My babies are 16 months old, and I have been putting off writing about twin pregnancy. I’ve tried several times and will write two sentences, get mad at the world, and give up. My writing style tends to be a balance of being honest, without sounding like I’m just whining. I don’t really know how to write a post about twin pregnancy without being completely negative. Being a mama to twins is the biggest blessing of my life… being pregnant with twins was one of the worst things I have ever experienced, and I honestly feel as if I have a little bit of PTSD from the whole experience.
If you’re currently pregnant with twins and reading this, I don’t want to give you a panic attack. I just want you to know that what you’re going through is really flipping hard. But you WILL get through it, and it WILL be worth it!
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It’s pretty common for women to want twins. Random strangers will tell me “Oh, I’ve always wanted twins!” Sure. Sure you do. Come over to my house at bedtime, mealtime, bath time, diaper change time, basically anytime other than when they are smiling and cooing at you from their stroller, acting as if they’re BFF’s (spoiler: they’re not!) and you will change your mind. I smile and roll my eyes inside my head, but the truth is, when I was pregnant with my singleton, I thought it would be cool to have twins. Sure, my belly would be a little bigger, but I would be getting two babies and only have to be pregnant once! That sounds like a win-win situation. I learned very early in my twin pregnancy that it is so drastically different from a singleton pregnancy, that a larger belly doesn’t even begin to cover it.
A Twin Pregnancy Is One of The Hardest Things You Will Ever Experience
Upon being released from the hospital after having my twins, I cleaned my house from top to bottom. I had just had two babies, yet I felt wonderful! The pain of recovering from childbirth paled in comparison to the pain of my twin pregnancy. Pregnancy, delivery, and recovery are different for everyone, but I have talked with MANY twin moms, and a lot of women feel the same way I do.
I’m not saying this to scare you, I’m telling you this so you can prepare. I’m telling you this to validate your feelings. My firstborn, Theo, was born at 40 weeks and 4 days and weighed 9 pounds. My twins, Josie and Margo, were born at 31 weeks and 6 days and weighed 3 pounds, 9 ounces, and 4 pounds, 7 ounces. Their weight combined was an entire pound less than my singleton. Don’t think that just because you are early in your twin pregnancy, or because your bump isn’t actually that big, that this pain and exhaustion that you’re feeling isn’t real. Your body is creating two babies, and depending on the type of twin pregnancy, two sacs, and two placentas!
Maybe you will be one of the lucky ones that has an awesome experience. It definitely happens. In fact, I have a friend who loved being pregnant with twins and didn’t experience any discomfort until the very end.
During your twin pregnancy, you will likely experience…
1. Extreme Fatigue and Morning Sickness
My symptoms with my twin pregnancy were exactly the same as my singleton pregnancy, except way worse. I could tell that something was up, and speculated to my husband that it had to be a girl. During my first trimester, I would fall asleep on the floor while playing with Theo, who was 1.5 at the time. I felt as if I had been drugged.
How to prepare: Sleep as often as you possibly can. If you have older children, turn on the television and lie on the couch with them. It’s only a season and the extra screen time won’t kill them. (Related: I love this post on seasons of life and screen time.)
I also never actually threw up once in either of my pregnancies, but I felt nauseous all the time. To be fair, I don’t ever throw up when I’m not pregnant, but the nausea is still there. I couldn’t eat, and people couldn’t eat around me. I would just lie on the floor, wanting desperately to throw up so the feeling would subside.
How to prepare: eat small snacks throughout the day. I felt much worse on an empty stomach. Crackers and plain bagels are what kept me going. I also put a few drops of peppermint oil on a cloth and would take deep breaths through it. The peppermint scent helped to calm my stomach (more ways to combat morning sickness).
2. Extra Monitoring
A twin pregnancy is considered a high-risk pregnancy, no matter what. We discovered we were having twins at our 8-week appointment where we could see two sacs and two heartbeats. One of the sacs was considerably smaller, and my Dr. wanted to monitor it warned us that it could result in disappearing twin syndrome. We spent the next 4 weeks wondering if we were actually going to have twins or if one of them would disappear. It was so scary!
With my singleton pregnancy, I only had 2 ultrasounds. With my twin pregnancy, I had one at every single appointment. It was amazing to see them grow every month. I only saw my regular OB, but many other twin moms I know saw a high-risk OB as well as their regular one.
I was also supposed to start going in for weekly nonstress tests around 30 weeks, to monitor the heartbeats. Since my water broke just before 30 weeks, I got to have them 3 times a day from the comfort of the hospital bed I was stuck in.
How to prepare: talk to your health insurance provider so you are aware of every cost. We had a pregnancy ‘bundle’ but it didn’t include ultrasounds, so I had a ($200!!!) copay for every doctor visit.
3. It Will Hurt to Climb Stairs
Or walk, or sit, or lie down, or breathe. And it doesn’t start late in your pregnancy when your belly is so huge that you expect to be miserable. No. When I was in my second trimester, you know… the “good” part of pregnancy, people would ask me how I was feeling and I wouldn’t know how to respond. I’m not a sugar coating type of person but didn’t want to be overly dramatic. I remember telling another mom that it was really tough, I was exhausted and in constant pain, and her response was “you’re 18 weeks? It can’t be that bad! This is the good part of pregnancy!” Trust me. It IS that bad.
In October, I went to Target with Theo to pick up some things for Halloween. I was under 20 weeks, and I was in so much pain from walking around Target, that by the time I got to the checkout line, I had tears in my eyes. I sat down on the floor, in the checkout line at Target, with Theo sitting in the cart screaming his head off, and people looking at me like I was totally crazy.
How to prepare: I used a pregnancy support band that helped a little. I used this one because it was simple and wouldn’t bulk up under my clothes. I didn’t really want to buy one of those crazy looking, heavy duty ones. However, I finally caved and ordered one, and it arrived the day after I was put on hospitalized bedrest. Ha. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime and free returns!
Don’t even think about wearing heels, boots, or any shoes that are remotely uncomfortable. You will regret it. I also took warm baths almost every single night, and that really helped my sore body feel a little better. Rest and stay off your feet as much as possible!
Also, if you don’t have a pregnancy pillow, I strongly suggest you get one. I have this one, and I really liked it. I was also incredibly hot at night, even in the winter. A chillow helped keep me cool some nights, but I had mixed feelings about it. If I used it when I first went to bed, I would wake up in the middle of the night and it would be really hot. However, if I used it in the middle of the night when I woke up hot, it usually made it to the next morning without getting too hot.
4. No Need to Exercise
I was at the gym, walking (ok, waddling) on the treadmill in my 40th week with my singleton. At one of my early checkups, I mentioned to my doctor that I was concerned I would have a ridiculous weight gain, but I was too tired to exercise. He brushed it off and explained that my body was working so incredibly hard to grow these babies. “Exercise isn’t as important with a twin pregnancy as a singleton pregnancy,” he told me. “It’s more important to take it easy if your body is telling you it’s tired.”
How to prepare: Rest. Just rest.
5. Prepare Early
There is literally no way to know if you are going to go into preterm labor or not. I’m sorry to tell you that, and I know it’s awful to think every day… is it going to happen today?? I will tell you this: prepare for the worst and pray for the best. We were NOT prepared for the worst. Luckily, our nursery was pretty much done, and I planned to pack my bags for the hospital the weekend that I was 30 weeks.
Unfortunately, my water broke the Thursday before I was 30 weeks, and we went to the hospital with NOTHING. Honestly, I didn’t even care at that point, but… just make sure you are ready.
We also had no plan for who would take care of our two-year-old while my husband was at work. We discussed it a few times and decided it was kind of crazy to ask around for who could watch our son on the off chance that I was on hospitalized bedrest. Friends, it is NOT crazy. Make that plan.
How to prepare: Have your bags packed. If you want to do any major projects for the nursery, get it done in the beginning. And make an emergency plan! If you’re a stay at home mom, that could include childcare; if you’re a working mom and rely on your paycheck, that could include putting aside extra money in an emergency fund.
It’s scary, I’m not going to lie. Hospitalized bedrest and having premature babies were my absolute biggest fears when I learned I was having twins. If that is you right now, I want you to know that I got through it, and you can too. One day you will look back and think “Wow, I am one tough mama!” and you ARE!!