top of page

The Way, Way Backstory to Life as an IVF Twin Mom

Written By: Abbe Feder



It took me six years to become a mom. On November 5th, 2018, my life changed in the craziest and most wonderful way when I gave birth to my son, Malachi, and one minute later to my daughter, Amalia. I always wanted to be a mom and did always dream of having twins. But in those two quick minutes, my dream came true after seeing the impossible made possible.

Our journey to parenthood began on a romantic trip to Italy. We’d had friends who had trouble trying to conceive and always felt grateful that our story would be different. We just had a feeling that it would happen for us (aka oblivion). I ran around Italy with ovulation tests, peeing on sticks in fancy museums and at vineyards. By the plane ride home, Isaac was convinced that we were pregnant on the first try. Two weeks later, when our first “not pregnant” appeared on the stick, Isaac said, “OK, here begins our journey.” And he was right, it did begin our journey, but little did we know what that would involve.

I remember throwing away that first test that read “not pregnant” in those lowercase letters. I tossed it in the bathroom trash, went to work, and when I got home, I saw it still sitting in the trash, face up, and was like, “I GET IT! I’M NOT PREGNANT!” After that, I learned to place the test face down and under a tissue . . . a guaranteed way to ensure I didn’t have to see it again.

A year or so of trying went by. These days, when we try to conceive at older ages, we naturally imagine that having a newborn will fit perfectly into the life we’ve already built and the schedule and habits we’ve created. And I think it's OK to feel this way, to assume that we can have it all, which let’s face it, we all want. So why not try to make it happen?

And then it doesn’t.

Eventually, after two years of trying, I was referred to multiple fertility doctors but we still weren’t acknowledging that there was a problem. It’s tough to explain, but I think the brain makes excuses for you to protect you. Mine did, anyway. It was stress, it was diet, it was not the right time, it was my job, it was his job. It was a lot of things, but it wasn’t infertility. We decided we’d keep trying “naturally.” (“Naturally” is a term I have come to hate because it implies that ART, Assisted Reproductive Technology, is not natural, which it kind of isn’t but it’s not my choice to be in a doctor’s office making a baby. Plus wanting children and becoming a parent is still the most natural thing in life.)

So after three years with no success, we were finally ready to enlist help, and though we were disappointed to need it, we were still optimistic. We started with IUI, the “gateway treatment” in that it’s step one in the process if no firm problems are found and you just need a boost and/or some actual, predictable timing.

Too many IUIs later (four procedures in four months – each with more intense drugs) and with no pregnancy to speak of, our IVF journey began. Hearing the words “IVF” upped all stakes. Our emotions soared, everything felt important, precious, delicate, intense, and expensive. It added stress to our marriage, as is to be expected. It felt like everything about Isaac had to be perfect—even more perfect than usual—because if it wasn’t perfect, why were we going through this insane effort and financial strain to procreate with each other?

In addition to all the intervention on the medical front, I tried all sorts of Eastern medicine-inspired boosters, diet tips, teas, Chinese herbs - you name it. I’d started going to acupuncture as the first line of what I call “oomie goomie” help because many fertility doctors actually believe that acupuncture can help with fertility because some studies have shown success. My acupuncturist put me on a CRAY eating plan: no gluten, no dairy, no sugar, no nightshades. I followed the diet to a T save for wine, since as I saw it, wine was fruit so therefore, should be allowed. I felt great, actually. It wasn’t easy, but I think following this insane regimen kept me feeling in control and healthy in the face of all those hormone shots. Of course, I’d have traded it all for a pregnancy.

Having unexplained infertility is like waking up every day in a state of grief. There’s a part of your heart that permanently pangs with sadness and sometimes anger, a sense of void, and also sometimes a teeny bit of hope. Infertility took its toll on us, of course. But what we didn’t expect was the way it would take a toll on our other relationships. We had friends who knew what we were going through, but in trying to be polite and respectful to us, never once checked on us or asked how we were. It became awkward, sometimes, and isolating often. Even with some of our closest friends and family, we didn’t know how to share our grief and didn’t always feel the support we needed when we did share.

There’s one other major piece of this process, and that’s the cost. We fell into the category of no insurance help or supplementation and went out of pocket for everything. Everyone has the same right to want a family. So we pulled from our small 401(k)s and we went through our savings. Every penny went to this venture plus pennies we didn’t have, aka credit cards. For me it was always about this: I didn’t want to wake up one day thinking, “If only I’d have found another $10K, would we be parents? If only I’d have maxed that one card . . . would I stop yearning for a pizza birthday party with a dinosaur cake?” I had these thoughts. A lot. And it always came down to: money is renewable, fertile years are not.

So maybe you’re wondering how we finally got the happy ending:

  • Four IUIs

  • Four retrievals

  • Two clinics

  • 1,233 second opinions

  • Eight (EIGHT!!) transfers

  • A ton of healthy embryos that went nowhere

  • An 8-week loss

  • An ectopic

  • Two hysteroscopies

  • And a reduction (from three to two - the chances of which were under three percent) ...

... brought us to our twins.

I really never thought I’d get pregnant. And even though it took such a long time for me to become a mother, half the time I still look at Malachi and Amalia and can’t even wrap my head around where they came from. Abbe will be one of our THR Speakers in early September. Keep your eyes peeled on our events page to RSVP and join!

 

Meet the Author

Abbe Feder

When Abbe emerged on the other side of her fertility journey, she founded InCircle Fertility to hold the hands and hearts of those struggling to build their families. She bridges the gaps between the clinic, doctor, patient, and therapist experiences and knew there was a niche to provide support from someone who’s been there - literally everywhere. Abbe has a background in Behavioral Science and is a Certified Life Coach. She is also the host of the podcast, “The Fertility Chick.”




87 views

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page