Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)

Twin to twin transfusion syndrome, or TTTS, is a serious condition that can occur in babies that share a placenta in the womb (identical twins or higher order multiples). TTTS occurs when the shared placenta contains abnormal blood vessels that connect the umbilical cords and circulation of the fetuses. The placenta may also be shared unequally (for example, one twin has access to ¾ of the placenta and the other only ¼) and one twin may not receive the necessary nutrients to grow normally.

When the blood vessels become abnormally connected, one baby (the recipient) may receive too much blood flow, while the other (the donor twin) does not receive enough. The donor twin may experience slower than normal growth, have poor urinary output and little to know amniotic fluid. Too much blood flow to the recipient can put strain on the heart, potentially causing heart failure. The recipient might have a more active bladder causing greater amounts of amniotic fluid.

TTTS can occur at any time during pregnancy, but is considered more serious between 12-26 weeks gestation because the babies are too young to be delivered safely. However, thanks to advances in science there are some treatments available to help twins with TTTS.

TTTS1bl

First of all, mothers of twins with a shared placenta should be monitored heavily by a Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) clinic. Ultrasounds should be performed biweekly to check on things such as amniotic fluid levels, blood flow in the placenta, visible bladders, size differences, etc. All of these can be indicators of TTTS.

If TTTS is detected, there are now treatment options (before, TTTS usually claimed the lives of both babies).

  1. Delivery of the babies – this will obviously need to be later in gestation, at a date when the babies are viable and their lungs have matured enough.
  2. Amniocentesis to drain excess amniotic fluid. This can improve the blood flow in the placenta and reduce the risk of preterm labor.
  3. Laser surgery to seal off the connection between the blood vessels. Laser surgery is often preferred to amniocentesis because it only needs to be done once. Amniocentesis may need to be done repeatedly to maintain proper blood flow. Laser surgery has an 80-65% survival rate of at least one twin, 65-70% overall twin survival, and 5% or less significant handicap rates in survivors.

Below is a video to help you better understand TTTS.

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/doctor-explains-ttts-twin-to-twin-transfusion-syndrome-581592643543

 

What type of twins are you having?

This is a question I get a lot lately from those familiar with carrying multiples. Had you asked me this question 4 months ago, I would have assumed the only answer was fraternal vs. identical twins. While those are the two major classifications for twins, there are actually various “types of twins” dependent upon if the pregnancy is a result of two embryos implanting, or one embryo splitting and implanting. Bear in mind, I am by no means an expert in this area and most of this information I have collected through my MFM visits and twins forums/boards.

Identical vs. Fraternal Twins

Identical vs. fraternal twins refers to zygosity, or one egg/one sperm vs. two eggs/two sperm.

Identical twins come from a single egg that has been fertilized by one sperm, and then splits into two separate embryos early in development. Both of those embryos implant and develop into a positive pregnancy test. They will have the same DNA, and look exactly alike, because they came from ONE embryo. Identical twins will always be the same sex – either boy/boy or girl/girl.

Fraternal twins develop when two eggs are fertilized by two separate sperms, and both implant. Fraternal twins can look a lot alike, but will often be easier to tell apart than identical twins. Their DNA is different. There can be boy/boy, girl/girl, or boy/girl sets.

 

Di/di, mo/di, mo/mo, & conjoined twins

Zygosity  (identical vs. fraternal twins), really has little impact on the treatment and prognosis of the twin pregnancy. What needs to be considered is chorionicity and amnionicity, or the number of placentas and the number of amniotic sacs that are present.

Chorionic = Placenta

Amniotic = Amniotic Sac

The image below can be helpful along with the following explanations of “types” of twins.

typesoftwins

Dichorionic/Diamniotic (di/di) Twins

Two separate placentas and two separate amniotic sacs (one for each baby). These are the most common type of twins and have the lowest associated risk. Fraternal twins are di/di. Some identical twins can be di/di if the embryo splits VERY early.

 

Monochorionic/Diamniotic (mo/di) Twins – what we are having!

Mo/di twins are identical and share a placenta but each baby has their own amniotic sac. These twins are more risky than di/di because of the shared placenta. A shared placenta is just that – shared. Sharing does not translate to equal. Mo/di twins are at risk for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).This occurs when the blood vessels in the shared placenta are connected. This can result in one baby receiving more blood flow (the recipient) and the other receives too little blood (the donor). In the past, TTTS often had devastating results, but with proper monitoring and medical intervention, twins with TTTS now have a better chance of survival. TTTS occurs in approximately 15% of identical twins. More about TTTS will be covered in my next blog!

 

Monochorionic/Monoamniotic (mo/mo) Twins)

The least common and most risky, mo/mo twins share a placenta AND an amniotic sac. They are always identical. Mo/mo twins are at risk for TTTS and are also at risk for issues resulting from sharing the same amniotic sac. Because both babies are in the same sac, there is a chance their umbilical cords may become entangles or compressed, which can lead to one or both babies not receiving enough nutrients. Moms of mo/mo twins often end up in the hospital during the later second half of their pregnancy for bed rest and inpatient monitoring (multiple ultrasounds a week) to ensure the cords are not becoming tangled. At our first ultrasound we thought we were having mo/mo twins, but it was later confirmed that there was a thin membrane separating the amniotic sac into two.

 

Conjoined Twins

Conjoined twins are also identical, and occur when the egg does not completely separate into two embryos in the womb. They can share organs, tissue and/or limbs. Conjoined twins also share a placenta and an amniotic sac. I am not sure what their risks are for TTTS or cord entanglement.

 

I am currently carrying, identical, mo/di twin girls. Because of the risks associated with mo/di twins, I see a Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist for regular ultrasounds, along with my OB. Having twins is scary, and having mo/di twins is even scarier. We are trying to take things one day at a time and continue to pray for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT)

Since announcing the gender of our babies to our family, friends, and on social media (video below!), several people have asked us how we knew the gender so early? We revealed at 15 weeks and 1 day. Usually the earliest that gender can be determined via ultrasound is 16 weeks, and many parents wait until their anatomy scans around 18-22 weeks. Well, our gender was not determined using an ultrasound, but rather with something called Noninvasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT).

NIPT is a simple blood screening, performed as early as 10 weeks gestation, which analyzes the fetal DNA in the mothers’ blood stream. Because our twins are identical, the test could be run the same as with a singleton pregnancy. I am not really sure how or if it would differ with fraternal twins. The test we chose is called the Progenity Verifi test, and it tests for chromosomal disorders such as Trisomy 21 (Downs Syndrome), Trisomy 18, Trisomy 13 and others. In addition to checking for these disorders, the test also looks for XX or XY (male or female pairs) so it can predict the sex of your baby! The Verifi test has a 99% accuracy rating. Similar tests include the Harmony Test, the NIFTY test, etc.

Our results came back normal and the office was able to give us an envelope with our gender results. I highly recommend NIPT for moms-to-be of any age. It provides peace of mind, and should the results come back with a chromosomal disorder, the parents will have ample time to prepare. For example, many may require special doctors on hand at time of delivery. Parents can join support groups and educate themselves on the condition so they better know what to expect. Whatever the parents decide to do with the information is their choice and theirs alone. Some prefer to pass on the genetic testing or screening, and that is their choice as well!

Other prenatal testing options include:

  • Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) – This tests uses a biopsy of placenta cells to screen for disorders. This is usually done late in the first trimester, around weeks 10-12.
  • Quad Screening – Uses a maternal blood sample to screen for the following four substances: AFP, hCG, Estriol and Inhibin-A. They will use these results to estimate the chances of the baby having an abnormality. This test is usually performed in the second trimester, around weeks 15-22.
  • Amniocentesis – This is a procedure in which amniotic fluid is removed from the uterus for testing. This fluid contains fetal cells and chemicals produced by the baby. These cells and chemicals are analyzed to provide genetic and other information about the baby. This procedure is riskier than the others. Risks include leaking of amniotic fluid, miscarriage (a very small percentage, but a risk nonetheless), needle injury, Rh sensitization, infection, and the risk of transferring an infection to the fetus.

Bump envy

Come ON baby bump, where the heck are you?! Just this past week I have started to notice a small little bump in my abdomen. And none of my pants button anymore. Sounds normal for a woman almost 16 weeks pregnant, right? But what about a woman pregnant with twins? I feel like I should be so much bigger by now!
To the average street walker, I would just look like I had recently stuffed my face (which I probably did) and am letting myself go a bit. Unless I have on a tight top, there really isn’t much to see. Every time I see another pregnant woman with a belly bigger than mine I get jealous. Especially because the past week I have started to feel normal again. I want to LOOK pregnant. I want people to come up to me at the grocery store and ask me when I am due. I want to eat all of the bag French fries before we get home without looking like a hog (I know my husband knows I’m pregnant, but what about the person next to us at the stoplight?). I want my belly button to pop out.

  
I am a member of several Moms of Multiples/Twins forums, boards and Facebook group. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, looks bigger than me at this stage. On top of the not looking very pregnant, it also makes me worry that my babies aren’t growing! I haven’t had an ultrasound in almost three weeks, so I really have no idea what is going on in there.
I just want a bump. A big round bump to rub lotion on, to rest my ice cream bowl on, and to dress really cute. Is that too much to ask? 

The first trimester in a nut shell (egg shell?)

Weeks 1-2

These are the weeks leading up to ovulation. Most women spend this time taking ovulation tests and having lots and lots of baby-making sex. For us IVFers, it’s a little less hot and heavy. This period is usually filled with stimulation drugs (if having a fresh transfer) or other drugs like Lupron, Lovenox, etc., if having a frozen transfer. Several ultrasounds to confirm your ovaries and womb are ready, and anticipation for Transfer Day! We had our transfer on CD 19, and that was the day I received the bad news about our remaining embryos. I spent the remainder of Week 2 resting and feeling sorry for myself.

Week 3

This is the week we slowly start symptom watching. And eating pineapple core and Brazil nuts. Implantation usually happens during this week, so if you are like me, you were wearing light colored underwear and hoping to catch some “implantation bleeding”. I had none of that, and thus, convinced myself I was out. Toward the end of week three, you start questioning if everything is a symptom. You forgot to turn off the bedroom light – must be pregnancy brain. You peed an extra time between 3pm and 6pm, you’re pregnant. Extra gassy? Pregnant! Headache? Pregnant! The sun is shining? PREGNANT! It is pure torture.

Week 4

Pregnancy test week! We received our positive and I was ecstatic. I had virtually no symptoms. Are they sure they got it right? Is this real? Where were my sore boobs, nausea, and all of that other fun pregnancy stuff? This is the week you will tell your partner, call to make your first OB appointment, and probably pee on any pregnancy test you can get your hands on.

Week 5

I call this opposite week. All of those things you convinced yourself WERE symptoms about a week ago, now you are convincing yourself they are not. I was sure it was way too early to be feeling as exhausted as I was, or as hungry as I was. I was obviously making it all up in my head. So I kept peeing on sticks for reassurance. I even convinced myself I had the flu this week because it was way too early for nausea, body aches, and food aversions!

Week 6

Ultrasound week! One of the few perks of being an infertility clinic patient – the early and frequent ultrasounds. We got to see our (surprise!) two beautiful babies this week. Leading up to this ultrasound I was a nervous wreck, afterward I was excited, nervous, and so many other emotions. But the pregnancy felt a bit more real. They were REALLY in there. And that’s when the nausea really kicked in….

Week 7

The nausea was picking up, but every time I looked at the ultrasound on the fridge, I welcomed it. To me, it meant my little beans were growing. My appetite had increased, but the thought of most foods made me want to vomit. I had some mild spotting this week that freaked me out. It was brown, and only in the morning, but scary nonetheless. The nurses told me it was pretty normal, to take it easy and to push the fluids. As long as it stayed brown and wasn’t heavy or accompanied by cramps, everything should be fine. But still, it was scary.

Week 8

Vomiting. Food aversions. Nausea. The Three Musketeers. They were with me all day, every day. I managed to keep food down, thankfully. But I felt pretty miserable. To top it all off, the night I was 8 weeks 4 days pregnant, I woke up at 1am to pee and found dark red blood when I wiped. I immediately thought the worst. It wasn’t brown anymore. I woke Nick up and we went straight to the emergency room. I was seen by a doctor who gave me a pelvic and cervical exam, and found no blood. He also gave me an abdominal ultrasound. He told me not to get my hopes up about hearing the heartbeats on this type of machine, since it was so early. We were able to see both babies, and heard one heartbeat for sure. I was discharged feeling much better and was able to get in for an ultrasound with my specialist the next day. We confirmed that Baby A and Baby B were both doing well. My doctor told me to discontinue my Lovenox injections and baby aspirin and from that moment on, I have not had any more spotting (knock on wood).

Weeks 9-11

My hermit stage. I did not want to leave the house. I was living on plain waffles, pretzels and noodles. Most nights I fell asleep by 8:30 and it was all I could do to get myself out of bed in the morning and to work. My pants started to feel tighter but no bump in sight. I began wearing belly bands and the moment I got home from work it was straight into pajamas and to the couch. The nausea continued full force. I don’t know why they call it morning sickness when it lasts all day. Stupid name. I was vomiting a couple days a week. Week 10 I even threw up in my car WHILE driving in a construction zone on the highway. Thank God I had a plastic grocery bag and was only a couple miles from home. That was the day I hit symptom rock bottom. So gross.

This week I also saw the high risk doctors at Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) for the first time. They told me everything looked good so far, and the doctor discussed with me all of the possible complications that could arise in a mo/di (monochorionic, diamniotic) pregnancy like mine. Preeclampsia, anemia, preterm labor, TTTS, gestational diabetes, etc. Talk about a freak out. But they assured me they would do everything in their power to make things go smoothly, and I would be monitored often. I set up my next appointment for week 16. This would be the first of many TTTS monitoring appointments. From that appointment forward I would have ultrasounds every other week to monitor growth, fluid, placenta, and other signs of TTTS.

Week 12

For those of you who are unaware, week 12 is a milestone week. By now the placenta has taken over and symptoms should begin to subside. It is at this week that risk of miscarriage drops considerably. I was given the all clear from my specialist to discontinue my progesterone injections and estrogen pills and patches. I was also released from the RE and turned over to my OB. Nick and I announced our pregnancy on social media this week and the response was amazing. We were so overwhelmed by all of the love and support we received. Our family, friends and community are truly amazing.

 

Week 13

The last week of the first trimester!! Hallelujah! This week my nausea improved drastically. I was able to reintroduce some healthy food into my diet. And I actually had a little bit more energy. I saw my OB for the first time this week and babies looked good. I wouldn’t have another ultrasound for 3 weeks though, and this really freaked me out. But for now, we had two healthy babies on the way and couldn’t be happier!

Are you sure there aren’t two?

The moment I asked the ultrasound tech that question has lingered in my mind for the past several weeks, “Are you sure there aren’t two?”

Two weeks after our second beta, which sky-rocketed up from 697 to 2003, we had our first ultrasound. Let me tell you, the days leading up to the appointment were some of the longest of my life. I didn’t quite FEEL pregnant yet, and I certainly didn’t look pregnant, so how could I really BE pregnant? Maybe the tests were wrong, or my third beta wouldn’t have doubled? Shouldn’t they be doing betas every other day until that first appointment??

Week 4-5 was a piece of cake in the symptoms department. I felt normal, no sore boobs, no nausea, just a little extra tired. Shouldn’t I be feeling something by now? By the end of week 5, I felt like I had been hit by a bus. I was exhausted, nauseated, my legs were sore and I had a headache. But that couldn’t be the pregnancy, right? I was sure that I had caught something from a coworker who had been out of the office for most of the week. Dang him for bringing me his sickness! I felt much better after a few days.

We went in for our first ultrasound when I was 6 weeks and 4 days along. Nick took a half day off from work so that he could come with me. I picked him up from our house and we rode together to the doctor’s office. On the way, we heard a commercial about a woman hearing two heartbeats at her ultrasound and she found out she was having twins. Nick looked at me and said something along the lines of “that could be us, maybe it’s a sign”. I laughed it off and said, yea right! We only transferred one embryo, it was a miracle in itself that that had stuck!

To say I was nervous and anxious in the waiting room would be an understatement. I knew how early it was, and how quickly things could go south in a pregnancy. I said numerous prayers, just hoping that my little nugget was OK and that we would see all the things we needed to (according to Dr. Google, a yolk sack and something about a fetal pole were vital). They called me back, drew my blood, and then it was go time.

My doctor was out of the office that week so I was seeing one of the ultrasound techs. As soon as she stuck in that magic want I immediately saw two little white blobs. But then she started moving it around and they were gone just as fast. The first thing she said was “there it is”, and I finally let my breath out (I think I had been holding it since the blood draw). She took its measurements, and showed us the little flicker of the heartbeat. I was grinning from ear to ear. They warned me that we might not be able to hear the heartbeat this early, but we could try. I held my breath again and all of a sudden heard the most beautiful sound, the thump-thump-thump of my baby’s heart. Queue the tears.

After that, I’m not sure what came over me, but that is when I blurted out the “are you sure there aren’t two in there?” She said, “Well hold on let me check, I am going to do a scan of the uterus.” I watched the screen change and then she stopped on another blob and said “Yep, there’s another.” Well HOLY CRAP. TWINS!!! Disbelief, shock, joy, fear, excitement – I felt all of these emotions in that single moment. We were able to hear the heartbeat of baby 2 as well!

FirstUltrasoundPic

It looks like we are having identical twins. This automatically makes my case high risk, and with identical twins there is a risk of Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), where basically one twin would take over the majority of the nutrients and doesn’t get enough (more about that in the future), but that is a risk we are willing to deal with should it arise. All we knew is that in our time of need, and pain, and doubt, God had blessed us with two beautiful heartbeats.

We made one wish, and two came true.

IVF #2 – Test Day

February 1, 2016. 11dp5dt. This was test day and I had never been more scared for something in my life. Leading up to the day I had experienced some cramping, and a “lightning bolt” stab of pain in my uterus the day after transfer. I had also hit a blood vessel in my stomach when administering my Lovenox injections so I had a huge bruise and was extremely sore for a few days. Besides that and being a bit sleepier, I had no symptoms. I spent days and nights praying for nausea, sore boobs, anything. But I just felt pretty darn normal!

I worked from home that morning, and took the afternoon off. I knew if I received the same news as last time I would just want to go straight home and cry and binge drink wine. I spent the morning doing work, crying and praying. After having my blood drawn that morning, the nurse had mentioned the results wouldn’t likely come in until after 2pm. My mom and dad were scheduled to come over to keep me company at 1:30pm. I kept my phone clear across the room while I worked so that I wouldn’t keep checking it.

I finally got up to use the restroom around 1:15 and noticed I had a missed text message from my friend who is also my nurse at the clinic. It said “Call the office ASAP, we tried to get ahold of you 🙂 🙂 :)”. Thank GOD for those smiley faces. At that moment I knew the news was positive. My heart was beating a mile a minute as I went outside to call the clinic. They gave me the most amazing news I had ever heard, the word I had been waiting 18 months to hear, POSITIVE. My first beta had come back at 697, and they look for 100! HOLY CRAP!!

After a few screams and some crying, I scheduled my second beta for two days later. Just as I hung up the phone I saw my parents pulling around the corner and into my driveway. I walked right outside and told them the news. I couldn’t contain myself! My mom even had a gift bag of baby stuff in the car because she “had a feeling” (why the heck didn’t I have that feeling??). I then proceeded to go upstairs to the bathroom and pee on a handful of pregnancy tests. Two lines and the digital “Pregnant” showed up right away. I dropped to my knees and thanked God. I then looked at the sticks about 8 million times and pranced down the stairs to show my parents.

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We then decided it would be fun to surprise Nick at work! I loved this idea because I never thought I would get to surprise him, since he knew the info was coming. But we received the news early and had some time. We drove to the store and bought a Congratulations balloon along with two pink and two blue balloons and drove to Nick’s school. He actually called while we were on our way and I had to lie through my teeth. I did a pretty good job and think there might be an acting career in my future. Below is a video of the surprise. I can honestly say it was some of the best few minutes of my life and I am SO glad that I was able to make it this special for Nick.

After Nick had heard the news I took some time to tell a handful of close family members and friends. After all, it was still early days. But for that day, at that very moment, I was PREGNANT.

Happy Transfer Day! NOT.

Transfer day was Thursday, January 21, 2016. We went into the day super excited, and I was especially excited for a four day weekend of binging on Netflix and napping. We would be transferring one embryo at 10:45 am and 11 days later our pregnancy test was scheduled.

This time Nick came with me, there was no way I was going to let him miss the big moment again. We goofed around in the waiting area (thank goodness I didn’t wet myself because a full bladder is required for transfer) and once again it took the nurses a good three tries before they were able to draw my blood for testing. Nick looked very dapper in his hospital gown and hair net (see below) as we prepared to see our little embie on the big screen.

Once in the operating room the embryologist checked my bladder and actually let me get up and let a little bit out in the restroom which was AMAZING. When I returned they showed us our little cell blob on the big screen and then transferred it right on into its home for hopefully the next 9 months. As I laid there for about 10 minutes after the procedure, the nurse brought us a picture of the embryo and one of the ultrasound after the transfer had been made. We were SO excited.

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Then the bad news came. A nurse handed me a piece of paper to sign, and being the good girl that I am, I actually read it. It was a form stating that we had one embryo left frozen from our October cycle. Immediately my heart fell. One embryo? I thought there were 5 left, total? One from the October cycle and 4 from this cycle. After all, five had made it to freeze back in December. A great number. I asked the nurse what this meant and she told me she wasn’t sure.

We went back to my waiting “room” where I was to lie down for another 20 minutes or so. I asked the next nurse I saw why I only had one frozen embryo listed on my sheet of paper. She too was unsure and said she would call back to the lab to ask. After about a half an hour we were FINALLY visited by a representative of the lab.

If you recall, our cycle was part of a clinical study where the embryos (either all of them, or all but the best looking one, would receive Preimplantation Genetic Screening). Apparently all 4 of the other embryos tested from our December retrieval came back genetically abnormal and were thrown out. WHAT!?!?!

Well what about the one in me? Was that one normal or abnormal?? Because of the study, we were not allowed to know what group we were in, so there was no way to tell. Four out of five were for sure abnormal. All I could think of were, what are the odds that one out of five was normal, IF it have been tested? I was devastated. Basically this was our only shot because we did not have any genetically normal embryos leftover. Yes, we have our little guy from October, but the quality was weak and probably not worth an FET on its own.

I spent the entire drive home crying, and convincing myself we were going to have to either start all over from scratch or begin pursuing adoption. The clinic sent over some paperwork explaining what was abnormal about the other four embryos but it didn’t make any sense to me. I was just for sure that I did not produce any good eggs and that I would never have a baby of my own.

As much as Nick tried to get me to think positive, I could not. I spent the next week plus depressed, sporadically crying, researching infertility grants and seeking information on adoption. I am nothing if not prepared. But nothing could have prepared me for the miracle that happened next.

There can be miracles, when you believe…

It is with great joy, but also with a heavy heart, that we announced to the world that we are pregnant with not one, but two miracle babies!

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Joy because it is finally our turn to have a family. Joy because we have seen two lines, heard our baby’s heartbeats and allowed ourselves to look to the future. It is with a heavy heart because I know there are so many well deserving people out there still being crushed by the weight of infertility and a dream lost. For every tear of joy, there has been a tear of sorrow. For every moment I have not quite believed, there is another living with the reality of infertility. And as much as my heart has broken, it has also been repaired.

We cannot begin to explain how incredibly blessed we feel. In our wildest dreams we did not imagine that this would be our story. We are so thankful for this journey we have been through. For all of the wonderful people we have met, for all the lessons it has taught us, and for the gift that we have been given. It is true that God works in mysterious ways, and that He has a plan.

I look forward to transitioning this blog from one of infertility, to one of pregnancy, and (God-willing) eventually to one with a focus on family. But I promise to never forget where I came from. To never discount someone’s journey or struggle because my own took a turn for the best. I will never forget the pain that came with each month, the fear of the unknown, or the feeling of being broken. I understand if it is too difficult for some of my followers to continue this journey with me, and I wish you all the best of luck. A family is waiting for you all, one way or another. I just know it.

Baby A & Baby B are due to arrive on October 8, 2016. However, because we are having twins, my doctor said that I would deliver at 36 weeks, which puts us at around September 10th. We found out the wonderful news on February 1, 2016. I have since posted a couple of blogs, but none have revealed our news. I have continued to write about our journey, and I plan to post my entries from the first trimester in the coming days/weeks. These will include pregnancy test day, the day of our first ultrasound, and a reflection on the first weeks being pregnant.

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We hope that you will continue this wild ride with us and we cannot wait to see what the future has in store!

What’s with the socks?

If you are traveling the road of infertility and are involved with any of the several online TTC forums, you have probably seen your share of women posting images of their sock adorned feet, before or after a procedure. When I first began browsing these forums, I myself wondered, “What the heck is up with all of these pictures of socks?”

As it turns out, women are very particular about the socks they wear during infertility procedures, especially during IVF retrieval and transfer procedures. Women wear socks of various colors, patterns, and styles. Some may wear the same pair for each procedure, others may prefer to switch it up and rock a different pair of socks each time. These socks are worn for good luck, to make us smile and to keep us feeling hopeful. The procedure sock purchasing process is often a fun experience amidst all of the shots, scans and emotional chaos.

But why SOCKS? Why not lucky underwear, or t-shirts? Essentially, socks are the ONLY article of your own that you are allowed to wear during such procedures. Most clinics require you to strip down and put on one of those attractive hospital gowns that tie twice in the back, along with a pair of paper slippers and a hair net. Where is the fun in that? While your bra and undies must go in a bag while you undergo one of the most important procedures of your life, the socks are allowed to stay. And that is why we infertile women like to find the most crazy, fun, or inspiring pair to wear!

The types and combinations are endless. I have seen unicorn socks, tie dye socks, mismatched socks. Socks with frogs, socks with words and socks with toes. I even bought a pair of Ellen socks because I thought I might post a picture of them to social media and tag Ellen. Then maybe she would have me on her show and let me talk about infertility, IVF and the right to a family. I chickened out on that one though, for some reason I felt selfish doing that? Like what if Ellen saw the photo and paid for my next cycle? I would feel guilty. But I still wore them and took a picture, because we all know how great Ellen is at making people smile.

Whatever pair you choose to wear, make it one that will help you to think positive, and to feel extra lucky. After all, even a positive mood can help create a positive outcome. Below are a few of my personal “sockie” (like selfie…I may have just made that up) photos from the past several months.

 

Ellen

Strong1 Strong2

Hope1 Hope2 (3)

 

The “I have hope” and “I am strong” socks are from a website called Notes to Self and they have a variety of what they call “Positive Affirmation Socks” that would be great for more than just infertility treatments.

Ladies, I recommend you all go out and splurge on some fun socks, I promise you won’t regret it.

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