I find out I am pregnant – “I’m 31 it’s time we start thinking about children” I should have said a child! It seems babies plural were always the case for my husband and I, we blame talking in plural, that, and for some reason, people spoke twins into our lives. It all adds up. We were destined for two babies at once.
After eight cycles with no pregnancy, I wasn’t sure I could be pregnant, but hey, I’m late for my period by a day (yes a day) and I might as well take a cheap dollar store test for fun. Other tests have come up negative so no biggy. I just had to wait a couple of seconds, and it turned to positive. SECONDS! I can’t believe a test would turn that quickly, and it says to wait a few minutes. Previous ones seemed to take forever. I pull out the big guns, the digital test I’ve been keeping in case a day like this arrived. Same results, I don’t know how to feel, but I laugh and cry at the same time. How am I going to tell my husband? No way I can keep it a secret until the next day, impossible! So I make up this collage on my phone with our dog looking at my test, can’t you just see her excitement? Little did we know what we thought was adding one to the pack would be two!
My husband comes home late that night. We sit on the couch I tell him I took a cute picture of our dog today. I tell him to take a look. He looks…silence; he now gets the picture and says “OK”.
We are pregnant.
My doctor congratulates me and gives me a requisition for an ultrasound. I make an appointment, and we go shortly after, so early, I am dated at six weeks and three days. I go into the room alone as per instructions, and they start looking around. The technician asks me about multiples in my family like it’s a standard question. She can’t see much, and needs to do an internal exam (one of many during my pregnancy, oh joy)! She finishes her exam and then shows me the screen, “here is the baby, and here is baby 2, you’re having twins”. She said it so monotone and nonchalantly I didn’t believe it at first. My husband is called in; he asks me how everything is going. I say “enlightening” as I sit there shocked and shaking. The technician turns the screen so my husband can see – notifying him we have twins and points out the babies and their hearts beating away. She then notifies him we are having twins. He says “OK, twins”.
Ladies and gentleman, my “OK” husband, He gets a brain tumour “OK”, is having twins “OK”. This man excels in taking the crazy moments in life and making them “OK”. We walk out and call our parents in the car, the only ones who know yet I am pregnant, now with twins! They were more than “OK” about it!
Many doctors appointments and ultrasounds were to follow, many, many ultrasounds. Unlike a singleton pregnancy but I didn’t mind so much because I got to see their growth in 3D, which is awesome, I could never get enough of those uncomfortable ultrasounds, I was so big even early on that I couldn’t lie on my back because it made me light headed. The ultrasounds were never comfortable, but it was always nice to see my babies and hear their hearts beating strong. I felt great, oh wait, never mind, that passed, quickly. I went through the rough spots of pregnancy in my first trimester with hardly being able to walk in the kitchen without feeling overwhelmed by the smell of food, all which was unpleasant to me. Food aversion was high, crackers and cheese it was for me for awhile. For weeks 7-11 tacos and lemonade were the only things I could stomach. I never wanted to feel that crappy again and often told my husband to help me remember this time and it’s good we are having two now because if this were my first, we would be done.
We let people know we were pregnant on holidays, my family at Easter dinner, the rest of the world on Mother’s Day. Everyone was happy for us, and I was finally starting to get over feeling the first trimester yuck. The second trimester I was getting big, and I was able to do more without feeling sick, and we moved, did the nurseries, took a twins course at the hospital, and prepared for the arrival that would change our lives.
I was 36 weeks and six days pregnant the night before Halloween and I went into labour. Thinking it wasn’t too bad, I waited a bit and then it was time to go to the hospital – I was feeling in labour, but just a bit if that makes sense. With twins, you are to go to the hospital right away in case of complications. So off we went at 1:00 in the morning, which was nice because I didn’t have to be in traffic. We got checked in at labour and delivery, and I waited to be assessed. I was already 5cm dilated, and let me tell you I couldn’t believe it! It was now time for me to get a room and get settled in.
The birthing had to take place in the O.R., and until then I laboured and pushed a bit in my labour room till around 4 in the afternoon on Halloween day. With a lot of pushing and intervention, I was ready to be wheeled into the O.R which sounds scary, but when it comes down to it, I just wanted to be as safe as possible for the babies and me.
I was determined not to have a caesarian, and my babies were not cooperating with me. My little girl, who was first in line to arrive, decided to be positioned wrong after 5 hours of pushing, Her head was facing the wrong way. Lucky me – she got pushed back up where she had started so she could be re-positioned correctly, and I started over again, or at least it felt that way. I wasn’t sure how it would happen that I could push my baby into the birth canal and then just stop for the repositioning. I also had to stop while they wheeled me to the O.R… Somehow I did it. To hear “STOP PUSHING” that far along is not something I wanted. At this point I just wanted both babies out, I was in the zone. Now, being wheeled to the O.R. may have seemed like a break, but it wasn’t. It was only a few minutes till I was back at it again but it seemed longer. After pushing more and feeling like I was getting ripped in two (which I was) I was overjoyed to see my little girl through exhaustion, a crazy mix of emotions and relief. But unlike most births I had to get myself pumped up to push out more than just the placenta, I needed to bring another baby into the world! My little boy was just as challenging, he was sideways, not head down and not budging. There is only so big a window I could have to get him out safely for both of us. Time was passing, and my doctor was manually both inside and outside manipulating him into position to come out. I had students watching and learning, other doctors watching the doctor with the famous “magic hands” do her thing while I lay there helpless and not pushing. What I wanted to do was get him out! They prepared for a C-section just in case. The paper barrier went up, and I got an epidural top-up as it was wearing thin. I could totally feel my girl’s shoulders when she was born ( ouch the worst part by far) though the epidural was pretty brutal). I was asked if I had the strength to go forward and push more. I had come this far, and I wanted to finish the job I started! Pushing began after 40 minutes of manipulation and out he came, finally. Our babies were born more than a half hour apart; that’s long! No Caesarean – yeah!!!
We settled in with our new bundles of joy for the night and the next day. I was sent home, but that was not to last long. Very shortly after I got home that night I was readmitted to hospital and diagnosed with Pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. I was in the hospital for five nights and although my Mum stayed with me, I was without my husband and babies. They saw me on visits. I was determined to breastfed, and the nurses helped me stay on track, so I sent home milk and when they came I fed them and held them, but that’s about it. They were the highlights of my day. I eventually got home and was so drained and weak I was on bedrest for a good three weeks. It was a tough season, but my babies were worth it.
The next months became filled with people coming and going helping out; we stayed at my mums to help with night support, and help me get some sleep when I could. December we moved back to our place. Even though I was not at my best, my village surrounded and cared for my babies and me as I gained strength.
We have now started to fall into rhythm with our twins, and I am relying on that continuing as they grow and start to become more independent each day. When people say it will get easier, I take that to heart.
The last eight months have been a blur, and it feels like it has gone by fast but at the same time slow due to lack of sleep and time.
I really hope that you will join me on my journey and along the way so that we can learn from each other. Hopefully, some of our experience will help you on your parenting journey; whether it is with a singleton or multiples!
This space is fluid and will mostly talk about family life, community, with some DIY, art, and food (I love to bake) thrown in for good measure. Join me on this journey, get to know my village and maybe even consider yourself part of my village. Discover your village; it may be bigger than you think. Discover new, rediscover old and enjoy yourself.
Create, be and love your village.