I imagine if you are reading this, that you are pregnant with twins…congratulations! I’m so happy for you! I’m sure you’re happy too. But maybe you're also a little overwhelmed and feeling the effects of being pregnant with those two precious bundles. All I have to say is, I am here for you, and cheering you on. You can do this.
Put simply, twin pregnancy is tough. Or at least it was for me. And not just because there are two babies growing inside one body, but also because of the mental, emotional, and physical changes that come with carrying two at once. It’s a lot.
So, if you're here because you're carrying two, or just generally curious about what a twin pregnancy can look like, then read on!
ALL THE WAYS TWIN PREGNANCY IS HARDER THAN A NORMAL PREGNANCY
1 – Early Pregnancy Confirmation
I found out I was pregnant at 3 weeks, almost a week before I missed my period. The nausea began really early in my twin pregnancy, and I have heard this is common among women carrying twins. I was in the middle of giving our daughter a bath, and I looked at my husband and said, “I feel so nauseous…do you think I’m getting sick?” To which he immediately said, “You’re pregnant,” and promptly left during our daughter’s bedtime routine to pick up every type of pregnancy test CVS had (not kidding). Turns out, that yup, I was pregnant. We knew so early that I couldn’t even believe the test showed up positive.
2 – The Morning Sickness, I mean, The All Day Sickness
Not every women I know with twins had the “morning” sickness I had during my entire pregnancy. But it’s incredibly common for many women to be as sick or sicker than I was. Double the baby, double the hormones. Because I was carrying fraternal twins, I also had two placentas that my body was trying to manage.
I began throwing everything up, including water, around week 5. That’s when most women find out that they’re pregnant! I was already miserable. After two weeks of holding down next to nothing, I moved up my doctor appointment from 9 weeks to 7 weeks.
At this point, I was genuinely concerned there was something wrong with me or the baby, because every time I got up off the couch I was running for the bathroom.
At my appointment the doctor confirmed it, two babies. I started crying, mostly out of relief that there wasn’t something seriously wrong with the pregnancy (or me), but also because I was overwhelmed with the knowledge of twins. My doctor put me on Zofran for the nausea, and while it did help for a few hours every day, it didn’t keep me from throwing up daily. I ended up in the hospital several times during that first trimester to receive fluids because I was so dehydrated.
Thankfully the extreme morning sickness did pass, but it wasn’t until week 19-20 that I noticed a huge difference in being able to eat and not feel sick. If this is you, and you feel like dying, I get it. It was the hardest part of the pregnancy for me by far – but it will pass. Sort of. I unfortunately experienced nausea up until the very end – I pray this doesn't happen to you!
3 – More Hormones, More Feelings
The first trimester is about surviving, I swear. But the second one, when most women are enjoying the honeymoon phase, I was experiencing mood swings and raging emotions.
During my first pregnancy, my hormones were balanced and I felt the true “pregnancy glow” and bliss that comes with being pregnant. I was happy, and I never felt depressed or moody. It was fantastic.
This pregnancy I was a hormonal mess. After surviving the first trimester, I went into the second thinking I would feel much better. To my dismay, I was still sick and hormonal. I experienced depression, sadness, and loneliness/feelings of isolation. I cried more easily than I laughed, and every day was a struggle.
4 – Speaking of Loneliness…
Praise the Lord I had a friend who got pregnant with twins the same week as I did, or the feeling of isolation may have done me in. Your experience might not be quite like mine, but the intense symptoms from pregnancy kept me indoors. I felt isolated from family and friends because of the increased sickness and pain. By the time the nausea had subsided enough to go out in public without hanging out in a bathroom the whole time, I was too big to even want to leave the house.
5 – Weight Gain = Added Pain
It’s really hard on a woman’s body to carry a baby in general, much less to carry two. By the time I was 24 weeks I was already measuring 29 – by 29 weeks I was measuring 37 – by 32 weeks I was measuring 42 weeks…which is overdue. The exponential growth factor makes for a far more uncomfortable and painful pregnancy. I invested in this belly band to help, and weekly chiropractic sessions to ease the discomfort on my back and hips. And while it did make a huge difference, it was impossible to completely ease the amount of weight and pressure on my pelvis, back and hip bones. I found myself sitting on ice packs with my heating pad on my back to help relieve some discomfort. It helped.
6 – Stretch Marks
The stretch marks started showing up around week 28, and the amount of pain I experienced from week 28-34 with my belly stretching beyond capacity was unreal. With two babies, sacs, placentas and added fluid, I gained weight and girth faster than I could keep up with it.
Around week 29 the pain increased, and I noticed it was deeper than surface level. Most nights I would lie in bed, in complete agony, while my body tore apart to make room for my little humans.
7 – The Numbness
I didn’t know it was possible for my skin and belly to stretch so far that the nerve endings no longer worked…but somehow that happened. Around week 33 the pain I had experienced for 4 weeks from the tearing suddenly stopped and I went numb instead. A little nerve-wracking, and a very odd sensation, but I didn’t mind.
8 – Swelling
I got really lucky in this category and didn’t swell up too much. I took regular Epsom salt baths, which helps reduce swelling. The baths also regulated my back/hip pain and the stretching I experienced in my belly, but I enjoyed the added bonus of very little swelling.
9 – More Pounds +++
As I mentioned above, I gained more weight, which led to more stress on my hips/back, and other joints. But truly, my belly weighed nearly double what it did with my first pregnancy. It was noticeably heavier, by a lot. Oh and the fun thing about a bigger belly? Having it peak out from under my maternity shirts. Toward the end of my pregnancy I was wearing Large and XL men’s shirts…and even those didn’t always cover the bottom of my “bump.”
But hey, in the end, isn’t it all worth it? It absolutely is, because we go through pregnancy, labor and delivery, and then we choose to do it all over again to hold that newborn in our arms. There is nothing like being a mommy and having a baby.
With Joy, Jessica