In an earlier post, We Visit New York and Have a Baby, I described the nuclear transfer (aka egg donation) procedure which enabled my wife to become pregnant in April. What I haven’t yet talked about is the news from our first ultrasound. She’s pregnant with twins!
By the way, I’d love to display here one of the ultrasound images since I find them cool to look at (imagine seeing your own child/fetus tumbling around in utero looking as if he/she’s conducting a symphony), but for some dumb reason our obstetrician says that his ultrasound machine cannot save images in file format. We’ll be doing a special ultrasound searching for genetic abnormalities in a few weeks and he promises that this special ultrasound machine can do this. So I’ll try to get those images up here when I have them.
Getting back to those twins: Mazel tov, you say. How great, you say. Well, certainly and thank you. But what few people understand is the ambivalence that such news can engender. We have a 3 year old son and wanted a second child. My wife, remembering how incredibly difficult, painful and stressful was her first pregnancy, wavered for a long time before finally being able to wrap her mind around having a second (note I said “second” and not “third” since we neither expected nor especially wanted a 3rd).
We asked the NYU Fertility Clinic specialist about the twins issue (since 50% of successful nuclear transfer pregnancies in which two embryos are implanted end up with twins). The reply was: “the embryos you have are quite good quality but not excellent. We recommend that couples who have this quality embryos implant two rather than one to avoid the possibility that the single embryo might not implant properly.” But what she left out is the very real and strong possibility of twins. We just weren’t thinking of that. We wanted a successful pregnancy and implanting two seemed reasonable at the time. Now, I almost wish I had it to do over again so we could consider that decision much more carefully.
My wife is now (at 12 weeks) going through desperate and constant nausea. Since she is the breadwinner, she must work. But she can barely get through the day without expending enormous amounts of energy to keep herself going.
I realize for some women pregnancy is blissful. And that’s great for them. But not so for my wife. And it kills me that I pushed so hard to have a second child and now we’ve ended up with so much misery and pain as a result. Yes, I know that the result with make everything worthwhile and I firmly believe that. But how can you tell it to your wife as she’s trying with all her energy to stop herself from vomiting?
One small bright piece of news is that the progesterone shots using what I call the “horse needle” stopped as of yesterday. That’s one less demeaning and painful procedure to put her through.
Just after we heard the news about our twins, I watched an episode of one of those dreadful TV news magazines about a woman whose just given birth to sextuplets. The producers really revved up the cuteness and sentimentality of the segment. The happy couple were smiling all the time. All the neighbors came by and offered to help. Church members seemed to fulfilling their every need. All was well in this best of all possible worlds, to quote the rose-colored Pangloss of Candide.
But the truth is that this couple and any couple having multiples must be terrified. Where will the energy come from? Where and when will sleep come? How can they possibly give each child the amount of affection and attention they would like?
I was an abused child in a family of five boys and I swore to myself I would never have that number of children. Both my wife and I wanted two and that seemed challenge enough for us. With three on the way, I feel we’re a little too close to the five children fail safe point.
I hope this post doesn’t sound too downbeat. We know our twins will be as lovely and wonderful as Jonah now is. But there are so many rivers to cross and we hope we can find our way over (to paraphase Jimmy Cliff).
Richard — I don’t think your post is downbeat, just refreshingly honest about the feelings you and your wife are experiencing right now. Journaling them is the healthiest thing you can do for all of you and journaling via a public blog transforms your candor into a gift. Thank you . . .
Good grief! I posted without even saying congratulations . . . Do know you and your family will be in my thoughts.
Ben G. says
Be’sha’ah tovah, Richard! I can understand the anxiety and complicated feelings you are having mixed in with your joy. We also only have one child and would feel similary overwhelmed if an attempt to have a second resulted in our having three. I hope your wife’s pregancy gets easier than it is right now.
Thanks for your refreshing honesty. Would that more parents dealt with ambivalence in such and open and honest way.
Congratulations on the twins. Somehow, you will pull enough energy out of yourself to deal with the workload.