Did you plan for this to happen?
Ha! No! To help give you a glimpse of how unusual and surprising this was, our doctor didn’t speak for a couple of minutes during our first ultrasound. In his many years of practice, he’s only seen this happen twice.
The word “plan” is also kind of a funny one to us. Once you enter infertility land you quickly are reminded how little “control” you actually have. There were a lot of different scenarios we pictured when we entered our first appointment, this wasn’t one of them.
How did this happen?
Perhaps someday I’ll write a longer piece about the complex process we went through of praying, grieving, processing, reading, and meeting with our pastor with far more experience with bioethics than anyone we know that helped us arrive at the decision to pursue IVF. Perhaps someday I’ll share the three big questions we wrestled with throughout the process and the constraints we felt we needed to pursue in order to remain true to our beliefs. Today’s not the day for that post, though.
The short answer is that we went through the IVF process two years ago. When we did we ended with four embryos–two of which we implanted and became Gideon and his brother/sister that we lost during our first pregnancy at eleven weeks and two that we froze for future use (so weird, we know.) We knew that we would transfer them as soon as we could in part because of our desire to protect and give them their best shot at life. After Gideon’s first birthday, we started making plans to go back. On April 18 in the midst of so many shots, we got to take what we thought might be our only family picture as a family of five.
God had far more abundant plans for us than we could’ve asked or even imagined. At our first ultrasound, we were prepared to see 0, 1, or 2 gestational sacs, but in perhaps the most shocking moments of our lives there were three. Both embryos implanted and one of them split into identical twins.
On a side note, spontaneous triplets (without fertility treatment) are rare but happen and not everyone is as open about the process they went through as we are, so maybe tread lightly with others here.
How are you doing?
We’re doing well. As I mentioned earlier, I think walking through infertility has a way of coloring the rest of your experiences. I’m thankful for the ways its humbled us and taught us how not in control we are which has in turn caused us to rely on God. We are fully aware that this isn’t going to be a walk in the park. It’s overwhelming in a lot of ways, but we just keep coming back to this sense of awe that we are living a miracle. We were prepared for really, really sad, hard outcomes. We know so many people who are aching and longing and grieving for children of their own. While having four kids two and under will bring with it its own unique set of challenges, it’s most of all a gift we’re embracing and so grateful for.
I think people are prone to repeat the cliche “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,” but that’s actually not true. He does give us things that we can’t handle on our own strength to remind us how much we really do need Him. Infertility has taught us a lot about this. I expect in a different sense extreme, concentrated abundance will as well. I certainly am not qualified or adept enough to do this myself. When I feel the anxiety creep in and we feel overwhelmed with the “How are we going to do this?” question, we’re trying to press into it. We’re trying to say, “You’re right. We can’t, but He can.” We need Him and we need the people in our lives more than we ever have and those are actually good things, even when it feels hard.
Physically I’m ready to be rid of some of the things that come with first trimesters (I’m thirteen weeks tomorrow), but again it is certainly not lost of me how fortunate I am to feel the way I do. There are far worse, hard reasons to feel sick than growing life. Aside from that all of the babies are measuring right where they should with great heartbeats and I’m physically doing well too.
What about Gideon?
Well nobody is getting voted off the island. That’s for sure. I really do get the sentiment behind this question, though. As someone who loves Him so very much, I’ve shed a few tears feeling the weight of what is going to happen to his life.
I think I keep going back to the simple fact that this is the race God has marked out for our family and for Gideon. So much of life is about trade offs. There are good things and hard things that come with most circumstances. The same can be said of this specific circumstance for him. Will caring for a toddler and three newborns mean that he has to share attention in a way that most kids don’t? For sure. Will there be specific challenges that come to him through this? Yes. But will there be beautiful, unique experiences that he will get to have by being a big brother to so many? Absolutely. Will being part of a peer group where the age ranges are so close together have pros or cons? Both.
I’ve never been more thankful to have such an incredible community of people who Gideon loves and who love him too. I’m also grateful for the sweet temperament that loves to help and loves other kids that are just part of his personality. It will be hard and if you’d like to pray specifically for him, we’d certainly appreciate it, but we’re hopeful many beautiful things will grow amidst the hard for him too.
Will they look the same?
Yes and no. Two of them will look exactly the same because they are identical twins. That means at least two will be the same gender. The third baby is fraternal which means he/she may or may not be the same gender but won’t look identical to the other two regardless.
We’ll find out genders at 16 weeks.
When will they be here?
Like so many things related to this, we don’t really know. If this were a pregnancy with one baby, I would be due January 4. They wouldn’t actually let me go a full 40 weeks. It sounds like 36 weeks is kind of the max which would fall during the first week of December. We’d love to make it that far but would also be thrilled to get to Thanksgiving. I’m working with great doctors and nurses who will monitor the four of us closely. We’re grateful for prayers for continued health and for a pregnancy that makes me incredibly huge and uncomfortable.
Thanks for loving, caring, praying, supporting, and celebrating with us. I’m not planning to join the world of “Mommy Bloggers,” (I’m really not sure when I’m going to have time to shower, let alone write), but perhaps I’ll post an occasional update here to keep those who are interested apprised of our growing brood.
To end, we have more recent ultrasound pictures where they look far more like babies but things are so congested in there already that this is the last “good” photo we have with all three in the same shot.