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Shannon's twin pregnancy journal

~ Meet Shannon!

Fukuyama Family expecting twinsI was 19 years old and three months pregnant when I married "the boy next door." David was born in June of '82 and the pregnancy went great, with the exception of a 60 pound weight gain and a blood clot in my leg. The blood clot resolved without treatment following the birth.

A few years later, I had the opportunity to be a surrogate mother. In January, 1985, nine months after the first attempt at artificial insemination, I gave birth to "Kari." That pregnancy was nearly textbook perfect, except for the food poisoning I contracted the week before she was born. It was such a wonderful feeling to help create a family that I decided to be a surrogate one more time before adding to my own family. Jillian was born in April, 1986, nine months after a single embryo (created by IVF) was transferred into me. By that time, both my son and my husband were begging me for a "girl of our own." In June of '97, I obliged them with the homebirth of Kaitlyn.

Having three babies in three years really wore me out. I didn't have the physical or emotional energy to devote to all areas of my life and focused only on what was absolutely necessary. My marriage was rarely one of those priorities. When Kait was a year old, I began to work, and my husband began to "date." Three months later, my marriage was pretty much over.

A co-worker (in another state) had been through a cheating spouse and a divorce and Ron became my best friend by phone. We were both hurt and lonely, and it wasn't long before our long distance relationship grew. When I learned I was pregnant with his child just a few months later, I was torn. I still had hope that things would work out with my husband (whom I was separated from) and I didn't think it was a great time in my life to have another baby. On the other hand, I'd been a surrogate mother twice, sharing life with two families, and I couldn't see ending a life simply because it was "inconvenient."

My second son, Alex, was born in July, 1989, nearly two months premature. He weighed 6 lbs, 4 ozs and had only minor difficulties at birth. His first year was a horrible experience, with bouts of pneumonia, constant ear infections leading to ruptured ear drums, and a serious milk allergy that nearly killed him. He was hospitalized at six months old, and tested for Cystic Fibrosis. Fortunately, the test was negative and Alex has grew out of his illnesses.

In 1990, I filed for divorce, and my three children and I moved in with Ron. In 1992, I had my left ovary removed due to painful cysts. Later that year, I miscarried shortly after learning I was pregnant. The following year, at the age of 30, I started school with the intention of becoming a Nurse-Midwife. It took me three years of community college classes before I was at a point where I was accepted into a university nursing program in 1996. By this time, Ron and I were still sharing a house, but living separately. He'd wanted to get married from the beginning. At first I was afraid of trying it again and then decided we just weren't "right" for each other. I planned to leave as soon as received my nursing degree. I was so excited about working toward a goal, but I never realized how hard it would be to go to nursing school while raising three children essentially alone. Nearing the end of my first year, I could barely wait for summer break. My "break" came sooner than expected when I fractured two bones in my hand and was required to take a medical leave from school. In trying to fight off depression, I spent many hours on the computer I'd purchased but never had a chance to really use. I was talking to some friends on AOL when I received a message that changed my life!

It was June 25, 1997 when I first "spoke" with Peter. He was a dad raising a 3 and 6 year old alone after his wife died of brain cancer the year before. There were two young adult children from a previous marriage as well. Peter and I felt an instant connection to each other, although neither of us understood it. We spent hours on the computer, and then on the phone. On July 12, I rented a car and drove 200 miles to meet him. In person, the connection was even stronger and I cried when I had to go home, wondering how we would manage being 200 miles apart! We weren't apart long, as it turned out. The week after I met Peter, my children had gone to stay with their grandmother, while I spent a week visiting a friend in New York. Instead of returning home at the end of my visit, Peter flew me to him. He proposed at the airport by giving me a Cracker Jack box with a sapphire engagement ring inside! We were married on August 10, with the blessing of most of our children (Peter was unable to get in touch with the two older ones). The first weeks of our marriage were hectic (an understatement?), with all of the five kids adjusting to each other and the new parents in their lives. Before long, Emily and Graham began calling me "Mom," and things started settling down.

When Peter first brought up the idea of having a baby together, I swore he was joking! I'd just gained two young children and was trying to figure out how I could possibly go back to school. The subject kept coming up and I finally had to realize that he was serious. The more I thought about the idea, the more it began to grow on me. After all, I wasn't quite 35 and had plenty of time to finish my degree, but not a lot of time to have another baby. We decided just to "act like newlyweds," using no birth control and see what happened.

What happened is that I had a positive home pregnancy test in November, then started bleeding a few days later on Peter's 45th birthday (I turned 35 a week later). Even though it was such an early loss, I was devastated. I didn't even get the chance to tell Peter we were pregnant before we weren't anymore. Two more of my cycles passed with nothing. By January, I was determined to get serious with this business of making a baby. Peter and I talked and he felt the same way. It was no longer a case of "waiting to see what happened," we both wanted this so badly that we were ready to "work at it."

Here is our unfolding story ~ it sure is better to laugh than to cry!

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