Gosh. Where do I begin? Katie talks vulnerably about her long fertility journey and how she got to be a mom to two sets of twins. After many years of the “we will just see what happens” method, she stumbled upon the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility which empowered her to visit a fertility specialist and to listen to her body. She walks us through getting pregnant on clomed and then an early miscarriage. She details exactly what it is like to show up in a fertility clinic and the steps they take and how they take them to help women get pregnant. She tried the meds, IUI. She had a lazy left ovary and endometrial biopsies revealed a hormonal and PH imbalance in the uterus. She only has 2 viable embryos and implants them both. After a successful pregnancy, she ends up in the hospital on bed rest for 6 weeks with preeclampsia. Her journey includes trauma and anxiety both antepartum and postpartum. At delivery, her uterus inverts and she hemorrhages requiring several blood transfusions. She opens up about how Zoloft really helped her. Then, 2.5 years after this whole ordeal, she finds herself pregnant naturally and the egg split delivering her the miracle of identical twins. Listen in to hear more.
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katie gillespie interview
[00:00:00] What does a contraction feel like how do I know if I'm in labor? And what does a day of Labor look like? Wait, is this normal? Hey, I'm Heidi Campbell a certified birth Doula host of this podcast birth story and owner of my Doula Heidi. I've supported hundreds of women through their labor and deliveries and I.
[00:00:29] Give that every one of them and you deserves a microphone and a stage. So here we are listen each week to get answers to these tough questions and more birth story where we talk about pregnancy labor deliveries where we tell our stories share our feelings and of course chat about our favorite baby products and motherhood and because I'm passionate about birth outcomes.
[00:00:55] You will hear from some of the top experts in labor and delivery whether you. [00:01:00] Pregnant trying desperately to get pregnant. I hope you will stick around and be part of this tribe. Hey, it's Heidi with the birth story podcast. And this week is episode 14. This story was specifically recorded for my friends Ashley Me Andy Louise and everyone out there who is on a fertility Journey or who has ever been on a fertility Journey Katie so vulnerably shares this amazing story and it has.
[00:01:35] Million twists turns surprises all the way until the very end. This story just keeps you hanging on because you won't ever believe what comes next. I hope that this story gives hope and encouragement and light and love and makes you feel like you are not alone and that it is [00:02:00] possible to become a mom or to become a mom again.
[00:02:06] First just tell us a little bit about who you are. I'm Katie Gillespie. I'm live in Charlotte born and raised in North Carolina. Mom of four two sets of twins and married to Will and work full time. So your husband's name is well. Well, oh well, okay that Matt that kind of a slang. Oh my God. I love it.
[00:02:30] So, where did you grow up? I grew up near Raleigh. Yeah. Wilson North Carolina. Oh, my first college roommate was from well fed. So crazy. Everybody always knows someone from Wilson. Well, you just said that you had four kids and two sets of twins. And so that's one of the reasons that you're here.
[00:02:48] Yeah, because I think we have a lot to learn from you and I don't know your story at all. So I'm so excited. Just dig in. Let's start at the beginning. How long have you been married? So we got married in [00:03:00] June 2008, so I guess that's coming up on. There's and when in your marriage did you decide that you wanted to start your family?
[00:03:09] We were in our late twenties close to 30, maybe 2029. We were we had just turned 26 when we got married. Okay. Wanted to kind of enjoy being married without responsibilities aside from work. And then we actually went to Disney World with my family and my nieces and they are we were like, you know, I think we're ready to take the next.
[00:03:33] Up, so we just you know started trying all the normal ways that people do and was it happening. It wasn't happening and then stop there. So like when you say it wasn't happening so every month you did you take a pregnancy test every month or did you just get your period? Yeah, it just had all the normal things so it's period and but it wasn't really tracking anything like we were interested [00:04:00] in having a baby, but I wasn't like waiting.
[00:04:03] Up every day with a goal to get pregnant. So it's just kind of like will throw caution to the wind. We're not going to use birth control. We'll see what happens, but you may not have even been having sex at the right time during ovulation. Okay, how long did that go on for probably maybe a couple years and then I, you know, I'm probably going to forget the order of events a little bit, but I talked to him.
[00:04:29] I can't remember if I had a miscarriage first and then I talked. My doctor about what to do or if I was talking to her about needing some help and she started me on Clomid and then if after that as when I got pregnant and had a miscarriage, but it was mama before he said the twins you don't need to know the details of the girl crazy.
[00:04:51] How going through it. It felt like that was just always on my mind and I never imagined I'd get to a [00:05:00] point in time where those details would become fuzzy. But it really happened here. You are here I am. So the first thing you said that just kind of jumped out at me as you were like a couple of years.
[00:05:09] So probably some Denial on my part like, oh, I'm just I was like, were you relaxed about this or were you panicking? I mean what is so at some point your sounds like a long time it does. Yeah, it's funny to reflect on it. But I think so at some point. I started to think, you know, there's probably something wrong or why isn't this happening?
[00:05:29] So I read the book taking charge of your fertility. CounterPoint in those two years and that was such an eye-opening book for me. And as I was reading it I was like, why didn't I read this when I was in high school when I was in college like so many different times. It would have helped me understand what hormones do what and why I act cranky certain times of the month and everything about cervical mucus May everything you can imagine.
[00:05:55] It's in the air. I really felt like I could almost be an OBGYN my [00:06:00] favorite. Okay. I'm so excited. This is a. Shout out to this book and we're going to link to it. Okay at the end. So you started who gave you remember how you got the book? I think I read about it online a friend had used it. And so I ordered it because I was like, you know, I'm just gonna try to figure this out myself.
[00:06:16] Yeah, and so through that I started realizing, you know, I'm having some mid-cycle spotting. Maybe my luteal phase is short then shorter than it should be. Maybe there's something going on there. My doctor had tested my hormones just standard blood work. Everything was normal and then I wondered well, maybe I have polycystic ovarian syndrome.
[00:06:37] I thought maybe you had some of the symptoms but all my labs came back totally fine for that to let me pause right there because whenever I talk to moms that are dealing with fertility. All I hear is this could be wrong with me. This could be wrong with me. This could be wrong with me like at any point where you like something could be wrong with him.
[00:06:57] Not really. Because I was [00:07:00] the one who was having some mid-cycle spotting. Okay, so that way you just kind of thought like this is definitely and I think that's probably just my typical personality as I tell women whom I've done something wrong first. I think that's just my natural. Yeah. I don't know where you're going to end up in this story like who or both?
[00:07:20] You know, I just want to kind of say like if you are on a fertility Journey like both people need to get tested right away look like it. You know one person's fault or one person but two people trying to make you know, a baby. So I want to make sure that we're saying out loud, you know, we need to have courageous conversations with our partners about the issue could be coming from either side.
[00:07:46] Absolutely. Oh, you noticed some things though that were going on with your own body that were question marks for you. That's right. At some point remember the details are fuzzy. I talked to my doctor tried Clomid for [00:08:00] three months. What was that like every day? I wonder if I have twins from this like that was my thought was like, well, I think I better increased risk for twins.
[00:08:08] Maybe this will work and then it didn't maybe it was after that. I did get pregnant. We had my husband and I were at the beach and we had a good time and then I. Wasn't getting period and took a test and it was positive and I was like that's actually worked my body figured it out. And but then I don't know a day or two later.
[00:08:35] I started spotting and then we went on vacation to the beach again and spotting continue continue. And I then I realized this wasn't gonna last and did you take another pregnancy test not while I was there? Okay. Like I mean, I was Googling everything possible and because I just want to say that just if anyone's listening [00:09:00] just because you are pregnant in your spotting does not mean your miscarrying it can drain that your miscarrying but if anyone's pregnant and they're spotting right now, I just want everyone to get scared that it's definitely a miscarriage.
[00:09:11] It can be a it can be many many things including implantation bleeding. It can be a little bit of blood that pulls like behind the plug. There's a million things but. Working it would be one of those things. Yeah, but as the week went on it became clear. Did it get any more or you bleeding more and more?
[00:09:32] Okay. The bleeding is increasing then like after five days. It just became clear that the okay. This was something more so we got back home called my doctor went in no sign of being pregnant from their exam, but I knew I had been in some capacity because a test said so but you know, so after that my doctor [00:10:00] referred me to a fertility specialist, okay, and I think I was probably like that was in October issue and I think it was.
[00:10:08] Like that January check my husband. Everything was fine with him. Some of my lab work showed that maybe I wasn't producing enough eggs, right? There was some number you're you're the expert you might know all these data better than me. Let me just pause right here because I actually want to take this a little bit slower.
[00:10:31] Yeah. There are going to be a lot of people that are listening right now that are where you were like in those couple of years. Straight where they're like hmm. I'm not getting pregnant. Maybe I should go to my doctor. Maybe I should go to a fertility specialist. Maybe they've tried Clomid or something.
[00:10:48] I want you to try to like even if you close your eyes and go back in time when you walked into the fertility clinic for the first time like. Can you remember [00:11:00] like like what they talk to you about like exactly the kind of what they did so that if someone's on this journey, what could you teach them or what would you expect at a fertility clinic?
[00:11:11] Not just your OBGYNs office. So there was a lot of paperwork that I filled out going into it with a lot of details about history genetics. That was probably part of it. Just you know, Suns about health history reproductive health history had you ever gotten pregnant before, you know, had you had pap smears, you know, just all kinds of things and but really I think what it didn't didn't really resonate with me is that these Specialists their job is to get me pregnant and I still was of the mindset that it's probably not going to happen or they were just going to it's going to be a really long process.
[00:11:58] If it ever happens [00:12:00] and so I in hindsight, I'm like, you know their jobs get me pregnant. They're gonna move me through and do this as quick as possible based on how my body is responding and I probably would have had more optimism going in if I had thought about it that way but. They did a lot of lab work did ultrasounds, you know tested my husband's motility and sperm counts and all that stuff yet.
[00:12:28] That's a lot of that. A lot of people don't know is it's like they think like sperm count but it's also like the shape of the sperm. It's also like the motility like there's so many like who knew there were all these measures of sperm, you know, but there are talked about like what medications I tried before what my.
[00:12:47] What might we do first, you know kind of this is what will try first if that doesn't work, then we'll do this. If that doesn't work, then we'll do that. What types of options did they give you there was I think the drug was called [00:13:00] famara. It was not Clomid but something different that might be the wrong drug name.
[00:13:05] But it wasn't it was something different from Clomid that my doctor said I had been successful for people and then if that doesn't work, we try IUI and if that doesn't work, then we look at ibf. Okay, and so it's like okay, I feel good about this my It ultimately ended up seeming like my left ovary was lazy and it just didn't work as well as my right one.
[00:13:27] And so maybe that was part of the problem that there just weren't as many chances for egg and sperm to meet up but. Know for sure. So we started it took the medication and was just getting started on it and then my husband and I went to a weekend getaway trip and Dallas and my sister-in-law was for her wedding shower.
[00:13:51] My husband was going to be a weekend warrior play basketball with his friends and I met the shower and get a phone call [00:14:00] that my husband has gotten a severe injury. He's being taken away on an. Lunch to a hospital in Dallas turned out he had torn his patellar tendon and was immobilized and was going to need surgery.
[00:14:14] And so that was kind of like well that's going to make it interesting to try to get pregnant so I can think of one way that this could be easily done but it was also like this is weird. Here so we decided to fast forward through the process and go straight to IUI. Okay, that's because my husband was squeamish about his knee and I wasn't trying to hurt anything.
[00:14:47] I mean, this is weird. Oh my God, I feel like it would be like, I just want to say giddyup but that's so inappropriate. But oh, well, I just needed to say that out loud for sure. So I you I was decided to [00:15:00] go and and really it's kind of a blessing that we sped through that. That's big. Hey, I'm not have to push pause though because you're laughing with me.
[00:15:08] And so I feel like I could ask you this question because I feel like you may have asked your husband this question. But like I'm very curious about the defense ample deposit. So do they for IU I like cannot be it done at home or do you have to do it in the clinic? Like can you deposit it and then bring it in?
[00:15:26] I'm pretty sure that was happening in the clinic. Yeah. That's what I remember husband immobilize London. Into the guy, but so he only deposited one time. Well, he had to give had to do it multiple times because we didn't multiple rounds of IUI. This isn't that where it's like, I know it's crazy that all these details are fuzzy, but you have more kids.
[00:15:47] Okay. Yeah, so I give you permission for them to all be fuzzy and we are going to learn so much from you even in the fuzziness as well. Okay, so he gives his deposit then [00:16:00] what do they do with with your body? So I was being monitored. For how my ovaries were doing. I was giving myself shots to like trick like trigger shots to stimulate the egg to come out and then we would time but IUI with that process.
[00:16:22] Okay. So today one in four like monitoring just the kind of really track to see where the in the monitoring is done by what bloodwork no ultrasound. Okay anything. I think that was them. Okay, and that was it they can kind of like by your blood levels and ultrasound like see the follicle and like it's go time.
[00:16:42] Okay, right. So often ended up Saturday or Sunday mornings, I would go in and the time would be right and you know jokes about turkey basters and things but essentially, you know it is that essentially what it is essentially what you are you doing you put your legs in like stirrups [00:17:00] are like what planet able the hey.
[00:17:02] But the semen in you and then you just that her shell now so been hurt at all. I didn't know so it did. Okay. I should probably know things like this but I've never asked this deep of question. Do they put the semen just inside your vagina or does it go put it up higher? So they go through this and help it do some work.
[00:17:22] Yeah, they take some of the legwork. Okay, so they do get it up higher higher. I went to a dinner and a uterus or not or if they say it still needs to go through the cervix. It's. I don't know. I don't know that part so they put it up higher Let's Just Go With It gotta where they be. Most success probably look like a turkey baster.
[00:17:40] Like do you get to see it or know? It's just somethings happening. And I mean they showed it to me, but I was also still in this phase of being pretty modest and uncomfortable with so many people all up in my business. Yeah. So at any point though where you like, are you sure this is my husband's sperm.
[00:17:59] Well, [00:18:00] you did pick up the wrong container. But I'm a trusting person. Okay, I give trust easily if it did will never know because I you I never worked for me. Okay, and what we started to learn through that process is that I was having this mid-cycle spotting and my doctor made a comment to me. She was like, you know, I wonder if the egg and the sperm are meeting up.
[00:18:26] But they just don't have the right environment for implantation. So let's do an enemy Trio biopsy. Okay, and we're having maybe many miscarriages exactly interests and just did no no, so they end up, you know, you want to talk about pain endometrial biopsy is something that I was not prepared for how much that would hurt and the pain didn't last long.
[00:18:52] But I mean you just imagine a knife just kind of digging into. You for a moment. It's done vaginally and then they go through [00:19:00] the cervix. Yes, okay, and they take tissue from your endometrial lining. So anytime we dilate the cervix it hurt. I think about your cervix opening to have a baby or your cervix opening.
[00:19:14] I don't know if you've ever had my IUD or anybody as well anyone who's the things that an IUD that can also be uncomfortable. Think about like just a long pap smear. And then maybe just that extra little knife. Yeah and therefore this and then you'll be grabbing tissue. Yeah, so that was the kind of thing.
[00:19:35] I kind of wanted to fall off the table over so and they don't give you any pain medication that take ibuprofen or something. Okay. That was like, oh, okay. You need to take Ibuprofen you might take more than you would normally so that was shipped off to a research facility and then we waited for the results.
[00:19:55] And at that point in time figured probably going to have [00:20:00] to do I uh IVF because I you I had not worked. So sort of wrap my brain around that and then the results came back that my endometrial lining was not the right environment. The hormones were off and this is like the I knew it. I knew I had a hormone imbalance somewhere perfect.
[00:20:19] So you had an aunt. Yeah, so I got an answer and so we went. You with that information. We went through the IVF process it like a protocol to test it out and see how would it work. The traditional protocol did not give me the right hormone balance. So. This means I did have more endometrial biopsy these soon test that so I can I didn't ask for Valium.
[00:20:50] I didn't even occur to me. This is I should think more about these medication. I don't even know if that they would do that. I was like I just threw that out there but I was like, you know, it's this [00:21:00] time I knew what to expect so that doesn't work. So what what my doctor did was put me in basically in menopause.
[00:21:10] I'd take medication. Just kind of get me down too. Nothing, so to speak with Wounded were you having hot flashes? Yeah, I mean I went through like I'm sweating all over all the stages like bad mood everything. I'm sure I you should ask my husband. I'm sure they were so bad moods and then we use a different IVF protocol.
[00:21:30] So to kind of get my hormones to hopefully create the perfect environment for implantation. Okay. So we did another endometrial biopsy and it showed it was perfect. Oh my gosh. We have the answer. So during all of this. I was also doing egg retrievals because we knew that be cut because we had to create the right environment for implantation.
[00:21:55] We were going to have to do a frozen transfer. Okay, because you'd have to move [00:22:00] quickly. Yeah, so we did egg retrieval. So am because my ovaries were showing not as great of a response to all the stimulation drugs, too. Encourage my ovaries to create lots of follicles we decided we would do to egg retrievals so that I would ultimately have the kind of like I had to do to retrievals just to get the same amount of eggs that a normal person would from one retrieval process throughout all of that weight ended up having so I end up having two embryos to transfer when the time came and I don't know if they are from two different egg retrieval stages.
[00:22:42] And who knows when one was August and one was December for retrievals and then they were frozen and then in April we did the transfer. Okay, and that was very easy process to go in. I mean after all the [00:23:00] biopsies and other things by this point, I'm kind of like used to people being all up in my business.
[00:23:06] So with IVF though, then they actually put the inside. A dress that's right. And so we transferred to because I only had two and I can't even imagine how delicate the instrument must be. Oh, I know it was that it was so awesome. Like me had a picture of the two embryos and got to watch on a screen as they were transferring them into me and and then for that they did give me valium or something to help me relax, okay.
[00:23:42] Hung out there for a little while at where the procedure was done and then was sent home and told to be on bed rest for like forty eight ish hours. I think I and I think there's mixed wrote mixed research about if that really makes a difference or not. [00:24:00] My doctor's philosophy was if it will help you relax and if it works or doesn't work, if it doesn't work, then you'll at least have peace of mind that you didn't.
[00:24:11] Something wrong. Yeah, I like exercising or something. You know, you won't blame yourself that makes sense to me that feels right? Yeah, and you know, I had tried like acupuncture and all these things throughout the process. I told you it was all fuzzy It's All Coming Back to Me Now and I was down with just having a reason to sit on the bed for General a Phil.
[00:24:34] Yeah. Well a lot of Dawson's Creek rerun you needed like a mental break. Yeah, so. That I think that was on a Thursday and then Saturday night I was able to get up and do things. So we went to the Bruce Springsteen concert and that's really getting on your feet. Well our Anna in the like box. So it was okay.
[00:24:52] It was a relaxed way to go to a concert but it was fun. And first of all you and your husband sound like [00:25:00] very fun people because we've heard about a lot of vacations already with his it was his leg healed by now. It was okay. Yeah. So this was like a year and a. Later, okay. Yeah, so he had they'll basically learn how to walk again.
[00:25:14] He learned how to walk just in time for his sister's wedding and he you know, it was all fine. Okay. Yeah, he ended up running marathon races five k's and things and winning in his age group. And so he's he was a track athlete back in the day. Okay. Wow. Yeah, then I had then starts like that kind of inFAMOUS two week wait, and I was determined not to take a pregnancy test on.
[00:25:40] Own because I didn't want any false positives and if it was negative, I didn't want to know yet so fast forward like it was 12 to 14 days after the transfer and did they tell you to take it at home kit know they tell you not to but so many people tend to everybody's been [00:26:00] surprised that I didn't.
[00:26:01] Yeah, but I just had been through so much and quite frankly at this point by the time you've gone through all of this for me. I just was kind of hopeless. I was not optimistic. And so I go ahead to do blood work in the morning and then wait for them to call me and let me know if it worked or not.
[00:26:25] Now. We're going to take a short break to just share a few things with you and we'll be right back with our guest. I'm so excited to tell you about my first book that I wrote that is launching. This summer is a 42 week guide to your pregnancy. It's a collection of birth stories. It has a ton of dual advice from all of the questions that my clients have asked me over the last 14 years.
[00:26:51] It has hysterical partner tips that you will want to read to your partner and it has journaling prompts because nobody has time to write a [00:27:00] 20. Just in their Journal about their pregnancy. So I've taken the Liberty to give you some prompts of things that I think you might want to remember back on after the baby's born.
[00:27:12] So again, you can go to burst or e.com and pre-order a copy today and it would mean the world to me. Hey guys, if you're enjoying this podcast, then I need your help to spread the word if you know anyone who is pregnant is trying to become pregnant or just loves a good verse story. If you could send them to iTunes or Stitcher or Spotify or SoundCloud wherever they listen to their podcast and ask them to subscribe to the birth story podcast.
[00:27:44] I was at work and it was right around lunchtime. Got a phone call from my doctor's office and the. Nurse what she told me that I was pregnant and I was just in [00:28:00] tears and she heard her say like this is good news, right and I was like, of course it is, but I'm just balling out of control and my HCG levels were very.
[00:28:14] Great solid numbers like there was no question. I wasn't, you know a little pregnant. I mean it was definite was super strong this point because you implanted to being pregnant does it you still don't know if you're pregnant with one or your breakout. Do you just know you're pregnant something something hook and then I went back over the course of a couple weeks or three weeks or so for more blood work to just see if my HCG levels or continuing to.
[00:28:42] Increase as they would if you were pregnant help and everything was doing what it's supposed to do and it was and my numbers continue to be on the higher end. And so then I you know, I started Googling like HCG levels blah blah X number, you know X [00:29:00] day of pregnancy and and I started to wonder well, maybe they're twins.
[00:29:04] Maybe they both. But I really didn't know yet because I hadn't had an ultrasound. And so then finally we get to the point where it's time for an ultrasound of guess. I was probably 7 8 weeks pregnant at that point and go in for the ultrasound and my doctors like and here's your baby and I was like that's amazing and then I'm thinking I guess it's just one and.
[00:29:31] And then she goes and here's your other baby. And I was like, what am I gonna do? I was super excited as your husband with you. Yes. Okay. Awesome. He was hurt me. So you guys are just like flipping out. Yeah, I mean we and as it's been now what a four-year Journey probably yeah, I mean that it makes me want to hold 31 at that point.
[00:29:55] So it's been a while and we had been very [00:30:00] open with our family about what we were going through and that was important to me I needed that support. And so we just immediately called them and told them it was twins. Yeah, and so there was none of that like big reveal to any of our friends or our family and some of our friends knew what we were going through.
[00:30:19] Did you have the embryos tested before implantation? No, okay, so you didn't know their gender and know anything about them. Had a couple more ultrasounds I think at The Specialist and then was released to my OB/GYN the rest the rest and I did because I had done IVF and it was twins. I was considered high risk.
[00:30:43] So I went regularly to Maternal-Fetal of specialist for in-depth ultrasounds just to make sure everything's good. I'd like the nuchal fold. Screening and basically all [00:31:00] my ultrasounds were done at that specialist. My OB would test. You know, she would listen for heart rates and make sure everything's good with me.
[00:31:08] Yeah, and then they. Did all the monitoring of the babies. So how did the pregnancy go? I was super anxious during that pregnancy and I really in hindsight. I'm like not probably should have been on something for anxiety if that would have been okay, I never talk to my doctor about it because I didn't realize how anxious I was until.
[00:31:33] After I delivered and had postpartum anxiety and then are really reflected on this was going on the entire pregnancy and for so many women, especially with first-time babies. This is very normal. Yeah, and when you have it when you're pregnant, it typically does not go away and delivery so I can describe it described post described that anxiety [00:32:00] every day.
[00:32:01] I thought something was going to. Wrong with the pregnancy and I was constantly looking for symptoms that something was going wrong. So every time I go to the bathroom looking for spotting and anything, I just would be like, okay. This is like a hyper Obsession of like negative thought that you just cannot get rid of that's right.
[00:32:22] No matter what so you had all this anxiety. Hey did and I'm did you talk to your doctor about it? No, okay. I didn't we're so silent to and I just I mean, I've heard a baby. I'm so used to this anxiety and honestly going through all the fertility stuff gave me this false sense of control. It was like, well we were able to control the environment and create a baby and and.
[00:32:52] And then I wasn't in control anymore, but I wanted to be in control. I really know that's at the heart of my [00:33:00] anxiety. So but Alma ultrasounds were good and then we found out the gender and we did a fun reveal with our family. It was a surprise to us. We found out what are they a boy and a girl so AB one boy and one girl are your first set of twins That's my boy and one girl.
[00:33:20] Okay, so you did a reveal. Yep. I mean it was like the greatest day of my life finding out that I had a boy and a girl. I'm sure it would have been the greatest day of my life if it was two boys or two girls, but not it was just so amazing and it made it feel more real and then continued along I'd say I started to not feel very good probably after like, I don't know we.
[00:33:49] 28 or 29 and my mom was kind of noticing that I looked kind of swollen and puffy and then I started to have some signs [00:34:00] of preeclampsia and they were like like there were my blood pressure was going up and just a lot of swelling and then my urine tests were showing some but how are you feeling? I felt like crap but never had been like pregnant to this extent before.
[00:34:19] Certainly, not with twin. So it was hard for me to know. Well, is this really did you have a headache things are no. No. I didn't have lag Vision now. Okay, my blood pressure never got like. That tie. I mean it was just a you had enough markers. Yeah, you had the diagnosis so at like, whoa, I think I was weak 32i.
[00:34:41] My blood pressure did get higher than anyone would want. I don't remember the number. I did we did the shots just to strengthen baby's lungs just in case. They were born but they weren't but my blood pressure did go up. So then I was put on a hospital bed rest around 32 weeks and [00:35:00] I did not realize that meant I was literally going to be in the hospital on bed rest until they were born.
[00:35:06] So move into the hospital. But I work in healthcare. I kind of felt like I was at home or at work. I mean it just was able to continue working while I was there. My team was amazing and I was in grad school at the time too. So I continued to do grad school work. Everybody was very supportive of me at my new home office to people come visit tons of visitors.
[00:35:31] Okay even hired someone while I was on bed rest in the hospital like did you do your interview there? Oh my God. Laughter. Yeah, so and that was very helpful for me just to kind of keep my mind focused on other things while my body did what it needed to do for the babies with her blood pressure better.
[00:35:52] It was sitting and resting. I mean, it was still never like down but it wasn't in a like [00:36:00] super scary. I didn't I don't think I ever got like magnesium or anything like that. So real quick though. Did they come and take your blood pressure like. Men are more like what they mostly just leave you alone on but yeah, it was just a standard.
[00:36:16] I want to say probably. Four to six times a day. I don't I don't remember but just it shift changes and then periods in between okay the days and then like what blood work and urine to yeah. Yeah. Okay. Yep. There was blood work. There were urine checks that there was a head too. Basically P into this cup that was just attached to the toilet.
[00:36:37] Okay, every time and I remember the day that I didn't have to pee into a cup but someone was in taking and checking. I was like Freedom. Yeah privacy, you know, then, you know, my but my body was just hanging out babies were cooking. They were growing we were monitoring baby be who's my daughter [00:37:00] for her growth that she was kind of not growing.
[00:37:03] As fast as baby a you guys son seemed to be hugging the nutrition so there was a point where it was like if she didn't grow x amount then I would be induced but every time she she made the growth that they were looking for cut off everything was fine and finally at like 37 and a half fish weeks. We started the induction process.
[00:37:28] Oh my goodness is great. So you your water never broke like everything was feeble you. Dave did your husband did he sleep in the hospital to date every night with me? Oh my God. Yeah, we high-five doing that. I Ram decorated for Christmas because I was there through over Thanksgiving the hospital did a fun Thanksgiving feast for me and my parents and my in-laws and my brother and his family.
[00:37:54] So they we were treated really well and then did you so you didn't have to eat hospital food like every [00:38:00] day like your husband can prepare dinner. Yeah, all that kind of stuff. Okay, so 37 and a half weeks. Yep, son is awesome. Yeah, it was a Sunday night start the induction process. And again, I just didn't really know what this is going to involve.
[00:38:13] I were head down though. So there was an induction for a vaginal birth after I head down and I honestly have been open all along too. If I need a C-section. I'll have a C-section if I can deliver naturally, I'll do it. Like if I need medicine will do it. I just I'd kind of at that point I talked.
[00:38:33] That control earlier and then I reached a point where I was like, you know what I'm just trusting doctors because doctors got me pregnant and they're monitoring. I'm not the expert anymore. So and they got you to 37 and a half weeks. I think--and. I mean this is amazing with preeclampsia like you're in great hands.
[00:38:49] I think that all women you'll hear me say this over and over again on this podcast, but one of the things is. From being a doula is that I coach my clients to [00:39:00] being open and flexible because you have no idea what kind of Labor you're going to be given that's right. Don't try to control it. You have nothing that you have no control.
[00:39:10] We prepare for what we want. That's right. And then we're open to what happens. That's right. So tell me about how the induction went it was. It was hard. I mean it was there were parts that were painful. I didn't know what to expect really had an amazing labor and delivery nurse who was just so caring and she did an amazing job of helping me kind of through the stages and so Sunday night it started Monday.
[00:39:43] I was in labor at some point labor started and got an epidural and then. Pain medicine wear off they gave me a little more. It was a little too much my blood pressure went crazy. My daughter's heart rate sort of dropping so I [00:40:00] had to back off of it and then kind of start all over again with with.
[00:40:05] Getting me to a point where I could push so finally at like 2 a.m. And Tuesday morning after the started Sunday night. I was so point where I needed it was time to push and so but you were numb you are comfortable. Yeah, everything was stable. Yeah, I do think. Pain medicine and started wearing off quite a bit and I was but I didn't want more I was afraid of what happened.
[00:40:32] So trying to push me while to get comfortable with the idea. I had a I was laying down and they were telling me push like it got a poop and that I was moved to the oh well are for the actual pushing of babies in case I needed an emergency C-section. I hear this is pretty standard, right so that most when deliveries are here in our community that's right are being done in the operating room just in case.
[00:40:54] And and as it turned out, I'm very glad that's where I was because I pushed [00:41:00] baby a Out Boy healthy time to push baby be out doctor thought it was going to be a few more minutes. And actually I was just like I gotta push now baby be came flying out. My husband said it looked like dr. Carter almost like a football.
[00:41:18] I'm sure it wasn't that dramatic, but it's fun to think about that way and and then. Things went bad. So pause for a second what were their times of delivery how far they were within minutes apart 15 minutes? Okay, so that is pretty fast and push one baby out in the bush another baby out. Okay, and then I felt a lot of fluid coming out of me and I thought I was peeing on myself and my doctors face told me very different story and I was hemorrhaging.
[00:41:47] Okay, and that's when things got really traumatic for me and I was very glad that I was. Then oh are they it was just like suddenly a just huge team of people thus ended up on me [00:42:00] and started trying to fix everything but I lost a lot of blood. How were you feeling where you like? I need to vomit.
[00:42:07] I'm going to pass out. I was so scared. I was laying there on the or table just looking straight up and because I work in healthcare, I do work with a lot of these people who are now in my opinion working to save my life is how it felt and I. I kept telling myself do not died. You're not dying. You did not go through all this just to have it end this way and I just kept giving myself a pep talk and things are going in and out things will get dark.
[00:42:33] I would feel like I was gonna pass out and then I would like force my eyes open again, and I don't know how much time lapse but I remember my doctor saying I feel a mass like. I feel a mass has anybody ever told you you're have like a heart-shaped uterus or anything? And no one had told me that in fact when I started my fertility Journey one of the first procedures I had was to just like examiner uterus and make sure tubes are open and that doctor had said your uterus is perfect.
[00:42:59] It's beautiful. And [00:43:00] so I actually told her that while all this is going on is like no they told me I have a perfect beautiful uterus and so I guess they. My doctor took a sampling of this mass that she felt and sent it off to pathology. Luckily. I got stabilized. There was a balloon in me to stop the hemorrhaging.
[00:43:19] And I was moved to do you have a blood transfusion? Yes. Okay. Yeah. I lost a lot of blood at received a lot of blood and I don't remember the exact amounts, but it was a lot and when I so I went to the or for recovery and meanwhile, I'm not seeing my babies. I'm like just had to bait as your husband with them husband is with him.
[00:43:42] And he also really didn't know what was going on with me. He was right first-time dad by himself with two babies are. Families were there in Waiting rooms and they started to you know, Wonder something what's going on. They were like had ears up two rooms trying to hear if they could hear baby cries and stuff.
[00:44:00] [00:43:59] So there were a lot of worry for a lot of people finally. My husband came in for the or he was allowed to write before I was taken away. My doctor told him kind of what had happened that I was stable. I was moved to a recovery room. And in the pacu like in a surgical area, even though I hadn't had surgery at this point and I.
[00:44:24] I would had my own team of people who are monitoring me while we waited for the results to come back from pathology of this tissue that they are whatever they had taken from me. My doctor came in and told me the results and she said it's uterus tissue your you have a partially inverted uterus. And that's I guess related to the Hemorrhage and so were you like how does that happen?
[00:44:50] I know. Yeah, I mean in hindsight. I think it was related to twin pregnancy. I was at higher risk for Hemorrhage and this [00:45:00] longer a virus because of a long labor all the drugs. I've been given for an induction so high inside it's like, oh I was at really high risk for this. But so now we know so now we have to figure out how to.
[00:45:12] Fix it and I was so my one of the Maternal-Fetal specialist doctors that had taken care of me. He came in with one of the other Obie's that had also been taking care of me. They had researched a non-surgical way to fix this but neither had ever done it before and so the specialist is teaching the OB over me how to do this.
[00:45:37] And I've got this balloon in me. So they are going to use saline but they put in through the balloon and use pressure to revert my uterus back to the way it should be. Okay, and I couldn't have pain medicine for it because I needed to be. Of sane mind, I guess in case I needed to have an emergency hysterectomy.
[00:45:57] I needed to pass sign off on that. [00:46:00] So I'm laying on the table. It's kind of like the equivalent of shoving a three pound baby back up in you. Okay, the worst pain of your life the worst pain I've ever. Felt in my life like I was but I work with these people and so is trying to be really like professional and positive and I was just laying on the bed going guys guys.
[00:46:20] This hurts really bad guys guys, like wanting to fall off the table. Okay, but they were watching on the ultrasound seeing that it was working and there were like, this is working this is working and and then as soon as I saw that it was working and I wasn't going to have to have a hysterectomy nurse.
[00:46:36] Shut up some Dilaudid in my IV. Yeah it was. Thank you. God stabilized. Both kids were healthy. My daughter weighed four pounds four ounces. My son was 6 pounds daughter ended up having to go to the NICU for a few days because her oxygen was doing some weird things turns out [00:47:00] she just had some really big boogers in her nose that has been fully actions when she was born so as so my son and I went home on.
[00:47:09] A December 19th and my daughter came home that Sunday and then that's when I realize what the recovery from all that blood loss is in I can't even imagine. I mean felt like I've been run over by a truck or five and then did you continue to have transfusions? No, no, okay, but I took iron and I think yeah just iron and.
[00:47:37] Kids were healthy learning how to take care of two babies but didn't realize that I'm super anxious and that first night that I brought my son home. I didn't sleep at all. I felt like if I didn't stare at him something would happen and so exhausted all the time final. I like a month and a half into maternity [00:48:00] leave.
[00:48:00] I was talking to a good friend and she was like. You know postpartum anxiety is a thing like that. Maybe that's going on and I had EPA if anybody's listening Google it. Yeah, so I had done this questionnaire with my doctor before I left the hospital and I didn't register any signs of depression.
[00:48:22] And so I reached out to my doctor and was like, I feel I feel like I don't know know something's going on. And so we did the screening again and I definitely. Indicated that I was having postpartum anxiety. So she gave me medication. And what medication did you take Bible Zoloft Zoloft? Okay. And did you feel like it worked?
[00:48:45] Yeah, absolutely. In fact. Before I started taking acid in my husband. I'm really worried that I'm not going to worry enough on this and he was like, that's the side that I didn't take some action. [00:49:00] So it works and I didn't worry if I was worrying enough or too little or anything and how long did it take to kick?
[00:49:07] I probably a couple weeks. Okay and. I was while I was on maternity leave. I was finishing grad school. And so babies are born in December. Then I went back to work in March and then I graduated from grad school in May and I had given myself a goal where I thought maybe I'll try to wean off of this after I graduate because that'll be a big burden off of me.
[00:49:31] And so I tried and I was fine, although I do think. In hindsight, I probably should have stayed on it a little longer because I would still have all these worries but it just was not nearly what it had been but in hindsight, I probably could have stayed on it longer. But so then we just got used to life with twins.
[00:49:51] And I love how you just say that like life would've been like if it's so normal. I don't into our routine and they're amazing kids. They were [00:50:00] went to daycare. We were working full-time and and then in. That was on birth control because I didn't think I could get pregnant after all that that we had been through.
[00:50:10] Yeah and quite frankly who even has time to have that all that they have to make a maybe. Where are you III or IV it exactly and I had asked my doctor when we figured out what my issue was and but before I knew I was pregnant I was like, okay so say. This works and I get pregnant and then we want to have another baby down the road what I have to go through IVF, or could we just go ahead and create the right environment hormonal and their UI UI or something and she was like, you know, we're not even gonna worry about all that because one healthy pregnancy can reset your body and your hormones, you might not ever have this issue again, but I didn't believe her because of everything I'd been through and so.
[00:50:55] Life continued on April [00:51:00] 2017 my husband and I did enjoy each other's company one night and what didn't and really I remember like after we had sex I was. I feel weird like something feels weird. This feels very different. Yeah, and I but then I just like put it out of my head and then fast forward to May and it was like probably have had a period by now.
[00:51:32] I've logged on to some app and put in all my dates because honestly after I'd had. My first kids my period was like clockwork. I didn't have any mid-cycle spotting. I had no signs of a hormone imbalance anymore, but I didn't believe that I could still get pregnant. Yeah, so I didn't tell my husband what I was thinking that was a Sunday night.
[00:51:52] We had been out of town. He was out of town for work. I was working from home that Monday morning and I. I was like [00:52:00] I didn't have a period yet. The app had told me you were like I was five days late. You should take a test it said and but I had missed like the first morning pee so I was like, I'm not going to take a test yet, but I am going to tell my husband where my mind is and that I think I need to take a test.
[00:52:15] And so I texted him and he was. What okay, take a test. And then I just like that I'm gonna wait till tomorrow morning, but then I couldn't focus on anything else and I found one test at our house leftover leftover. I love it. So I took it and it was. Positive immediately and I was just in disbelief and panicking a bit because of the traumatic delivery that I'd had and so I sent a picture of the positive test and my husband who is in a meeting and he was like what called me immediately then I immediately texted my.
[00:52:51] Friend, she's the labor and delivery nurse who was so amazing to me with my first set of twins and told her what was going on and she was like sure won't happen [00:53:00] again. I even texted my OB at the time. She was not my OB anymore. She had changed positions and she was like, I'm sure that congratulations.
[00:53:08] I'm sure everything's going to be fine because you had twins the first time it's just going to be a whole different ball game and then a few weeks later. I had my OB appointment. The doctor that was taking care of me was the Doctor Who would ultimately fixed my inverted uterus and so he was very familiar with my past and they write a paper on that or anything.
[00:53:30] Yes. Okay. I was like I said at caught at a conference, they told me maybe can I will try to maybe if I can't I'll put it in the show notes figure that out because I was like, I'm assuming that they wrote a paper on this if this was the first time it had been done. So anyway, sorry, so I digress but then.
[00:53:45] They didn't have time to do an ultrasound at that appointment. But from his exam. He was like you're absolutely pregnant, but I didn't believe it because of my past and I was just like, I don't know. I feel like there could be something wrong. Can you [00:54:00] just do an ultrasound so I know this is good.
[00:54:02] She's like yeah come back tomorrow. So my husband had been with me at that first appointment. And but he had schedule conflicts the next day and I was like don't worry about coming with me. We know I'm pregnant. This is just for my peace of mind. So I go and and do the ultrasound and the sonographer goes.
[00:54:23] I don't know how to tell you this and I was just like I knew it. I knew there was something wrong and she said there are two babies and I want to fall off and how old were your toys. Hey were to not quite two and a half. Oh my gosh, everybody that's listening just hug Katie agar where they identical were they.
[00:54:52] Fraternal they appear to be identical from what she can help which is a miracle. Yeah, and so rare and [00:55:00] nothing, you know that I mean we. We don't know how that happened. But all I could think was I knew I felt different that night like, you know, yeah, hopefully once I go so a million people I'm not like probably more than that, but it is so common for women to feel conception many women feel conception.
[00:55:18] You felt it sizing. Yeah. I never felt it before so many women will tell you they feel like they just feel weird. They feel electricity. They feel they just their whole entire body feels different and they can feel. No, I felt it. Yeah, and now I have an ultrasound to approve that that embryo divided and there were two heartbeats and my doctor I immediately said can you get the doctor probably so dramatic sounding and I think she even said this is good news.
[00:55:49] Right and I feel like that that was the second time in a pregnancy experience where someone had said to me. This is good news, right and like of course, it's good news, and I'm freaking out because I believe I almost died the first time [00:56:00] for twins. That's how I felt. I don't know how close that really came but it felt that way.
[00:56:05] Yeah, and so my doctor comes in and he's like. I actually think he said well shit as he's looking at the altar yeah pictures and he also made a comment about I should probably get some lightning rods installed on my house because yeah, how does this happen twice? Especially given my past and.
[00:56:25] They're rest is history. I had an amazing pregnancy. I had no preeclampsia. I felt great. I did have some cervical shortening at one point. I was back with my same Maternal-Fetal specialist and they were the same Doctor Who had helped fix the uterus. He was my primary one doing all my ultrasounds my uterus somehow magically lengthen back out and then we just quit measuring it because you cared anymore and I.
[00:56:55] It go back and forth a lot. Like how will I deliver the [00:57:00] babies had both been head down and I truly felt like my body's got it this time. I know what I'm doing. I part of me really wanted to just go for vaginal delivery, but then we also felt like, you know, if you're already open and for a C-section if something starts going wrong, it's much easier to fix it when you're already open.
[00:57:25] I was just torn the whole time, but we decided let's schedule a C-section for 36 weeks. I had one ultrasound one final one with a specialist a few days prior to my scheduled C-section and. My baby be had turned breech and that was the best news for me because it made it solidified in my mind a C-section is what needs to happen.
[00:57:50] Yeah, and I am so grateful for that baby turning breach. Yeah, and so I had my C-section. I didn't really know what to expect out of this [00:58:00] eye. I was mourning the end of my pregnancy because it had felt really good. I did reach a point where I was uncomfortable and knew the girls needed to come on out the two identical twin girls.
[00:58:11] Yeah. Okay. Yep. They were girls. Yeah. She mentioned that and I said, okay, so and so we. Had the C-section and I probably should have taken some anxiety medication because I was very scared about what might happen that day and it all worked out and. Got through the C-section baby girls were healthy.
[00:58:36] Perfect. No one had to go to the NICU. We all went home together. And I said they way baby a was five pounds 10 ounces, baby be was for. A tour for 12, isn't it really similar to your first? Yeah, you know and they have been maintaining that weight difference and I my girls, [00:59:00] you know, you are the third and fourth babies when I can't even remember your birth weights like my goodness of clarity.
[00:59:07] So now we fuzziness is like come back though. Like as we've been talking like I just feel like you got real clear. Yeah. I don't know if you wanted to go down those dresses, you know and cry so that's a step in the right direction high five that yeah, and I will say first set of twins born December 16th second set of twins born December 29th, and you have a lot of birthday party in December and it's amazing.
[00:59:31] They are three years apart and the best of friends and my son. He's the only boy. The kids and he is the best big brother. I love it. So Katie after so many years of not getting pregnant in a fertility journey and then IVF or IUI, and then, you know successful IVF and then an all-natural identical twin.
[00:59:54] I mean you just have an incredible story and thank you for sharing.
[01:00:00] [01:00:02] Thank you for listening. The birth story. My goal is you will walk away from each episode with a clearer picture of how labor and delivery might go and that you will feel empowered by the end of your pregnancy to speak up plan and prepare for the birth. You want no matter what that looks like.