Twins…an overdue story. That’s quite an understatement, huh? It feels like the twins should be turning 8 regarding how long ago I publically announced our news. I did not to plan to go so long without providing all you curious people with the details, but my Mac had issues and was in the repair shop for a while. The twins really would have been 8 by the time I wrote this post on the WordPress App on my iPad.
So, let’s get started with what will probably be the longest post in the history of all blogs. Twins?! Yep, twins!! I am still as shocked about it as most of ya’ll are—and I’ve known about it for a longgggg time. Once I was given the okay to “go public” by my doctor my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Everyone wants to know “is this a surprise” and “what happened to the adoption”. I do owe several hundred people an explanation. The journey to get to this point has been a horrible ride and I don’t wish it upon anyone. A few of you have walked this entire journey with me and for that I am thankful. People I don’t even know (friends of friends, friends of my parents, etc.) have gotten us to this point by praying for us and contributing to our failed adoption. A thank you will never suffice. God may have selected us to parent these babies, but they are “prayer warrior” babies. They would not be in existence if it were not for the hundreds of people that prayed for us.
Lets start from the beginning…Philip and I started seeking the help of fertility specialists in 2005. A year after we were married. Of course, were not we ready for a child then. He was in law school and I was teaching school and completing my Masters. However, in the fertility world you have to have a year of failed treatments to be taken seriously. I was warned from a young age that pregnancy would be a difficult feat for me due large hemorrhagic ovarian cysts that rendered my ovaries severely damaged and non-functioning. Anyway, 5 years, 4 doctors, 1,000 injections, and zero pregnancies later I was DONE. We had done an insane number of failed IVF cycles. I pulled the plug. I had been physically and emotionally pushed to my limit. We did not discuss babies for two years. Those were tough times as all my friends were having their second and third child and the pressure people put on me to have my first seemed to increase daily. Less than 10 people knew what we had been going through for the past 5 years. Lesson to everyone….never, ever, ever ask someone when they are going to have children. Never.
During the summer of 2012 we made the decision (while watching the sunset in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico) to explore domestic infant adoption. We did our research, choose a reputable national company with a Jackson office, completed 1200 pages of paperwork, endured countless invasive interviews, had our house put through crazy inspections, sat through days of preparatory classes, read the required reading, and listened to hours of very boring required podcasts, created a cute “about us” book, wrote a massive check, and 6 months later (February 2013) we became “active” potential parents (PPs) in their system. Cue the anxiety every time my cell phone rang. This company does not have a “waiting list”. Birthmothers simply come into the local office (or go online) to view the profile books of all active PPs. The birthmother chooses the parents and goes forth with the pregnancy. The PPs are called post-birth that a baby is at hospital X in city Y waiting for them. This hospital could be in state or across the country. This did not sit well with my type A self, but it was a learning experience.
The day after we returned from our summer cruise in July 2013 we received a letter from the adoption company. It was a generic letter sent to all PPs stating that adoptions nationwide and within their company were dwindling. Their adoptions have decreased from 133 in 2011, to 12 in 2012, to 2 thus far in 2013. They did not anticipate having another placement for 3 years!!! 3?! Honestly, this is when I got pissed. How could they predict when a birthmother was going to walk though their doors? I was also pissed that this was the first form of communication we had had with the company since we became active in February. We were still “active” with them until November of 2013 (your annual payment allows your to be active for 10 months), but mentally I wrote them off.
I spent the first three days of August sitting in professional development meetings at school completing applications for two other national adoption companies. Yeah, no shame in admitting that! Both companies approved us on September 2 (Philip’s B’day). This happened so quickly since we had an active home study, current fingerprints on file, etc, etc. We had lengthy phone interviews with both companies and were pleased with the overall process. We also liked that fact that no money was due up front. So, the wait began. We waited 11 days. On September 13 (my B’day) we got the call that we were selected. I was running Cody in my neighborhood when the social worker from one of the companies called me. I had planned to do a quick 2-mile run, but I ended up walking and talking to her for over an hour. I listened as she gave me “Amy’s” (the birthmother) entire story. 35-year-old Amy lived in St. Louis, MO and was pregnant with her 5th child. None of her children had the same father and they all had been placed up for adoption. This baby was a girl and was due in November. She knew she wanted this girl to grow up in the south because she always wanted to live in the south. She wanted a “prissy” mother and an “outdoorsy” father and our profile book sealed the deal for her. We were “perfect”. Now, I am not naïve and I didn’t trust this. It was too good to be true. A baby girl would be ours in a few months? We had waited on one company for way too long and then got a strike in a matter of days with a new company? Something wasn’t right. Regardless, we set up a phone conference between the social worker, “Amy”, and us. The call took place a few days later and lasted 90 minutes. It went well, maybe too well. “Amy” had me, a huge skeptic, convinced that she was legit. We did find out that she was a pain killer addict and was currently taking methadone. She had done so during two of her other pregnancies and those children were “fine”. I received copies of all of her children’s medical files and her OB reports. I thoroughly read through them and received advice from local medical professionals on what to expect when an infant goes through methadone detox. We were given 72 hours to make our decision, sign the papers, and send the company a huge “match fee”. This match fee was the other half of our adoption fund. Half of the fund went to the first company that sat on their ass for a year. (That may not be true, I’m just bitter) and half was going to go towards this new company in the hopes that “Amy” keep her word.
I hated sending the rest of our money to that company. Gosh, that was a terrible day. I just knew something was wrong. I really did try to listen to my gut, but I was at a point when I just wanted to put all of this behind us and close this chapter of our lives. Philip felt the same way. We had done all our research, talked to other people who used this company, prayed about it. What else was left to do but to trust that this was going to happen? So, we wired them the money, purchased a “go phone” for us and “Amy”, and set up a visit to St. Louis for mid-October. We actually had pretty decent communication with the company for a few days post-placement. “Amy” had come to their office to pick up the go-phone and was ready to text/talk to me without the third party involvement. Yeah, that never happened. Daily contact with the company turned into weekly contact. Four long weeks passed with me only communicating with the social worker. She claimed that they hadn’t seen or heard from “Amy” either, but were trying to locate her. She had moved out of her mother’s house and was now considered homeless with unknown whereabouts. Excellent. She had not been to the methadone clinic to receive her weekly dosage in several weeks and she had missed two OB appointments. I don’t have words for what Philip and I endured during those weeks.
We acquired an adoption attorney in the St. Louis area who helped us attain a PI. Together they were investigating the company while searching for “Amy”. She was finally found walking into her OB’s office on the day of a regularly scheduled appointment. This was Wednesday, October 23rd. She told the PI and the attorney that she had pulled her “case” out of the adoption agency’s system weeks ago and decided to parent the child herself. Come to find out, she had only been active in their system July through August. Yes, we were completely baited.
I was teaching spin that Wednesday evening and received no less than 30 (!!!!) calls/voicemails/texts from both the attorney and the agency. I didn’t answer since I was teaching, but I know I taught a terrible class that night. I was highly distracted and knew that I was about to receive bad news. The first voicemail I listened to was that of the attorney. She informed me to not call the social worker or believe anything she told me. The remaining voicemails all belonged to the social worker stating, “we found Amy! She was at her appointment and she is fine! The adoption is still on! Call me!” I called the attorney immediately who was talking to Philip. She put us on a conference call that lasted almost two hours. It was intense and left me hating the domestic adoption system. I learned a lot of gruesome facts during that conversation about the frequency of the scams (80%). Yes, we all know someone who has had a successful domestic adoption. Well, let me tell you they are in the minority and it’s becoming extinct. I now have VERY strong opinion on this topic.
That attorney was incredible and truly connected with us. She called us frequently to update us on our case (she was working to bust the company and to get our money back). During this time she informed us that we weren’t the only ones that were scammed by “Amy’s” story. That made me sick. I spent a few days pissed at myself for falling for a scam. I thought back to a few instances when I knew “something” was wrong during our match. I remember commenting to Philip that I felt like one of our phone conferences was a recording and not an actual conversation. I also recall asking the social worker for updated medical records from “Amy’s” OB visits, but never receiving them. The last records were in August—yeah, when she was still active with the company. They never received her September or October records because she had pulled herself out of the system. I was so mad at myself.
November was a better month. We were able to get half of our money back and we had a life-changing conversation with the adoption attorney. She is actually anti-domestic adoption and she somehow convinced
us me to attempt fertility treatments again. I felt renewed by our conversation, but had no idea where to start. We had spent years with all the doctors in our state and I refused to go back to them. My last visit with one ended with an invasive test with results that showed the chance of me having a child was -11%. One of “the worse” he had seen in his career. That will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Philip convinced me to try a fertility clinic in Mobile, AL. He knew several couples through his work that had success with those doctors. We did a lot of research and I did a lot of soul searching. Could I possibly reopen that part of my past that I vehemently hate? I swore that I would NEVER receive another hormone injection. I agreed to “talk” with the doctor and I got all of my medical records from 2005-2010 sent to the Mobile office. That reopened a lot of old wounds and I was not excited to meet with this doctor, but I did if for Philip. We both took a Friday off work in mid-November and began one of our first of many day trips to Mobile.
The clinic was wonderful. The staff was friendly and the doctor was a Godsend. He immediately bonded with our long, unsuccessful history and us. He truly was empathetic, yet optimistic. We met with him for almost two hours. He was determined to “try my body one last time”. I was insistent that it wouldn’t work and that we weren’t going to throw any more money into a failed IVF. He was as adamant that it would work as I was that it would not work. Philip remained quiet until the doctor us alone for a few minutes to “decide”. I turned to him and said “no way in hell”. He gave me a pitiful, teary-eyed look and whispered, “ Please, there is a slim chance and we need to try it. Please do it for me. If there is a chance we can have a biological child of our own lets try it one more time”. I had honestly never looked at that from his perspective. If the tables were turned I would want him to try again. UGHHH. I was so mad. At what, I’m not sure. It was hard for me to reopen all those old wounds and realize what I was about to put myself through—again. We left that office with a million syringes, expensive prescriptions, and a calendar filled with varying dosage amounts. I liked that fact that this doctor was not wasting anytime and he was hitting me with max dosages. Our first injection with this clinic started on Thanksgiving Day 2013. Our first IVF injection we ever took started on Thanksgiving Day 2006.
Fertility treatments require you to have ultrasounds and blood work done every other day. I could not drive to Mobile that often, so I had to be monitored by a fertility specialist in Jackson. Lucky for me it was the one who shattered my hope in 2010 with his “-11%” diagnosis. Oh, he remembered me, and was a complete jerk throughout the monitoring process. He was pissed that I was seeking another clinic and was actually responding to the treatment. My visits took no less than 4 hours. Checking into the clinic was an absolute nightmare since he refused to claim me as one of his patients and he made me wait until all of his patients had been seen—even though I had an appointment. Ugh. Really, it was bad. I went to Mobile for the actual procedure, suffered through the infamous “two week wait”, got my blood drawn and got the call from my Mobile doctor that it didn’t work. He was heartbroken and I put on my “told you so” demeanor. It took A LOT of convincing between him and Philip for me to do a second cycle. He did a mimic of the first cycle’s medications and dosages. I had to waste my life away in the Jackson’s doctor’s waiting room, miss work due to day trips to Mobile, and end the cycle with another negative blood test. DONE. I was bruised (physically and mentally) and could not find another place to stick a needle in my abdomen. I was also tired of spending a ridiculous amount of money for no results.
I agreed to do a final cycle for three reasons: the doctor and Philip agreed that this was our last attempt, I was being monitored by a friend OB in Jackson, and a family friend gave me all of her meds from a recent successful cycle. Seriously, she gave me thousands of dollars worth of medications—the only medications that are strong enough to elicit a response from my stubborn body. The doctor changed up the dosage and scheduling of the medications and the cycle began on February 8th. He did things completely different and switched up some procedures on us. At times even positive Philip doubted the cycle. Anyway, we stuck it out, spent a lot of quality time in the car going to and from Mobile, and prayed harder than we’ve ever prayed. I personally did a lot of things different during the two-week wait based on advice I was receiving from friend OBs and fetal specialists. I do credit that as being part of the reason the third cycle was successful. On day 11 (4 days before I was suppose to take my blood test) I took a urine test. I have not taken one of those in 5+ years. My symptoms were very different and I knew something was going on with my body. I just knew I was pregnant. I was so calm, which is so not like me. I left school on Tuesday, March 4th and bought a test at CVS. Yes, I was breaking every rule in the book….taking a test before a blood test and taking a test in the afternoon. I went home, took it, and it turned positive immediately. I was so calm. What was wrong with me?!! HA! I remember whispering “I knew it” to myself and then sitting down in the middle of the bathroom floor just staring at it for several minutes. My first positive test ever. Finally I thought, what do I do now? I drank more water, took another test, watched it turn positive, and called my OB friend. She had me come in immediately for a blood test. I had Philip meet me in the parking lot of her office and told him the news. He was shocked and kept asking, “are you sure”. The blood test came back positive with a good HCG number. Another blood test was scheduled 48 hours later. That was a stressful time. The number had to double if the pregnancy was viable. God outdid himself and the number quadruple. When my OB gave me that news she asked, “how do ya’ll feel about multiples?”. We laughed and said, “bring it”.
The next three weeks were pure torture as we awaited our first ultrasound. The scan was scheduled Thursday, March 27 at 2pm. The month of March was the longest of my life, but the day finally arrived. When the ultrasound tech informed us “two healthy heartbeats” I lost it. I am NOT a crier, but I cried harder during that 10 minute scan than I’ve ever cried in my life. Don’t get me wrong…it was all a happy cry filled with disbelief, relief, and awe in God.
So, here we are….16 weeks pregnant with fraternal twins. I am being closely monitored and have ultrasounds every two weeks. It has been amazing to watch them grow. All of my tests and scans have received perfect results and they are measuring perfectly. We have a gender reveal party this Friday night and a large majority of my local prayer warriors will be there. I’m excited that all of those people get to learn the genders of the babies at the same time we do. Stay tuned for fun pictures! Seriously, I will be updating frequently now that I have a computer.
If you made it to the end of this…wow, you must be having a really slow day at the office! ;-) Kidding—kinda! I appreciate the support and prayers from everyone. To end this post I’ll answer some FAQs …..1) yes, I am still working out!! It’s my job, maintains sanity, and it’s providing me with a really healthy pregnancy. The babies love it (they “dance” to the aerobic music”) and my doctor tells me to keep doing what I’ve been doing. 2) cravings….none. Well, I am on a lemonade kick right now. Honestly, the food aversions have been really bad. I hate all meat, I hate vegetables (I can tolerate a salad a few times a week), I hate oatmeal, I hate fruit. I really hate all food. Eating is a major chore and I have not cooked a meal in months. It’s been a big adjustment for Philip, but he’s been supportive and has never complained. 3) the first trimester was….manageable. My only complaints were and still are insomnia, headaches, and food aversions. 4) what have you bought…..nothing!!! Oh, but that’s about to change come Friday! :-)