Fertility Blog

Patient Odyssey - Life with Twins

Patrick and I began a cycle of IVF in July of 2003 and by that September we were pregnant with twins. Our entire experience, from the time that we first met with Dr. Schriock to the actual confirmation of our pregnancy was positive. Everything was explained to us from the percentages of success to the risks associated with IVF in the initial consultation and follow-up meetings. We both went into it optimistically and decided to deal with any issues as they came up, and tried not to worry about the maybes. Because both Patrick and I were fine with the possibility of having twins, the decision to implant more than one embryo in order to increase our chances was never an issue. Dr. Schriock was comfortable with me carrying twins, but in the small chance that more embryos did in fact attach, he strongly recommended reducing. The day of the transfer, we were told that we had seven viable fertilized eggs and the recommendation was to transfer up to three of them. I actually wanted to transfer four in the hopes of having an even greater chance of conceiving, but was overruled not only by the doctor but my husband who was terrified that all four may actually attach. A few weeks later, after having my blood drawn, my numbers were so high that I was sure I was carrying triplets. It was such a relief to finally have an ultra-sound and see two tiny heartbeats. We were both so happy to have finally been able to conceive and I was especially thankful to have avoided a decision on what to do if I was carrying three babies. My biggest concern throughout my pregnancy was to carry two babies to full term. There seemed to be a lot of "negative material" out there to be read. The biggest cause of concern seemed to be of multiples being born prematurely. After reading a lot of baby books, I finally found one that became the positive influence I was searching for: When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads. It shows that having multiples does not necessarily mean that you will have a difficult pregnancy or that your babies are destined to be born weighing only a few pounds. Rather it encourages you to think beyond the 35-37 week time frame that most twins are usually born and to try for the full 40 weeks if possible. One thing that I really liked about the book is that it encourages you to eat. The suggestions to eat double cheeseburgers and milk shakes definitely made my pregnancy a little more fun. I exercised 6 days a week just like I did pre-pregnancy but instead of running I used pregnancy exercise videos. I continued to exercise up until my 37th week, three weeks before I delivered. Ashley Jordan and Janelle Patrice were born on May 6, 2004, forty minutes past Cinco De Mayo. We went 40 weeks and one day before having to be induced. Because I wanted to have them vaginally and hadn't experienced any complications, my doctor allowed me to carry them past the normal 37 weeks. In the end though, they were delivered by cesarean. Life with twins is wonderful. They actual help with entertaining each other and it is fascinating to watch them develop skills at different rates. They did start to crawl one day apart just after turning 6 months, but Janelle can already walk with a walker while Ashley has just learned how to pull herself up. For me, I sometimes wish I could have a little more one-on-one with each but I don't think they notice. We all play together and they are used to being a twosome. There is nothing like watching them laugh hysterically with each other when playing and they seem to already have their own secret language. We are glad that at 36 years of age, we have two beautiful, healthy babies and they have each other to play and grow up with. We still have three frozen embryos and are considering trying to do it again down the road. I encourage everyone I know that is having difficulty in getting pregnant to go to PFC before any other clinic. There is no way we can thank Dr. Schriock and his team enough for giving us our beautiful girls. -- Jana Twin pregnancies are common in women undergoing IVF and we congratulate Jana on her very successful experience as a mother of twins. Most twin pregnancies have good outcomes, however, the chance of having a healthy baby is much higher in singleton pregnancies. At Pacific Fertility Center, a singleton pregnancy is our preferred outcome. Prior to transfer, the risks and benefits of transferring one or more embryos are discussed. The patients' final decision is made in partnership with the physician. Multiple pregnancy is risky for both the mother and infant. Premature birth occurs in over 50% of twin pregnancies. A twin is seven times more likely to die in the first month of life. Preeclampsia occurs three to five times more frequently. Prolonged bed rest and hospitalization for preterm labor is common and cesarean section is often needed for delivery. Patients may wish to refer to Patient's Fact Sheets from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine: "Complications of Multiple Gestation" and "Challenges of Parenting Multiples". It is very important for patients to realize that excellent pregnancy rates can be maintained while controlling the rate of multiple pregnancy. More than one study has shown that transferring one embryo at a time can be as effective and more economical than transferring two embryos. Embryo freezing is now very successful. As preimplantation genetic diagnosis improves, it may also be helpful in selecting which single embryo to transfer. With improvements in the laboratory such as embryo isolettes, refinement of medications, improved freezing techniques, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis, we are closer to our goal of all singleton births. -- Eldon Schriock, MD

Posted on July 30th, 2005
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