By: Danielle Foulk
“Pregnant with twins? Do they run in the family or did you have to take infertility drugs?” “Twins? Are they natural?” Pardon my frankness, but I was asked these questions too many times to keep track and in every instance I thought to myself, “What in the hell is wrong with you?” What makes anyone feel it’s their job to monitor how anyone gets pregnant let alone say it to the face of a stranger?
I’m not a proponent of lying, but when asked these intrusive questions I lied. Okay, it wasn’t entirely a lie because we both have twins that run in our family, but it wasn’t our family history that lead to the conception of our twins. Now that I was finally pregnant, after being told I couldn’t become pregnant, I didn’t feel the need to to rehash the pain and struggles nor did I feel like I needed to explain our conception with complete strangers. I also wanted some normalcy in my pregnancy, I didn’t want my children to be “less” because of the way we conceived them. The tumultuous time was over (so I thought) and I was ready to enjoy every second of being pregnant, even the intense morning sickness that came morning, noon, and night.
Over three years have passed now and I haven’t shared what has been kept private from most of our friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances. I struggle to even tell our story, but am at a point where I feel like I need to stop hiding the journey that has molded our lives and start sharing why I am so passionate about people, specifically parents, finding bliss in their everyday lives.
Though I’m still very hesitant to share this private and personal experience with pregnancy, my hope is that maybe I can begin accepting the past and not feel like “less” of a woman because of the way we conceived. I also hope our story can be of some support to those who are currently struggling with conceiving and are in the trenches of fertility war.
So here is finally the real TRUTH about how I became pregnant with our twins.
In the winter of 2011, I entered into a new OBGYN office. The walls were adorned with beautiful photos of newborns, toddlers, and young children. Never had I been happy to be at the OBGYN, but that day was different. I was there to establish a new relationship with a group of doctors that would care for not only me, but one day our baby.
The appointment went well, we discussed the typical things like what to expect when coming off birth control (I hadn’t had a period in a few months), did blood work to check levels, and I left with hope, joy, and excitement. After spending a few months convincing my husband that it was time to grow our family I left the appointment thinking of all things baby-names, colors, nursery themes, and toys. I even picked up the book, What to Expect before You’re Expecting to really be abreast of what I needed to know and do before conceiving. Then everything came to a halt.
Have you ever found yourself frozen? You can’t move and even if you could you wouldn’t know what to do. Your mind is somehow stuck on a thought with a million questions reeling in the background. The day I listened to the voicemail from my new OBGYN office I was not only paralyzed by the message but frozen from the shattering words, “you can’t conceive.” Not believing what I had just heard, I listened again to the voicemail because I surly misunderstood the message. I mean come on, who in the world would deliver news like that on a voicemail to begin with? I was convinced I had heard wrong.
After listening to the voicemail several times, I found myself alone and frozen in my living room. How was I to tell my husband? I didn’t even know what amenorrhea was but don’t you know the voicemail also included, “You can visit WebMD to get further information.” What in the (insert every swear word you can think of here)? Feeling angry at the doctor’s office, lost, confused, and heartbroken I spoke to my husband who agreed we needed to go in to the office and talk with the doctor about the unexpected news they had so kindly left on my voicemail.
BAD NEWS AND A BUSINESS CARD
Our appointment to discuss the results from my blood work was held at a different office location. This time, the office was not beautifully painted with little one’s photos on the walls. It was a stark lobby that was large, out dated and filled with women who were in their first-trimester and others in their last. My husband and I chose a seat, held hands, and sat in silence.
I will admit I can be a little impatient. I get extremely frustrated with doctors’ offices when they are late and today was no exception. Not only did I sit in the lobby mentally challenged by the information given to me, but I was staring at women who had what I wanted. Looking around I started to wonder. What had I done to deserve this? What hadn’t I done right? How could this be happening to me? This isn’t fair! What is my husband thinking? Have I let him down?
As you can imagine or maybe have experienced I sat waiting with similar questions streaming through my mind. I swear I went through the grieving process of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance about ten times while waiting on the doctor. Which, by the way she so kindly let us wait for over an hour.
Once my husband and I were called back to see the doctor, we entered into a small office painted grey (how depressing) with a desk and two chairs in front. We began by asking the doctor about the blood test and more about amenorrhea. The doctor explained that while I had amenorrhea, I actually didn’t fit the mold-little did I know I was going to hear this phrase so often. Yet she still was diagnosing me with something she didn’t really think I had?
Not being satisfied with her answer, my husband and I asked her to at least explain amenorrhea in more depth. The emptiness and confusion must have shown in my eyes because the doctor got out a pad of paper and drew a diagram of a woman and began explaining how amenorrhea affects the reproductive system. I was being told my body wasn’t communicating right and that there wasn’t a way to fix it.
Till this day, I can see the image of the diagram sitting on her desk. After she completed her work of art I had finally “got it.” She sat looking at us, like she needed to be tending to patients, and we looked back at her with the thought of, “so that’s just it?” Before finding the mental ability to stand up and walk out of her office, the doctor pulled out of her desk drawer a business card. She explained that everyone that goes to this infertility doctor loves him and was maybe someone we wanted to look into. This was the ONLY thing that doctor did right. We got our belongings and for the first and last time, we stepped out into that stark lobby with bad news and a business card.