Sunday, August 24, 2008

How do you feel about twins?

Some women just know they are having twins. The possibility of twins never crossed my mind. My husband, who is my best friend and soulmate, and I already had a 1 1/2 year old daughter together at the time we decided to try for our second child. We felt so blessed already, but we wanted to give her a sibling. We were excited and surprised at how quickly we became pregnant. A few days before our first appointment at 7 weeks, I started feeling a bit of panic. Had we made the right choice? Should we have waited another year? Would I be able to handle an almost 2 1/2 year old and a newborn? These were questions we had already asked and answered, but I was suddenly nervous again. When we arrived for our first appointment, they did an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. My husband and I were both relieved to see our baby's heart beating on the screen. A few minutes later my husband grew very quiet as he and the technician studied the screen. I was starting to get really scared when the technician said, "how do you feel about twins?".

The news that we were having identical twins barely sunk in before we were dealing with the complications of a multiple pregnancy. There was a time when the doctors feared we didn't have a membrane separating our girls, which is a very high-risk situation. Luckily, they eventually found a membrane, but they do share a placenta, which is still high-risk. We have also dealt with a large subchorionic hemorrhage, which had me on strict bedrest for the remainder of my first trimester. We have needed the help of all our family to get through this pregnancy. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors have all helped out in caring for our daughter while I have been on bedrest. I am now 30 weeks along. Most recently we have been dealing with the fact that our twins are starting to have a large difference in their weight gain, probably from sharing one placenta. We are just hoping that even though they are growing slower than the doctors would like, they can keep gaining weight steadily for a few more weeks before we have to deliver them.

I am now a stay-at-home-mom with our 2 year old daughter. Before she was born, I worked as registered nurse in a surgical intensive care unit. I truly knew nothing about twins before this pregnancy. A multiple pregnancy is so very different than a singleton pregnancy. My family and friends have been more than supportive, but I know they don't truly understand what I am going through. I am so thankful for an amazing group of supportive women online who have been through or are going through a multiple pregnancy. These women have helped me with things like: finding the best twin pregnancy book out there, how to possibly find maternity clothing to fit a twin belly, tips on how to feed two newborns at once, and even things like how to manage bedrest while remaining an active participant in my daughters life. These women have given me the support and courage to switch doctors when my first doctors didn't have the experience I would have liked with a multiple pregnancy. Even though I have never met any of these women, I am thankful they are in my life. Their stories have given me hope and courage.

I am nearing the end of this pregnancy now. I realize that I will probably be relying even more on this group of women soon, when my girls are actually here. And as always, I am sure they will be there to offer suggestions or just support when I need it.

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