Author: Jodi Collins
Twin pregnancy in all its glory!
I was pregnant, with two of everything, for roughly 265 days (that’s 6360 looong hours or 381,600 seemingly endless minutes) and I’m not going to lie – towards the end – I felt every, single one of them.
I know I’m one of the lucky ones, not many multi-mammas get to bake their babes until they are well-done, but at the time, I was certain I was serving a sentence of hard time for a crime I didn’t commit.
Right from the beginning, I made a decision, not to count weeks!
One-day-at-a-time was how I survived the third trimester with twins. My morning sickness rivalled the type of hangover only a three-day bender from waaaay back (when I had no kids and a life) could induce.
It was also how I got through the third (uggghhh) trimester.
Surviving the third trimester with twins
And I’ll say it again… I know I’m one of the lucky ones… Medically there was nothing (NOT A SINGLE THING) wrong with me. I was just “uncomfortable”. Really bloody uncomfortable!
My legs, ankles and feet looked like a balloon ‘bout ready to pop; my hips (I swear they snapped in two) left me hobbling like a much older lady; sleep was impossible; eating was impossible; uterine “tightenings” left me breathless and sweaty; I was angry and scared and guilty (pretty much all the time, on repeat); I was exhausted and anaemic (and therefore literally full of shit); plus, I peed myself and my nose bled without warning. Oh, the joys of the third trimester with twins.
I did not glow. I was not gracious.
Life with four bigger kids, a crazy after-school schedule, a house on the market, fortnightly home opens, a move on the horizon and 30 extra kilos to lug around was tough!
Everyday I would give myself the same pep talk “It’s a marathon not a sprint. This won’t last forever.”
My first mistake
But I made one big (really big) mistake! I think I read every single multi-mamma blog ever published. The majority American. Where (it seems) most twins are handed an eviction notice at 36 weeks.
(Note from Twinfo: You can now read a whole selection of Australian multiple birth pregnancy stories HERE.)
Do you see the problem? My two overstayed their welcome! Mentally I had only prepared myself to be pregnant for 252 days. Not 253 days. Or 254 days. And sure, as heck not 265 days!
I will spend the rest of my life trying to repent those 13 days. My poor husband. My poor kids.
My second mistake
That was my first mistake. My second mistake was continually reassuring everybody “I’m fine! There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m just pregnant!”.
I wasn’t fine. I hurt (a lot)! And just because I didn’t have a proper (medical) reason to sit down and put my feet up. I should have! I also should have asked for and accepted help when it was offered.
There really was no need for me to attend the school board meeting the night before my elective c-section was (eventually) booked in.
My third mistake
My third mistake was not joining a multiple-birth community like Parents of Multiples Australia sooner!
I made birth choices based on fear. Fear of what I’d read online. A fear of episiotomies, intervention, epidurals, manual repositioning and double whammy deliveries. What I needed to read was real stories from real women.
If I’d joined PoMA earlier, I would have realised there are lots of fortunate women who carry their twins to 38 weeks and beyond, that have successful natural deliveries and healthy babies.
And if things had gone pear-shaped, I would have been embraced by a supportive, caring and knowing community.
So, what were the lifesavers? The things that got me through the third trimester with twins?
A belly wrap/belt
From as early as 24 weeks, it was the difference between walking and crawling by the end of the day. My sister lent me her Belly Bandit Bamboo Wrap and it was an absolute godsend. My physio also recommended the SRC Pregnancy Shorts for hip/pubic pain but with a $190-$200 price tag I couldn’t justify the spend.
A body pillow
I sleep on my back. So, my nothing-fancy, full-length body pillow from Spotlight (Tontine, I think?) helped keep me on my side, improved my circulation and blood flow and supported my growing tummy. Apparently, it also stopped me snoring! If you want to spend a little more (or kick your partner out of bed) there are loads of speciality body-contoured pregnancy/maternity pillows available.
Pretty much the ONLY maternity clothes that I wore (in the same size) at the start, in the middle and at the end. Oh, and afterwards too! They’re great for hiding a post-partum jelly belly and helped support my c-section wound. I was gifted a pair of Lorna Jane maternity leggings and loved them so much I bought a second pair! Sooooo soft… Soooo stretchy… Just a little more see through in the butt than the LJ normal tights!
I should have gotten onto these much sooner than I did! Once on, they made a HUGE difference to the swelling in my legs, ankles and feet. But the struggle to get them on was real and ended in tears most days! However, you do need to be careful because if compression socks aren’t fitted right they can cause problems with circulation. I found this out the hard way after a midwife cut my incorrectly fitted $50 pair off with a pair of scissors at clinic!
While everyone else slept I binged my favourite series (Younger, Vikings, The Fosters, GoT, Call the Midwife). Pregnancy insomnia is a thing and it’s a bitch. So, you may as well make the most of it!
In the car. In your handbag. Your bedside table. The bathroom. And even in your best mate’s handbag. Just in case!
No explanation required.
Finally… A great sense of humour and a poker face!
People will stare. You might get stuck between the car seat and steering wheel (I did!). People will ask you “How far along?” You’ll tell them. They won’t believe you. You might not leave enough of a gap between two parked cars to get you and your enormous tummy through (I did that too!). People will tell you you’re HUUUUGE! Children will tell you you’re fat! My advice just laugh!