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Nov 19, 2007

I'm losing count, already, I think part 3 or 5

Back in May, I wrote a post about our alternative lifestyle. It prompted a question which I started to answer here, here, here, and most recently here.

Leo was a wonderful addition to our family. His birth brought our parents more solidly involved with our lives in a way that they hadn't been. A grandchild forced their hand, so to speak. Before it was easy for them to not have to deal with us as a couple, pretend what ever they wanted to. Initially, Käri's mom did tell her friends that she had adopted Leo- I'm not sure how she explained my presence. (Once, when one of her friends was coming over to meet him, he was hungry, but she insisted he couldn't be. How was she going to explain to her friend why I was nursing him??? I whisked him off to a very long diaper change after her friend arrived, topping him off enough to make it through the visit)Her story changed quickly, as she accepted all of us as a family. Both sets of grandparents treated him as their grandchild and for that we were thankful. We had told them both that he was our child.

We decided to start trying for another baby when Leo was a year old. Not looking forward to the roller coaster (or the barfing) we started the adventure all over again in the Spring of '97. This next part of the story could be very detailed and long...Suffice to say- #2 pregnancy ended in a blighted ovum, #3 ended in an early first trimester miscarriage, and #4 ended in an early second trimester miscarriage. These were hard, very. Each one more difficult than the last. The miscarriages took place over approximately two and a half years. Käri was of the mindset that one was fine, but I continued to want more. The frustration and doubts about being able to carry a baby to term was huge and while a large part of me felt like my body was killing babies, I wasn't ready to give up, yet.

A week into our fourth pregnancy we took a very alternative route and went to see the Woo-woo girl, as we affectionately called her. J had an advanced degree in Chinese medicine, and acupuncture. She also read chakras. That's the woo-woo part. At the time of the appointment I was barely moving. I had hurt my back and was in a lot of pain. We had inseminated the week before so I wasn't taking meds- not fun. We both went in to see J. She interviewed us about our medical history, treated me for my back, read our chakras, and told us I was pregnant. woo-woo...We reminded her that we didn't know yet I wasn't even due for my period for another seven days. She 'saw' that I was pregnant, but thought the baby wouldn't make it. She gave us some suggestions of things to do to try and maintain the pregnancy. She also told us that she could see two children just walking and Leo being around kindergarten age. She thought they might be both girls and she wasn't sure if they were twins or just very close in age.

We tried her suggestions for maintaining the pregnancy to no avail. That late miscarriage was sent for an autopsy, where it was discovered that the little baby girl had Turners Syndrome. While we grieved the loss, I felt like my body had rejected the baby for purely biological reasons...98% of all conceived Turners Syndrome girls spontaneously abort. Somehow, I felt like my body had done the right, but sad thing, according to the rules of the animal kingdom... It gave us some hope to continue on.

Our woo-woo girl had "prescribed" a combination of Chinese fertility herbs for Käri to try since Western medicine had not worked for her. Soon after the miscarriage she started...uh, taking them. Her shit balls, as she affectionately called them, were the size of a decent meat ball and looked like the inside of a fig newton. She would break them into smaller, pea size, pieces and swallow them down every day. According to J. many women just ate them and actually referred to them as her fertility cookies, she offered to roll them in cinnamon...Käri declined. In any case, two weeks later Käri had all the signs of ovulation, that were never very prominent before. We were amazed.

With our record over the last several years, my miscarriages and Käri's inability to conceive, we decided to both try at the same time. Oh, what fun. I know there is this theory that when you live with another woman or other women, you tend to follow the same cycle. For us, this was not true. Twice a month we were at it again, picking a donor, ordering sperm, calculating how long we could keep it until we needed it...and by this time we had switched to a sperm bank that was out of state so we had to consider shipping time. Once, when we knew we were going to be out when our "medical sample" arrived we had to ask our neighbor to sign for the package. Thankfully, we knew her well and told her it wasn't a kidney, but to please take good care of the box- our future was in her hands!

A few months passed with no success, until we hit the jackpot! Not only did we get pregnant the same month, but we actually ovulated and conceived on the same day. For the first time- and I swear still, the only time, we were on the same cycle. Again, because of our recent history we weren't sure either of the babies would stick around, but they did. Käri's pregnancy was very low key- never sick, mild discomfort and normal. Mine was hellacious. The morning sickness was so bad that I had to check myself into the local clinic several times a week for an i.v. bag of fluid to get re-hydrated. I threw up constantly. I was barely able to function and at it's worst Käri had to call my mom to fly up to help us out for a week. It was awful...the possibility of terminating the pregnancy came up once, when I just thought I couldn't take it anymore. Thankfully, that was at our lowest point, before I started getting re-hydrated through a needle.

Grace arrived on her due date just like Leo, and Gus arrived four days and six hours later. By the calendar they are five days apart. They shared a crib for the first many months and really are much like twins.

The first of our three sets of two...

Stay tuned for more!

edited to add: Leo started kindergarten and a few weeks later Grace and Gus started walking... woo-woo...


nailgirl said...

Awesome, love the stories of your life. Thanx for stopping by my blog, and you my friend are quite welcome.

Mijk said...

I am in awe if my husband had been pregnat during my pregnancy I think it would have ended in homicide

~*~Hallie~*~ said...

I'm so glad you added this part, I was curious to how Grace and Gus were so close in age, and really, its like y'all have 3 sets of twins, right? And I was surprised that Grace and Leo didn't have the same bio sperm, because in the pictures I think they look so much alike, but then again, duh, that could be because they have the same bio mom.:) I love reading about your family!

Jessica @ A Bushel and a Peck said...

I love this story, every part is so interesting. Keep 'em coming. And I know I promised you an irish bread recipe--I will email it ASAP, but we are traveling right now.

cole said...

That is wild. You BOTH had babies? How incredible!!!

So amazing. Beautiful. Love is amazing to me. You are so lucky Trisha that you have so much of it!

Gypsydoodlebug said...

What an amazing story! How you guys do it with 8 is beyond me -- I don't like sharing the TV with just one!

Love your blog...keep it up.

WhyMommy said...

I love this story and am so happy for you all ....

Tricia said...

I continue to work on this story, but each time I am thwarted by all the details. Plus, generally writing for me just flows, these stories are a put it down and come back to it gig- takes me longer...