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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Dirty Little Secrets of a Stirrup Queen (Children Mentioned)

One of the libraries nearby has a bookstore on the ground level. They cull out old books and sell them for about $.50 in order to make room for new books in the library. Pretty much every book I have wanted recently has ended up there. Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking? Check. The Ninth Life of Louis Drax? Check. Of course, this is where I picked up Children of Men for the current book tour.

They have an enormous children's section. I buy the kids books there because used books don't elicit the same guilty feelings that occur when they accidentally tear a page in a new book. These books have already been well-loved. They can withstand the effects of the twins' intense loving without looking much different.

So let's unpack yesterday's purchase.

As I scanned the shelves, I grabbed a picture book called Triplets. My gut reaction when I examined my final pile of books to separate into the "buy-these" and the "reshelve-those" is that the triplet book--while extremely cute--was a bit over their heads languagewise. Yet I threw it into the buy-these pile. I felt uneasy about it, but I justified this $.50 decision by telling myself that someone in my multiples group would love it. I'd bring it to the next meeting and give it to a triplet mother.

I have to get this off my chest--I WAS FREAKIN' LYING! It won't be going to a triplet mom. It will be sitting on our bookshelf for the next few months. And every time Josh passes it, he will say, "didn't you mean to give that to a triplet mother at the next meeting?"

Because this is my dirty little secret. I know a lot of people are freaked out by the idea of carrying and caring for multiples. We talk about it all the time. It's the fear of many a woman undergoing hyperstimulation of their ovaries. How many embryos to transfer? What if we end up with twins? What if we end up with triplets?

I'm not one of those women. I felt like multiples were the only silver-lining to infertility. When I was little, I always wanted twin babies. I imagined myself with identical twin girls. So when we saw the ultrasound screen and saw the multiple sacs (three--though only two had fetal poles. The third was a blighted ovum), I didn't freak out. It felt like an ultimate moment of peace--my reward for all the shit. I felt like I deserved twins--like it was a prize rather than a detriment.

In my twin group, so many women talk about the fact that while they would like to return to the clinic and try for a third, they won't because they're freaked out about the possibility of having another set of multiples and they wouldn't want to transfer only one embryo. And that's my other dirty secret--the one that probably gives my mother a minor heart attack. Not only am I not scared of having another set of multiples, but I would welcome them happily. I would feel like I had somehow gone from being the unluckiest (and most unfeminine) woman in the world to the jackpot winner.

I think the triplet book is like hanging a swimsuit over the scale to remind you to keep focused on the task-at-hand: losing the weight so you can fit into the suit. Maybe the triplet book is a tangible daily reminder that all the shit is worth it for the end result. Do you have something like that? Something you look at that motivates you--existing children perhaps if you're going through secondary infertility or an empty room in the house or a onesie you bought when you first started trying?

Financially, triplets would be the end of us. But what a great story of how the ship went down.


5 under 5 said...

Hi, I have twins that are 4 and triplets that are 2. I too had no fear of multiples and viewed them as a silver lining. Though when I heard triplets I was quite freaked out!

serenity said...

Good grief, Mel - I am not sure I can handle twins OR triplets! (That's my dirty little secret, I suppose.)

But I can see how you would feel like getting multiples is the jackpot. I like that.

What keeps me going is a rocking chair in the yellow room which will be the nursery. It's a gorgeous cherry wood chair - one of those that feels like satin and fits your body perfectly.

And every once in a while, when things get overwhelming, I go into the quiet, empty room and just rock, knowing that someday I'll do the same thing - with our baby in my arms.

That's my image that keeps me going down this path.

Joselle@WilliamsTriplets said...

I almost p'd myself when I read this. I have that very book, courtesy of a friend who was so utterly at a loss of words when we told her about our trio to be she just said nothing and just mailed me the book.

After a quite rocky war with IF, the fact that it was IVF #3 (after clo*hell, m/c's, IUIs and the like) when we found out there were 3- my DH produced a laugh worthy of Hannibel Lector.

Enjoy the book :)

littleangelkisses said...

I share your secret Mel. I've always wanted twins. My mother, who has 8 children said to me the other day that SHE always wanted twins. I'd feel like the luckiest girl in the world if Boo was big brother to twins!

Celeste said...

can i preface this by saying (because really, where else COULD i say this?) my bbs are killing me! UUUUUUUGH!

ok, that madness out of the way, i will say that over the years, i have had many different types of talisman. i have a large collection of awesome children's books, at one time i bought a 3-pack of those softer-than-soft cotton baby gowns (they had ducks on them and i couldn't resist) and slept with one under my pillow for months, and now, i have my treasure map. if you don't know what one is, go to the discussion boards (spirituality) on and find out. making one will change your life!

i love my map/ vision board, and treasure having an external vision of myself holding my child.

ps: both me and my husband have always wanted a medicated cycle to result in multiples. Like Mel, it just feels like a jackpot after all these years.

pps: Today begins the Year of the Pig, ladies! Do you know what that means? Year of the Pig is associated with FERTILITY AND VITILITY! Oink Oink!

Bea said...

I would love to have twins - I've always harboured a secret desire - but in truth I'm scared of the complications. I'm especially scared that I'd feel guilty about any complications if we deliberately took the risk. Secretly, I want identical twins so I can have my twins but not feel guilty that it's *my fault*. So that's my dirty little secret.


Natalie said...

Hubby and I are starting to warm up to the idea of twins. At first we were really really freaked out. But at this point we'd take what we get.

I don't have anything tangible to keep me going. I haven't let me buy anything for the baby over the past year+. I didn't want to jinx myself. I guess that didn't really work. In the store I like to wander through the baby section and touch the blankets and onsies, look at the "baby's first year" books.... I never let myself buy them though. i just look longingly. Sigh. I guess that's my dirty little secret...

ncd112 said...

I agree totally. I have always dreamed of having twins. Now that we have been dealing with IF for so long H wants triplets! I guess we will keep wishing.

May said...

I am very slowly knitting a Shetland lace shawl. I haven't told my husband who the shawl is for. I haven't told anyone. I pretend I'm making it as a challenge to perfect my knitting skills form pretty good to Grand Master.

But really, it's for the babies I hope for, pray for, and fear I won't ever have.

Sunny said...

I grew up always wanting twins. My granny is a twin. She is my best friend. She has always wanted me to have that joy.

One of my dirty little secrets would be the cutes pair of frog baby slippers. I bought them when I had to buy a gift for a friend when we first started. I used to hide them in my closet and pull them out every once in a blue moon. Now they are in the Hope Chest with the rest of the baby things. Now I only think about them. I can't go and look at them. Too many other sad things.

My really dirty little secret is my angel's u/s picture in a frame across my room. When I need a little hope I take a look and dream.

mary said...

Many years ago, when my husband and I were just dating I had a dream that we had twin boys. They were running across the kitchen towards the door to the garage yelling "Daddy's home! Daddy's home!" And I was standing in the kitchen very pg watching my now husband greet the boys and come over to me, gently placing his hand on my big belly and asking how his baby girl was doing.
It was the most vivid dream and has stayed with me in complete clarity for over 10 years. Someday, I pray that dream will come true. I have been preparing for it since the first time at age 13 I babysat (they were 2 three month old boys.)
As far as a tailsman that keeps me going, I amdit I buy fabulous children's books when they bring them to school to sell. I always say they are for when I need baby gifts, but they all end up in the hopechest with the baby blanket my mom saved from when I was a baby. I can picture myself in the rocker sharing those books with our children before bedtime.

Stacie said...

I wanted twins too. Honestly, despite the sleep deprivation, the general overwhelmingness of it and the looming college bills (thinking ahead here) I feel so grateful that I ended up with twins.

Furrow said...

My inspiration are the adorable baby crochet patterns in my various books. I don't dare make one, though, until a pregnancy is well on its way.

By the way, I got a BFP on Friday, after 20-something months of trying. I'm really scared of being too excited at this point, but no one has stopped by yet, and I had to let it out. I may have had a double ovulation this last time, so who knows... there could be twins in my future.

Adrienne said...

Me, too! - if we had twins as a result of our ART efforts, I would be ecstatic. I've kept this feeling to myself, so I'm not sure how hubby would feel. No, I do know - he would be happy too, so long as they were healthy.

My motivation, my wishing stone, if you will, is everything that's still in my garage that we used for Max. I won't give anything away - it's all neatly boxed or stored for the next one. That's how I know that I still have hope, that it will happen.

reichmann said...

(Success/children ment.)
I totally agree that having twins was the silver lining to IF. I love being a twin mommy so much that I find it hard to understand why people (especially going through ART) are so afraid of having twins or higher order multiples (OK, pregnancy risks and financial worries aside!) After six rounds of IVF, I figure the least I could have gotten was two for the price of one :)
I was actually asked to be on a panel for an organization we're both involved in (starts with a R) about success after IVF. However, when they realized all three panelists had twins, they told me they were going to replace me with someone with a singleton so that they wouldn't "scare people off" from IVF. My immediate thought was that for me, it would be a selling point for IVF! I guess that's my warped twin mommy mind :)

Jess said...

I have no fear of multiples, either, EXCEPT with triplets and higher I DO worry about the risk of complications for the babies.

Heck, I'd be THRILLED to have 2 or 3 at once, provided everyone is fine! :)

In fact, in the upcoming IVF, I plan on trying DESPERATELY to get them to transfer at least 3 embryos, even on the fresh. I understand their concern with a perfectly healthy (har har) 23 year old, but I DON'T GET PREGNANT PEOPLE! :p

mandolyn said...

We have a stroller in the attic that my husband brought home over three years ago when he worked part-time for a car rental company. Someone left it and never reclaimed it.

We would have been overjoyed with twins. During the sonogram when I learned that our baby had no heartbeat, the doctor gently added, "And there's something over here as well. I can't tell if it's possibly another baby or some slight hemorrhaging at this point though." I supposed I could have asked about it later on, but part of me likes to think that for a few weeks, I had twins.

My boss tells me often how thankful I must be that I only have one baby in me at the moment. She has a seven month old and likes to say how "multiples are definitely not blessings." It gets harder and harder to bite my tongue...(She's also one of those "we bought an OPK because we were sure that we would have problems but ended up not needing it at all" types)

Hang on to your book, Mel!

Dianne/Flutter said...

Mel, I share in that fantasy. But, I think it is more because of my sensisible/financial side.

Two/three for one deal :).

Chris said...

I love this post and feel the same way. I will welcome as many bebes as we're blessed with into my arms with nothing but sunshine and rainbows.

My sister and her 6 month old flew in for a visit 2 months ago. She left a little hat of his that smells exactly like him. I've since mailed one million packages to them but I've never sent back that little hat. His hat (and his sweet baby smell) is my triplet book.

Emmie said...

I'm with you, Mel. Since there are so many twins in my family, I've wanted twins for as long as I've wanted children. Knowing that multiples were a "risk" of IVF was definitely the silver lining of IF for me. (Don't you love how clinics define such a blessing as a risk?)

H knew of my desire to have twins but was very nervous about it when we transferred 2 embryos. Now he is totally in love with the idea of having two babies at once. He and I can't imagine a better ending to our struggles with IF. (Of course, we still have at least 10 weeks to go so keep your fingers crossed!)

A.M.S. said...

I bought the tiniest pair of socks. They have a classic Winnie-the-Pooh on the cuff. I carried them with me everywhere during all of my iui cycles. I held them clenched in my fist for every blood draw. I pulled them out of my purse or pocket every time I needed a reminder of why we were doing this. I held them every time I cried over every negative.

If I were to be completely honest, I'd have to say I'm not opposed to the idea of twins. Even taking into account all of the things I've seen my friends going through, the idea of completing our family all at once has definite appeal. However, the slightest mention makes S break out in hives and hyperventilate and I don't want to jinx myself by wishing for too much, so I just have the one pair of socks for now.

Aurelia said...


I'm having trouble with this post. Because this isn't the dirty little secret of Stirrup Queens. Ifer's want multiples because we think it means getting through the hard part of IF quicker. Getting to the goal faster as it were.

And for couples who have had losses, it can be like getting a do-over. The missing child returning.

I understand it, but because I've been through so many losses and I've spent time with NICU nurses and Doctors, I know the real dirty secret is that most multiple pregnancies DON'T have happy endings. There are so many children that die in utero, that die at birth, that die in NICUs, or end up disabled, whether mildly or severely, that to portray this as a desired outcome is very hard for me to understand.

All the posters above, who have healthy full-term twins & triplets, with no long term problems, consider yourself blessed. Your children are the rare, lucky, ones with good outcomes.

I wish IFers would all have to take a tour of a local NICU before they start treatment, or maybe go to one of the annual follow-up picnics.

Heather said...

I always hope for twins. I don't know about triplets...but I suppose we could handle it one day at a time.

I know I should be ecstatic if I ever manage to get pregnant at all. I secretly hope it is twins.

Kristin said...

I DO NOT long for multiples, simply because my RE explained how much higher the infant mortality rates are for multiples, and that info terrifies me. BUT, at the same time, I am willing to cope with the potential complications/difficulties of multiples, if that is the price I have to pay to end up with at least one living take-home baby. In other words, despite my less-than-stellar odds of enjoying a viable pg, I don't plan to transfer more than 2 decent-quality embryos on this, my 3rd IVF cycle, unless my RE actually recommends it (which is highly unlikely).

I know that if I ever succeeded in becoming a mother and was blessed with twins, I would absolutely *DESPISE* anyone using the phrase "two for the price of one" to describe my situation. Good God, I cannot find the words to make you understand how angry and bitter that would make me. I would seriously consider b*tch-slapping anyone who said that to me. If this cycle results in a successful twin pg, that's more like 2 for the price of 3, and will FEEL more like 2 for the price of 6 (the number of babies a "normal" couple would have had time to conceive with the same # of months trying).

(Can you tell I'm full of hormones and very emotional right now, lol?)

Zee said...

I wouldn't mind having twins, but I don't really dwell on it that much. At this point I'd be so pathetically grateful for one healthy, normal baby that more than one isn't even on the radar.

As to my motivating object: Last November, after six wasted cycles (don't ask!) and looking forward to FINALLY being able to try again, I found myself strangely drawn to a hideous red and white striped footed onesie thing, with an appliqué of a teddy bear in a sled pulled by happy reindeer. For some reason I could just FEEL a warm little baby body in that terrible little Christmas suit. So I bought it. And now it hangs in my room, clashing horribly with the rest of the decor. And I look at it sometimes and think, "If I'm ever lucky enough to have a baby. I'm going to put you on him or her--even if it's nowhere near Christmas--and I'm going to hug that little baby, in that ugly striped suit, and try my best to send "fear not, it WILL happen" vibes back in time to that trying-not-to-sob-out-loud-in-Kohls woman who bought you, so maybe she'll know, somehow, that it will all be alright."

Perhaps this shows what a sad person I am. But you asked, after all.

TeamWinks said...

I too have always wanted twins, but that became a lost probability with the condition of the ute. So, now my lucky charm for two little ones are the two beautiful white cribs set up in the infant room. Social Services knows they are just waiting to be filled. Perhaps I will get them after all!

Carol said...

I definitely think twins would be the jackpot. We are both really hoping to see two at our u/s on wednesday. I think we may even be a little disappointed if it was just one.

Now triplets - I'm not so sure. I think we could handle twins just fine, and I don't think it would require that much of a lifestyle change. But triplets to me seems like it would really be hard. But hey, who knows.

And to answer your question - I have never had any baby things around. I always thought that would jinx me. But I used to have an empty room. That was what I would look at, like the swimsuit over the scale. This was going to be the baby's room, and I would visualize what it would look like filled with baby stuff. But after several failed cycles the room started to make me very, very sad. So I turned it back into a guest room last year. Hopefully I'll be packing up all the guest room trappings in the next few months and finally turning it into a baby's (or babies') room.

And I do have to agree with what Kristin said - it wouldn't be two for the price of one. No, for me it would be two for the price of 6. 6 IVF cycles.

Artblog said...

Me too, always had a secret desire for twins. Probably loads of work but I can see myself doing fine :) However, more than that all at once is asking for trouble!

I've always been really paranoid about pre buying anything baby related for fear of jinxing myself. However, I did keep my childhood teddy bear collection to pass onto my children one day. Every time I looked at them it reminded me of my "goal". I still hope my daughter gets to share them with a sibling one day. That will warm the cockles of my heart to see them both cuddling my big white fluffy Mishy bear :)

Elizabeth said...

My dirty little secret is that I knit baby clothes, and although I've given away at least twenty baby sweaters in the past few years (and sold another 7 or 8 at the farmer's market) as well as unnumbered socks and hats, I quietly kept two of them, tucked away at the bottom of my knitting basket. The other part of this dirty little secret is that I lurk on a baby-knitting blog regularly. In some ways I feel like it's a window into a world where IF, pregnancy loss, and the carousel from hell of ART don't exist. I know it's a fantasy but maybe once a week I'll go there and indulge in the fantasy of "easy" or "normal" mommy-baby world.

5 under 5 said...

I am the one with the twins and trips. We were lucky. My twins were 7.14 and 7.1 pounds.
The trips were 5.12, 5.4 and 4.9 none had any complications not EI the trips spent a week in NICU at birth.
The one bummer was that when people saw my twins they would say 'oh do twins run in your family?" and I answered honestly yes, my mom is a twin. Now with two sets of multiples the gig is up!

Piccinigirl said...

Mel I feel exactly the same way, the one thing that keeps me alive, sane and 'going" toward IVF is the idea that more than one baby will come out of me and all this "shit" we've been through will instead become this "feeling I believed in". Just for the record, Mr Kir never talks about ONE baby anymore, he wants twins more than any man I've ever seen. (I feel sorry for him because he has no idea he's going to be if that dream comes true...hhah) and both of us when asked always say the same thing "In our house, we pray in 2's "

PCOSMama said...

(Children Mentioned)
I have also always wanted twins, though I do fear the complications that are possible. I will be happy with whatever God chooses to bless us with! I think my hubby would have a heart attack though if we got twins... triplets and we'd both have heart attacks!

My daughter is what I look at when I'm losing hope. She is our little Repronex-conceived miracle and having her here is proof that the treatments can work for us. Hearing her say she wants a baby brother or sister makes me want another child even more.

Kate said...

I am not sure how I feel about multiples. I would be grateful, but probably terrified, too. I had such a difficult time during the first two months of my son's life, so I fear that it would be even more difficult with twins. And I also worry about my sweet little boy having a tough adjustment to not one but two new babies. But I know we would manage.

What keeps me going is a silver bracelet that says "Expect Miracles." I bought it after my m/c, and I've worn it every day since. It reminds me that children are miracles, and I have to expect a miracle in order for it to happen. It gives me hope.

aah0424 said...

Since I was a child I have wanted twins! My grandfather is a twin, my grandmother has a brother and sister that are twins, growing up I've had 3 different sets of twin friends and my brother had two sets. The relationships between twins has always fascinated me and I have always been very vocal about wanting twins. Now that I that we are going through IF, I don't tell people this anymore for some reason. Having twins now would be the silver lining, but just getting to one baby at this point would throw me over the moon! I still hope twins are in my future, but at this point one would be ok with me.

I don't have ANYTHING baby related in my house. I felt like I would jinx myself if I kept things in the house. Now that we're over 2 years trying maybe I should get something since not having any isn't proving helpful in my quest.