Pregnant With Multiples & Petrified? I Got You Covered!
I’m Sorry Can You Repeat That? ‘Congrats, You’re Having TWINS (Or More)!!’
(How You To Can Survive A Twin Pregnancy & Beyond!)
You just found out you are pregnant with multiples? You aren’t sure if you should shout out a big ‘Yipee’, and flash a bright smile, or let out an ‘Oh no’ and cry your little eyes out. Either reaction is normal, so please sit down, take a load off and read this article. I have been where you are, and no one else knows these feelings better. Here I’ll discuss pregnancy with multiples in the emotional sense, and the physical sense, and what a duo pregnancy means for you.
It takes awhile to absorb the impact of the news. You may even feel like you are in a deep sleep, dreaming, and waiting for someone to come along and pinch you quickly, so you can wake up. You may have even wanted and tried for a baby badly, but an extra one, was never in the plan. Why is it, that so many women get frightened and don’t feel doubly blessed at first? Well, let’s look at it from the point of view of a woman, who has never been pregnant with twins before. Some things that may loom in her mind those first days and weeks, while she’s absorbing the news.
1) How am I going to hold all that baby inside of me, and make it to a safe point in pregnancy to give birth? Won’t my uterus just explode? (To answer that…NO, I assure you!).
What if something goes wrong? There are very real complications associated w/ more then 1 baby. Our bodies really were designed to carry one passenger at a time. How can I know we’ll all make it through alright?
2) How are we going to manage financially? We are barely making it as is, and maybe one more we could handle, but how could we even afford an extra mouth to feed, above and beyond that?
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3) How will I ever see my husband again. I’ll be so busy and burnt out, and he’ll be so tired, where will our relationship go, and when will we ever have time as a couple ever again? Will we be so stressed our marriage will be shaken?
4) How will my other children, or child, handle this huge ‘Earthquake’, that’s about to come and rock our family tree? How will there be enough love and time to go around, and will they feel angry and resentful of the new bundles of pink and/or blue.
Let me say, Though I had an older child newly into his teens, I felt like my younger one was getting gypt without having a closer in age sibling, and she was always asking for one, and I adore children, so I was able to eventually convince my husband for 1 last hurrah, though he was completely content as is, so in being in this particular situation, it was worse for me, then say a newly married couple trying for their first child, then BOOM It’s twins.
Because he was older, and he took on my two children from a previous relationship, he felt quite content with our one, giant handful of a little diva, and then this news came along. It looked like a train had run over his face, he had such a painfully dead stare in his eyes, and I’ll tell you, his face stayed that way for some months after the technician said ‘SURPRISE daddy’.
I felt a little sad about him being so stand-offish, for some time, because, #1) I really needed his support more now that ever, cause heck, I was carrying the babies, I’m scared to, sheesh. #2) I didn’t do this on my own by a long shot, so I was feeling more alone then I ever had before, and I got bitter towards him in my heart for awhile there. Felt like I had nowhere to turn, and it all fell on my shoulders. I don’t have a close knit family, a bunch of siblings like I always wished for, to turn to…none of it, so I was really frightened.
*NOTE TO MEN: You may be in shock to, but always ALWAYS empathize with the feelings and emotions that your female half is going through. It’s scary for both of you, but by a country mile, harder for her, in so many ways, so please be understanding and always supportive & encouraging. Your life may depend on it. I mean, what jury would convict her? 😆 *
How do you get out of the twin shock and climb out of the rut? Whelp, it’s all gradual really. Some women are gung-ho about having twins, and God bless them I surely was not one of them at the start of it all, and a lot of these women never had a child before, so there you go, that explains it, he he, but I think more are scared, then thrilled at first glance, it’s a lot to take in, so don’t ever feel alone, or guilty for how you feel, no matter how dramatic, because trust me, you will see the sun again when:
1) You see that all the complications you feared so much by scouring the Internet, are not happening to you. And if by chance something were to happen, like me, I got Gestational Diabetes, that was my toughest part of things with twins, and I felt so nerve-wracked about it at first, and it truly was nothing hideous & completely ‘Dealable’. Everything can be managed. Think positively! Chances are GREATLY in your favor for a positive outcome. Don’t go around always expecting the worst!
2) You start the bonding process, by seeing your babies on the ultrasound, and hearing their separate heart beats. This helps a lot over time.
3) When you start talking with your partner, and becoming accepting as a couple, that Ok, God has chosen to give us two, (or 3, depending on your situation), instead of one, and this is what we are going to do, we will be a team, and work it out together (sooo important). That will ease your fears immensely, to have that spousal support, and come to terms with your situation together. It will end up becoming a happy one, for you both, I assure you. I know nothing about a triplet and beyond pregnancy, and I’m sure that is even much more frightening, but take it one day at a time, and have faith in God, that He will see you through!
4) When you feel your babies moving inside of you. might be hard to keep track of who is who and what is what, being full of babies, but you will definitely know there is more then 1 in there. It feels incredibly cool, and two sets of hiccups, is the most adorable thing ever, I thought. I do miss that!
5) Make it feel more real. Find out the genders, so you can plan, and day dream more, start buying some clothes, and decorating a nursery. For some time you are in a haze, and find it hard to get your mind off the possible bad that can happen…we blow out of proportion, the negative, like the complications, and especially pre term labor and such, we just get ourselves overwhelmed with everything bad’, and fail to emerse ourselves, in the good, and happy things. The things that makes us smile, and ladies come on, shopping ALWAYS makes us smile, so buy for your babies, decorate their room, make a scrap book with ultrasound photos, write a poem to your unborn children, get a 3d ultrasound (this was BIG for me).
It may still not feel incredibly real, because it’s hard to visualize two or more newborns at once, but it does help in so many ways, so it’s recommended. This is one time dads got to be a little lax with his credit cards. You do have to save, there is no doubt there, but to help with the twin shock there really is such a thing as ‘Retail therapy’. I HIGHLY recommend it.
6) Sometimes twin shock lasts the whole way through and the only cure for it, is the reality. Seeing your babies. That is when it became the most real and turned into excitement for me. I don’t care who you are, and what you have felt during your pregnancy, when you see those two little faces, you will melt beyond any human comprehension, and suddenly, in that one instant, you wouldn’t trade it in for anything, including the singleton pregnancy you originally wanted, and maybe even pined for, at one time. Only hindsight is 20/20, but soon you will see.
You will even feel guilty for ever having thought that way, but forgive yourself. It’s a very scary thing to be pregnant with twins, much less triplets or greater. You are not alone in how you felt, now it’s time to finally enjoy your babies! (and you will enjoy them..A LOT).
I really had fears during the pregnancy, that I might be very susceptible to having post partum depression, with two new babies rocking our worlds. I figured, I may never have had it before, but if ever there was a time right? WRONG, I honestly had post partum elation, and really shocked myself at how well I managed.
I am not the most organized person in the world, I am not the most scheduled either, and I do enjoy a bit of me time, some time, so I feared two newborns would be for our home, like the atom bomb was to Hiroshima, but believe it or not, it was a beautiful and easy transition, EXCEPT for our 5 yr old.
She loves them to death, but she also does still at 5 months have her moments. just make sure to include your other children, never leave them out, and it isn’t as hectic and impossible as it all seems. Take advantage of your sweet partner, by getting him to help sometimes, so you and your other child or children, can get out like you had previously, from time to time. This is really important for them, taking them back to normalcy whenever you possibly can do so. Getting them together with their little friends helps a lot to, because they are being entertained elsewhere, and jealousy is far from their little minds.
With my daughter I let her know, ‘Hey it’s not fun for mommy to be always feeding babies, I’m not having a blast doing it, but I had to do it with you so you could be healthy and strong, and look at you now, and I had to with your brothers, and my mom had to do it for me, so we all have had to have our diapers changed and bottles fed to us, at one point in our lives, so we could grow up to become big kids, and adults, like mommy is now. It’s just something we must do to survive’, and she started to ‘Get that’, and accept it.
It’s something that must be done, and isn’t a fun activity. As long as she felt like she was #1, she was ok. I was always careful not to ‘Ohh and ahhh’ at the babies too much in front of her, because of the jealousy aspect, and asked others to also do the same, and respect her feelings. This is huge. I got her little gifts, so she wouldn’t feel left out if the babies got something, and she did not. The little things, mean A LOT!! Keep your other kids in the picture and make them feel special and important. That is key!
As far as the physical. are there additional complications that MAY arise in pregnancy? not guaranteed by may arise? YES, but I knew of several women pregnant with singletons during my pregnancy that had tons of complications, as the weeks kept flying by uneventfully for me, so it can happen in any pregnancy, don’t read so much about it. It isn’t worth the stress.
I expected something bad, the whole time, and I mean worse then what I got which was the GD. Pre-term birth, Pre-eclampsia, Placental Previa, still birth, because I read too much, and got myself all wound up…BIG MISTAKE!! That stuff never happened.
Just follow these rules:
1) Take your pre-natal vitamins daily
2) Exercise a little when you can, it helps release happy endorphins, and therefore make you feel less stressed, and will help aid in a smoother, easier delivery, and a better recovery.
3) Have some good sex (for the same reason as above…less stressed 🙂
4) Do not miss your pre-natal appointments with your Dr. Proper pre-natal care is essential.
5) Eat as well as you can, but of course allowing yourself some leeway for your cravings.
6) Find A Dr. (OB GYN), that you really love, I mean REALLY love and trust. this makes all the difference in how comfortable you feel throughout, how many of your questions get answered, and how you feel about your birth plan. if you don’t trust your Dr chances are you won’t even express your wishes and fears, and be stuck on googling instead. NOT GOOD! A terrific personally Dr is KEY.
7) As you get further along, take it easy. Bed rest, contrary to popular belief is NOT a given, in a twin pregnancy. I was never on any bed rest and was going and going until my final hour, so don’t fear that from the start as I did. I expected it, which was stupid. Later on in your pregnancy, when your body tires out, it will tell you when it needs rest, so listen to it, when that time comes. Until then, enjoy your normal activities like any other pregnancy.
8 ) Go for all of your ultrasounds to make sure the babies are growing well, and thriving. The very important 12 week NT scan and 20 week anatomy scan, should not be missed by any woman. You can learn early nowadays if you baby or babies have any sort of chromosomal issues, so if you are like me believing knowledge is power, you may want to go for additional tests as well, such as a CVS test, or Amnio., but do not miss the ultrasounds and blood work at the very least, it’s still a good indictor of most things.
9) Avoid unhealthy substances. Reduce or even eliminate caffeine intake (If possible). Of course, avoid dangerous medications that may harm your babies and/or cause pre term labor, and other complications.
If you must be on a certain medication, discuss the risks vs. the benefits, with your Doctor or a Genetic Counselor. Avoid raw fish, and of course cigarettes and alcohol. these are things you would do in any pregnancy, so no real surprise there.
10) RELAX ALITTLE! Easier said then done, but stress is one of the worst things you can do while pregnant. It makes your heart beat faster, it makes your central nervous system go all screwy, and even raises blood pressure.
In hind sight, if there was one thing I could have changed it would have been, the heavy amount of stress I put on myself, and my babies especially during those early few months. It does no one any good, only hurts you, and never changes a darn thing, so don’t do it, even when it feels so impossibly hard.
Find things to immerse yourself in that are positive, and don’t dwell on your fears. Take up a new hobby, or get back into one you already have, so you can find some relief from the stress you are putting yourself under. If not for yourself, then for your babies. It will help you both.
Studies have shown, intense amounts of stress during pregnancy have been known to affect the fetus or fetuses, in adverse ways. So better to have not, in this case.
Your time? well of course you will be more busy with two newborns, but as long as you have a good support system, whether that be your husband, or your family, and God love ya, if you are lucky enough to have both, you will shower again, put on makeup, go on a quick errand on your own, go out for an occasional dinner to keep the spark alive (which is so very important…harder with twins? Yes. Impossible? NO). In the beginning put all of your energy into the babies, and working as a team with your partner, and after the first few months fly by, and things are more routine, and normalcy is established, then you start thinking about the little things again, that truly are still, very important.
Just never forget about yourself, your partner, and your other children (Who will be having the hardest time of it, especially the little ones). You got to know no matter how shaken everything, and everyone, might feel in the beginning, the normal things from your past, and your children’s pasts, will live on again. In the long run you, and their siblling(s), will be better off for having these two (Or more), extra members in your household. Just more love & laughter to go around.
Another benefit of having two at once, is that they will be able to entertain each other as they grow. Mine are 5 months so that isn’t happening quite yet, but they are starting to take notice, laugh at one another, and reach for eachother, so soon enough, they will be playing together. This is a relief for me, because my 5 year old, was soo needy, I was her #1 constant playmate, and she demanded oodles of constant attention, (still does), and doeting, so I know this will be less exhausting on me, and it’s also just nice that they have each other.
I did feel like I was defeating the purpose of wanting another child so badly, mainly for my daughter, like now they’ll be friends, and she’ll be left out, but they’re all girls. I know I have always wanted a sister. I think about them all, 15, 20 years from now, at Thanksgiving dinner, and birthdays and they will have so much that I never got to have, and I’m a little envious of it, but very happy for them. It’s an eventual benefit to any siblings involved, even if no one can see it that way at first. And if you have not yet had any kids, whelp, your child has a built in best friend. Less entertaining on your part, which will be nice, TRUST ME!!
Look towards the future. It will be bright, not grim. Twins are by far not a death sentence, for your mind, your body, and your social life. They are a blessing, and they open up a new world for you, you never knew existed, and show you love x’s 2, that is boundless! One baby at a time? Heck that seems boring now. There IS enough love to go around, there is enough of you, and you can succeed at this. Remember as always, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other.
If you ever need ANY support, or advice, I am always an email away. I remember how scared I was, and how much I could have used that friend myself. I’m here for ya!!
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Email me anytime, if you need a friendly shoulder at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is Shelly, signing off, from my living room to yours. Until next time!!