Courtesy of Andrea Pike
An early sonogram revealed that Andrea and Jeff Pike are having twins.
An early sonogram revealed that Andrea and Jeff Pike are having twins. Courtesy of Andrea Pike
I'm sitting on the couch, 29 1/2 weeks pregnant with twin girls, and am watching my massive midsection bounce and roll and pop. I never thought I'd experience this. After 10 years filled with fertility drugs, hope, despair, waiting rooms, tears, adoptions, miscarriages, painful diagnostic procedures, strain on our marriage and so much more, Jeff and I are getting to experience a new part of parenthood. Something about this round of medical magic seemed different, though. The desperation to become parents was noticeably gone. In its place was a calm, maybe even arrogant at times, confidence that this time, it would be different.
And it was.
Andrea Pike, 31, from Union, Ky., gave birth to twin girls Natalie and Elizabeth on Aug. 3. She and her husband, Jeff, also have two young sons who were adopted.
Eleven days after egg retrieval (a step in the in vitro fertilization process), I woke up at 6 a.m. Jeff was in Spain on business and our two boys were still asleep. I took a super-sensitive home pregnancy test from my secret stash. (Jeff made me promise I would wait for the blood test, still four days away. I had never had any intention of keeping that promise.) After waiting three minutes, I took the test strip from the bathroom counter and looked for that elusive, second pink line, indicating a pregnancy.
And there she was. She was faint, but she was there. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and looked at the test again. Yup, still there. I took the test into the kitchen and stood by a window for better light. Yup, not dreaming. I then proceeded to turn into a sobbing, jumping, laughing fool. I picked up the phone and called Jeff.
"We're pregnant!!" I sobbed. "It worked!!"
"What?" Jeff asked, his voice choppy from the poor cell phone reception and muted from the loud cheering and yelling I heard in the background.
"I SAID WE'RE PREGNANT! I JUST TOOK A TEST AND THERE IS A SECOND LINE!!!" I cried.
"What? Honey, you're going to have to speak up. I can't hear you over the Socialists!"
Now, I'd like to pause to explain something. See, Jeff is my opposite and is rather conservative, both in religion and politics. (When I told him about being chosen for the Baby Project, he was hesitant, joking that NPR would want one of our twins as a membership contribution. At least, I think he was joking.) So when he explained that he was in the midst of a Young Socialist rally in Madrid, it just added another layer of "weird" to the situation, which was already very surreal to begin with.
Three weeks later it was confirmed with an ultrasound that we were expecting twins. The next day, Jeff left for a monthlong business trip to China. (I'm pretty sure the two were unrelated.) For the next trimester and a half, when I wasn't sleeping, I was vomiting. Violently. When I wasn't tossing my cookies, I was thinking about tossing my cookies. I was prescribed Zofran and Phenergan (anti-nausea drugs) and sucked on Preggie Pops 24 hours a day. During one episode of horfing, my 4-year-old knocked on the bathroom door and, very politely, asked that I not throw up the babies.
Constant nausea and puking aside, the pregnancy has been fantastic. I have developed a minor issue with not having enough iron or blood. The girls are doing great, but I feel like I've run back-to-back marathons, so my OB decided that I needed iron infusions for the next few weeks.
I am savoring and memorizing every little detail and event with this pregnancy. I laugh at myself when I have to get in or out of my car or heave myself in and out of bed. Every time I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror, I stop and admire the rotund belly in front of me and I smile. There is nothing in the world like having my sons and my husband talk to the girls or give them good night kisses. I've only gotten to experience parenthood from the point of taking the baby home from the hospital, so to finally be able to experience the whole journey is simply amazing.