Sharyn shares the precious journey of Mila and Luca
Our journey to parenthood started a couple of years ago when we started to get into pregnancy gear with our friend who is a fertility naturopath. After many months of trying and seemingly having no reason to not conceive we then got in touch with Brad Crouch the rather famous naturopath who had many recommendations. This also didn’t work so it was finally off to Fertility Associates. All was looking great until it was discovered that my egg reserve was critically low (even for a ‘geriatric’ mother like me).
After failing an IVF cycle dismally we were told we would not conceive without donor eggs and were referred to a clinic in San Diego that has a whopping $50,000 price tag. Thankfully my resourceful hubby got online and discovered a well reputed and reasonably priced programme in South Africa and given that is where his Mum is from we decided to go for gold and see what would come of it.
By January of 2012 we had confirmed a 21 year old donor through our agency Gift of Life and were taking steps to complete our cycle around April/May of that year. It was amazing to get a detailed profile of our donor and her history, likes, dislikes and much about her genetics, medical history, etc. It was ironic too given I am adopted, I now know more about the family history of our donor eggs and the genetics of our babies than I ever would have known about my own. Once we had her agreeance it was time to get in sync and start planning our trip.
We decided we wanted it to be a great holiday so booked to stay for just over 3 weeks and ensured we planned plenty of time to see the sights and try not to focus it all on the baby making aspect. We arrived in Cape Town a few days before the business end of the treatment staying in our fabulous gay hotel (that’s what you do when you book online through Expedia without checking the website!!) I had a scan to confirm being ready to receive the embryos and the hubby doing his bit to fertilise the eggs 4 days after our arrival. Then it was 5 days of taking in the Garden Route to come back to Cape Town to have the two perfect embryos replaced. And it was back to stay at the gay hotel as it really was a ‘fabulous’ place to stay!!
Then it was a waiting game to the 14 day blood test which thankfully confirmed a pregnancy. After that it was a long wait to the 6 week scan. Hubby was convinced we would have twins on board but I was not so sure. I almost fell off my chair when the specialist said “…and there’s the second heartbeat”. Finally it was real – we were having twins!!! I was honestly shocked, excited and a little nervous but overwhelmingly happy to know finally we were well on our way to having a family (and two for the price of one!!)
From there the pregnancy was text book with all going well. I was having regular check ups and scans with nothing untoward until the appointment the day after our first antenatal class when my check up revealed high blood pressure. At this stage I was 30 weeks pregnant and even though I knew the babies would be safe it was a scary prospect that the doctors started to talk of preeclampsia and early delivery.
At this stage I was admitted and monitored but my liver was not good and neither was my BP so it was decided originally to get the bubbas out on the Friday night but because I was stable, they were happy and the specialists wanted the full effect of the steroids to work we were scheduled for a section on Sat PM.
So the next day at 3.23pm and 3.25pm Mila Nellie and Luca Frederick were born. Because they were born at 31 weeks and 1 day they were whisked to NICU with Dad where they got to meet Aunty Tracey who was staging a photoshoot in their room. Mummy was wheeled in to join the party about 45 mins later after a quick hello just after the delivery.
Mila weighed in at 1490gm (3lb 4oz) and Luca was 1800gm (4lb) and both had to be ventilated for a short time. From there we had 10 days in NICU in Auckland hospital where the staff were more than fantastic. I was home just after a week and I have to say there is nothing worse than leaving the hospital without your babies.
Then on day 11 the next adventure began when with 3 hours notice we were transferred to Middlemore. The kids each had their own nurse and ambulance and Dad was very happy their first ride was in a Mercedes! Middlemore was very different to Auckland but the same amazing care was given by all staff. I became a regular only having one day off seeing them when I got laryngitis and it was recommended I stay away.
The bubs had weeks of getting their breathing and feeding right but were always doing well with regular milestones. And just as they should with plenty of care from wonderful staff, all the right buttons and wires to keep them safe and all the goodies from Mum and Dad including lots of cuddles and breast milk (thanks to the pump from our Multiple Birth club) things were always progressing in the right direction.
Once it was decided they were well enough with their breathing it was time to take the next step, moving out to Pukekohe Maternity. So on the Sunday before Christmas again they took an ambulance ride both together with Mum out to Pukekohe with Dad following close behind. We were lucky enough to take control of the famous G Room and were there for six days taking the final step with establishing full bottle/ breast feeds and the removal of the feeding tubes. Mila was clever enough to remove her own tube (she never liked them anyways!) and Luca followed a day or so later.
Christmas Day was lovely, with Dad coming in to have Christmas lunch with me as the kids slept soundly. It was the best present ever to know that in a few days our angels would be home. And on Friday the 28th December we did just that. It was the best feeling (although a little nerve racking after many weeks in hospitals) to finally make it home safe in the knowledge we had two beautiful, fit and healthy bubs.
And since then they have been thriving and are now 2 months old and last week hit their 40 week gestation date with Luca weighing in at 3610gm (7lb 15oz) and Mila at 3260gm (7lb 3oz) (both practically double their birth weights). Mighty healthy wee tots now considering their challenging start in life. Mum and Dad could not be more proud and big sister Peta very excited to be able to have lots of cuddles and loves to help take care of them. We are one truly blessed and happy household despite the lack of sleep!