The moment those two little pink lines appear, confirming your suspicions, your life changes. It’s exhilarating, overwhelming, terrifying, and awesome all at once. You head into your OB’s office to get things in tip-top order and to have an ultrasound. Your ultrasound tech smiles as you expose your midsection in anticipation of seeing that little bean for the first time and knowing for sure that you are indeed pregnant. You notice your tech staring at the screen a little too intently, as she moves her wand around getting different views. You watch the monitor full of swirling gray hues, trying to decipher what she’s seeing, when suddenly she stops on an image and says, “Ah, I thought so. There’s baby B. You’re having twins!” BOOM! You have officially entered a whole new realm of pregnancy! Welcome!
Despite what others may try to tell you, a twin pregnancy is NOT the same as a singleton. I am in no way trying to say having a singleton pregnancy is a breeze, because growing tiny humans is hard work, but it is different. Here’s a list of 10 things you can expect if your joy/fear/stress/elation has just doubled in the blink of an eye.
1. Welcome to a High Risk pregnancy. Are you perfectly healthy? Are your twins growing beautifully? Do you currently feel great? It doesn’t matter! You have been given a one way-ticket to High-Risk-Ville and all the perks that go along with it! You will be poked, prodded, and monitored as if you were, in fact, dying of a rare tropical disease.
2. Hello puke bucket! Morning sickness is terrible. Morning sickness with twins is downright inhumane. Double the hormones, quadruple the queasiness. You will, in your first 18 weeks or so, grow attached to a special bowl (mine was red) used solely for throwing up in. You will tote this new accessory everywhere you go and start to feel naked without it. Your trusty sidekick will be right there as you masochistically watch the Food Network, desperately wanting to eat something real, but the second you get a whiff of anything food related, you lunge for your steadfast partner, the puke bucket. After a few weeks of this, with insanely sore muscles and a certainty that you’ve torn something internally, you will become a Zofran-popping fool, or you just might opt for the continuous flow of liquid anti-nausea gold and use the pump! Anything it takes to stop the torture.
3. Ultrasounds! Ultrasounds galore! It’s normally tons of fun to have an ultrasound or two done to check on the progress of your little bean, but when you have two beans to monitor, ultrasound appointments become constants in your life, like sleeping, or breathing. You will have them all the time! You will be on a first name basis with several ultrasound techs as your pregnancy advances. By the end of your 8-9 month ordeal you will have zero trouble yanking up your shirt and pulling down your pants in a dimly lit small room while strangers occasionally walk in and out. You will also have an arsenal of prenatal photos that could fill a memory book, and they haven’t even arrived yet.
4. Maternity clothes are not made for multiples. You’ve gone out shopping and found some adorable tops to match your new stretchy band pants that will accommodate you throughout your entire pregnancy, making you both fashionable and comfortable, right? Wrong! Once you hit the third trimester mark (even sooner for some), there is no top, short of a circus tent, that will cover the bottom of your belly. I don’t care how tiny you started out. Two humans take up a lot of space, and your miraculous body will stretch to unimaginable sizes that will pop out of your outfit. Embrace it, dear sister. You’re a superhero.
5. You will learn a new language. The word “singleton” has just been added to your vocabulary, along with monozygotic, dizygotic, mono-di, di-di, TTTS, NICU, fraternal, identical, etc. Look at you, you smartypants! Who knew a twin pregnancy would expand the mind as well?
6. Exhaustion. It is real and it is terrible. You will be exhausted after going to the bathroom to pee for the umpteenth time, or walking from the couch to your bedroom, or talking on the phone, or loading the dishwasher, or, heaven forbid, walking up the stairs. You will want to collapse and never get up, and at some point you won’t be able to without help. And all this will start during your first trimester.
7. Physics will play a larger role in your life than you ever thought possible. The bigger you get (and let’s face it darling: You’re going to bypass sweet belly bump and head right into the land of the giants rather quickly, but it’s totally OK) the harder every task becomes. Newton’s first law of physics — an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon — is 100% you. It will take a great deal of force to move you from a resting state to a moving one, like getting up from a chair (and for the love of all things holy, do not sit on the floor! You might as well just stay there). It’s not your fault, honestly. You will find yourself trying to bend over to grab something low to the ground or tie your shoe (assuming you can still see your feet, let alone reach them) and you will topple over, because you will remain in motion until the floor stops you. Physics can be cruel to a pregnant woman, especially one with twins.
8. Inappropriate questions, comments, and reactions from complete strangers. You have only just begun to deal with this humdinger. Your larger belly is like a neon sign that the public can’t help but notice. People are curious, especially about multiples, and many are not afraid to ask questions or simply comment on your current state of being. Some questions are fine, but some will make you cringe. You will be asked, “Did you conceive naturally or did you need help?” “Do twins run in your family?” “How much bigger can you possibly get?” When I was around 30 weeks pregnant, I attended my niece’s wedding. After running all over town to find something cute that I looked half decent in (see #4) I was ready for the event. Not two minutes after stepping foot into the reception I heard, “Wow! What are you trying to do? Smuggle in some basketballs?” from a complete stranger. Honestly! You can’t make this stuff up! It’s going to happen, so be prepared to either walk away, smile and laugh while dying a little on the inside, or open a can of whoop-ass. It’s completely up to you (and we’ll be by your side ready to open a can of our own).
9. Invest in an under belly support band. Just do it. You can thank me later.
10. So…incredibly…uncomfortable. Trust me when I tell you that hauling around two tiny humans and all their cargo (placentas, amniotic sacs, etc.) is just plain uncomfortable. A regular singleton pregnancy is uncomfortable around 8-9 months, but a twin pregnancy is uncomfortable around 6 months. The further along you are, the worse it becomes. Just breathing becomes difficult for crying out loud! As your beautiful babies grow, they will both try to stretch into places no tiny feet should be near, let alone wedged into. They will kick and move and squirm, and it’s amazing to feel and watch, until it isn’t. As your belly nears its breaking point, your now-taut skin will hurt, itch, and be sensitive to touch. There aren’t enough pillows in the world to support your heaving figure. A singleton pregnancy is similar to this last one, I will admit, but trust me when I say the discomfort is magnified with twins. It just is. You will be miserable, but you’ll also be fabulous!
Embrace those tiny creatures and roll with the insanity that is a twin pregnancy. You’ll have scars, stretch marks, and stories for days by the time you’re done. Oh, and two new additions, of course.
Related post: 8 Things I Wish I’d Known About Expecting Twins