At 34 weeks, I am almost at the end of my pregnancy. Lately I have thought, “Wow, with the boys (my twins) I was only two weeks from giving birth!”
|Ever wonder what a twin ultrasound looks like? Pretty awesome, right?|
Having a singleton pregnancy after a twin pregnancy is a whole new experience. I’ve had lots of people tell me, “Oh I bet it is SO much easier this time around!”
It HAS been easier but in some unexpected ways.
The only two things that were worse with my twin pregnancy were morning sickness and back pain.
|Back pain is kinda inevitable when you are preggo with twins and gain 55 pounds.
I am 36.5 weeks in this picture, right before we went to the hospital for the c-section
I was sick the same amount of time with both pregnancies (about 16 weeks) but instead of toughing it out (why did I do that?) like I did with the twins, I got anti-nausea meds for this pregnancy, which helped but didn’t completely take away the sickness.
This time around I’ve had varicose vein pain, charlie horses, heartburn, restless leg syndrome, constantly broken-out skin, or a slow moving digestive tract.
I was also never kicked in the bladder or ribs (amazing, right?!) until this pregnancy. Can you say “ouch!!!”?
But while I’ve had more pregnancy symptoms, having a singleton pregnancy has been a breeze from a medical standpoint.
With my twins, I was constantly at the doctor. In addition to my once a week appointment with my in-town doctor, I went to see a neonatal specialist every 2 weeks starting at 24 weeks until I gave birth. Then, starting at 28 weeks, I went to regular doctor twice a week for non-stress tests until I gave birth.
My twins were diagnosed with Twin-to-twin transfusion (where, because of a shared placenta, one twin draws blood and nutrients away from the other twin) and intrauterine growth restriction (very low weight gain in the womb) (and a few other things).
At our 2nd appointment at the specialist the ultrasound tech told us that after our 1st appointment she went home and cried that night because she honestly thought that our babies were not going to make it (thank God she didn’t tell us that at the 1st appointment!).
The doctor also told us that if he saw that the babies were in distress anytime after 28 weeks that I would have a c-section that day. So every appointment I went to I wondered, “Hmm….I wonder if I will have the babies today?” (Imagine thinking this twice a week–or more?!)
Thank God this did not happen (I had the boys at 36.5 weeks) but it made for a pretty high anxiety pregnancy. People often asked me how I coped with the stress. I remember two things helping me through:
I prayed a lot and really just gave the situation to God.
I didn’t let myself get emotionally attached to the boys
The 2nd coping mechanism is pretty sad, right? but honestly, I never knew if at the next appointment the doctor was going to tell me, “I’m sorry, but….”
Because of this, I didn’t or couldn’t let myself get excited about their birth or even about being a mom. I knew we would not have a typical birth. I knew they would be taken to the NICU immediately and would most likely be there for several weeks. I “comforted” myself by counting down the weeks till they were viable (able to live outside the womb) and knew every symptom and complication that resulted from being born at x-weeks.
Everyone around me was so excited and happy for the birth.
I was not.
The only emotions I remember feeling were terror and uncertainty. I poured out my heart (and eyes) to the poor girl in the surgery center office (who was supposed to be prepping me for the c-section the day before I delivered) about how scared I was.
There were no thoughts of snuggling with my new babies or breastfeeding right after birth. I didn’t even get to hold Benji until 6 hours after he was born and didn’t get hold Micah until the next day.
|Holding Benji for the first time: 4 lbs, 12 oz
|Micah’s first night. He was getting a blood transfusion. ( 3lbs 13 oz at birth)
I wish I could say my emotions changed after they were born. There were brief moments of intense joy–hearing Benji’s first cry–and more terror–Micah didn’t breathe for over 5 minutes after he was born. (The doctor who delivered him told us many hours later (after Micah was fine) that he thought that Micah was dead before they pulled him out of the womb).
Mentally, I knew they were my babies.
I knew I was their mommy.
|Benji (my first time seeing him without the oxogen tubes covering his face; he was over a week old here)|
|Micah (IV in his head)|
But I felt very disconnected from them.
I actually didn’t feel strong, emotional affection for them until they were about 4 months old.
The next two weeks were about coping with two premature babies in the NICU, both of whom were barely 4 pounds when we finally brought them home.
Coping, Coping, Coping.
No excitement, no anticipation, no joy.
And this is primarily why my pregnancy with Silas has been different.
I didn’t have to count down the weeks till he was viable and then breathe a sigh of relief when we passed the 24 week mark (though I still did check off each week on my calendar and breathe that prayer of thankfulness).
My life is not consumed with doctor’s appointments, horrible anxiety, or wondering if he will be born “today”
And most importantly I am excited, happy and eagerly anticipating his birth (as is my husband and soon-to-be big brothers!)
Lord willing, everything will go as planned and I will go full term, have a successful VBAC, and get to actually hold my baby right after he is born! And hopefully feel the whole “fall in love” thing that so many moms have talked about but that I have never experienced.
I am so blessed to have twins and though my pregnancy with them was actually physically “easier” for me (not them!) than with Silas, there is no comparison about how much better I feel emotionally this time around.
I can’t wait to meet our new little man!
|Silas Edward: Due in 6 weeks!|