This is part 2 of a 4 part series.
As I mentioned in our last post, it was quite a surprise to find out at 12 weeks we were expecting twins! I was fortunate enough to have a pretty uneventful pregnancy. I was nauseous and sick weeks 6-11 and I was pretty tired all throughout. Every morning before going to work, I’d be sick and wonder how I would be able to teach children all day. I ate pretzels nonstop during the day and took power naps in my office during lunch! I was also lucky we had the worst winter ever in Boston and we had snow days every week through January and February. I went to work, came home and slept until Ben came home. This is how he found me most days in the beginning.
Netflix, a blanket, and the couch were my best friends! In addition to morning sickness, I also had pregnancy excema in the first trimester. I've never had any real skin issues and never had excema but it was all over my stomach and weirdly on one pinky finger. My morning sickness abruptly stopped exactly at week 11. It came back through the second trimester whenever I got really tired so I tried really hard to get a lot of sleep.
We found out during our anatomy scan at 18 weeks that we were having a boy and a girl! The babies were healthy and very active all the time. I was able to feel them between 13 and 14 weeks and Ben was able to feel them at 17 weeks. Baby A was the crazy one and she's still busier and constantly on the move.
Around 19 weeks, I started having painless cramping. It was very scary at the time because we still had a few weeks to go until viability. Surprisingly, I felt the midwife I talked to handled this issue with very little sensitivity and the OB/GYN I worked with after made me feel much better so I switched from being co-managed by both the midwives and doctors to just the doctors. In retrospect, I may have stayed with the midwives if I wasn’t so mad because that particular midwife ended up leaving the practice. I liked all three of the OB/GYNs at my practice and they were all experienced with twin deliveries. I had been hoping for a vaginal birth on the more natural side when I thought we were having one baby. I was assured at every doctor's visit that I should be able to have a vaginal birth as long as the babies were healthy and baby A was head down.
My cramping was determined to be an irritable uterus. Who knew such a thing existed? Basically, there was a lot going on in there and the cramping was how my body reacted. It never hurt but lasted throughout the rest of my pregnancy and would pick up if I did too much or didn't get enough fluids. Around week 22, baby A was measuring a bit small and was labeled Intrauterine Growth Restricted (IUGR) because she was in the 10th percentile for weight. She stayed there almost all the time but her growth was consistent and the MFM doctors suspected I just made small babies based on my size and there was nothing pathological causing her small size. Baby B was consistently 30-40th percentile. To monitor baby A’s growth and to check if my cramping was affecting my cervix at all, I had ultrasounds every other week.
Towards the end of the 2nd trimester, I really started feeling the weight of carrying twins. I gained about 30-35 pounds total. My shins would hurt when I stood for long periods of time and I stopped being able to pick things up off the floor without serious effort. It was also really hard to turn over in bed. As the babies grew, I got heartburn from everything, including water and there were FOUR feet kicking the right side of my rib cage! Aside from my irritable uterus, the immobility, rib kicking, and heartburn were the only real issues I had.
We had one preterm labor scare in week 32 when my irritable uterus was extra irritable. The cramping was a bit stronger than normal and we were sent to labor and delivery triage to be monitored. With a combination of IV fluids and terbutaline (not fun), my cramping stopped completely so it was not “real” preterm labor, just my irritable uterus acting up. I was given steroid shots (also not fun!) to help develop the babies’ lungs just in case they came early.
Starting around 32 weeks, we had two Non Stress Tests per week. NSTs measure whether the babies hearts are reactive to movement. When they move, their heartrates should go up. You have a monitor for each baby and one to measure contractions. During my NSTs in the doctor's office, I had to click a button every time I felt movement. The babies always did amazing on these because they were so active. I was usually done within 10 minutes because it was clear their hearts were reactive to movement.
Based on our ultrasounds of the placentas and umbilical cord blood flow, the MFM doctors wanted me to be induced around 37 weeks because at that point, they felt the babies would do better outside than inside. That didn’t happen because I had the babies at 36 weeks and 1 day. Labor and delivery up next!
Read Part 3: Our Story: Labor and Vaginal Delivery of Twins