This was my fourth time doing IVF. It took two rounds and four embryos for my son Eliav. And four failed IUIs before that. Now, I had a painful miscarriage and finally .. my dream came true. This round of IVF I got twins! Being a twin myself this was especially exciting. I put two embryos every time but finally not one took, but two. I didn’t get my hopes up, but finally I passed the 12 week mark and we were in the clear. I was having twin girls just like I was! They would be best friends and I would be so in love and finally caught up with all my friends and their broods of children. My son would have two new best friends!
But then at the 14 week ultrasound the tech pretended she could not see baby B. I stupidly believed her as I waited for the doctor to come and “look for Baby B”. He immediately said I had to go see a maternal fetal medicine specialist because there was some fluid in Baby B’s brain. The doctor thought maybe she had hydrocephalus and we would see what they could do. I believed there must have been a mistake and of course everything was fine they just couldn’t tell … but no.
It was worse than initially suspected.. Baby B not only had hydrocephalus but also three large holes in the spine and a banana shaped brain and lemon shaped skull. In a way it was good that it was so extreme because my decision was made easier. No question, I would have to reduce the pregnancy from two to one. My worst nightmare that I would have never believed would happen. The doctor said that this baby would never walk or go to the bathroom on their own. I couldn’t help but wonder if Baby A would be okay too.
I had to have a fetal reduction at almost 17 weeks. They had to do it twice because it didn’t work the first time. I cried. And I cried. If it was time to say goodbye, why was I so sad? Then after a few weeks I was okay again. I started believing this pregnancy was okay, (I had become ambivalent) and talking to friends about me terminating one of my twins and normalizing everything. It helped.
At 30 weeks I was hospitalized with a placental abruption. Magnesium made me dreary, and it was awful. And the steroids hurt. And I missed a few huge jobs (I am a photographer) and that was…horrible. I knew it wasn’t my fault but it was still an awful feeling. It was all so devastating I can’t even begin to explain. My son visited me in the hospital and all I could think was .. what did I do? He’s traumatized.
Finally, at 39 weeks I had C-section. She was here! I was so overwhelmed and expecting what I had with my son. But it was all different. This was a new life and a new story. Once I held my baby it was all worth it. The pain of loss. The IVF. The confusion and emotions of terminating a very wanted pregnancy. Her name is Halleli which means praise. So grateful for her being here. My whole process was so hard and challenging, yet absolutely brilliant and miraculous at the end.