In many ways my twin pregnancy was easier than my singleton pregnancy. I had more experience with pregnancy, so I had some clear ideas about how I wanted this pregnancy to be.
First, I chose to be part of midwife-based care program from the beginning. The midwives focused on issues like nutrition, emotional wellbeing, and staying active during pregnancy. They were also prepared to look at “alternative” therapies to help with pregnancy like nutrition, supplements, acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage therapy, yoga, and other exercises, which gave me a good foundation for making healthy decision even after my care was transferred to a doctor when we found out about the twins.
Second, based on the benefits in my first pregnancy, I started going for pregnancy massage regularly throughout my pregnancy. It helped with the aches and pains of pregnancy, and with the swelling in my hands and feet. My massage therapist was also able to provide lots of advice and information because of her training in pregnancy massage and as a doula.
Third, I started taking medication for nausea as soon as it became a problem. I didn’t wait until I felt so horrible I couldn’t eat and I started losing weight like in my first pregnancy. I continued to take medication until the day before my c-section. The nausea improved significantly through my pregnancy, but it persisted through the whole pregnancy.
Fourth, when we found out we were expecting twins, we joined a multiple prenatal class. It provided some helpful information, but most importantly we got a copy of Dr. Barbara Gore’s book When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads. The focus on the importance of nutrition and weight gain was the most helpful part. I also joined an online chat group for moms of multiples, and borrowed a lot library books. Having information and answers to my questions helped me to feel in control and prepared to make decisions.
In other ways, my twin pregnancy was harder than my singleton pregnancy. From the beginning, I felt tired all the time. Part of that was because I had an active toddler to chase around, but part of it was growing two babies. Fortunately my schedule as a grad student was quite flexible. I called my routine “self-imposed bedrest” and gave myself permission to only do what I felt I could handle. In a typical day, I would get my son up, fed and off to the dayhome. I’d come home and nap for 1-2 hours. I’d get up and work for a couple of hours and have lunch. In the afternoon, I’d have another nap before picking up my son. I’d get supper ready and clean up. In the evenings, I didn’t do much except sit on the couch, and eat – I was constantly hungry.
Throughout my pregnancy, I had more doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, blood tests, and hospital visits. These appointments were both physical tiring and time consuming, but I quickly learned to bring my book, my water bottle and a snack. I learned to only plan one activity per day, especially if it involved travelling anywhere because I knew I’d be exhausted by the end of it.
The last 6 weeks (from about 32 weeks) the point where my twin pregnancy really started to differ from my first pregnancy. I was big and awkward. It was hard to get motivated to do anything, and it was challenging even to just leave the house. It was uncomfortable to wear my shoes or boots. My balance wasn’t great and it was icy, so I often stayed home for days in a row. I started getting light-headed, so we decided I shouldn’t be driving alone, and eventually walking any distance got to be too hard. I ended up borrowing a wheelchair from the Red Cross so I could go with my son for his picture with Santa and to do some Christmas shopping. Even doing things in the house was challenging, so I would plan my day with the fewest trips up and down the stairs.
And, the end of my pregnancy was very different. Instead of a mostly natural, midwife-assisted delivery at 41 weeks, I had a scheduled c-section at 37+ weeks. And, I got to bring home two little girls, instead of one little boy.
How was your multiple pregnancy different from your other pregnancies?