It hasn’t been an easy road for twin parents Brieanna and Jesse. They’ve had their set backs… from difficulties conceiving to morning sickness. But despite everything, Brieanna says she’d do it all again.
Please introduce yourselves…
My name is Brieanna and my partner Jesse and I have fraternal twins, a boy and a girl. Our story is a long one. We met in grade 5 when I transferred schools. On my first day Jesse gave up his seat for me to sit with a table of other girls in our class. We started dating in grade 8 and from that point on we were inseparable. We have been together now for 22 years and counting.
How did you enter the world of multiples?
I struggled with fertility. It was a long process with many ups and downs.
We went through a lot and there are no words to describe how difficult it is individually and as a couple to go through such stress and heartbreak… with such small odds of success and such desperate desire to find the tiniest pieces of hope in order to continue.
When you start a journey like this you need to know how far you’re willing to go to reach your goals. And for us, we would have done anything to have a baby to call our own.
When did you find out you were pregnant with multiples?
We found out that we’d finally had a successful round of IUI and that we were expecting when I was 4.5 weeks.
At 6 weeks we found out that we were expecting a ‘small litter’ as the doctor called it – triplets to be exact.
We were terrified of the unknown, scared of all that could go wrong, but I was blissfully overjoyed. I finally had my miracle that I had wished for.
Can you talk about your experience with selective reduction?
Early in our second trimester, we were transferred to a High-Risk Pregnancy Program at our hospital, mainly because we couldn’t find an OB to take us on. And given our situation, they thought it was best for me and the babies.
At 18 weeks, I feel we were bullied into a selective reduction…
This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to go through, there are no words to explain the feeling of loss this instilled in me… like I wasn’t a mom yet and was already failing at it.
I felt very lost in the process and doing what was “right” for the babies and for me. Everyone had an opinion on this, so there really wasn’t anyone I could talk to or rely on for the support needed.
It was very hard to find others who understood.
Looking back, I wish I’d been more involved in the medical decisions made during my first and second trimesters. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wonder what would have been if I hadn’t been so afraid for the safety of my babies… and not getting to the ‘finish line’ with a baby in my hands… to stand up for what I wanted.
When did you learn you would be having a girl and a boy?
We found out early on that baby A was going to be a girl. I cried.
I had been convinced they were all boys and I had no idea what I was going to do. In my family, we’re all girls.
Baby B wasn’t so cooperative during our anatomy appointments… he liked to wiggle, but we eventually caught him and they confirmed it was a boy!
This news was blissful. One of each!
How was the day to day of your twin pregnancy?
My pregnancy was hard. I struggled with morning sickness all day, every day, from the beginning to the very end.
I couldn’t keep anything down. The smell of things that I use to love now became immediate triggers for me to run to the bathroom and throw up.
I popped at 8 weeks and there was no hiding it, despite all my efforts.
When I went to buy maternity clothes the sheer mention of multiples seemed to confuse the sales staff. I may have been in my first trimester but I was the size of a late second trimester and even moving into the third-trimester clothes didn’t help because nothing was ever long enough.
As I grew, getting dressed became harder and harder. Why do maternity pants have to come up so high?! The waist bands felt like I was crushing the babies and nothing was long enough to cover my belly.
At 25 weeks I went off from work because I couldn’t sleep and I was losing weight as I struggled to get food in let alone keep it down. I swear I survived off of Honey Nut Cheerios.
At 27 weeks they discovered Baby B, our little boy, had a faulty placenta and was struggling to keep up with his development and growth.
By 30 weeks I was at the clinic every other day for stress tests and ultrasound check ups, never knowing if and when it was going to be the day that I was going to meet my babies.
What were your biggest concerns when you learned you were having multiples?
Money was a big concern. How would we make ends meet, bring two babies into our family and pay off all our fertility treatment?
But my biggest concern was their safety and survival when I first found out I was pregnant. I didn’t want a baby shower or to put the news out there because I was so afraid of something happening.
Unfortunately, I didn’t feel I was able to fully enjoy the pregnancy and celebrate what we had waited so long for and worked so hard to get.
If I had it to do over again, I would have done more to celebrate my pregnancy. I would have done the photo shoots and the couple’s photos. I would have had the baby showers and let my guard down in order to celebrate their upcoming arrival and not let myself be ruled by fear.
What kind of attention did you get when you were out in public with the twins?
When they were babies we got mixed attention. People wanted to know if they were “natural”.
I stopped answering that question. Thankfully twins run in my family and my mum is a twin so I stuck with that.
I also had a big problem with people wanting to touch them. People on the subway would always want to touch them. I didn’t want strangers touching their faces.
I solved that problem with a fabric sunscreen that I kept over the stroller when I was out.
Any other challenges you didn’t anticipate?
One of the biggest challenges was going back to work. I so desperately wanted to stay at home with them to watch them grow. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do this again and I didn’t want to miss a moment.
I loved being home with them… on the good days and bad days. It was everything I had hoped it would be.
And I enjoyed every moment.
What’s your best tip for other parents of multiples?
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
What’s the greatest thing about your life with multiples?
I find great joy in knowing the twins have each other. I love watching them grow together.
And, I would do it again in a heartbeat!