I’ve been a little busy lately, because….

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We are SO thrilled, especially because of my recent loss. Turns out my husband and I are pretty good at this baby-making thing. Now to figure out where we’re going to put all the new diapers we’ll need…

In all seriousness, though, I have been really down about my miscarriage. It didn’t seem fair. We wanted that baby so much. This was a much needed blessing, but it doesn’t take away from the pain of loss. I’ll always mourn my June baby just a little bit, but I am thrilled to be expecting an August one.

I remember before getting pregnant, I thought it was crazy to announce an early pregnancy. And with the boys, I was wary. I waited until we saw clear heartbeats twice to announce at ten weeks. Even at that point, I got awful comments. “You know you could lose one, right? It happened to so-and-so…” And “Oooh, you’re almost out of the woods. Miscarriages are so common first trimester.” Such ugly thoughts from people who do not think before speaking. I spent my whole first trimester terrified of vanishing twin syndrome – or worse, losing both.

With my second pregnancy, I vowed to not be paranoid. What good would it do to worry? I had one healthy pregnancy; everything would be fine. Except of course, it wasn’t fine. What a cruel trick – to not have been worried enough, I thought.

But I have realized that it doesn’t do any good either way. Worry or not, things will happen and you will have no control. So I’ve decided to embrace this pregnancy and shout it from the rooftops. I’m “only” six weeks, but there is a life inside of me and I want everyone to know. I relish all the congratulations and good thoughts. I welcome all the prayers. And goodness knows I will need the support.

12 facts about my pregnancy.

There have been a lot of “Like this post to get a number” statuses going around Facebook lately, and it reminded me of when all the Notes were being published 5-6 years ago, with the requisite tagging of 25 people. I find it fascinating how the terminology and format of the social networking world continues to change, but it still leaves a space for “surveys” and “facts” – a place to spout off things that would be socially unacceptable to just drop into a casual conversation. I’m sure it comes as no surprise that I love doing this.

The “___ # of facts about my pregnancy” post caught my eye, so without further ado…

1. I was convinced that I was jet-lagged and not pregnant. Having never flown internationally before our honeymoon, I had no idea that jet lag does not last for two weeks.

2. I read my pregnancy test wrong. I thought it had a very very faint line, when in fact it had the darkest line possible. The test line took up so much of the dye that the control line was barely visible. I was about as pregnant as you can get.

3. Growing up, we always joked that I would have twins. I never thought it would ACTUALLY HAPPEN.

4. The day of my first ultrasound, my mom and I went to visit my twin aunties and my cousins. We were late getting up there because of the appointment, and my mom and I were doing a lousy job of hiding the reason for our tardiness. I hadn’t planned on telling extended family until the second trimester, but it felt like an elephant in the room. To make matters worse, they decided to discuss the recently published article on twins in Time magazine. My cousins proceeded to bicker over which one of them was going to end up pregnant with twins. I finally couldn’t take it and had to blurt out that it was, in fact, going to be me.

5. I never knew the true meaning of reflux until my second trimester. Thank goodness for Prilosec.

6. I gained 41 pounds.

7. Speaking of, I had always glorified pregnancy as this wonderful time where you could eat whatever you wanted without caring, but it turns out due to heartburn and reflux and nausea and general lack of space, I couldn’t eat much of anything.

8. The only thing I loved about pregnancy was that I didn’t have to suck in my belly for pictures. I still miss that.

9. Both my boys were head down and in nearly the same position from 18 weeks on. They were always close to exactly the same size and had eerily similar heartbeats.

10. My twins were diamniotic/dichorionic, which means that they each had their own placenta and their own amniotic sac. Because of this, the nurse practitioner told me that they would be fraternal. Surprise! A zygosity test told a different story.

11. I went to an OB who specializes in multiples. It was an amazing resource to have, and I’ve made great friends from the women in the hospital-based multiples group.

12. By the end of my pregnancy the only thing I could wear were maxi dresses and my husband’s basketball shorts. It wasn’t pretty.

Inspired? Blog your own 12 facts!

Dealing with Loss.

I lost my baby at Costco.

Not literally, of course. And not my toddlers – they were safely strapped into the double cart, attracting as much attention as usual. No, I lost the teeny tiny glimmer of a future child my husband and I had just conceived. I can’t explain how I knew. But I did. I felt an odd sensation, and was instantly filled with panicky anxiety. I was nervous enough to be pregnant again so soon, and something just didn’t feel right. I tried to rationalize it away, but my body felt off. It knew.

It’s a strange thing, this grief. I was so excited to be pregnant again – my first babies are turning into big kids and I love every minute of it. I don’t want them to be newborns again – not by a long stretch. No, instead it is that I love toddlers so much that I want more of them. These little people that we made – we want another one. You’ve seen them – who wouldn’t? I knew it was time when I brought it up and my husband didn’t turn a whiter shade of pale. We were ready – we ARE ready. Our life is already chaotic. What’s one more?

It was just as easy as the first time – in fact, I found myself thinking it was too easy. We wanted a baby, and boom! Two pink lines. I was worried, a little, but mostly just overjoyed. We would be having a June baby – every teacher’s dream, right? With the right luck, I wouldn’t have had to take maternity leave. I’m terrible at secrets and so we told everyone. I don’t regret that; I don’t even know how to keep things to myself. And why would I? Pregnancy is exciting. Scary, but exciting. Which brings me back to Costco.

I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong that Friday, and I was becoming increasingly nervous about my first appointment. At the last minute we found out my husband’s work schedule changed and I would have to go alone. Considering the last time I went for a dating ultrasound they discovered TWO babies, I was less than thrilled with the thought of being by myself. I had a nagging feeling that wouldn’t go away. I got to the appointment early, did all the paperwork, peed in a cup. The usual. I saw the same nurse practitioner and we talked about all the logistics. And then came the moment of truth – the last time I was in this position, my life changed forever. And this time, again, it did. I knew immediately that something was wrong. She thought I would be almost nine weeks based off my cycles; I knew I should be almost exactly seven weeks due to my charting. Instead of a first heartbeat, however, the ultrasound showed only an empty gestational sac. A white circle.

She went on about “grey areas” and “follow ups” and how charting can be wrong, but I knew. I did the math over and over and over in my head and I knew. I was not five-six weeks pregnant. I wasn’t pregnant at all. It’s all kind of a blur; I scheduled the follow up appointment as I was told. I sat in my car and cried. I texted my husband and my mom, and cried more. I got home just in time to put my kids to bed, and they knew something was off. Everyone was crying. I couldn’t wrap my head around this. Miscarriages happen, but they don’t happen to me. I was going to have a June baby, and now all of a sudden I wasn’t going to have a baby at all. My friends and family were supportive; I tried to maintain hope. Things just didn’t feel right.

That appointment was a Wednesday. On Saturday, I started spotting, and by Sunday it was worse. I woke up Monday two hours before my alarm in so much pain I could barely breathe. I put in for a sub and tried to brave through the minutes until the doctor’s office would open. I made it almost half an hour before I gave up and called the triage line, where I was directed to head to the ER. I am so grateful that I have family around, as my husband was able to stay home with the boys while my dad dropped me at the ER, where my mom was already waiting. I was admitted quickly and everything happened fast. Ultrasound, painkillers, fluids, dizziness, nausea, cramps, the “M” word, tears, exhaustion. I was “treated and discharged” quickly and everyone was very kind. They instructed me to have a follow up ultrasound done, and that was that.

It’s strange, this sense of loss. How do you grieve something that never was? Everyone has their own path, I suppose. I remind myself I am blessed to have two beautiful boys, and I take comfort in the kind words and thoughts of others. The bottle of Don Julio my friend left on my doorstep surely hasn’t hurt. In the grand scheme of life, it’s just another small bump to overcome. A memory to tuck away, soon to be covered with piles of other, more wonderful memories. Greysonfleecesawyerfleece

Third Tri.

I hope you checked out my dos and don’ts for the first tri, and my gratuitous photo-spamming post on the 2nd trimester as well. This brings us to the third trimester, or what felt to me like listening to “The Final Countdown” for twelve weeks straight. Benefit of having twins: Most of us “get” to cut that third trimester a couple weeks short. Drawback of having twins: it actually feels like the 27th trimester because OHMYGODTHEPAIN.

I don’t really want to scare anyone, but I’d like to be fair. I’m going to open right up with the pain. IT HURT TO LIVE. In fact, ask any of my friends how I felt during third trimester. They would probably tell you they didn’t know, because they stopped listening to me, because all I ever said was, “IT HURTS TO LIVE. TAKE THEM OUT. THE PAAAIIIINNNNN.”

I have heard that some women enjoy pregnancy. I have even heard that a few women enjoy twin pregnancy. It’s cool. I mean, people jump out of perfectly good airplanes and hike up ridiculously tall mountains and swallow swords and major in Biochemistry. I’m really not judging. I’m just saying it’s not my thing. And neither was this:

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Did that scare you? It’s 100% unedited. I chose that image because it summed up my last trimester. I wore that shirt and those shorts probably every day. In case you’re wondering, the proper term for those shorts is Horta, and the exact definition of Horta is “basketball shorts you jacked from your husband because nothing fits you and you are not buying shit because IT HURTS TO LIVE.” Look it up. I’m sure it’s there. (In reality, Horta was a silly autocorrect for shorts from my mama tribe.) You can actually watch me transition from a real human being to a swollen pile of misery. Take this for example:

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The picture of the left was before I hit my third trimester. You can’t call the picture on the right an after picture, because third trimesters are actually EONS long. I might still be in mine.

As far as actual details go, there’s not a lot you need to know. It’s one big waiting game. Is your cervix still long and closed? Are the babies both growing? Can we hear both heartbeats? Is your blood pressure okay? Do you have enough fluid? Answer “yes” to all of those questions and you win a trip back home to your couch! Part of multiple pregnancy involves being closely monitored as you are a high-risk patient. In contrast to your average singleton pregnancy, you will have multiple appointments and ultrasounds per month. The biggest concern for multiples is premature labor/delivery, and research has shown that they can predict those better if you are closely monitored. In addition, pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome present themselves different in multiple pregnancies and so it is necessary to take precautions to ensure the best standard of care. Twins are also closely monitored for IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction).

My pregnancy was boring, which is stellar in the twin world. I had textbook blood pressure and no signs of premature labor. The boys were similar to each other in size, which indicated that they both had adequate blood flow despite Sawyer having something called velamentous cord insertion. For most of my pregnancy, it appeared I could go all the way to 39-40 weeks. Unfortunately, at 33 weeks I developed cholestasis which necessitated delivery of the babies at 37 weeks. Quite frankly, if they had their way I think they would still be in there.

I’ve heard a lot of people talk about “nesting” as something that happens in the third trimester, and this definitely happened to me. If by “nesting,” you mean sitting very very still doing absolutely nothing, I “nested” constantly.
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Toward the end of my pregnancy, I was in so much pain that I physically couldn’t do anything other than get up and go to the bathroom. I had to ride the motorized scooter at Target, and I went to the San Diego County Fair in a wheelchair. It felt as though my hips were being separated with a set of very large pliers. They say that it is impossible to physically remember pain – not true. I get chills just thinking about it. I am probably supposed to make some trite comment about how all the pain was worth it for my beautiful children – and they ARE beautiful – but I feel like that only encourages women to brush their experiences aside. The level of physical discomfort I endured was awful. I did not enjoy it. I am grateful for my children, but that is something separate entirely. My point is – if you are NOT enjoying your pregnancy, do not feel guilty. It is okay to be miserable. It doesn’t make you a bad mom or an ungrateful wench. It makes you a human. A human who currently can only think, “IT HURTS TO LIVE.” NO judgment, mama. I feel you.

I’d like to leave you with a photo that I haven’t shared publicly before. Mostly because I’m in my underwear, but also because it’s terrifying. I’d like to share it here with you – softened, blurred, and sepia-toned – just to offer you a glimpse into the private side of pregnancy. I love this picture – I’m in tears just looking at it – because this is the last night my babies were a part of me. I remember thinking that night that I wished I could keep them in there forever – just for me. For no one else. A place where they were safe and we were all unchanged. I spent the last two weeks of my pregnancy terrified about becoming a mother. Sometimes I think that twin moms (probably ALL moms) can get so caught up in the medical aspect that they neglect the emotional aspect. It was definitely true for me. You spend so many weeks praying that they’ll stay in there just another week, just another week, just another day, just another hour… and absolutely nothing can prepare you for how you will feel when they come out. It is safe while they are inside. I can see that on my face.

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But of course, they had to come out, and my world turned upside down. Life IS scarier. Things ARE harder. But they are so, so, SO much better.

The 2nd Trimester

I wanted to follow up my first trimester post with one for the second trimester. The problem is, I can’t actually remember anything about my second trimester except for the anatomy scan. When you are pregnant with one baby, this is referred to as the “golden” or the “honeymoon” period – the morning sickness is over, and you’re not uncomfortable yet. SO. NOT. TRUE. I experienced a two-day reprieve between morning sickness and vomit-inducing reflex. I outgrew all my clothes and all my maternity clothes. My days were a blur of vomit, ice cream, and Shonda Rhimes dramas. Usually in that order. In any case, I figured I would bust out my trusty pregnancy journal to help me write this post. I have included the journal in its entirety here for you to review. Don’t worry; you can get through it all and still have time to catch up on your Netflix queue.

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Unfortunately, my journaling was subpar. My photo-journaling, however, was clutch. Please enjoy the series of pictures that document my second trimester. If this were a gallery exhibit, it would be entitled, “How I learned to stop worrying and love the belly.”
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The day I found out.

If you’re a twin mom, you know what I mean. THE DAY. You will be asked about this day forever by anyone and everyone. If you are currently pregnant, take notes. You might want to embellish it later; add a little flair so it’s more entertaining at Costco. You won’t ever be able to forget it, but even if your brain allowed it – strangers would not. As a twin mom, you are approached by strangers. It’s not variable; it’s a given. You ARE approached by strangers. Everywhere. All the time. They will ask you a series of questions. A casual conversation will go something like this:

Stranger: “OH! Are they twins?”
Me: Yep! (Nope, my husband and I met at the hospital and bonded over our oddly similar newborns.)
Stranger: “Boys? Girls? One of each?”
Me: They’re boys! (But I could tell you anything and you probably wouldn’t care!)
Stranger: “Are they identical?”
Me: Yep! (Again; doesn’t matter what I say here.)
Stranger: I can tell! (or, sometimes, “But they look different!) SO…. do twins run in your family?
Me: Yep! (Even though identical twinning is not an inherited trait, I don’t think you want a genetics lesson so I’ll just keep nodding!)
Stranger: Did you know?
Me: No! It was quite a shock! Awkward chuckle! (Yes, actually, I felt my egg split. It was other-worldly.)

and then the inevitable –

Stranger: So, how did you feel when you found out?
Me: Surprised! Delighted! It’s such a blessing. (BYE NOW; ice cream melting.)

That is my daily conversation. I have contemplated having it screen-printed, but I’m not very tall and it would make a long shirt. And snark aside, I really don’t mind the questions. I love talking about my children. I wish I could educate everyone on the details of twinning. I might start carrying around a flash drive with a PowerPoint. In any case, I don’t often tell the entire story of THE DAY because it’s long and emotional and personal. But for you, dear reader, here it is.

As a child, I dreamed of having twins. I still think this is normal – the only thing cooler than one is two, right? I set up my dolls in pairs, wrote elaborate stories of long-lost sisters, read every Sweet Valley High book I could get my hands on, watched The Parent Trap (the original, thankyouverymuch) over and over again. I was CERTAIN I was destined to have twins. But I was also certain I was destined to be rich, and famous, and thin, and tall, and well… yeah.

My husband and I decided that we wanted children right away. Our courtship was quick (a story for another day) and we were both ready to move into the next phase of life. As someone who has struggled with PCOS, I was concerned that it could take a while for us to conceive. I did my research and prepared for a long wait. We had a gorgeous wedding followed by an amazing wine-soaked Italian honeymoon. The only downside was that I came back incredibly jet-lagged. Like, could not get out of bed jet-lagged. As someone who had never traveled internationally, I was thinking “This sh*t is for the birds!” I was cranky. And bloated. And miserable. And whiny. And everything hurt, and my stupid period was due any day… wait… no it was due last week maybe? Ohhhhhhhhhh. OH. Not jet lag. Two bright pink lines confirmed that.

Finding out you are pregnant is a roller-coaster of emotions, and I imagine that it feels surreal to everyone. A piece of plastic tells you that your life will change. My husband and I were dumbfounded. It had been too easy. I called and made my appointment for the first ultrasound, thinking that once we saw the tiny little life we had created, it would become real. I made the appointment for when I would be eight weeks exactly. My husband and I went back and forth over whether he should take the day off work -I said “not necessary;” he said “DEFINITELY necessary.” He was right.

When the day came, we were taken back into the office where the nurse went over the laundry-list of things I would need to do. Watch what I ate, pick an OB or a midwife, take prenatals, stop drinking, relax, start printing money, etc. And then we got ready for the best part – the coup de grace. We could.not.wait to see this miracle for real. She started up the ultrasound machine, got the wand in place, turned the screen towards me, and said…

“Oh! Twins.”

Just like that. No warning, no nothing. The most anti-climactic moment possible. LOOK. TWO. WOW. And all of a sudden instead of the pregnancy becoming cemented as real, my entire life became surreal. She printed out “individual shots” and a “group photo” for me to show off, gave me the name of the best twin doctor around, and sent me on my merry way. With two embryos. Like it was normal. Welcome to the rest of your life, kid. Here’s a sucker for your troubles. In fact, take two. They’re small.

The nurse left; I looked deep into my husband’s eyes. I saw tears. And dollar signs. But mostly tears. This was it – our little family, ready or not.

*Disclosure: This post contains links that generate revenue as a part of the Amazon Associates program.

The first in a series of many, many, MANY posts about multiple pregnancies.

image (2)I wanted to start this blog when I was pregnant, but I was super busy eating chocolate ice cream, watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, and reading other people’s blogs. And then I wanted to start this after I had twins, but I HAD TWINS. Luckily, after twelve looooooooong (did I say long? LONG.) months with my little angels, they actually sleep sometimes and so this blog was born.

My first post will focus on the first trimester. The first trimester of any pregnancy is a roller-coaster of emotions, and most women are tempted to find as much information as possible. I am here to tell you NOT to do that (you won’t listen, but that’s okay.) Because you have already received a packet of information from your care provider that likely rivals the size and weight of a college-bound sixteen year old’s backpack, this is a top ten list of Dos and Don’ts for after you recover* from the initial shock of discovering that you have two or more little buns in your oven.

THE FIRST TRIMESTER

DO:
1. Sleep when you can, if you can. I know, I know. But really. This is important. You probably should have slept more before getting pregnant, too, but it’s too late for that now.
2. Move homes if you are planning to move at all. Now. While you can still walk. But don’t lift anything; you’re incubating.
3. Look at pictures of adorable, healthy children. And puppies. Mostly puppies.
4. Find a group of local moms of multiples. Or any moms of multiples. I recommend one with an online community so that you don’t have to put on pants to talk to them.
5. Start hoarding diapers and wipes. Cloth or disposable; you’ll still want a stash.
6. Subscribe to things that don’t require leaving your house, like grocery delivery, Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc.
7. Invest in maxi dresses, muumuus, and maybe a caftan or two.
8. Wax all body hair and hope it grows back slowly.
9. Purchase a pill-minder, some kind of calendar, and a LOT of post-it notes.
10. Take up drinking hard drugs guided meditation.

DON’T
1. Buy any books about multiples, or multiple pregnancies, or complications during multiple pregnancies.
2. Google any of the above.
3. Talk to any moms in your newly found multiples group who have recently given birth.
4. Look up images of “twin pregnancy belly,” “multiples belly stretch marks,” “37 week pregnant belly multiples,” “twin skin,” or anything relating to any of those things.
5. Hang out with anyone who is pregnant with a singleton. Especially if they have a suspicious glow.
6. Buy a belly band, unless you want to use it as a headband later.
7. Look at the scale. There are two (or more!) humans in your uterus. Eat nourishing foods and throw away all units of measurement.
8. Be afraid to approach other moms of multiples. We want to talk to you! We were you.
9. Get any new pets, or any new living creatures at all. Plants included.
10. Forget about your significant other. Give him/her attention now, while you still have some to give.

Have “Dos” or “Don’ts” I left out?” Let me know!

*You’ll never recover.

Full disclosure: This post, like others on my blog, contains sponsored links to generate revenue as a part of the Amazon Affiliates program.