Twin Pregnancy vs Singleton Pregnancy

Posted on
Categories Birth Stories, Difference, Pregnancy, SingletonsTags , , 1 Comment

I had twins first.  Unexpectedly.  I didn’t even know there were two little peas in the pod until an 18 week ultrasound said there were.  Surprise for sure.

So, I have wondered since what that singleton baby pregnancy would be like.  Would it be similar?  Would I get as big, as my womb was already very stretched out from the previous two occupants?  How long would I go since I didn’t have a cut-off gestational date quite like I did with twins (38 weeks)?  How much weight would I gain with just one baby?  How would I feel? Would I end up with another C-section?  And many other similar questions swam through my head.

I’m sure I’m not the only mother of twins who had these questions.  While not all twin moms have their set of twins (or other multiples) first, many do.  And for these women, I would like to answer the above questions as they applied to me.

First, my pregnancy overall was very similar in how I felt, especially in those first few months.  But, I had less morning sickness/nausea this time around, though that could have had more to deal with the fact that I was at home all day and could eat a little something any time I needed to, unlike when I was pregnant with my twins and was going to school full-time and in the marching band as well.  I had a similar amount of heart burn, indigestion, and fatigue.   I didn’t have as much of a problem with varicose veins or Charlie horses this time though.

Having only one child swimming around inside of your belly is much different than having two or more.  I could much more easily and readily guess what those lumps, jabs, and swooshes were going on inside of my abdomen.  With twins, you not only have a harder time guessing what body part that was, but whose it was as well.

Joyously,  I didn’t gain as much weight (my biggest fear) the second time around!  With the twins I gained about 50lbs, going to almost 38 weeks gestation with them.  With one baby I gained about 35-40lbs and went to just shy of 42 weeks gestation.  However, with the singleton pregnancy, I started to show much sooner than I did with the twins.  But, I’m pretty sure that’s just how most subsequent pregnancies go though.  (See my twin belly montage post HERE)

And I did and didn’t get as round.  While my belly did end up sticking out as much as my twin pregnancy (basketball/torpedo style), there was a difference: I wasn’t as round at the top.  I still had room under my rib cage.  I could breathe easier with a singleton pregnancy, even at the end.  And the one little guy didn’t kick me in the ribs.  With twins, I had no room under my rib cage as there was a child floating around up there!  (See my 40 week singleton belly picture HERE)

I didn’t gain any more stretch marks on my belly (as if I could), but I did get stretch marks on my butt, of all places.  My belly didn’t itch hardly at all like it did when I had two in there.  I still had round ligament pain, lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions, and a baby pinching those sciatic nerves, though.

But, I was really nervous about giving birth, however.  Since I had a scheduled C-section with the girls, I didn’t even know what a real contraction felt like.  I didn’t know how I would handle it.  I didn’t know how much it would hurt.  I knew I wanted a vaginally delivery, but I was scared.  So, I read several birthing books, and tried to prepare the best I could, although I never did make it to any birthing classes.  Thankfully, I handled the early contractions and labor fairly well, though I did end up getting an epidural after more than 24 hours of labor.

But, I am so happy to report that I did not have a repeat C-section!  I was able to deliver my singleton son vaginally. (Read his full birth story HERE.)  While doing so meant I had the wonderful privilege of waiting 13 days after his due date until I was able to hold him in my arms, I am so glad I had a successful VBAC.

With twins at home, I did not want to laid up in the hospital for 3-4 days, be on drugs for several weeks, and have a hard time picking them and other toys and things up around the house.  (Read THIS post for more of my reasons to opt for a VBAC.)  I wanted an easier, quicker recovery from childbirth, especially since we would not be having any help after we came home.

To my happiness, it is indeed how my recovery was with a VBAC.  My son is now 6 weeks old, and I have been feeling great, most of the time.  My body has bounced back much quicker.  I was only on a simple ibuprofen for about a week postpartum, not codeine for two weeks.  My bottom was sore instead of my abdomen.  A VBAC meant that I was still able to take care of my twin three-year olds by myself.  I was able to comfortably pick them up for the first time in months (no pregnant belly in the way).  I had more energy to play with them, after a short while, as I was no longer winded after I climbed the stairs, like I was while pregnant.

Also, my son spent zero time in the NICU.  One of my twins, though born at almost 38 weeks, spent two days in the NICU, recovering from a partially collapsed lung.  With my singleton birth, I also got to hold my child immediately afterwards, unlike with the twins.  I didn’t hold either of my girls until four hours had passed after delivery, and then only one of them.  With my son’s birth, I was able to leave the hospital after a short 38 hours after giving birth.  I stayed four days at the hospital after I had my C-section delivery of my twins.

If you had twins first, how did your pregnancy compare to a subsequent singleton pregnancy?  Better or worse?  Did you have a repeat C-section (if you had one the first time)?  What did you fear most?

ldskatelyn is a wife, and proud new mother to a six-week old boy and three-year old fraternal twin daughters.  She is enjoying adjusting to life as a mother to three and enjoying having her body (mostly) back after being pregnant for nine long months.  She blogs about her life and family over at whatsupfagans.blogspot.com

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Singleton vs Multiple Pregnancy

Posted on
Categories PregnancyTags , 9 Comments

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?

Share this...Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on StumbleUponShare on TumblrShare on RedditDigg thisShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone