- THE 12 WEEK WORRY
The first 12 weeks of my pregnancy I did nothing but Google the most ridiculous symptoms, chat on pregnancy message boards, obsess over every single feeling/twinge I experienced, and scare myself to complete and utter death that somehow I was going to going loose these babies. I essentially put myself on a complete life lockdown. Looking back, I wish there was a way I could have enjoyed those 12 weeks more…I saw the 12 weeks mark as a finish line so to speak, thinking the rest of the pregnancy would be a goddess-like cake walk…I wish I would have known I was just getting started.
- TWIN PREGNANCY IS LIKE ONE LONG HANGOVER THAT DOESN’T END
Obviously pregnancy is different for everyone, but the psychic energy it takes for a body to create all the cells, blood and organs for two humans at the same time is completely mind-boggling. Those first few months of my pregnancy I couldn’t think, I couldn’t form sentences, I couldn’t walk up stairs without becoming completely winded and wanting to just go lay down and sleep. I went from being one of the most energetic and active people I know – able to accomplish one million things inside of a day – to feeling completely physically and emotionally overwhelmed, exhausted, and put-out from the smallest tasks, almost overnight, and from day number one.
I am an extremely ambitious and driven person. Not being able to keep up with my normal workload both personally and professionally while struggling with motivation was a scary and uncomfortable experience for me. It is hard to know if it was depression or just sheer exhaustion, but to be honest I hated the way I felt. I can remember in those early weeks sobbing to my husband that I just “didn’t feel like myself,” and it was such a difficult adjustment for me to calibrate to. It took some serious work emotionally to concede and lean into what this new me and new life was going to look like, and accept that I was never going to be the “myself” I was before. In a lot of ways those initial concessions to give into how much I was going to have to sacrifice was harder mentally than it was once I surrendered myself to these babies and letting go my own sense of will to do what was best for the pregnancy.
- GOT CARBS?
The first 16 weeks of my pregnancy I couldn’t stand the sight or smell, much less the taste of meat. A roasted chicken cooking at the grocery store was enough to send me into gagging orbit. I would love to say that I was really thoughtful and intentional about the nutrients and vitamins I was feeding the babies in those early days, but honestly I was way too sick and nauseous to even care. The only thing that provided any amount of relief was carbohydrates, and so for those first 16 weeks of pregnancy I devoured gluten-free pancakes, gluten-free peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and took down entire watermelons in one sitting. I put on 20lbs by the end of the first trimester. It was mind blowing by how much food I was consuming and how quickly my body was changing.
- OH THE MIGRAINES
Shortly after the soul crushing nausea and exhaustion ended, I was introduced to the “life-ruiners,” otherwise known as migraine headaches. I’ve had some serious pains in my life (Can you say Endometriosis and Ulcerative Colitis), but nothing I have ever experienced holds a candle to the pain and debilitation of migraines. It was hot as MARS here in the Midwest this summer and I was pretty much confined to my house for two months in order to avoid the sun, heat, and humidity triggering another migraine that would send me into a dark room for the remainder of the day. Once one would trigger, the only thing that would give me any relief was to knock myself out and sleep until the next day. They were coming 4-5 days a week and Tylenol and caffeine (which I hadn’t consumed in 10 years prior to the pregnancy) brought little relief. The good news is; just like the nausea and the exhaustion, the migraines eventually lifted and sometime right around 22-25 weeks, the clouds parted and there were a few weeks where I was finally able to embrace and enjoy my pregnancy without the worry, the sickness, the headaches, or the anxiety that had clouded the first half of my pregnancy.
- THE ENERGY BURST
All my pregnant friends spoke a lot about the crazy bursts of energy that they experienced close to giving birth. I am not sure if it was because of how many months I spent feeling so awful, or the fact that I was so afraid of bed rest, but when I hit 22-25 weeks and began to feel more able to function, (I will say adding a raw B Vitamin Complex and Iron tablet to my multi vitamin regimen was key) I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off in terms of cleaning, preparing, organizing and getting ready for these babies. I will write another post with all the things I did to prepare ahead of time and all my favorite purchases and registry must have’s, but I would absolutely advise any twin pregnant mama to truly have almost everything set up and 100% prepared and ready for babies ready by 30 weeks because you basically only have that small window of feeling good before things go downhill again.
- AN EMOTIONAL “HOUSE CLEANING”
I’ve heard plenty of my friends talk about their “Nesting” instinct and the way they’ve been compelled to get their “houses in order” prior to the birth of a baby. I found that pregnancy activated a strong instinct inside of me to get my emotional and spiritual “house in order,” so to speak. During normal circumstances, I would consider myself an extremely emotional person. I am enormously empathetic. I feel others feelings as well as my own in a very deep and intense way. Add pregnancy hormones to the mix, and lets just say I was surprised at how many left over tidbits of emotion and unfinished business in my life floated to the surface that I finally able to see and process in a way I had not previously. I use the analogy of taking everything off the “shelves” of your life before you can sort it all out and arrange it all back in a more orderly way. Pregnancy was like an earthquake that shook “all my stuff” down onto the floor all at once. The process of having all my “stuff” scattered all over the floor was very unsettling and disruptive, and to be honest I was pissed that everything was such a hot mess during a time I already felt so emotionally vulnerable. There were moments it just felt “too raw” and “too intense.” There were moments that being forced to actually sit in my emotions without being able to distract myself with projects or “busyness” was downright hell. But I got to face my shit in a way I never would have forced myself to in the past.
I am so grateful that I had the courage to “ring the bell” and ask for help and that I have such a powerful tribe of support and resources that helped sort through the mess to make sense of it all. I put a great deal of “things” to bed (remember this post) and I can say that the mental and spiritual clarity that I have received on the other side of it all is life changing incredible. I can say I am capable of stillness and sitting inside of my own skin that I never knew was physically possible. The clarity and mindfulness it has given to my life is truly such an incredible gift that I am so beyond thankful for.
- GOODBYE VANITY
Like most women I have had a complicated relationship with my body since as early as I can remember. I’ve been extremely blessed genetically in that I’ve really only been fighting with 5 or 10 lbs on the scale in terms of how I felt about myself over the years, but like most women, it is amazing how much power I have given those tiny lbs. Because I am rather type A and like to control most things in my life, my weight has certainly been one of those things. Getting pregnant was a huge relief from that burden and such a wonderful break from putting so much thought into my body, my weight, and my looks.
Because pregnancy for me has been such a struggle with feeling physically strong and healthy, I have actually cared very little about what I look like (that’s not to say there haven’t been plenty of times I am a bucket of tears because lets face it I have metamorphosed into an Ogre).
I remember fairly early in my pregnancy really striving to keep up with my personal sense of style and my love of all things high heeled and accessorized. Hell, if Queen B could rock heels 8 months pregnant, so could I. I certainly was NOT going to be one of those women who let herself go. I was a modern woman. And I had watched virtually all my friends make pregnancy look so glamorous and sexy. That went to hell in a hand basket let me tell you.
It wasn’t very long before the pain, swelling and discomfort beat all of those good intentions out of me as I submitted to my new beauty routine regimen of ugly stretchy maternity bras, large cotton granny under ware, orthopedic shoes, and variations of pajama pants and maternity belts. I was done with heels by 4 months. I was done with getting dressed all together by 7 months (I pretty much live in pajamas). This past month, it’s a great accomplishment if I shower at all.
I’ve also allowed myself to indulge dietary in whatever it is I crave. Luckily a lot of that is fruit and oatmeal and gallons of water, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that also included copious amounts of Mexican food, dessert, and candy. I am sure I will pay for these pleasure filled indulgences on the other side of pregnancy (as I have gained almost 70 lbs at this point) but I also know that once I get my physicality back and am freed by the doctor to resume physical activities and exercise that I will be so ecstatic and grateful for my physical health, the ability to move and strengthen my body, to be free from all the pain that has quite literally “weighed me down,” that I will find great freedom and joy in getting my body back.
- Pubis Dysfunction (Pelvic Girdle Pain)
They should call this what it is – A Knife in the Vagina Pain. I’m not kidding. It’s downright awful and it has left me virtually immobile for months now. Getting in and out of bed is torturous, moving from side to side is down right bloody murder, and trying to walk up a flight of stairs – well forget about it. PGP will only affect a small number of pregnant women (although I think it is more common in twins) and honestly the best fixes for this awful ailment is rest, the pool (which I literally spent hours in on a daily basis for months), and a Synthesis Belt which is so helpful until you start to get super large and drop by which time you are probably not really spending much time on your feet whatsoever.
- The Last Few Weeks
Twin pregnancy is a marathon, and I’m currently in the final stretch. There are days I swear I don’t have 24 hours left inside of me to keep trucking, and there are some days I am so filled with excitement and anticipation it’s like the biggest and greatest Christmas Eve of my life. Back at the beginning of this journey, one of my biggest curiosities, was just how big my belly would get and what twin bumps actually look like. I was somewhat pleasantly surprised when by 7 or 8 months I had not gotten that huge. Welp, those last few weeks it is literally incredible how fast you grow and to what extent your body stretches. The past few days I have been in utter disbelief at how it is humanly possible for me to stretch anymore than I have. I remember one twin mom telling me that you will be more physically miserable than you ever thought humanly possible, and for me that has been my truth.
9. Oh The Love
Because this post has been like one big whine, I will end by saying that the greatest gift of pregnancy is the LOVE. The minute you see those little hearts beating next to one another from inside of you, your heart will explode in ways you never imagined possible. The love I have experienced for my husband as we “make these little humans” together was a much deeper and richer process than I would have anticipated. I also think that being forced to lean onto my husband so profoundly the past four months to physically and emotionally care for me and the rest of the family was a lesson in vulnerability and a deeper kind of love than had previously existed between the two of us. I think there is something about creating TWO babies that creates a team mentality from gestation that you are in this thing together. As a family, we have never been closer, and I cannot wait for the next few weeks when I finally get to experience the fruit of all of our labor and to pour all of this love all over these little angels.