Friday, August 5, 2011

Twin Lust

I am not ashamed to admit it. I openly lust for twins. It is a sticky lust, because twins have their definite benefits but they also have a lot of risks.

The Riskiness of Twins
A twin pregnancy is more of a high-risk pregnancy. Your body is under twice the stress, carrying two precious packages instead of the typical one. You are more prone to complications. Your babies are more likely to be preterm and/or low birthweight. You may have increased monitoring. Your chances of delivering via C-section are much, much higher (although I thought that it was a given with a twin pregnancy, apparently you can still deliver twins vaginally, which frankly sounds terrifying to me). C-sections come with their own risks, including a longer and more painful recovery. There is some evidence to suggest that twins come at a slightly higher risk for developmental disabilities. Apart from the health and wellness risks, twins are more of an adjustment post-delivery for parents--twice the diapers, twice the feedings, no guarantee of in-sync schedules, twice the cost of infant care and upkeep, twice the daycare cost, and the thought of putting two children through college at the same exact time (while we are either approaching or in retirement no less) causes palpitations. There are a lot of things that make twins very, very scary.

The Incredible Positives of Twins
So why, despite all of the risks and financial fears and overwhelmingness of raising two babies at once, do I so desperately long for twins? One of the major reasons is that if we were to be pregnant with twins, and successfully deliver healthy babies, we would be DONE. No more treatments, no more shelling out thousands of dollars for a basic human function, we would have our family all in one shot. It would be a veritable two-for-one sale (I hate to always put this in terms of money, but it's a stark truth of infertility--you are in financial paralysis until your family is complete). I would, once the first trimester passed, never have to take a fertility drug shot ever again. (You have to keep taking the dreaded progesterone butt shot through at least week 10 of pregnancy to keep levels up until the placenta kicks in. The fun just keeps going!) We would have two beautiful babies who would have built-in best friends (for a while, anyway), who would learn the lesson of sharing pretty much from day one. And we would not have to go through infertility treatments with a baby at home. This is something that scares the crap out of me--the idea of going through all of this -- the appointments, the shots, the mood swings, the good-news-bad-news rollercoaster, the psychotic mood swings -- with a baby at home who needs attention and focus. We'd have to split that attention and focus between our firstborn and the process it takes to have a shot at a sibling. I know people who have done it, and who are doing it now, and it causes a tremendous amount of guilt. I know one woman who was playing with her 4-year-old at the breakfast table and asked "What do monkeys eat for breakfast?" "Bananas!" "What do elephants eat for breakfast?" "Peanuts!" "And what do mommies eat for breakfast?" "Medicine!" It was depressing and more than a little heartbreaking. Add into that mix that when you go to the fertility clinic, you need to find someone to watch your child. Understandably, it is preferred that you not bring your young children/babies into the waiting room filled with women who are trying their darndest to have one and not in a stable emotional state. But it adds another layer of complexity to the sibling treatments--who the heck is going to watch your kid while you go for monitoring and hope that you quickly conceive #2 so that you don't take too much away from the precious time you're missing from your firstborn? The worst is stories I've heard of firstborns who ask, "Mommy, can I please have a sister/brother?" What do you answer to that? I'd love to but it takes a lot of work and who knows if it will even be possible the second time around? Maybe that's something I just can't give you? Talk about heartbreak.

The appeal of having twins is overwhelming--yes, they would have to share time with mom and dad from the get-go, but they wouldn't have to share it with needles and progesterone-shot exhaustion and Mom being unable to pick baby up because her ovaries are the size of navel oranges. We actually have a pretty good shot at twins. But that doesn't mean that I will be disappointed if we have one healthy baby in there...far from it. I hope that of the 8 embryos that have been in my body at one point or another in this process, at least one of this batch decides to stay. I would be thrilled, ecstatic with one healthy baby that stayed for the long haul. But if I could get all of our family building done in one fell swoop? That would be amazing.

The two red candles I burn every day (twin candles!), flanking the good luck jade elephant my sister gave to us.

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