was just watching her mouth move.  It was like everything was moving in slow motion.  They were as dismayed as we were.  Contemplating what could have possibly happened.  Going over the reports and my last ultrasound.  Checking his measurements.  They estimated from the measurements that he had been deceased for 2-3 weeks.  I had just had an ultrasound in the OB's office a week before and they heard two heartbeats.  How could this be?  Every thing had been going so great.  There was never any indication for concern.  I don't think I've ever felt shock like this before.  She asked me if I had been sick or had any trauma to my abdomen.  I told her I had the stomach flu two weeks before, but she concluded this was not the cause.  She said she wanted me to have a series of blood tests done the next day to see if they could narrow down any possible causes; a metabolic issue or possible antibodies in my blood, but told us we may never know what caused this.  She indicated that they could do an amniocentesis to try and gather answers, but that it would put Grace at risk and she did not think it was worth it.  We agreed.  All of a sudden I feared for her.  I asked again that they check to see that she was okay, and to confirm for us again that she was a girl.  As reality began to slowly sink in I asked what was going to happen now?  How was he going to come out?  Would I miscarry?  Would they go in and get him?  My mind could not fathom it.  The doctor just placed her hand on mine and said, "Nothing is going to happen. You are going to carry him to term until Grace is ready to be born - He will be stillborn."  I felt cold.  It was at this time the tears formed in my eyes, "you mean I have to carry a deceased baby in my body, along with a growing baby, for three more months?"  Her reply, "Yes."  My Mom asked questions, I don't even remember what.  I just could not believe it.  Then it hit me I was going to have to go home and tell hubby.  I was devastated.  He would be devastated.  I did not want to be the one to break his heart, but it had to come from me, I owed him that. I wished he had been there with me. The pain was overwhelming.  The doctor instructed me to get blood work done and to come back in two weeks to see her for another ultrasound.  She told me it was important to take sufficient time to grieve and to surround myself with family and friends.  She was warm and kind and compassionate.  They told us to take as much time as we needed to gather ourselves, that we did not need to leave the room until we were ready.  I could not get out of there fast enough.  I needed air.  Mom did not want me driving home, but I just felt I needed to be alone.  She followed me almost all the way home.  I think, now, about what that drive must have been like for her.  In shock herself and worrying about how her own child was going to handle this.  No parent wants to see their child suffer.  I texted hubby that I was on my way, and prayed he would not call me to see how it went; we had been there such a long time.  As I drove home, I thought about what words I would use to break it to him.

As I drove in the driveway I saw hubby happily playing with the dog on the front lawn.  I needed to get in the house before I lost it in front of the neighbors. Emotion overtook me.  He knew something was wrong and followed me in.  My heart was beating so fast and as soon as he shut the door I just blurted it out, "we lost one of the babies."  I sobbed.  It was the first time I said it out loud.  We just stood there hugging and crying.  I told him it was Maximus.  Of course he had questions, but I could barely remember what the doctor told us.  I relayed what information I could - the thing that kept playing over and over in my head was that his little fully formed body will remain inside of me until she is ready to be born.  I can not even begin to express the depth of emotions we felt - and still feel.  We sat on the couch and just tried to absorb it all.  I don't think my brain is equipped for this.  After a while we knew we had to call our family and let them know.  We knew everyone would be heartbroken with us.

It just does not make sense.  It just isn't fair.  I just stopped being paranoid.  If this had happened in the first trimester it would have been understandable - we were prepared for that.  I woke up every day waiting for the ball to drop.  But once we got through the first trimester, with each passing week, and everything going so well we really began to embrace the fact we were having twins. We were in full acceptance of this very unique parenting experience and were prepared to be the parents of not one, but two very special babies.  We felt we were chosen for this and were being rewarded - twice the blessings - for all the years we spent praying for, yearning for and trying to conceive a child.  Having twins became part of our journey - part of my identity as a mother.  I pictured myself with both of them.  I wrapped my brain around the day to day duties of caring for two newborns, while working full time.  I was scared, but I was ready and I could not wait for them to get here.  I thought about what they would look like.  If they would have a special language.  I thought about their Christmas outfits and Baptism.  I had hopes and dreams and more love than I ever thought possible.

Now we are faced with experiencing the death of a child before realizing the happiness and joy of parenting a child born to us.  It seems so unnatural for a child to die before his parents; let alone before he takes his first breath.  It does not matter to me if he was 24 weeks or 24 years - the grief and devastation are just the same.  How do you grieve the loss of one child while simultaneously feeling the joy of the birth of the other?  All within minutes of each other.  We are so grateful that little Gracie is still growing and thriving; but the joy we feel about her does not in any way eradicate the pain of our loss of him.  The loss of our hopes and dreams.  The loss we feel for her- her first soul mate.

It's a complicated grief and I struggle with it every day.  One day I'm okay, logical and able to cope. The next I'm irritated and petulant - and feel guilty about it.  Then I have days that I can't stop the tears from flowing, no matter how hard I try.  I literally feel like there is a hole in my heart that will never be replaced.

Our Maximus Edward was a perfect baby boy with ten fingers and ten toes, a sweet little face and a heart that beat strong for six months.  This great loss has been a true reminder for us all that the life we live here is complicated and fleeting.  God never promised that we would be free from pain or grief, and we may never fully understand what His plan is.  We must simply trust that He had a greater purpose for our sweet baby boy.  He is in God's loving hands now.  Although he will never take a breath in this life, I feel comfort in knowing he will also never feel pain or sorrow.  All he will ever know is my warmth and love and the sounds of our voices.  We feel very blessed to have had him, if only for a very short time.  In our hearts he will always be our baby boy.  Now he is is sister's protector as he rests beneath her in my womb and keeps her safe until she is ready to come out; and he will forever be her guardian angel watching over her from above after we welcome her into this world.

Although we are heartbroken and saddened, our hearts are overflowing with the love, support, compassion and prayer we have received from our family and friends.  We are working every day to stay in Faith and to remember all we have to be grateful for.  We are overjoyed and thankful that little Grace Kathleen, our Gift from God, appears to thriving and strong.  It brings us much comfort to know that you are all on this journey with us, every step of the way, as we prepare for and look forward to her birth.

We ask that you continue to pray for us - with us - for strength and comfort, acceptance and peace.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

My Baby Daddy

Happy Birthday to my Baby Daddy!

April 10, 2015 - 45 years young today and more handsome than ever.  Which really isn't fair.  Why do men get better looking with age?  While I, and I suspect most women, struggle with weight gain, hot flashes and facial hair!  But, I digress - this topic is a whole other Oprah!

My Baby Daddy has many redeeming qualities.  He is joyful, fun-loving, kind, smart, hard working, handsome, and charming.  He is a sports aficionado and loves cold beer. He takes pride in taking care of his lawn.  He has a sick, irreverent sense of humor and loves to laugh.  His favorite teams are the Dodgers, Lakers and Kings.  He is laid back and easy going.  He loves his family and is just a good guy.  Although he has a smile that makes my heart melt, I'll admit it was not love at first sight for us. We were friends, we enjoyed each others' company and we had fun hanging out.  It was watching him be a Daddy that made me fall in love.  I remember thinking what a lucky girl she was - and still is.  I fell in love with her first of course.  She was so dainty, beautiful and sweet.  He was doting, gentle and calm.  He was always there for her.  She was his number one priority.  I loved that about him.  As much as I may have wanted to be -as a woman, as a girlfriend - in that #1 spot, I knew deep down about family, responsibility and priorities.  I respected that.  I loved that.  That was the kind of man I wanted to be the father of my children.

Luckily, that was God's plan for me all along.  One of my greatest blessings is to be loved by him.  It's been 13 years since we started dating, and on April 19, we will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.  In three and a half fleeting months we will welcome two new beautiful priorities into our life.  A boy and a girl who will know very soon just how blessed they are to be born to such a wonderful guy.  He is already doting on these babies by taking good care of their growing mama and talking to them every day. I can't wait to watch him with them - and to witness the joy that being a father brings to him.

There is no other person on this earth I would rather share this experience with. We have so much to be grateful for and so much to look forward to.

Wishing you a very happy birthday Baby Daddy - and many many more to come.  Thank you for making my life whole.

I love you more than any words could ever express.

- The Baby Mama

Friday, March 27, 2015

If the womb is a rockin, don't come a knockin!

I felt the babies move for the first time last night!  I've been waiting and waiting, wondering when it was going to happen.

I had a few doctor appointments yesterday.  An ultrasound in the morning, which Sister and Grandma got to sit in on, and a visit to my OB in the afternoon.  The babies were moving around like crazy, especially Max.  I've been asked several times If I can feel them moving yet - but I had not.  I am officially 20 weeks (5 months) pregnant. The doctor told me it would happen soon.
It was 2:00 a.m.  The house was dark and silent.  Hubby was on the couch, chivalrously allowing me more space in the bed to try and get some real rest.  I'm not sleeping well these days.  It only lasted for five minutes or so.  It's hard to describe in words how it felt.  I was expecting it to feel like butterflies or a flutter - but it was more like a wave.  Like moving your hand back and forth in the bath tub.  They say you'll know when you feel it - and I knew exactly what it was.  I had a grin from ear to ear.  Even though we've heard the heartbeats and seen them move on ultrasounds - this was a completely different kind of rewarding.  It reminded me that there is more to this pregnancy than my swollen feet and hands, headaches, acid reflux and insomnia.  I knew they were in there, but now I can actually feel them.  It made me feel so close to them.  I can't think, at this moment, of anything more magical than the babies in my belly letting me know they are alive and well.  I'm sure I'll think differently in a few weeks or months when their jabbing me in the side, hiccuping incessantly or fighting with each other in utero; but for now, I can't wait to feel it again and again and again...

This is one of those times when I really feel and know how wonderful it is to be a woman.    

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ties and Tutus

I'm 18 weeks pregnant.  Amazingly half way through our pregnancy, as twins are considered full term at 37 weeks.  Wednesday, March 11, 2015 could not have come soon enough.  It was the date of our 2nd trimester anatomy scan.  We were finally going to find out the genders of our little bambinos, as well as confirming that all their organs were fully formed and functioning properly at this stage in the game.  Our appointment was scheduled for 4:00 p.m.  It was yet another very long day at work.  I was so anxious.

The week prior, my dear friend asked me what we were going to do for the "reveal".  I told her we had nothing planned because our appointment is so late in the day; AND everyone we know was waiting to hear the results.  So waiting until the weekend to make the announcement was not going to fly!  She said you have to do something, how about a simple reveal party.  So Hubby and I discussed it and we planned a small get together for Wednesday night at 6:30, right after our appointment.  We decided on ordering pizzas and soda.  My friend was going to bring a salad and some cookies.  I sent out a text to a special few asking them to join us.  Our small get together turned into a gathering for 35 of our closest family and friends.  I was feeling a little overwhelmed, but realized this was a great problem to have.  What a blessing to have so many wanting to be part of such a memorable day.  

As the day finally arrived, I was so worried that the babies would not cooperate and the tech would not be able to get a good view. We did not want to have to wait another month to find out, nor did we want to cancel the party at the last minute.  However, as a sign of good things to come, the bambinos were perfectly behaved and the tech was able to tell right away.  She continued to measure each baby and check their spine, kidneys, liver, heart, arms and legs. Everything looked great.  The babies are each about 5 1/2 inches long (about the size of a sweet potato) and weigh about 8 ounces each.  They can hear now, which makes Daddy very happy.  He likes to talk to them every day.  They are yawning  hiccuping, sucking and swallowing - twisting, rolling, punching and kicking too.  Although Mommy has not felt the babies move yet, I should be able to start feeling this in the next couple of weeks as the babies continue to grow.  My appetite has increased dramatically, but my only real craving is ice cream.  I've done pretty good in the weight gain department (shocker), as I've only gained 9 pounds thus far.  My feet and hands are starting to swell (this 90 degree heat we've been having in March is not helping).  I've had to remove my wedding ring; and I'm not sleeping well at all.  But other than that I'm feeling great and so excited.    

There were so many cute ideas for the actual reveal on Pinterest, but we decided we would get two boxes - one for Baby A and one for Baby B, and fill them with the appropriate color balloons.  We planned on stopping at Party City on our way home from the hospital to pick up the balloons.  My brother graciously offered to take on this task so that Hubby and I could be just as surprised as the rest of the guests and we could all find out together.  So we had the ultrasound tech place the results in a sealed envelope and we handed that off to my brother.  He was the first to know the sex of the babies - and did a great job keeping it to himself as we all waited to find out.

As our family and friends began to arrive the suspense was killing us, but we were able to put that on the back burner for a moment as Reese came home, all the way from school in Santa Barbara, to surprise Daddy and be with us on a very memorable night.  We are so glad she did.  It would not have been the same without her.

The time finally came for the big reveal.  It was so much fun for all of us.  I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning.  I'm so glad we decided to wait and let my brother take care of the balloons - it all worked out perfectly.  As we opened the box for Baby A - baby blue balloons came floating out.  Our baby boy will be called Maximus Edward Becerra.  A strong name, latin for "greatness," befitting a very special little boy who indeed has greatness in his future. Daddy finally gets a boy and Reese does not have to hyphenate her name!  :)  Hubby joked about the second box being full of blue balloons too - as he knew I really wanted a baby girl. I, of course, would be delighted no matter what, but it would really be a shame if all my french braiding skills went to waste!!  It seemed like an eternity before the box for Baby B was opened - but with great joy we saw pink balloons gracefully flow out.  Our baby girl will be called Grace Kathleen Becerra.  Grace is derived from the latin word "gratia", meaning God's favor.  I can' t think of a more aptly named child.    

I was so excited, I forgot I was pregnant.  I jumped up and down like a school girl.  The atmosphere in that backyard that night was electric.  Full of joy and excitement.  We were all elated that we will be welcoming both a boy and a girl into this world.  It could not have worked out any better if we planned it!  God has truly blessed us a million times over.  We were so grateful that so many of our friends and family took the time out on a school night to share this very special moment.  We did miss a special few who were unable to make it, but look forward to the many special memories we will make in the future.  

Now the fun begins as we get the house(and ourselves) ready for our new additions and prepare to welcome them into this world.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

To Share or Not to Share...

I've been thinking about this post for a while now.  It is about our decision to share our special journey to parenthood and the method in which we conceived.  To be honest, not sharing didn't even cross our minds.  We've struggled for so so long with infertility - heartbreak month after month, year after year.  Once we were introduced to the option of donor egg IVF we were honestly just overjoyed with the possibility of actually getting pregnant.  For me, knowing the pure joy of growing life in my womb; and for us as a couple - a family, the chance to experience this absolute miracle together.  Our very own miracles.  Not sharing this news with the people we loved the most was not even an option.  Not to mention the very basic fact that I can't keep a secret and I'm horrible at lying. 

After some urging, I decided to start writing about our experience.  At first, I was nervous about what I should or should not write about.  What is considered taboo to one person is moving and helpful to another. You can't please all the people all the time, which has always been a difficult concept for me personally.  But the more I pondered, the more I thought what a great way to share with our children - when the time is right - the miracle of their existence.  There can be no denying how wanted they were and how long we waited for them.  How many people were involved in getting them here.  How much joy their very existence has brought to our entire extended family.  God works in mysterious ways.  We will never know why it was such a difficult journey getting here or why it took so long for this dream to come to fruition.  But what we do know is that God placed his hand on and worked through each and every person involved in this process - through all those of you who prayed endlessly for us, through those who helped us pay for it, through the doctor and her staff and all the specialists whose expertise and compassionate work got us pregnant, and through our family and friends, whose support and encouragement helped us get through a stressful and difficult period of our life.  There is no denying this was His will and how do you not share that?  I know there are some who might disagree with this decision.  Some who may feel we are sharing a story that is not solely our own.  That perhaps our children would choose not to divulge this information on their own and we should leave it to them to tell their own story.  I did consider this, briefly.  But honestly, these babies are special- well, all babies are special - but these babies are our gift from God and there is no shame in wanting to share how they got here.  Not to mention the fact that we are very secure in our decision that this was the right choice for our family, there is no reason to keep it a secret.  If we had chosen adoption, we would not have kept that a secret, why would this be any different?  These babies are already treasured, loved and showered with prayer, and they still have five plus months before they make their debut!  

Additionally, now that we have made our pregnancy "Facebook" official and shared the blog, I have had numerous people reach out to me about their own experiences and struggles with infertility. Even from some who have been considering donor egg IVF, but just needed some inspiration, moral support or a better understanding of how the process works.  I'm moved and overwhelmed by the positive response and the unending support and prayer we've received; and not just from our immediate circle, but from people we have not seen or heard from in years.  This is where social media is amazing.  Sharing our story has not only been therapeutic for us, but it's resonating with people and helping them in ways we could not have imagined.  I'm sure we'll encounter our fair share of criticism too, I guess that goes with the territory. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it, but for now, the stories will keep on coming.

We are truly grateful for our abundant blessings and look forward to sharing their entrance into this world with you.