Here I am, dusting off the ol' blog to share an update on how crazy our lives are about to get and to answer some oft asked questions. In case you missed it, here's our big news: we're having TRIPLETS!
There are a lot of friends and family that are curious about how Ian and I got to the point of this pregnancy with our Thorley triplets, so here's a look at our journey so far. (There is a TLDR version at the bottom of this post, if that's more your style.) I am not going to share EVERY detail of our infertility journey, but if you'd like to talk to me privately, I'm more than happy to share those details in a more personal setting. Message me or text me. There are more couples out there struggling with infertility than you'd think.
***In regards to infertility, there are SO MANY different situations and circumstances that can happen--this is just our situation. I drank up any info or personal experiences I could get when I was researching infertility, but it's important to take it with a grain of salt. Be prepared with questions and use your research to arm you for some tricky situations, but ultimately, your doctors will know what's best on how to help you.
Ian and I had been trying to get pregnant for a little under two years by the time we got pregnant. I have had a host of hormonal issues and problems with my lady parts essentially since I started my period, so it came as no surprise to me that we didn't get pregnant right away.
I got the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility (which I would whole-heartedly recommend to any woman who wants to know more about how their body works) to help me get the gist on how my body was working and how to properly create the most ideal situation to get pregnant.That book helped me figure out how exactly how pregnancy happens and what I needed to do to figure out the best timing. I tracked when I was ovulating and I used a few apps to track my complete cycles as well, which were super helpful (Clue and Ovia). I did just about every other sane method out there to help me get pregnant on my own, but to no success. I had a few consultations with various fertility clinics and things got a little tricky as Ian would be gone for months at a time for military training and we were moving and changing insurances as well. Upon moving to San Antonio, I had an appointment with a new fertility clinic where I was able to have an ultrasound that confirmed that I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It explained a lot of other health issues I have, but also confirmed that I was holding on to all my eggs and wasn't ever ovulating, thus making it impossible for an egg to ever get fertilized and for me to ever get pregnant. A few months later, after some insurance and doctor changes, Ian and I got on a plan for me to use a low-dose of Letrozole (also called Femara, a common and modern alternative to Clomid) to help me ovulate.
The crazy part here is that it worked. I have been that girl that thought my boobs were hurting more than usual or that I was feeling a bit more nauseous, just to find out that it was my period. So, when we went through our first round of treatment and I almost threw up because of the smell of a Subway in the food court, I thought my mind was tricking me again. Your brain does funny things when you really, really want something. I had some cramping that was way earlier than before my normal period date, so the next day, I took a pregnancy test. After a few minutes, I saw a very faint line. I immediately showed it to Ian, "Do you see this? Am I just making this up or do you really see this?" He saw it too. A faint line after seeing nothing on a zillion pregnancy tests--this was major news. But it was still faint. It still wasn't sure. I wasn't sure at all. I took four more tests over the next few days and it got darker and darker. I went to the doctor and my blood work confirmed I was indeed pregnant and that I was staying pregnant...and I was still taking tests. Ha! I knew I wasn't out of the woods, but after three separate doctors confirmed and congratulated me, Ian said, "Are you going to stop buying and taking tests?" I still have a few left in my bathroom cabinet because I couldn't believe it.
A side note I want to include this here: I know so many couples and countless women that have gone through rounds and rounds and ROUNDS of treatments--all to have that help not work. I can't understand that. I can't fathom putting all your faith into this month's cycle being the one that sticks and being more than disappointed when you get that negative on the ten pregnancy tests you've taken just that cycle. There is so much heartache that I have simply avoided, but my infertility experience has helped me to be more empathetic and compassionate just as this pregnancy has, too. Both sides of the coin are emotionally and physically taxing. I have realized that everyone has their own cross to bear. So, try your best to be nice.
After those positive tests, we scheduled an ultrasound for a few weeks out. When the day came, I was incredibly nervous. One of my best friends had just had a miscarriage weeks prior and it was weighing heavily on my mind. This very likely could not work out. I had steeled myself in such a way that I was somewhat expecting it. Again, I thought there was no way that this could really work in our very first month of treatment. I laid down on the table with Ian calmly holding my hand as we waited to find out. As the doctor began the exam, I heard her say, "There are a few..." I didn't know if she was talking to me or even about me. I looked at Ian and thought for a moment, "Is this about us? Are there TWINS?!" She quickly flipped the screen around and told us the news. "You are having triplets."
The rest of the appointment is a blur in my head, but these are the things I remember. I couldn't stop sobbing. The doctor had to have me hold my breath a few times because she was having a difficult time actually seeing the embryos through my spastic breathing. I kept saying, "THERE ARE THREE," over and over again. I also remember saying that I wished for twins too hard (I have always, always wanted twins) and that I was Leslie Knope. "Oh, do you know someone with triplets?" the doctor asked. Ian replied, "Anna just likes to pretend that her life is like TV. We don't know ANYONE with triplets." And I do remember that Ian was as cool as a cucumber. He held my hand and looked at the screen in awe, but was completely and totally calm. It was as if he knew that we were always going to have triplets.
As we wrapped up the appointment and walked out of the hospital, the waves of sobs kept on coming. The whole clinic knew by then that we were having triplets and gave me hugs to congratulate or console me, my reactions were so mixed. As we walked out of the hospital, I kept sobbing and people were staring. I realized how easily my tears could have been misconstrued for hearing some of the worst news--Ian kindly but sternly said, "You've gotta get it together." We made it home and I continued to cry for about two more hours straight. I went into the appointment expecting to hear that I wasn't really pregnant only to find out I was SUPER pregnant in a crazy way. I just cried and cried and cried as I processed it. And oddly enough, as soon as I stopped crying, I have been nothing but excited.
It is going to be an incredibly difficult and risky pregnancy. And it's going to be incredibly hard when they arrive, too. I'm pretty sure being a mom in any capacity is hard. But I have been waiting my whole life to be a mom. This is my time and my turn and I am taking it!
So here are some of the details for those who are curious:
I am 11 weeks along and even though I am due October 2nd, full term for triplets is 35 weeks. I will likely have them between 28-32 weeks, or even later if I'm lucky. They'll probably be here sometime in August.
We are in a really great situation with how they are all set up. They are likely all fraternal (meaning I really reacted to the drugs or this was in my DNA and ovulated three separate eggs), and they all have their own sacs, cords, and placentas, making this an even more rare pregnancy as this doesn't happen often. Fortunately, it reduces a ton of risks that come with multiple births, but this is still going to be a high risk pregnancy.
While Ian has no history of multiples on his side, I did find out that there are a few sets of triplets about six generations back on my dad's side. No twins, just triplets. There was less than a 1% chance even with the medication that we were going to have triplets, so I think that there was a bit of my dormant triplet DNA waiting to leap into action.
We don't know the genders yet, but we're hoping to find out in about two months. Ian doesn't know or care what our set up is like, but I think there are two girls and a boy. We've got a lot of names picked out, but we aren't sharing them until they get here.
I jokingly threatened Ian on the way home from our first ultrasound that this was it and I am never doing this again, but we don't know if we'll have more kids than this. We don't know what it's like to have any, so we'll figure it out as it goes.
Overall, I am feeling pretty good. I am exhausted out of my mind and need two naps a day if I can get them, but the nausea and vomiting hasn't been terrible. My tailbone and back hurt a bit, but that means my body is working and making room. Also, I know I am very short. Not a single doctor I have seen so far (and I've seen several) have mentioned it once. Shorter people than I have had more babies than me. Bodies can do amazing things and I am curious and excited to see my body do the same. And while this pregnancy scares me a bit, I realize that I am more than lucky to have these babies. Ian and I are thrilled to finally be parents.
A TLDR version.
- We are having triplets!
- We tried for nearly two years to get pregnant on our own.
- We then conceived our babies with the help of a fertility drug called Letrozole. It was our first cycle using any sort of fertility treatment and to our surprise, it worked the first time.
- A few weeks later, we found out that even though there was a less than 1% chance of conceiving triplets, we were just that lucky.
(Some more stats: Multiples births count for 1 in 67 births, but triplet births happen about 1 for every 1000 births. 80% of triplets are conceived with fertility treatments.)
- Our babies are most likely all fraternal. We are in the most ideal situation for a triplet pregnancy, but it is still a high risk pregnancy.
- I am due October 2nd, but I will more than likely have them in August or maybe even September if I'm lucky. Full term for triplets is technically 35 weeks.
- I have been feeling extremely exhausted and occasionally throwing up, but surprisingly well given the situation.
- We will find out the genders in a few weeks. I'm speculating there are two girls and a boy.
- We don't know if we will have more kids or not. We have never had any so far and we don't really know what it's like yet, so we can't make that decision yet. We'll see!
- We're doing great. Ian is as cool as a cucumber and after a few hours of sobbing and panicking, I am doing great and am thrilled, too.
- It's going to be very, very hard. But very, very worth it.