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From Infertility to Twin Newborns: The Swegle Story

Madi Swegle with her husband Jake, and twins Mabel and Shepherd | Photo by Anna Grace Creative

We spoke with TikTok creator Madi Swegle (@sweglestory), who recently became a mother to twins Mabel and Shepherd via IVF pregnancy. She shared her thoughts on IVF, pregnancy, and what she’s learned as a first-time parent with twins.

Can you go into your journey through IVF and trying to get pregnant? How long were you and your husband trying for a child?

My husband Jake and I began trying to get pregnant in July 2021. We were both young and healthy, and figured it would happen for us easily within a few months. However, after eight months of trying with no success, we reached out to our doctor, who ran some basic tests on both of us.

We were shocked when Jake received a diagnosis of oligozoospermia, which is basically just a fancy word for a really low sperm count. We were immediately referred to a fertility clinic, where we learned that IVF was our best option. We began the IVF process in March 2022 and after months of testing, procedures, medications, and injections, we finally got a positive pregnancy test in December 2022 and found out that we were expecting twins!

What were some of the highs and lows of pregnancy?

Being pregnant after dealing with infertility felt like nothing short of a miracle. I was so grateful to experience every pregnancy symptom, every kick, and every OB appointment. For a long time, I wasn’t sure if I would ever have the privilege to experience pregnancy, so I was grateful for every single moment.

That’s not to say pregnancy was easy for me, though. I dealt with an incredible amount of anxiety throughout my pregnancy. After dealing with so much heartbreak going through infertility, having an uncomplicated pregnancy almost felt too good to be true. I was constantly on edge and felt like I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

A twin pregnancy was also incredibly taxing on my body. I went into preterm labor at 30 weeks and spent the next six weeks at home on modified bedrest. The swelling and body aches were intense, and I slept upright on the couch for the last month of my pregnancy because getting in and out of bed was just too hard for me.

I ended up delivering at 36 weeks and 4 days. Our baby girl Mabel weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces, and our baby boy Shepherd weighed 5 pounds, 9 ounces. Along with their placentas, I was carrying about 16lbs of baby!

I am grateful for the wonderful care we received from our doctors and nurses at the hospital. Labor was long but we felt supported every step of the way. Our team ultimately helped me achieve my goal of a vaginal twin delivery!

How important is it to have support during a pregnancy and postpartum, especially with twins?

Everyone always says that “it takes a village,” but I never fully understood that saying until I was in the trenches of pregnancy and postpartum. When I was put on bedrest, our families brought us dinner every single night so we wouldn’t have to worry about cooking. After the twins were born, we had an outpouring of support from friends and family. Whether it was bringing meals over, doing laundry for us, cleaning our house, running errands, bringing us coffee, or watching the twins so that my husband and I could sleep — I truly don’t see how we could have survived the first few months postpartum without our village.

How have you been doing with juggling twins and a career?

My 12 weeks of maternity leave came and went by faster than I could have ever imagined. My husband works in marketing Monday through Friday and I work as a labor and delivery nurse on Saturdays and Sundays. We intentionally chose this schedule to avoid having to use daycare (finding and affording daycare for twins is near impossible!).

The first few weekends back at work were hard. I had never been apart from my babies, so suddenly being away from them for 12+ hours a day was difficult. Thankfully, each weekend got easier and easier. Now we have a routine down and it feels very manageable. I am so grateful to be able to stay home with them during the week!

What inspired you to share your and your family’s story and daily life on social media?

Going through infertility felt a lot like Jake and I were stuck on a raft at sea with no land or other people in sight. It was incredibly isolating. I decided to start posting our story online to raise awareness for infertility and to also find others going through similar struggles.

What started as a couple of TikTok videos turned into an amazing community of women who now uplift and support each other throughout infertility, pregnancy, and motherhood. I’ve talked about the importance of villages, and villages truly can come in so many shapes and sizes. I have so much love for the little village I’ve had the privilege to create through my social media platforms!

Do you have any advice for women going through their own IVF journeys, or those parenting twins or multiple babies?

After going through IVF, twin pregnancy, and motherhood, I’ve learned that the most important thing you can do for yourself is give yourself grace. It’s easy to put too much pressure on yourself and get stuck in a cycle of feeling like you’re not living up to your own expectations.

Take it day by day. And if that feels too overwhelming, take it hour by hour. None of this is easy, but it is so rewarding. You are doing an amazing job!

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