After my first trimester my pregnancy was pretty easy (see previous post Finding Out). I got some nausea. I didn’t actually throw-up at any point in time but smells would really get to me and Hong Kong has no lack of weird smells! That was fun! At around 16 weeks I started having what’s called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. Basically it can happen in pregnancy and it causes excessive movement of the pubic bones. I think because all of those pregnancy hormones that carrying twins produced loosened me up too much and I walked everywhere I went in Hong Kong. The only time it really gave me trouble though was when picking up my legs to go upstairs or get pants on. Otherwise it wasn’t too bad.
At 20 weeks (I can remember it so well because it was over Christmas break and specifically Christmas day) I experienced extremely low blood pressure. Another thing that can be common that you don’t expect. I can remember going to a Christmas get-together and having to lay down on the couch on my left side feeling extremely dizzy and weak. I eventually was able to sit up and eat but I can remember over that break eating an entire large bag of Lays Salt and Vinegar chips. They were so salty and apparently that’s what I needed! And I figured it was ok since I had been craving salads and oranges and had been eating pretty healthy. I was lucky I wasn’t in the US surrounded by all the yummy tempting fast food choices. I’m going to save pregnancy nutrition for a different post but your nutrition IS important to how your child(ren) develops so…I wouldn’t suggest eating a huge bag of chips very often!
Every two weeks I went in for an ultrasound and check up to monitor my progress. The plan was that if I went into labor naturally by or before 38 weeks we’d let it go and see how I did. The girls were pretty much head down the whole pregnancy (I think they just got stuck that way) and things looked good. Although he did caution me that I could deliver one and then the other could flip and it could become necessary to then perform a c-section for the second one. But he was such a nice and understanding doctor and very open to letting it happen naturally. At 38 weeks we’d see how they were room-wise and if needed we’d have a c-section. I was happy as long as my girls were healthy and however that had to happen I was ok with. Yes, a vaginal birth is always preferred but sometimes that doesn’t always go to plan and I was ok with whatever had to happen. Can I just say that having a birth plan is important but also being flexible (carrying and delivering twins is a feat in itself) is very important as well. You'll save yourself a lot of grief that way.
At around 30 weeks I was very heavy. As a kindergarten teacher I found myself sitting more and more. I’d roll my office chair out of my classroom and do my recess duty sitting in the chair. I walked to work every day and that was becoming harder. I have to say though – the looks people gave me as I walked along the promenade from my apartment to the kindergarten waddling with my huge stomach proceeding me down the walkway – was pretty hilarious!
I remember it was parent-teacher conference time. Typically how that goes is the parents could book a slot anywhere from 8am-8pm. There were blocks marked off for lunch and dinner but the rest of the time were like 20 minute slots where you did conference after conference. It was a pretty grueling experience on a good day but pregnant with twins? Aiya!! My principal was so gracious to me my whole pregnancy and blocked out a two hour slot for me to waddle home and nap and come back. I remember I made it to work, did my allotted conferences, huffed and puffed my way home for a rest and then back to the kindergarten and then home again in the evening. I think I actually may have had someone call me a taxi to get home that night. But that’s when I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. My back was so fatigued carrying that load pulling down in the front, my legs so tired. My pubic bone was so sore from walking…I tried a maternity belt but it didn’t help enough. I talked to my doctor and received early medical leave. As long as I had a doctor’s note I could stop working and still be covered financially. I officially left teaching in Mid-April.
Then it seemed they were about to get started but still no husband! Talk about waiting until the last minute to bring him in! When he finally came in he had a funny story to tell. He'll probably kill me for sharing this but it's so cute! They had him put the scrubs on and the hair net and the shoe covers etc. He was so excited he came out of the changing room in his scrub shirt but just his underwear! He'd forgotten his pants! Finally he'd gotten it all on he made it into the room.
Then they told me I’d feel tugging etc. but I felt nothing. I had a drape below my chest and I had no idea what was going on. Then suddenly I heard the cry of my first born! Friend, can I tell you there’s nothing in the world that can compare to that sound? It makes everything you have gone through and everything you will go through worth it in that one single moment. They put her next to me to see and touch. It was amazing. The moment can hardly be captured in words.
Unfortunately I was one of the lucky ones that gets the shakes from the anesthesia so that made it tough. It's like when your teeth chatter when you're cold but your'e not cold. And your muscles are so tired but you can't relax them. Then the second baby was out. And I heard her cry. Double wow. Then they put her by my side. Then Daddy got to hold them. Then they ushered him out and took the babies to weigh and removed my placentas and stitched me up while I lay there in the glow of those magical moments.
I kind of assumed being in Hong Kong, where they go by the book and there’s no room for anything else, that I wouldn’t get skin to skin time right away. You kind of accept that things won't be like they are in the US and you roll with it most of the time. But to my surprise when they wheeled me into the recovery area (where I had to stay until I could feel and move my legs and they could monitor me) they brought me each baby for like 45 minutes each and laid them on my chest. They weren’t even bathed yet. Little E – my first born - was totally rooting around to feed but I wasn’t in any position to do that quite yet. It was so special. Then I got transferred to a gurney and wheeled to my room. I was all hooked up to my IV’s and had a catheter and was given morphine so I slept for a bit while they bathed and changed the girls. Then my mom and husband and I all had a little reunion with the babies in the room and I got to breastfeed for the first time. And the second time. I was in awe of these little ones that had just come out of me and to be honest a little scared of them too.
They were tiny and they seemed fragile although one was 5.5 and one was 6.12 lbs. They were healthy and full sized and didn’t need any time in the NICU. You could tell they’d been wedged in good – little miss L’s head was a bit misshapen on one side. Luckily that went away quickly. All those precious little fingers and precious little toes. The little lips and ears so soft and almost transparent. And in those moments friend, you see what you have accomplished. Every ache and every pain, every moment of nausea and heartburn. Every healthy choice you ate. And this is the outcome. So.unbelievably.worth.it.
I healed well from my c-section with minimal pain. I tried to follow the directions for care to the letter. I wanted a shower so bad and that was the best part about getting my stitches out. The girls did well at their follow up appointments. Little E got jaundiced pretty good and had to spend the night in a light bed but otherwise they had no issues. But breastfeeding and our first few weeks – well that’s a different story. See My Breastfeeding Journey.
Hi! I'm a mom of 5 year-old fraternal twin girls. While I'm by no means an expert - I do have stories to tell and ideas to share.