What To Expect When You're Expecting Twins!Melissa Overbey
I think that any woman in any given time during the course of her pregnancy wonders if she would be carrying twins. When her belly grows and she feels baby's movement she must wonder if she was carrying an octopus, much less twins! Twins occur on an average, 1 in 85 births. Now with modern technology, and infertility drugs, those numbers are rising, and twins are occurring much more often.
Shock, fear, elation, and even sadness are all normal reactions to the news that a mother is carrying twins. Most twin pregnancies are diagnosed now during the pregnancy. You don't hear of surprised moms on the delivery table too much anymore with our prenatal testing and technology.
I suspected I was carrying twins (or at least a girl) when I was about 5 weeks along. I was very ill with morning sickness (had only a touch of it with my son), and couldn't zip my jeans at 7 weeks. At the time, we were a military family, and living overseas in Panama. I saw my OB the first time when I was 7 weeks. He did my prenatal exam and wrote down that I was 10 weeks. I saw this, and told him no, I am 7 exactly, I know this. My husband had been gone the previous 5 months on a deployment and I was sure of my dates. He told me again that I must have my dates wrong.
He couldn't find the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler. He told me to come back in 10 days or so, I should be close to 12 weeks then, and we should be able to hear. Ten days later, I was back in there, and he couldn't find the heartbeat again. He pulled out the ultrasound and BAM there were two babies!
I was alone, and I just said "Oh my God!" and started to shake and laugh. I was very nervous, and excited and wanted to yell it out to the world. I just knew something was different about this pregnancy!
Now that you know my story of finding out I was carrying twins, I will try to give you some ideas on how to cope with a twin pregnancy.
Listen to your body. When you are tired, rest. When you are hungry, eat. Try to be in tune and listen to whatever your body is trying to tell you. It takes a lot of energy to be pregnant, and grow a child, much less two!
Be ready for comments. Comments on your growing belly, people's reactions to your news, etc. I had thought about this ahead of time and always had something to say back, so I wouldn't sit there, dumbfounded. When I was asked, "Did I have two in there?" I simply replied "Yes!" When I was asked at 6 months gestation, I was asked if I was overdue, I told them I was 24 weeks with twins. When I was told "Better you than me!" I replied, "I think so too!" You will get comments, welcomed, and unwelcome, during your pregnancy, and especially when the babies come. Prepare while you are pregnant, and you won't be so surprised when the babies are here.
Be ready for possible bed rest. Not every twin mother gets sentenced, but many do. For differing reasons, but all the less, bed rest is bed rest. It's not fun. I started with Preterm labor at 28 weeks and was on strict bed rest until I delivered at 36 weeks. I spent about 5 or 6 times in and out of the hospital, admitted for labor. If you are lucky enough to go home, set up a little station around you. Phone, TV remote, books, journals, and laptop or your PC. I spent a lot of time on the internet while on bed rest. It kept me connected to friends and family I would not otherwise see.
The best thing I started doing was buying stuff early on in pregnancy, as soon as I knew I was carrying twins. Collecting hand me downs and going to yard sales was a lifesaver! Since I couldn't go out and shop past my seventh month, it was important for me to be ready for the girls. Beware of people who tell you that you have to have two of everything now. It's simply not true. My girls slept in the same crib until they were both nearly a year old! That is the way they preferred it. You can get by on so much, of just having one.
When delivery day came, I was lucky enough to have both girls vertex, or head down. Make sure you are informed, of what can possibly happen. I knew that Baby B could turn transverse, or sideways, and get stuck after Baby A was born. I knew that this could possibly result in me giving birth to Baby A vaginally, and then needing a C-Section for Baby B, if they could not manually turn her back. I was lucky, and she stayed head down, with some help from my nurses. I succeeded in giving birth vaginally to both girls.
If you spent a lot of time on bed rest, then be ready to not feel up to par after delivery. My muscles were emaciated, and I just generally felt bad. I was weak, and just didn't feel as good as I did after my first delivery. It took me longer to recover.
Be prepared and informed of an early delivery. If you had experienced preterm labor, then you had a taste of it. If you do, request a wheelchair ride to the level II or NICU, just to be prepared. I toured the NICU when I was 32 weeks, after they got me stable. Then I wouldn't have been so terrified and overwhelmed, if by chance the next time, they could not stop my labor.
My girls were early, at 36 weeks. They were sleepy babies, and they would not latch on for me to breastfeed them. If you want to breastfeed your twins, I urge you to enlist the help of a lactation consultant. They can be lifesavers! You may feel like you are nursing around the clock, and you probably nearly are. It's not easy in the beginning, but very much worth it!
After delivery, take it easy, and rest as much as possible. If anyone offers you help for when you get home, by all means, accept it. Twins can be overwhelming, especially in the beginning. Most of all, revel in the beauty of twins!Melissa is a part time working mother of three including identical twin girls. She works as a tech on a mother/baby unit at a nearby hospital in Louisville, KY. She also highlights as a doula, in her spare time. She attended the doula workshop given by Birth, Babies, and Beyond in Atlanta, GA., in April of 1999. She has since then attended five births, (not including her own). She is currently working on her certification with DONA (Doulas of North America). Melissa has experience being a doula in labor and delivery, as a tech on the postpartum unit, newborn nursery, special care nursery, and gives breastfeeding support to new mothers.
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