Nobody can realistically plan or be prepared for twins. In our case, it was a tremendous shock when we found out we were about to be twice blessed! As I started mentally preparing for their arrival, I had a lot of questions about what it would be like. I knew all about pregnancy and caring for a ‘singleton’. But twins? This was all new territory for me and John!
As soon as I announced the big news, people asked me about having twins. It’s like I was some sort of twin expert just because I was carrying two babies in my tummy.
This prompted me to I do some research about twin pregnancies and raising twins. These are the things I wanted to know about when I was expecting twins.
Where did they come from?
That was the first thing most people asked me, and I didn’t have a very good answer for them. I was blown away when the ObGyn said “It’s twins!”, because they don’t really ‘run in our family’. We didn’t use IVF and so far as I know we aren’t genetically inclined to have twins. I desperately searched the internet for an answer to that question. And I found out a whole lot of nuthin’. My best guess is that for some reason I dropped two eggs and Bam! Twin babies. End of story (or was it just the beginning? 😉
Will I get double the maternity leave?
The way I see it, two times the babies should equal two times the maternity leave, amIright? But apparently that’s not how it works. Twin mommas only get medical ‘disability leave’ for the same 6 weeks postpartum as mommas of singletons. You can take more time off, but unless your family can make do without your income, you can’t use disability insurance to supplement your salary while you’re off. In my case, I unfortunately developed pretty intense postpartum depression and ended up needing an extra 2 months home while I worked through all of that. You can read more of my twin maternity leave story here.
Will they be identical?
I so badly wanted identical twins! I don’t know why, I just thought it would be so cool. There is a test you can run on your babies to see if they are genetically identical. We chose not to do that because, well, to us they didn’t really look that identical. Also, our ObGyn said they weren’t identical because they were in separate placentas.
Will I have to have a C-Section?
With as much energy as I put into my desire to have identical twins, my feelings were exponentially stronger against having a C-Section. I’ve never had one, and I’ve heard way too many horror stories from women who have. My respects to you mommas! At the end of the third trimester, the babies were in a favorable position to be delivered vaginally. Our labor and delivery went smoothly, but because it was a twin delivery I was wheeled into an operating room for the final stage of labor (more on that here).
Can I breastfeed them?
I asked my doctor about this and she didn’t have a lot of info for me. I checked out books from the library, watched videos and read online articles for advice on breastfeeding twins. None of that prepared me for how hard it was going to be. For one, I am not a very great milk producer. Even with one baby, Johnny, I would often go a full workday without a break (cuz, teacher) and have no discomfort. With the twins I pumped in between every feeding and right after every feeding for 5 months in hopes of building up enough milk, all to no avail. You can read my breastfeeding twins confessional if you want more detail. Although you can breastfeed twins, and many people do, I was not able to exclusively breastfeed mine… But I did everything in my power to try!
Will I have to go on bed rest?
I had mixed feelings on the idea of bed rest. While it would be like a vacation to have to be off work, being on hospital bed rest sounds awfully boring. Then there’s that gross cafeteria food they feed you. Eeew. I knew a girl who was off work because of a “modified” bed rest. She was out of the hospital but couldn’t drive anywhere or be upright for too long. No driving?! Heaven help me! My ObGyn dutifully informed me that bed rest could be a possibility, and often is for women pregnant with twins. Thankfully, I was able to make it to 37 weeks and 3 days without any problems!
For all the worrying I did about my twin pregnancy, everything worked out pretty well. I know this is not the case for so many women. Twins tend to come early and complications during a twin pregnancy are not uncommon. You just never know what kind of pregnancy you are going to have, so I’m glad I asked so many questions.