Sunday, November 7, 2010

So what is a twin pregnancy really like?

Well, if you are pregnant with twins there are some essentials that every expectant twin mommy must have, a good doctor and lots of protien. A good doctor is not one that graduates from the best medical school with honors, although that is a bonus, but one who listens to you and knows that there is in fact a difference between having twins and having a singleton.

When we first found out that there were two in there we were 12 weeks along. Not an unusual time, but we were shocked by the news. I was obviously dazed and unable to think of any intelligent questions while looking at them on the screen for the first time. I think this was bliss for them. The fact that I asked nothing. The fact that as I scheduled my appointment I was barely coherent. They offered NOTHING. No flyers, no recommendations for books... nothing. They did tell me that since the ultrasound was done as a quickie in the office I would have to go back in TWO weeks for a confirmation that there were in fact two with the big machine and a trained ultrasound tech. So, with 2 whole weeks before getting to make sure there really were two and time to think about the idea what do you suppose one does? Well, of course they go right to the internet and find the most valid and helpful information possible!

So, while I was searching the internet for answers to my twenty million questions I actually felt even more concerned about the whole thing. Shocking, I know! I mean most people look to the internet for sound medical advice and really calm their nerves. Right? Anyway, so I came accross information about vanishing twin syndrome, the fact that you never are really "out of the woods" with a twin pregnancy and the possibility of miscarriage, about 100 terrifying birth horror stories, lots of stuff about bedrest and so much more! This information I found of course within a day of finding out we had twins on board... for the moment at least. So, as you can imagine this did nothing to help only caused panic and then anger that my doctor had given me NOTHING to help answer my questions. I mean sure I didn't ask any, but what person does not have questions after finding out they are having twins!?

It turns out that most of what I read on the internet was in fact true. There is a syndrome called Vanishing Twin. It actually is not where one twin eats the other, but simply that one twin is weaker and is somehow absorbed into the other or placenta or something. It is scary to think about and read about alone on your computer as you are expecting twins. What would have been helpful would be a handout or booklet or a few book names about twin pregnancy. Then I could have read about Vanishing Twin and seen that this is something that often happens before a woman even goes into the doctor and can even happen before knowing she was pregnant or having twins! Apparently, most cases of vanishing Twin occur before week 10. Being at week 12 it would have been nice to know that one of my kids was not going to "eat" the other!

The other big scary thing that would have been nice if my doctor had mentioned in the office was that whole miscarriage thing. Yes, in fact twins are considered a high risk pregnancy. The fact that it is high risk can mean many things. Although miscarriage or preterm labor are real concerns for women expecting twins or more than one baby it would be nice if a doctor explained the symptoms, what to look for and why you are or are not at risk for this based on these factors. Of course things happen to ANYONE for any reason and reasons that are unexplainable, But hearing that you are considered in the high risk pregnancy group is not something one should read online. It is something that should be discussed immediately upon knowing this information.

The other things I read, although disconcerting, were minor in comparisson. However, I really knew I was with the wrong doctor when I asked at that next appointment if they could talk to me about the differences between a twin pregnancy and a singleton pregnancy. The response, "Aww, there really is not much difference". Really? Huh, cause I certainly did FEEL different!

The other thing I mentioned that every woman expecting twins MUST have is lots of protein. Portien is what makes babies grow. Most twins are born early, and some are born so early that it is scary. Protien and lots of it, gives them a kickstart in utero. One really great way to do this is with protien powder. BUT be careful some protien powders are filled with chemicals that you really don't want to expose your baby to, which is why we went with Whole Foods Market 365 Whey Protein Powder. This is of course because my husband is the food police and in charge of making sure we all eat as well as financially possible. It tasted pretty good, I got the chocolate and it does not have tons of additives. It seemed to pay off too, my boys were born at 37 weeks 5 days weighing in at 6 lbs 13 ozs and 7 lbs 10ozs...

Other things you might need while pregnant with twins:
A warning sign: Woman Pregnant with Twins: Likely to be bitchy & sarcastic... keep your distance!
A great prenatal vitamin: Prenatal Just Once-Rainbow Light Prenatal Multi-Vitamin, 150ct this is what I took, and it worked well for me.
A belly/ pelvic support: Prenatal Cradle Adjustable Prenatal Cradle I know, it looks insane, but it allowed me to walk past my 28th week... Not sure that would have been possible otherwise.
A good recliner that lays flat for when you are too big and too uncomfortable to lay in a bed.
Some kind of pregnancy support pillow: Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow this one worked well for me until I was too big to be comfortable in bed.
A great twin support group: I used daily during pregnancy and through the first few months of their lives... it was a great source of support! I still check back now & then but rarely make the time with two 3 year olds and a 6 year old!

Even with all that "stuff" a twin pregnancy is a lot. I found myself cycling through a range of emotions several times daily. Most of the time it was an inability to be rational due to a fear that something could go wrong. I finally did change doctor's, but waited until 29 weeks... it was like night & day, and I regretted not changing earlier. Looking back I think had I started out with the Dr. I ended with I would have been a lot less scared... at least about the pregancy & delivery... the arrival is a story for a different time, or post.

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