Tuesday, April 1, 2008

About Me


THE BEGINNING:

Hey, y'all. My name is Jennifer, and I live in South Carolina. I'm not a native born South Carolinian, but I consider SC my home. My family moved all over the first few years of my life (IN, MI, GA), but finally settled down here. I graduated from high school in 2000, and attended Clemson University, where I majored in Secondary Education & History. I’ve been teaching 8th graders since 2004 – and absolutely love my job.

My first husband Bryan and I met in the summer of 2006. We started dating later that fall, and were engaged in February of 2007. Our wedding was a wonderful day, filled with friends and family, on June 29, 2007. Shortly after, we purchased our first home. While we weren’t actively trying to start our family, we weren’t using any preventative measures. However, I was diagnosed with PCOS several years prior, and knew that it would take some time to get pregnant. My main problem is that I don’t ovulate regularly, and it would be hard to know when an opportune time to get pregnant is. In January of 2008, Bryan and I decided to try our first round of Clomid. I can not tell you how ecstatic we were on February 16 (my brother’s wedding day) when we found out we were pregnant. We had thought for sure we’d have a long journey ahead of us, and it would take months, if not years, for us to get pregnant.

One of the first things out of Bryan’s mouth was “I hope we have twins”. He must be a mind reader, because I’ve always wanted twins. We wanted two children, and thought having both at once would be such a fun blessing. Twins run in my family (I’m the third generation), so I knew we had a chance for twins. In fact, we were so sure we were having twins that I demanded an early ultrasound at 7 weeks. I know my OB thought I was nuts, but he gave into my plea. Sure enough, we saw (and heard) both little heartbeats!

At first the pregnancy was a breeze. Weeks 7 through 15 I had a lot of morning sickness, but nothing I couldn’t handle. I was able to continue teaching, tutoring and doing everything I’d done before. Of course I was usually tired by the end of the day, but it really wasn’t so bad. At 16 weeks we found we were expecting two little girls – we could not have been happier! I started planning the nursery around a pink and green shabby chic theme, registered, and started to get excited for my baby shower.

THE BIG SCARE:

At the end of the school year, I was noticing that it was getting harder to walk without an intense amount of pressure. I just chalked it up to being a smaller person pregnant with twins. I went in for a normal OB appointment and ultrasound. The girls looked great, but the doctor was concerned about the length of my cervix. A normal cervical length is between 3cm and 5cm. Mine was measuring under 2cm, and when pressure was applied, it would go under 1cm. I was set up with an appointment at a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist for the following day. At that appointment, I was sent directly to the hospital for contraction monitoring. I was given a shot of Brethine to stop the contractions I was having, and ordered home on strict bed rest. This was luckily the last day of school for me, so I knew I would be able to follow through with bed rest. I went home, ordered a ton of books from Barnes & Noble, and got prepared to stay with my feet propped up for a week or two. Boy, was I wrong!

The next week I went for a follow up appointment. This time, I was dilated, my cervix was opened, and the waters on Baby A were hanging in my birth canal. Basically, my body was in labor and I was only 21 weeks pregnant. I was sent immediately to the hospital. Bryan barely had time to get to the hospital before I was taken to have a rescue cerclage performed. My biggest fears about labor and delivery have always been getting an epidural. I had a spinal given to me before the rescue cerclage, and weighing the fear of losing my babies over the fear of pain was a no brainer – I would have walked over hot coals to keep them inside of me.

While I was not put under for the surgery, I remained groggy the rest of the night. Bryan said I tried to answer Jeopardy! questions while half asleep, making no sense at all. My dad came to visit at the hospital, and I don’t even recall him there. I woke up the next day feeling very tired from all the medications I was on. All of a sudden, I felt a gush of water. I immediately called my nurse because I feared my water had broken. The resident on call collected a sample, performed a test, and confirmed my worst fears – my water had broken at 21 weeks. I called Bryan and parents and had them come to the hospital.

The general consensus of the doctors was that my water had broken, I was in active labor, and that they would take out the cerclage and let me deliver that day. Bryan and I had a very emotional talk with the NICU doctor, one of the kindest men I’ve ever met. He told us the chances of survival (less than 2%) and that chances were they would have been too small for their instruments to even try to help. He told us about comfort care, and how we would be able to hold them until they passed, and would be given medications so they’d not feel pain. After he left, Bryan and I just held each other and named our baby girls – Audrey Claire and Natalie Marie.

When my doctors reappeared at 4:00pm to take out my cerclage and prepare me for delivery, something compelled me to ask the most important question of my life. I asked just how much amniotic fluid I had lost, and could we check it with an ultrasound. One of the doctors wheeled a machine into the room and checked the girls out. He was very surprised to find that Natalie’s sac remained perfectly fine, and Audrey’s had only leaked a small amount of fluid. At once the delivery was canceled and a different action plan was set in place. I would remain in the hospital on constant antibiotics (to prevent infection from the open amniotic sac) and contraction medication. I shudder to think of what would have happened if I’d not asked that question.

I ended up spending three weeks in the hospital. Everyday the doctors were amazed that I was not leaking fluid and that Audrey was even gaining fluid back in her sac. I had successfully stumped a team full of highly qualified specialist, who could only chalk this up to a miracle. On July 4th, I was sent home on strict bed rest.

Miraculously, I was able to keep the girls inside for almost 3 more months. Towards the end of September (at 36 weeks), I went in for an amniocentesis, to determine the lung development of the girls. We were given the all clear, and my c-section was scheduled for October 1st, 2008. We welcomed Audrey Claire & Natalie Marie into the world. The girls were very small, weighing in at under 4 pounds each. They spent a very long 13 days in the NICU. We were so happy to have healthy little girls to bring home.

A NOT SO HAPPY ENDING:

In December 2008, I filed for a divorce. My babies were not even 3 months old, and their family was falling apart. The stress of my high risk pregnancy, Bryan’s father being ill, and many other factors just led to our marriage crumbling. Throughout some of 2009, we tried to reconcile. Bryan lost his father in July 2009, and we all traveled to Michigan to bury him that August. I don’t know that I’ve ever been through a harder time. But ultimately, the trust, love and respect were complete gone from our marriage. Without getting into the nasty details (and trust me, they were plenty awful), we officially signed our divorce papers April 2010.

Over the past year, I’ve struggled to help Bryan maintain a healthy relationship with his children. I do have primary custody, and he has visitation every Wednesday evening, and every other weekend. He is supposed to have several weeks over Summer, and alternate Christmas/Spring breaks, but that hasn’t happened thus far.

BUT THE STORY ISN’T OVER:

Even though one chapter of my life closed, my story is still just beginning. In December 2010, I met my current husband, Eddie. We had both ventured into the world of online dating, and I reached out to him. By some odd, twisted chance of fate – we realized that we had met before…through my ex-husband. After a few days of conversation, and struggling with that fact, we decided to give dating a chance. Honestly, we both knew early on how serious dating each other was going to be - considering we both had children and gone through divorce once before.

Eddie proposed to me in May 2010, and we eloped on June 3rd. Our girls are the best of friends, and love being sisters. Blending our families has been a bit stressful at times, but overall we're one big happy family. We also welcomed our fourth, and last child, Corbin Reid, into our family in November 2011.


33 comments:

  1. Found you through Kelly's Korner! I also live in SC and have PCOS- just saying hello!

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  2. I live in SC as well! Great to read your blog :)

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  3. Came across your blog and found our twin stories to be somewhat similar. I, too, have twins after infertility (PCOS included) and we almost lost our babies at 21 weeks. I also had a rescue cerclage placed and was on bedrest for three long months, two of which were spent in the hospital. Toughest time of my life, thus far, but it was so worth it. I found it so amazing that you had the presence of mind to ask about your girls' water... oh my goodness, I can't imagine what went through your mind after learning they hadn't checked that before! God was watching over your family that day!

    Congrats on your newest little blessing! I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers for a safe, healthy and stress-free pregnancy!

    ~Cathy
    www.lifeasdescribed.com

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  4. You already need to update your About Me section!!!

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  5. Wait.... Where is the rest of the story!?

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  6. I know - I'll finish it when I get some time!!!

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am 21 weeks with twins and found out last week that my. Cervix is funneling. When open I am only about 1.6cm, which has the drs concerned. I am on bed rest at home and taking progesterone daily. Your story has certainly helped to give me hope. Best of luck to you and thanks again!

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  8. This is the first time I've read the details of your birth story -- Amazing! Love the new blog look:)

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  9. I knew I knew you from before.... I use to read your other blog regularly. I am teacher, daughter born 2/08 and I clearly recall some of yours posts about your marriage. I am so happy to find you again and... wow! your life sure has changed! what was the other blog called? Looking forward to following again....

    Suzanne

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  10. Hi! Just stumbled upon your blog from Top Mommy Blogs...you've got quite a story!

    I live in SC and used to teach English at Clemson! Our paths may have crossed as I taught Young Adult Literature and Children's Lit as well.

    Happy to have found you!
    Kelley
    www.peekawhoo.com

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  11. I found your blog on top mommy blogs. I'm a new mommie and experienced some of the same problems while pregnant. Beautiful family and wonderful birth story.

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  12. Hello! I have a 2 year old, my sisters have 4 kids and my other has 5. The ages for my sisters kids are: 19,6,4,3, and a newborn son. My other sister has a: 16, 12, 7, and 2 year old. They (and myself included) are wonderful mothers, and their kids and mine are the loves of all of our lives. I hate when we go someplace all together the looks we get, some of utter disgust because we have 9 to 10 kids with us. Or the famous "Another baby? You guys better stop after this one!" I want to say "Well, they were hoping that after the last baby they would figure out what kept causing all these kids, oopps looks like they haven't yet!" None of us get any type of assistance, our hubbys all work and help with the kids (my sisters hubby is truly the BEST DAD EVER!) Good for you for finding your happiness and thanks for blogging.

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  13. Hello!!

    I just found your blog and was amazed at our similarities. I teach 8th grade social studies, had an incompetent cervix which resulted in my daughter being born at 26 weeks and then, 2 years later, spent 11.5 weeks on bed rest before giving birth to my son at 37 weeks.

    I am praying that you had a safe and uneventful delivery with your son!! Congrats!

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  14. awe, your birth story is miraculous. so glad to hear your daughters made it! (and so lucky of you to have twins!) btw, i just wanted point out that you made a typo somewhere maybe where you said you met your current husband in dec 2010?

    anyways.. thank god you asked that question. phew!

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  15. I love a happy ending! :) Well....not ending, but you know! I came across your blog through Kelly's Korner. I'm a SC girl as well so I had to comment. Your kids are cuties!

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  16. Sweet little kids! I'm a mom of 15 month old twins and a 4 year old - all boys! I'm from SC as well. Love your blog!

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  17. Hi there! I found your blog under top mommy blogs, and really think your story is amazing! I have 3 kids ages 4 and under, and can't imagine twins being in the mix! Your twins surely are a blessing.

    Thanks for sharing your story!
    Cassie
    www.two-in-diapers.blogspot.com

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  18. Wow I can't believe they didn't check on the amniotic fluid before deciding on delivery; so glad you're little ones made it!
    Folloing now. follow back if you want to.:)

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  19. Found you from Kelly's korner love meeting a fellow sc person :) so fun! Love to get to know you !

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  20. Wow, great... and very interesting story :)

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  21. Hey there! Got ur link off of KK; loved ur blog post! I'm from Columbia but my bestie is in grad school at Clemson! All of your children are sooo adorable and ur story is very honest and inspiring. Love it!

    http://icecreamtobellyrings.blogspot.com

    ~ Stephy

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  22. New follower from Kelly's Korner. I'm from Upstate, SC as well and also have twin daughters (they turned 4 on May 1st!). Hope you'll take a minute and check out my blog - ashleyquarles.blogspot.com

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  23. Does Emma not live with you? I haven't seen very much mention of her lately.

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  24. No, she lives with her mother about 20 minutes away. We have her every other weekend and every other Thursday evening - plus a week at Easter, Christmas, 4 weeks during the summer, and several other holidays throughout the year. We've actually had just her & Corbin on our weekends this past month, because the twins' father is about to go to Germany for a job. Normally, we try to have all 3 girls at the same time.

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  25. Oh okay :). That makes sense.

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  26. Just read your story and found your blog. Amazing journey and you are one strong woman! Your family is adorable and I can't wait to read more. :)

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  27. funny, you are on my bump board and i just randomly came across your blog as i was pinning to my pinterest for dinners...the 6 degrees of the internet i guess!

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  28. Hey I found your blog through Top Mommy Blogs. I was drawn to it because of the 4 Under Four. I was supposed to have had 4 Under 4 as well... but lost one of my twin daughters in December. I also live in SC, with my 3 beautiful living children. I blog about TTTS (Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome), life after loss, and the joy of motherhood at http://www.noholdingback1212.com
    Hope you'll come visit me, and I"m glad to have stumbled on your blog!
    Alexa

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  29. Touching story. I'll be saving your blog to my faves for sure. Congrats on the newest addition AND for finding love after losing love.

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  30. Oh my goodness what an amazing story! And a beautiful family! Glad to find another multiples mom blog!
    Leigh
    www.oneandoneequalstwinfun.com

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  31. Wow! What an amazing story. I can't relate with the pregnancy but I can relate with blending families. It is not easy, but doable. It is totally worth it and to me, my stepkids are bonuses. You had a second chance at love, just like me! Look forward to reading more of the blog!

    Ida
    secondchancesgirl.blogspot.com

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  32. I did lose a baby boy at 20 weeks so I know that fear and wanting to do anything to give them a chance. I am visiting from Kelly's.Sweet family

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