So, let's start at the beginning...this post is a basically an abbreviated autobiography I wrote for my local Mothers of Multiples club newsletter. (Minnesota Valley Mothers of Multiples) They do a section called "Her-story" and feature a different member each month. This was written AFTER my first set of twins were about 3, but a few months BEFORE I got pregnant with our second set of twins. A great way to catch this blog up to the present reality!
Our story started with a very rigorous battle to become pregnant - which to my husband’s dismay, ended before he could say “copious coitus” 10 times fast. I was overjoyed, ecstatic and oh-so ‘prepared’...I’d been trying extra hard to exercise and eat healthy. I also read at least 2 pregnancy books – completely skipping the multiples section, for expediency. I had two other pretty close friends who had become pregnant in the previous months, and both went through pre-ultrasound phases of being convinced they were carrying twins. Being the great friend that I was, I nodded and said “Well, all the peeing could just be from those pregnancy hormones…but hey – ya never know!” After that, I was convinced that my level head would never be so illogically influenced by delusional desire.
That said, about four weeks after my first missed period, I remember three things: being famished, unbearable cramping, and not fitting into non-elastic pants anymore. In fact, on the way to dinner to tell my in-laws that I was pregnant, I remember having to stop at the store and get maternity pants because I was SO uncomfortable. Soon, I was calling my pregnant friends asking, “When did your jeans stop fitting?” I figured I was getting fat and thought I HAVE to quit eating so much! I knew something was up, but didn’t want to admit it to myself for fear of falling into the same “I think I’m having twins” delusion.
My doctor wanted to have an early ultrasound – partly because of all the cramping I’d had. I remember a day before the ultrasound, a friend and co-worker of mine (who has an uncanny sense of knowing which slot machine to pick at the casino) came in my office and said “I was thinking…wouldn’t it be cool if you had twins?” I laughed at her and said that was next to impossible – the absence of fertility drugs, and other twins in my family, along with statistics just said it wasn’t a realistic possibility. The next day, my 11 week ultrasound proved her right. I was ecstatic…though that was partly because after the ultrasound tech scanned every inch of my belly in complete silence for 3 minutes the words “How do you feel about twins?” are very relieving!
The rest of my pregnancy is pretty boring. I remember lots of back pain, and my doctor telling me to take it easy, and pretty much thinking I was doing so even though I was still doing the elliptical machine until my 7th month, and yoga thereafter (hey – she never said I couldn’t!). I got sent to the hospital twice; both times I reluctantly went…once just because I had the flu and they wanted to make sure I was hydrated. The other because my blood pressure came back high at an office visit – so she sent me in, only to have it back to normal once I checked in.
I also remember the comedy routine I thought I would one day write about peeing in a cup and tying my shoes with a 48 inch girth (thank GOD tennis mules were in!). I did not want to be induced. Well, I DID want to be done lying on the couch with my box of crackers like a beached whale, but I did not want all the complications my 2 close friends had with their inductions. Still after baby A’s head danced on my cervix keeping me up at night, I remembered thinking – yup any night now…but that just never came. At least not before my appointment at 38 1/2 weeks when my doc scheduled my inducement! But first she wanted a picture of my belly, since she’d never had a patient get so big before.
For the big day, I just turned 39 weeks, and I remember the nurse scolding me because I’d eaten a ‘light’ breakfast of a dry Eggo waffle and most of an egg McMuffin. (I reassured her that for me, that WAS light!) 11 Hours later I finally made it to 7 centimeters and asked for an epidural (I delayed it as long as I could for fear of lengthening the labor and having to have a C-section. Early on I was stretching and contorting to try and stay comfortable. Later I went on walks and bounced on the birthing ball. Finally I battled to 7cm in the bathtub and was just convulsing in pain, unable to talk from the constant contractions (don’t let anyone tell you that you have a break between them – they just rotate from bad to worse!).
But enough of that, after the epidural I was a happy (albeit shaky) camper and pushing seemed pretty easy, and honestly, exciting and enjoyable. Baby A came out crying, and I held her, in amazement that there was still another 7 pound baby still inside me. Baby B presented breech, so it took several minutes of the peri-natologist chasing down her foot and flipping her inside me before they broke her water and I could start pushing again. I was blessed enough to have my babies accompany me right back to my room.
The 48 hour hospital stay was a sleepy blur, and the day we came home, my mom left for vacation (She still feels bad!) I remember being so in love with my babies and high on hormones. There were very trying and frustrating times though, and sleepless moths, and nights of getting one back to sleep after 3 hours only to have the other wake up as I left their room. Nursing was also a challenge at times, but got a lot easier after I gave up pumping. It also was difficult because they refused the bottle, so if they were both hungry and no one was there to help me tandem nurse, one had to wait and cry (*sniff* It still breaks my heart!).
I also want to plug my wonderful husband for being the most supportive dad ever. From helping me clean the kitchen every night to waking up at 4 am to get them both in the football hold to nurse. I don’t know where I would be without him. A year later I finally began to fell well-rested again. And, the girls started to look so alike I could hardly tell them apart. We did the cheek swab which showed they were very much identical. To this day I have a theory about the how the additional gamma rays on a jet at 10,000 feet may affect cell division (I was flying a lot the month we conceived!). Now that the girls are three, I love playing with them and seeing how different two little people who are genetically identical can be!