4 years ago my twins were born, healthy and full-term. Of course, I knew at the time how lucky I was. Since then I’ve met many other women who had difficult twin pregnancy experiences. Now it’s clear that, while not uncommon, my easy pregnancy was a tremendous blessing!
My Twin Pregnancy Timeline
As soon as I had a missed period, I took a home pregnancy test and was elated to discover out that I was pregnant! We went to the doctor, who did an ultrasound and completely blew our minds by showing us two itty bitty babies on the screen. Finding out we were expecting twins was exciting news, but I was confident that a multiple pregnancy wouldn’t have an affect on my lifestyle. My husband and I were training for a half marathon in July even though we were trying for a baby. I had met other women who had run during their pregnancy so I wasn’t worried about it. I set my mind to the idea that I was going to maintain my regular activity level throughout the pregnancy (HA! We’ll see how well that worked out for me).
I was exhausted. Pretty quickly into the first trimester I had major fatigue and nausea. My belly was growing more rapidly than it had with my first baby. I had food aversions to everything except strawberries, jello, and anything lemon-flavored. I continued to hit the gym at least once a week, but I was also prone to napping on the weekends and calling it a night by 6pm! I wanted to keep my pregnancy a secret for the first 12 weeks, but by about week 10 it was getting hard to conceal. I remember a lady coworker giving me almost an elevator look one day, as if trying to figure out what looked different about me. What a relief when I could finally come clean to everyone! Although, by that time, I wasn’t fooling anyone. They all could tell I was pregnant. The real fun was in telling them it was with twins!
Can you say “tests”?! I was poked and prodded and had my fluids checked on a regular basis. I was assigned to a doctor who specialized in high-risk pregnancies. Still, I maintained that this was going to be just a regular pregnancy… Except with an enormous belly in front. I was unable to sleep on my stomach sometime in the first trimester, and by now my doctor was also advising against sleeping on my back because my weight could disrupt blood flow to the babies. A good night’s sleep required plenty of pillows and tossing and turning.
I felt weird about being so humongously pregnant at the gym that my weekly visits tapered off to nothing. As the summer neared, my exercise routine was mostly swimming at the beach and walking. I skated through my twin pregnancy without any gestational diabetes and moved on to trimester three with hardly a hiccup!
I was beginning to feel like a blimp. For a while now, people on the streets had been declaring that I was “due any day!”. Having to constantly reply that I still had months to go didn’t help the feeling that this was the world’s longest pregnancy. Some of the major life disruptions were:
- Trying to fit in the narrow doorways of public bathrooms.
- Not being able to sit upright because of my huge belly. I had to drive slouched down like a chola, eat in a reclined position, and my legs were always untastefully spread apart.
- Eating was an exhausting chore. I had trouble taking deep breaths, I was starving but didn’t have very much room for food, and I am one of the 30% of women who get nasal congestion for their entire pregnancy. My nose was stuffy 24/7, which meant I had to hold my breath to chew my food.
- I had to use the bathroom once an hour.
- Between getting up every hour or so to pee and being only able to sleep on my side, a good night’s sleep was a distant memory.
I had outgrown maternity clothes a long time ago because they just wouldn’t stretch over my big belly. The shirts rode up in front, and the pants that did fit over me were usually not very good at staying on. I lived in dresses, so it’s a good thing it’s always hot in San Diego!
I was still determined to treat this pregnancy like any other moment in life, and planned to work until my due date. HA! My doctor vetoed that plan pretty quickly. She let me work until 35 weeks, and said if the babies hadn’t come by week 38 I would have to be induced. She had my and the babies’ best interest in mind so I took her advice and went on maternity leave at 35 weeks.
They were born at 37 weeks and 3 days, which saved me the trouble of being induced.
I know how fortunate I was to have a safe and easy pregnancy. There were uncomfortable times, but they were temporary. In the end, my husband and I welcomed our two beautiful girls into the world.
I always tell people that carrying them was the easy part. It’s raising twins that is the real challenge!