If you’ve ever wondered what being pregnant with twins is like, are a twin mum feeling nostalgic, or are currently pregnant with twins; this post is for you!
I shared how I felt when I found out we were having twins in a previous blog post, but to summarise it was at an early scan and I was utterly shocked but at the same time totally calm, as I had always imagined myself with twins. It’s funny how life pans out.
My pregnancy with Immy was pretty straight forward and my twin pregnancy was fairly similar in the early days. I was really sick for the first 13 weeks with both, and until the third trimester there weren’t an awful lot of differences, apart from being bigger of course.
(See photo of pre twins, 37 weeks with Immy vs. 37 weeks with the twins, 2 days before they were born).
There were a lot more appointments to attend during my twin pregnancy, and of course in my case there was that little added extra of having a toddler to look after.
When you feel your baby kicking for the first time it really is magical. I can’t say it was in any way more magical with the twins, as every pregnancy is special; but the feeling was totally different. It felt like my tummy had been turned into a mini wrestling ring. Those babies really did know how to kick each other! My tummy would often look like it had morphed into some sort of alien being, with elbows and knees sticking out everywhere. It was the most intense yet incredible feeling in the world.
And when they were born, I just couldn’t believe they ever fit inside me! Women’s bodies really are the most amazing things.
When pregnant with twins you have to be consultant led, or at least you do in Wales. You are automatically classed as high risk, however Tabby and Wilf are DCDA twins so they fell into the lower risk category when it comes to twins. You also get extra scans towards the end of the pregnancy, every couple of weeks to check that the babies are growing as they should. I loved going to my scans and I had a running joke with the sonographers that Tabby was going to be the “naughty” twin. She never played ball when they were trying to do measurements, would often hide her face with her hands, and she would always kick Wilf in the head! It’s funny thinking back now, as she is most definitely the alpha twin! She still kicks Wilf in the head, she loves a game of peekaboo, and will not stay still for a second. Changing Tabby’s nappy is what I imagine trying to hang on to the tail of a tornado to be like.
Then comes the usual questions and statements you hear when pregnant with twins, which will be very familiar if you are a twin mum.
Do twins run in your family? You don’t look like you’re having twins – are you sure? Do you know what you’re having? Did you conceive naturally? A boy and a girl, how lovely – are they identical? Blimey you’re going to have your hands full! Rather you than me! That’ll be you done for children then? How are you going to feed them?
It’s funny how many times I’ve had to, and still do answer these questions. I’m not complaining at all, in fact I find it nice that people show such an interest. There is definitely a bit of curiosity when it comes to a multiple pregnancy, and I find people are often intrigued. I know I was before becoming a twin mum, and still am to this day to be honest when I speak to twin mums.
I’ve been very lucky that both of my pregnancies have been pretty straightforward. I found when I was pregnant with Immy I was in a bit of a bubble, very aware of my growing bump and it often felt like I was the only pregnant person in the world. I was nervous for the first 26 weeks or so, but after that I absolutely loved it! You would see me cradling my bump, well prepared for her arrival with my hospital bag packed way in advance and her nursery all decorated (despite her sleeping in our room initially).
The twin pregnancy was a bit of a different story. For a start, I didn’t have time to think about my ever increasing bump. I had Immy to take care of, and I had only just returned to work from my maternity leave (I found out I was pregnant the week before I went back). There was a lot of strain on my body too – growing two babies is no mean feat and towards the end of the pregnancy it was so difficult to even move. Immy still wanted to be picked up, she had only learnt to walk a few months before the twins were born. Ross did everything around the house as I sat rather awkwardly on the sofa, moaning that we shouldn’t have bought it as it was so uncomfortable. Don’t mess with a pregnant woman with double the hormones going around her body. I wish I had taken more videos of me moving around with my twin bump, for the comedy value if nothing else. The twins nursery was completed just before they moved into it at 5 months old.
One thing I would recommend to anyone pregnant with twins (or a singleton in fact) is to make sure you spend some time with just you and your bump. Life can be so chaotic, especially if you already have children, that you blink and your baby is here. I did pregnancy yoga in my first pregnancy and went back when I was pregnant with the twins. Although I didn’t make it every week, having that time to really think about the pregnancy, and connect with them through different breathing exercises was really lovely. It also taught me some breathing techniques to use during the labour.
I wasn’t as prepared for the birth of the twins as I was with Immy. If you can be prepared for any birth that is – these babies do what they want! I had assumed with twins that they would come really early, but as the weeks went by my consultant still had a ‘let’s see what happens’ attitude. I wanted to know if I was going to give birth naturally or have a C-section, or if I was going to be induced. For some reason, I didn’t think they would just let me keep going until the last minute. To be honest, and perhaps naively, I assumed that all twins came via C-section. I didn’t really think a natural birth was an option.
I was nervous as I was told that providing Tabby (twin 1) stayed head down I would have a natural birth, but there was still every chance she could turn. If that happened I would need a C-section. There was also the possibility that I would give birth to Tabby naturally and then need an emergency C-section for Wilf as he was breech. I didn’t mind which way I gave birth, I just wanted them here safely, but not knowing made me a bit nervous. I’m not sure why, because with any pregnancy your birth plan could go out of the window, but I think it was the added extra of knowing they might come really early, instead of in the usual 2-3 week window. I just couldn’t get my head around the unknown.
So I just kept growing and growing, until at 37 weeks they said they would induce me in 2 days time!
I was advised to have an epidural with the twins because of the high possibility of an emergency C-section. I’ve never had anything against using drugs during labour, so I took the advice. What I didn’t realise was that they wouldn’t just offer it to me when we got to hospital to be induced. I got to 7 cm and thought, where’s my epidural, but they were waiting for me to ask for it! I nearly missed the boat on that one but thankfully I didn’t as the pain I felt whilst in labour with the twins was far more intense than with Immy. I’m not sure if that’s because of them being twins or because I was strapped to a bed being monitored and unable to move around.
As it happens I did end up with a natural birth. I may write about my birth stories in a blog one day, as they were at opposite ends of the scale and it would be far too much to detail here.
One thing I will never do is take any of my pregnancies for granted, but I do sometimes feel that I missed out on a pregnancy and maternity leave through having twins. Have any other twin mums felt like that? Although if you were to ask me that now during the sleepless nights I would probably change my tune. Honestly though, they are worth every wink of sleep lost.
Being pregnant with twins was certainly an adventure and a memory I will cherish forever. I feel so privileged to be a Mummy (or Mother as Immy now calls me) to Immy, Tabby and Wilf, and growing three tiny humans will always be my biggest accomplishment.