October is Pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. When most people hear this, they think miscarriage or stillborn losses. What they don’t necessarily think about is infertility and tole it can take not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. Sometimes there is a specific reason for it and sometimes there is no known reason for it and it just happens. In the Tweedle’s case, Heather was born with only half a uterus so any pregnancy she went through would be very high risk. They were able to have their Rainbow-Harrison after VF treatments after discovering her half uterus when she was 21. They also had what’s known as a chemical pregnancy which is why Harrison is a Rainbow baby.
“It’s my belief that there’s always a divine plan in the works, and it’s impossible to see when you’re in the storm – but a beautiful sunset following.” -Heather Tweedle
Here is some more of her story in her own words.
“I was born with a half of a uterus; this was discovered when I was approximately 21 years old through some medical issues that I was having at the time. When diagnosed, they advised me that I would likely have difficulty getting pregnant, and potentially have late term miscarriages. I knew when I was 21, that if I ever gave birth, my child would be delivered via c-section. Chris and I were dating at the time, and he cared for me through several exploratory surgeries. Of course, we had the conversation early about “kids” and what our relationship would be like with, or without them. We already had decided that if we were able to have one child, it would be a blessing given the obstacles I was facing.
Chris and I got married in 2006, when I was 24 yrs old. And we wanted to just be “married’ first, so we didn’t rush into trying. We waited 6 years of our marriage to begin to try.
During that time, I watched family members struggle with infertility and privately watched as they stressed when people asked for updates or offered suggestions. So, when Chris and I begin to try, we decided to keep it a secret from all our friends and family. Looking back, there were a lot more internal struggles than just the added stress of the questions. There’s a lot of guilt, pressure, personal blame that goes on when you struggle with infertility. It’s hard. It’s taxing, mentally and physically. We tried for about a year and a half, without medical intervention and my long standing OBGYN immediately referred me to Reproductive Biology Associates of America – which is where we underwent IVF procedures with the medical guidance of Dr. Shapiro.
We had personally chosen to draw a line in the sand for three attempts in the beginning of what we thought we could withstand of the financial and mental stress that it could cause. Harrison was born from our third attempt at IVF.
Our first attempt was a true failure. Our second attempt resulted in a chemical pregnancy.
The chemical pregnancy was brutal, on Friday I was pregnant – on Monday, I was not. Of course, we had skipped through the aisles of Target buying a stuffed toy, a baby name book, and “What to Expect…”
It broke me. At this time, for the first time ever, we allowed ourselves to be vulnerable and let a few key people into our world of infertility.
Again, Harrison came on our third attempt. I was monitored the entire way as a high-risk pregnancy, and he was born on April 11, 2014.”
Wow! What a story! What a journey! Harrison is such a blessing to them, and you can see how much love is in that family with every smile I captured!
Heather’s advice to those who are going through infertility and maybe are looking into IVF is “Write yourself a letter of what your boundaries are when you begin if you’ve set them. What would you tell yourself if you have to “check” yourself mentally? The good. The bad. And the ugly. Remind yourself of what life can be if it doesn’t work. Remind yourself that your partner is #1. Then, tuck it away – and pray you don’t ever have to bring it out. But’s it will be there if you need that mental check.
What would I want couples to know?
To those experiencing any type of loss she recommends:
Thank you, Heather, for sharing your story and your journey. There are so many out there struggling with infertility for one reason or another and this story will give them hope. This family was such a pleasure to work with! Please check out their sneak peek.
*** If you are interested in sharing your story of infant/pregnancy loss through miscarriage, infertility etc, please reach out to me at email@example.com. I would love to chat! *****
October 18, 2021