Twins - Hanna and Riley

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Hi I'm Grecian! 👋 I’m 28 years old and have a beautiful family of 5. My hubby and I have been together since 2008 pretty much and have been married since 2013.

Our family consists of a 3 year old daughter, Adelyn and twin daughters Hanna and Riley who were born 14 weeks premature in February this year- 2018.

My girls are the reason I decided to share our journey and I believe us mums need to stick together and support one another, as to put it bluntly, being a mum is tough.

As a family we have been through so much in the past year but have come out the other side stronger then before. Its certainly put its toll on hubby and I but we make an awesome team and I couldn’t be as strong as I am now without him. 💕

So I believe infertility isn't openly talked about enough. Especially secondary Infertility. Just because you've had one kid does not necessarily mean it is easy to fall pregnant again with number 2. Falling pregnant with Adelyn actually took a long year of trying. Every month I'd pray my period wouldn't show its face and I would over think every little symptom. Were my boobs sore cause I may be pregnant or was it just normal hormonal sore boobs? Period two days late? Omg could it be?!

Test, nope... No line at all. Every month was the same until I decided to stop trying. I decided to focus on myself and I begun prepping for a fitness competition.

After 3 months of prep I fell pregnant. Christmas Day Adelyn was actually conceived 😂. Adelyns pregnancy was perfect 👌. I was able to train the whole time and keep fit and active. We had no issues, and she came out a healthy 3.5kgs at 40 weeks and 2 days via non elective C section. When Adelyn was 8 weeks old we started trying for baby number 2. We had always wanted the kids close in age and with how long it took to conceive Adelyn we thought we best start trying sooner rather than later. Months passed and nothing. Each month the disappointment got worse and worse. It was hard to enjoy Adelyn as the longing for another baby took over. We waited for 18 months before doing our first round of monitoring under a Fertility Clinic. They found my AMH levels, the levels to show how many eggs you have, was extremely low - like a 65 year old woman.

I pretty much had no chance at falling pregnant naturally as I had as many eggs as a post menopausal woman. My body had failed me is all I thought! I’m only 27 like come on!

So we decided to get help. We did one round of iui but unfortunately that wasn't successful. It was the most heartbreaking moment ever, seeing that negative pregnancy test once again even after getting help. After the countless blood tests, needles, jabs, prods and pokes I thought it would of worked. Why wasn't my body working how it should?

So we jumped ships to IVF in August last year - 2017. We wanted a chance to have more than one baby in the future so this was our best option. The month of IVF was tough.

The toughest thing I had done till to that date. So many more needles and hormones flowing through me it was emotionally draining but I went with the flow and just trusted the process. I remember the nurses being amazed with how calm I was during that month. They were so supportive which made all the difference 💕. They were able to collect 10 eggs on surgery day. 4 of them grew into successful day 5 embryos. We were pretty lucky, as some of the ladies I met through the clinic only had 1 embryo that made it to day 5.

Transfer day came and it felt amazing to be PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). I couldn’t stop talking to and rubbing my belly. I actually had a chance of being pregnant, a real chance! I was in two minds about doing a pee test before blood test day but I couldn’t wait and low and behold it was a positive!! Everything I had put my body through over the last few months felt so worth it! 💕 We were so lucky that we fell pregnant first round of IVF as many don't. We now have 3 more embryos in the freezer in case we want any more children.

As soon as that pregnancy test was positive we were stoked! It felt like we had waited so long for this! Bloods came back and confirmed it was most certainly a positive and my HCG levels were quite high. I had people joke oh maybe its cause its twins but I just brushed it off laughing. It couldn’t be because we only transferred one embryo, right?

I loved being pregnant again, rubbing my belly knowing I was growing a life in there, not knowing it was actual two ✌️ At 7 weeks we had our first dating scan done.

I remember it so clearly... Justin, Adelyn and myself were in the room nervously waiting to see that little flicker of a heartbeat... The sonographer was quiet a moment and said "well guys..." and at that moment I just knew she was going to say it was twins! We were in such shock! Never in a million years did we expect the perfect little embryo we had transferred two weeks prior, to split into two. We were speechless! I sat there crying my eyes out with so many emotions flooding in. It was such an overwhelming moment.

After the scan we sat in the car and cried with joy and nervousness. Was this really happening? Were we going to have two babies in less then 8 months? It was such a blessing after going through secondary infertility I just knew it was meant to be! We decided to go under the private obstetrician we went with for Adelyn and started our routinely visits from 12 weeks. I thought sweet, my body has done this before and its pretty strong so I'll be ok carrying two. How things changed. At our 16 week scan their was a difference in the babies sizes (weren't sure 100 percent on the sex then) so the Dr called KEMH and referred us there to be checked. In any pregnancy there is risks but a twin pregnancy it increases especially MO/DI Twins. So off to KEMH we went, nervous wrecks, we met with the Gold team and the most amazing Obstetrician. She sat us down and was blunt with us.

We needed fortnightly monitoring and I was told to stop doing anything which could take blood away from my placenta, this included training. I left that day devastated.

Training was my life after all Im a Personal Trainer! It was my outlet in all of this, the one thing I could do to take my mind off things. Each scan we would sit nervously in the waiting rooms, praying both girls would still have heartbeats and were still growing. Scan by scan the difference in size got bigger and bigger, up to 55% growth discordance at one stage. Twin 2, Riley, wasn’t growing and her cord flow was absent. She wasn’t able to get enough nutrients through her cord to grow big and strong like Hanna. At 22 weeks we went to weekly scans then twice weekly to keep an eye on Riley. I was pretty much on light duties at work at this stage and had to give up my PT clients so I could rest. We had a talk with one of the top paediatricians in the state about the likely hood of survival for our girls. It was the hardest thing ever to hear you may loose one or both of your babies any time along the pregnancy especially if they were born around 400g or before 26 weeks. They were aiming to get us to 28 weeks if they could but Riley had other ideas. Her cord flow at 25 weeks went to reverse absent diastolic flow, she was sending all her blood to her brain and heart to keep herself alive. Her movements got less and it was time to decide what we were going to do. Hubby and I always said we wanted to give both girls a chance at survival and this is what we did. The Friday and Saturday before the girls were born I got the steroid injections to help their lungs in case the following week was the week to deliver. The scan on that Tuesday I'll never forget, Riley was very quiet that day and the Dr monitored her for a good while then said "today's the day".

The 13th February was the scariest day of my life. I was about to meet my girls who weren’t meant to be here for another 14 weeks. At 25 weeks and 6 days I delivered the twins via c section.

Adelyn's C section was a breeze in comparison. Firstly I was left on permanent monitoring and set up on a drip of magnesium to try and protect their brains. This stuff was horrible!

You could literally taste it and it made me so hot!  I was wheeled upstairs and the aesthetician popped in the epidural, with a mixture of epidural and a spinal block. I remember it taking what felt like ages to be numb, laying on the surgery table with about 20 people in the room. With Adelyn I felt nothing, absolutely nothing during the procedure. With the twins there was so much pulling and movements my body couldn't take it and I started to panic. There I was laying vulnerable on the table having a panic attack. I didn't even want to see the babies after they were born. The best moment though was hearing both girls faintly cry / squeak. They were here and alive for now! Because I was in such a state of panic I didn't want hubby to leave my side, as the girls were whisked off to NICU, I was sewn up. This took forever ... I needed to move. Even more anxiety kicked in. I only started to feel OK once I was in recovery with my midwife. What an ordeal my body had just been through and now it was time to start pumping every 3 hours. Riley has always been cheeky from the start.

She actually got a better APGAR score then Hanna born! She decided she didn't like being intubated and pulled her tube out on the way to NICU! They decided to give her a go on CPAP instead, but after a little while her tiny lungs got tired and needed more support. I didn’t see the girls till later that day. I was so scared to see how little they were going to be.

I was wheeled to Hanna first and thought wow she is small (930g) but ok I can deal with this but when I saw Riley (515g) I lost it crying. She was the most delicate thing I had ever seen.

I felt overwhelming guilt that my body didn't do what it was meant to and protect and provide for her.

Their NICU journey was long and they both went through many days of sickness, countless heel pricks, blood transfusions, ventilation systems, highs and lows but they are such amazing little fighters. During the almost 5 months we were in hospital I suffered from PTSD, PND and Anxiety about the girls birth and life so far. To this day I am still suffering but no where near as bad. I find comfort in sharing my journey with other mummas so I know I am never alone in this. I wished I spoke up about my anxiety sooner in our journey as I waited till I crashed 100 kms an hour into a wall. This is the one thing I would go back and change and encourage other mums to do - if you feel like your not coping, please speak up. I have learnt you are not weak for asking for help you are actually braver for doing that. Our life is so different now that the girls are here and both home together, with the last year being the most craziest ride through motherhood ever! The thought had never crossed my mind that I would have a premature baby, let alone two micropremmies! They have taught me so much strength, patience and love then I ever knew about before. The future is still full of unknowns as we watch the girls grow - the NICU journey doesn't end when you get it home it just changes path. Juggling a 3 year old 'threenager' and 9 month old (actual) or 5 and a half month old (corrected) twins is tough some days and a glass or two of wine is most certainly needed, I wouldn’t change anything.

I believe we were thrown this challenge because we were strong enough to get through it and look at us now - thriving being a family of 5!


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