Every now and then I like to reflect or read back through the journal I started when the twins were born just to see how far they’ve come. The crazy thing about my journal is that it begins the day we went into the hospital, the day they were born. In no way does it capture the 7.5 months that lead up to that beautiful, yet scary day. Nor does it capture the emotional journey that was my pregnancy.
As I mentioned back when I started this blog (check out the About Me page), I want to share snippets of our journey through a twin pregnancy, the NICU, cardiac surgeries and more. And when I say snippets, I promise I will do my absolute best to give you a SMALL glimpse into our crazy, emotional, and chaotic journey. I will try…
Journey Through a Twin Pregnancy
Once we found out that we were having twins, I feel like the doctors appointments began almost instantaneously. With good reason, I completely understand, but still there were weeks during that pregnancy where I felt like I spent more time in a doctor’s office than at home or at work.
Luckily, we had/have an amazing support group of family, friends, and just people close by! See my post on 10 Ways for Prepare for Multiples, and my extended shout out and thank you to all those amazing people!
In the beginning, I went for ultrasounds with a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor every four weeks, about four weeks in, that quickly changed. Just to give you an idea, I had my first OB-GYN visit in late September, my first Maternal Fetal Medicine visit at the beginning of October, and by the end of October I was a weekly visitor.
They began to notice differences in the amount of fluid and the size of each twin had and began to monitor me every other week and then eventually weekly. The great thing about all of this monitoring is that I got to see my baby girls weekly. I have an entire album of sonogram pictures to show their progress. I also became really good friends with the sonogram technician, whom I still talk to today.
I learned through this pregnancy and then the first year of Shrimps’ life that a doctor’s job is to lay it all out on the table for you. They have to prepare you for the absolute worst as well as give you all the possibilities in between. And I think it’s human nature (or at least it’s my nature) to immediately hone in on the worst. During those first few visits where they weren’t sure what to make of my situation, they threw out a lot of terms like Twin to Twin Transfusion, stuck twin, and IUGR to name just a few.
Of course, I googled that. Big mistake!
The doctor was straight forward with me. He told me what could happen, what possible options I might have, and that there was nothing that we could do until x, y, and z occurred. And from day one of all this, he told me that I could lose Shrimp. I was actually told multiples times throughout my pregnancy that I WAS GOING to lose Shrimp. Try that for emotional roller coaster! Pfew!
In November they sent us to CHOP for a days worth of testing to rule out or confirm Twin to Twin Syndrome. At this point, they weren’t able to rule it out but said that the twins hadn’t met x, y, and z yet so there was nothing that could be done except weekly monitoring. And so I continued my weekly visits to Dr. C.
In January, and I’ll never forget this day, I received news that still sends chills down my spine. My dad and grandmother were in town from Texas, for my brothers’ college graduation, so they came along to see the babies. After the sonogram, the doctor asked me to meet her in her office at which point she told me that Shrimp was not going to make it and I needed to get to CHOP ASAP.
By this point, hearing the same old thing was nothing new. Basically things were not great for the girls, Shrimp was not in a good situation, but I also kept hearing that there was nothing they can do.
I spent so many of those drives back to work literally in shambles. Only to pull myself together enough to walk into school (sometimes with sunglasses on to hide my red swollen eyes) just to lose it as soon as the secretary, guidance counselor, assistant principal, or a teacher friend would walk up and give me a knowing hug.
So at some point, though it was emotionally exhausting, nerve-racking, and a constant string of negativity, I had to start looking at the positive. They were both alive and though their situation wasn’t great, they were growing and doing okay! And for a while, that is what got me through.
There was never a point where the doctor looked at me and said, “Hey, your girls look great!” There was never an appointment where things were looking better. And there weren’t many if any at all times where things were just staying the same, not worse or better. Something always seemed to have changed even so slightly and it was never good.
And yes, I am so thankful that my beautiful girls are here and turning two. And I am beyond thankful that they did not have twin-to-twin and I did not have to go through the twin to twin procedures or be put on bed rest. And although I have so much to be truly thankful for those days of uncertainty were brutal.
So what did I learn from all of this (mind you I still haven’t actually given birth to these beautiful girls yet at this point of the journey):
- Stay positive. Although my mind always went straight to the worst, through coaching from my mom, husband, and family/friends I began to get into the mindset of, “Okay, well we aren’t there yet. Let’s just take this one day at a time and we will cross that bridge when we get there.” Cliche I know but you gotta do what you gotta do!
- Doctors have to give you all the possibilities. As many times as I wish they had just left some of those negative possibilities out they didn’t and I know that they just wanted me to be prepared for everything.
- Patience. Not knowing any better I prayed for patience once… thus an entire pregnancy and then some of learning to wait, be hopeful, and stay positive. 🙂
- Talking/Writing about your thoughts or feelings is a good thing. It’s not good to keep it bottled up. Cry if you need to cry.
- Allow people close to you in, allow them to comfort or help ease the load you are carrying. In the beginning, my vent sessions were primarily with my mom, mother in law, and husband. I found myself lying to everyone else saying that things were okay, until eventually I couldn’t lie anymore. Having the support of coworkers, friends, and family is wonderful.
If you find yourself in a challenging pregnancy, are pregnant with multiples, or any other situation that is just not ideal, I hope that you will find these suggestions helpful and encouraging. Find hope even when there is only the smallest glimmer and find the positive even though you may feel there is none.