Stories from parents of multiples pregnancies

These stories are real-world examples of people who have been pregnant with multiples. They are meant to give you an idea of the challenges you may face as parents of multiples. But not everyone responds in the same way to the news of a multiple pregnancy, or to the experience of raising multiples. Your experience will be unique to you.

Stacie and Glen

My husband Glen and I tried for three years to get pregnant and were unsuccessful. We then went to a fertility clinic to have all the testing done and we both checked out “normal.” We were another case of unexplained infertility. We tried two IUI's (intrauterine insemination), which didn't work. Then we took the step to go ahead with IVF (in vitro fertilization). It was quite a process as I had to give myself injections, have lots of blood work, and ultrasounds as well.

My body took really well to the medications, so I had a lot of follicles that developed. Unfortunately, due to the high amount of follicles produced, I ended up developing hyper-stimulated ovaries (ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS)), in which fluids accumulated around my abdomen. This required that I have my abdomen drained two times. It was painful and very uncomfortable.

From the time I did the two IUIs to the time that I did the IVF was about 2 years. We did take a break in between the two failed IUIs and the IVF because I was emotionally drained and needed a break from all of the needles, ultrasounds, and blood tests. I had my IVF transfer on Aug 15 of 2009 and found out I was pregnant Aug 24th!!!!! So excited.

I found out I was pregnant with twins nine days after the implantation. I was beyond thrilled. Our doctor did discuss with us the risks associated with having twins, and we were ready and prepared to have twins if it came down to it.

The day I was to finish work to go on maternity leave I ended up getting the flu and was very dehydrated. I went to the emergency department where I sat and waited for three hours until I was rushed to Labor and Delivery. They checked me and found that I was three centimeters dilated. I was rushed by ambulance to another hospital. At this point I was only 30 weeks pregnant. I was on bed rest for one week and then went into spontaneous labour and delivered my twin girls at 3lbs 11oz and 3lbs 3oz. They were in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for five weeks. They are now almost two years old!

Although my girls were born premature, we have not come across any issues with their development at this time. They are slower in their speech than other children their age who are singletons and weren't premature, but our pediatrician said they are doing wonderfully well. He stated that one would never know they were born so premature if anyone saw us out and about.

I wouldn't change anything about my choices, because my doctor was very helpful and talked us through everything.

Glen and Stacie

Taylor and Morgan

As two moms, our choices for becoming parents were limited. After lengthy discussions we decided to use an anonymous sperm donor through a fertility clinic. For one full year before AHR (assisted human reproduction), we documented our ovulation cycles and took prenatal vitamins. We were both approaching forty, and decided that we didn't have time to discover that either of us had fertility issues so we both tried intrauterine insemination (IUI). Morgan just happened to ovulate twice during the first round of IUI, so having twins was a real surprise. We decided to stop there as Taylor's first two attempts of IUI didn't take, and we now feared having four children.

During pregnancy, Morgan spent 42 days on bed rest: not uncommon with twin pregnancies. Morgan began pre-term labour and one of the twins was diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction. This required going to the hospital every two days for non-stress tests, and recording the twins' movements twice each day. At one point during the pregnancy, we stayed five days in the hospital because Morgan was hooked up with leg-pumps and a catheter as she had not really moved in more than a month and they feared she could get a blood clot.

We were lucky because our twins never required the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Our daughter had to pass a weight test before they would let her out of the hospital though, as car seats are not designed for preemies.

The best parts of parenting twins after AHR are of course being with two beautiful, loving and playful toddlers. The parts that singleton parents don't understand are how much more sleep deprived you are, the personal questions about the twins, and for us, the inconsiderate - if not illogical questions - about biological motherhood. We do laugh though, every time someone asks if twins run in Taylor's family.

Wanting to capitalize on our strengths, Taylor began an induced lactation program so she could breastfeed our twins even though she was not the biological mother. In advance, this required six months of medicine, herbs, and then pumping around the clock three weeks before the twins arrived. She would have to get up in the night to pump and pump at work. In the end, this additional effort was worth it because Morgan had latch problems with breastfeeding - also common with preemies.

We did receive the services of the Infant Development Program for some milestone issues but at two and a half we are happy to be outgrowing that program. We knew twins often learn to speak later so we took several sign language courses and the twins learned over a hundred signs which were life-savers for communication.

Having twins is absolutely stressful on your relationship! It's more than simply being about “new motherhood.” Your friends and family may only see how a multiple-birth is sensationalized, and not fully understand the deep emotional experience that goes with managing two infants. We like to ask them: which one of your children would you choose to leave in the car, parked on the street, crying, while you take the other child into the house? It's not only about buying double the diapers or bathing them at one time. It's much more complex and most people don't understand the different situation of parenting multiples. The best piece of advice is that it did, and does, get easier!

People still want to know: Who is the birth mother? Which twin is the oldest? Which twin is the leader? Who is the sperm donor? And for all of these reasons and more, raising twins as a queer couple will never be straight-forward. But why would you want it to be?

Taylor and Morgan

Maryn and Callum

I was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome in my early twenties, so I knew that having children naturally would be a challenge. My husband Callum and I make a decent but modest living. He is a mechanic in a local car dealership, and I am a manager in a sporting goods store. We knew that we could not afford IVF (in vitro fertilization), and thought that maybe someday we would be able to adopt a child. Discovering that I was pregnant within six months of our wedding was a delightful surprise. Our son was born in May 2007.

I fell pregnant again in the winter of 2008, and booked an ultrasound appointment to date the pregnancy. The technician informed me that the first embryo she measured was 8 weeks and 5 days old, and the twin embryos were closer to 8 weeks in age. I ran to the bathroom and vomited with the thought of having potentially four children that close in age to care for!
I was informed that my twins shared the same amniotic sac and placenta, and that there was a very high risk that they would die early in the pregnancy. Some specialists I consulted, including a perinatologist in Montreal, advised that we should consider reduction of the pregnancy to just the one foetus in order to lessen the risks and increase the health of the singleton baby. Neither my husband nor I felt comfortable with a decision to reduce, preferring instead to allow God and time to decide our fate.

I was monitored closely with regularly scheduled ultrasounds, and hoped that with time the health risks to my babies would lessen and they would beat the odds! When I was 16 weeks along in my pregnancy, the technician could see just one heartbeat on the ultrasound. I felt very, very sad and confused. My husband and I were told by family and friends that this was “for the best”, and that “at least you still have one baby.” There is no social script to follow for an “incomplete miscarriage,” but I assure you that the grief is still profound.

Our daughter was born healthy and happy in October 2008. She is now taller than her older brother, is very funny and extremely busy.

Maryn and Callum

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