There is nothing in life that can fully prepare a woman for pregnancy, delivery and becoming a mother. It is such a life altering process that is impossible to completely explain. However, I’m sure every woman at some point has thought: “Man, I wish someone had told me ahead of time about this!” So, I am going to throw my two cents out there and just maybe it will help a Mama to be! Here are the 6 things I learned when I was pregnant with twins.
Never turn away an offer of free baby clothes. I had quite a few extended family members and friends who offered me their second hand clothes and I almost always said yes. I gathered enough to be able to dress both twins throughout the first 9 months without having to buy any essentials. (I did buy one or two seasonal outfits.) Towards the end of my pregnancy, I turned some away because my hubby was sick of lugging the boxes upstairs and finding a place for them which I sort of regret now. The items I turned away were for 12 months and older so I didn’t think I would need them any time soon. I wish I had taken them because before I knew it, my kids were that size and I was suddenly faced with the realization that I would have to pay for baby clothes!
Sort and label all your baby items now. Don’t just pull out the N-3 month clothes and leave the rest mixed up. You have more time now that you are pregnant than you will ever have in the next 5 years. I went through everything and boxed it up according to size and gender. (I have boy/girl twins.) If you are having same gender twins, you don’t need to collect two of everything. Save yourself the hassle of storing all those clothes and just get enough clothes for one and a half kids.
Finish preparing your little nest by the 30 week mark. Most women having one baby can continue working and other normal activities up until the day they give birth but this is uncommon for twin moms. I kept thinking I had time to finish getting the nursery ready, to finish packing my hospital bag, etc but this was not the case. By the time I reached 30 weeks, I was exhausted all of the time and I was in a lot of pain. By about 32 weeks I was pretty much under a self appointed house arrest because it was too difficult to walk further than from one room to another. This leads me to my next point:
Get a baby bath water thermometer. This might sound weird to get this item ahead of time but it was a life saver for me. As I mentioned, I was in A LOT of pain. I started having Pelvic Girdle Pain at 22 weeks and then somewhere around the 30 week mark it switched to Sciatica pain. The only relief I could find was from a massage or a warm bath. ***Please do not try either of these methods until your OBGYN has cleared you for them. Every pregnancy is different and some conditions prohibit the use of either treatment.*** My doctor was OK with me taking baths but I was never to have the water above 100 degrees F. So, I used this baby bath thermometer to make sure the water was the right temperature. (This was a gift from my cousin and worked great for months even after the twins were born. Please note that you must turn it upside down or place it on a dry surface when not in use. Otherwise, if it sits in water it will deplete the battery much faster.) Also, as I mentioned I found massage to be very helpful but it can get expensive. I found that my insurance covered physical therapy visits with a $25 copay so I went to a physical therapist 3 days per week. They were unable to do hardly any of the modalities but they did massage! They also taught me a few stretches that helped as well. Even after the twins were born, I continued to have back pain for the first couple of months. So, I kept seeing the physical therapist and they helped me recover. (For my local readers – I saw Mike O’Brien at Freedom Physical Therapy. He and his staff were fantastic!)
Educate yourself on formula options. I made the mistake of putting all my eggs in the “breast is best” basket. Don’t freak out yet! I still think breastfeeding is the best way to go if you can but what I didn’t expect was going into preeclampsia and being put on Magnesium Sulfate. This saved my life and stopped me from going into seizures after delivery but it also slowed my milk production. My milk ended up coming in 2 days later than it should have. That meant that my premature babies were losing weight and needed formula supplementation until my milk production was going. Things were so chaotic the first two days at the hospital and I was pretty out of it with the Mag so my husband had to make a quick decision on which brand of formula to use. He ended up going with Similac because it was what the nurses recommended. We had no issues at all with Similac and we ended up supplementing the twins with it until they started whole milk at age one. But, I felt like I never got to make that decision and I wish I had been more educated on the subject. Although my milk did come in eventually, it was never enough to fully feed both babies and Lily had trouble latching for the first two months as well. My point about this is that there are so many variables that you cannot control when it comes to feeding your babies so I think it’s wise to educate yourself on ALL of your options.
Be realistic and flexible with your birth plan. We went to the birthing classes and I learned about every birth plan a hospital will let you have. I have to be honest and say that when I learned the many phases of labor and natural delivery, the c-section looked more appealing to me. However, I was willing to go with whatever was best for my babies. I read multiple articles regarding twin births and on the whole it seems that most mothers ended up having a c-section due to at least one of the babies being breech. Then there were also those stories of one child being born naturally and then the second child moving into a breech position thereby requiring a c-section as well! I know there are moms who feel very passionate about natural child birth and that’s great but I’m a proponent of keeping your mind open. Let’s face it, as twin moms there are two variables affecting our outcome not just one. As I got closer to my due date, Lily was breech and then at my 36 week scan, Levi was as well. I knew it was likely at that point that I would have a c-section and I made my peace with it. Little did I know that a few hours after that 36 week scan, I was admitted for a headache and high blood pressure and ended up in an emergency c-section that evening! It was a real shock to have it all happening so fast but I think it was less of a shock to have the emergency c-section because I had already set my mind on it being a real possibility. I have talked to a lot of moms who went in convinced they were going to deliver naturally and for one reason or another ended up with a c-section. A lot of them felt shock and a real sense of being robbed of something because they were so convinced things would go differently. We cannot control everything and at the end of the day the most important thing is delivering our babies safely.
So there you have it. I hope these thoughts and tips are helpful to you. If you are currently pregnant with twins, just enjoy this time of waiting. I know how hard, painful and frustrating it can be but in the blink of an eye your twins will be celebrating their first birthday and these days will be a distant memory. Most of all, don’t be ruled by fear. I know there is so much that we as mothers can worry about. We are in a higher risk pregnancy and we have no idea how things will turn out. But, you can trust in God that He has you in His hands. He will give you His peace that surpasses all earthly understanding if you will call out to Him. Also, I am just a quick email away so feel free to write with any questions, comments or concerns you have! I would love to hear from you!
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."