Crystal is a single mother by choice… with 2.5-year-old twins. In this profile, she shares the story of her hard-fought journey to build a family. And while she may be outnumbered, she couldn’t be happier…
Please introduce yourself and your family!
My name is Crystal, I am a 46-year-old single mother by choice with two and a half-year-old fraternal twins, Preston and Bryson.
So how did you enter the world multiples?
Our story is a long one.
I set out to build my family 10 years ago at the age of 35. And I was extremely cautious not to have a multiple pregnancy.
After 6 years of IUI cycles, I was 41 years old and still had not been pregnant.
I advised my physician, that I would like to try 3 medicated IUI cycles as I did not have the resources to pay for an IVF cycle upfront.
I got pregnant on my second cycle… 7 mature follicles got me pregnant and it was a fabulous pregnancy with no morning sickness, loads of energy and zero complications.
It was at 35 weeks when that all changed for us.
I arrived at my 35 week OB appointment with a little concern as I had not felt the baby move in the last 12 hours. And it was confirmed by ultrasound that my baby’s heart had stopped.
After 22 hours of induced labor, my daughter Emersyn was born still.
I said my goodbyes and left the hospital – my arms empty and my heart broken.
For 6 months after that dreadful day, I worked on healing the pain and trauma of the loss of my daughter, with monthly attempts to get pregnant again.
After enduring an excruciating and unsuccessful IVF cycle, and no more savings for treatments, I was more determined then ever to build my family… even if it wasn’t my own biology.
I contemplated adoption, but it takes a long time. It’s expensive and there are still no guarantees that you will have a successful adoption.
I couldn’t go through the entire process and lose another baby because the birth mom changed her mind.
So, I began researching donor egg cycles and found a donor willing to do a fresh donor cycle to help me build my family.
She was also a single mother and helped to support her family by being an egg donor. I was her fourth and final donor cycle with all previous cycles resulting in proven pregnancies.
After a very successful cycle, I was the recipient of the most precious and generous gift on this earth… 6 eggs frozen for future use, if necessary. And 7 fertilized embryos. Her eggs & Emersyn’s sperm donor.
At 42 years old, I opted to take my chances with transferring two embryos, hoping that one of them would implant.
Needless to say, they both stuck!
I was extremely happy. However, I was cautious not to get my hopes up… given the outcome of my previous pregnancy.
How was your twin pregnancy and delivery?
The first two trimesters of my pregnancy was very similar to when I was pregnant with Emersyn… with increased energy, no morning sickness, and similar cravings.
The only difference was this time, I was terrified of almost everything that could go wrong during this pregnancy.
I was high-risk due to my weight, my age, my previous stillbirth and carrying a twin pregnancy.
I had bi-weekly or weekly appointments with my OB’s office. And they confirmed that this pregnancy would not be going past 35 weeks unless I was monitored and on bed rest.
I also made it clear that delivering the twins would be a scheduled C-Section.
Well, the boys had another plan.
At 32 weeks, my water for Baby A (Preston) had broken and I received the first of two injections to help with the boys’ lung development on the Friday morning.
Sunday morning my contractions started and although the doctors thought I would not deliver until later that week, I knew these boys were coming that night.
At 5pm, I asked to be moved to Labor & Delivery for more one-on-one monitoring.
At 6pm they checked my dilation, which had not changed since Friday morning. 1 cm dilated. But things moved quickly from there.
At 6:30pm the contractions started to get more intense. And after 20 minutes, I asked for the doctor to check on my progress…
I had dilated to 8cm and was being rushed to the delivery room. With gas to muffle my screams, the boys arrived at 7:15 and 7:18pm, 8 weeks ahead of schedule.
Wow. How were the early days with the twins?
The early weeks with the twins were stressful, with their time in the NICU… but that time also gave me a chance to catch up on some sleep, which I really needed for when they got home.
I had the gift of two sisters who were ready and willing to help out on weekends so that I could get things done and/or sleep.
I also decided that I needed more help during the week and hired a babysitter to come three times a week from 10pm – 4am to feed and care for the boys while I slept.
What’s been the biggest challenge so far?
The biggest challenge so far has had nothing to do with the twins but the stability of my employment, which is extremely important as a single parent.
In regards to the boys… sleep continues to be the biggest challenge in our house. One of my boys is an early riser and makes sure to wake everyone up with him.
Have you made any interesting observations as a single mom to twins?
It’s a big thing, especially in a single parent home.
My boys have been forced to be independent with many things. It’s a blessing and a curse.
They want to do things on their own and sometimes this makes getting out of the house on time an issue.
I am always late right now.
I try to be on time but I don’t sweat it.
Let’s face it… I’m outnumbered!
What tips or advice would you have for other parents who are expecting multiples? Or for that matter, single women interested in becoming mothers on their own?
My tips for life with multiples is to share that it’s never as bad as we imagine it’s going to be… and if it is, it won’t last forever.
I have embraced the motto “This too shall pass”.
Advice that I have for women interested in becoming single mothers by choice… I would encourage those considering being a single mother to be realistic about how you will support your family and put the plans in action to make that happen.
Consider your living situation and where the best place is to raise your kids.
I moved out of the city way before the kids arrived to set-up an income property which has helped pay for my fertility treatments and pay for daycare for the boys while I go to work.
Lastly, line up your village early… friends or family who will pitch in during the early days and the occasional weekend so that you can get away to refresh yourself.
If you had to go back and do something differently, what would it be?
The only thing I regret would be buying too much, too early.
I was trying to be so prepared for these two babies that were going to arrive soon, that I bought way too much.
Many things I have had to re-sell or give-away.
I would also follow that up with really only buying “new” on the essentials…there is a huge network of selling pages or multiples sales where you can get good quality clothes or gear for a steal.
How important is it to seek support from other parents of multiples?
All my friends’ kids are teenagers or they’re now grandparents!
I needed to connect with new parents and mothers who were in the same situation as me in regards to child development and more so, how best to parent multiples.
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. What would you say is the best thing about your life with multiples?
That I have them.
During the tough times, I wasn’t sure I was ever going to get here.
Now, I can sit back and enjoy the challenges that are behind us and the adventures ahead of us, as we continue to grow as a family….
And if things work in our favor in the next 6 months, I may just sign us up for this journey again….