It’s inevitable, I guess, that once you’ve had twins you become the go to person for all other people who know someone else who’s pregnant with twins. It’s nice. I like being that person, I wish I’d had that person when I was pregnant. (I probably did have access to that person but me being me I never sought them out. My fail. What I did do though was hunt down and devour ALL THE TWIN BLOGS and that gave me the chance to read about lots of different experiences and points of view in my own time which probably suited me better.)
I’ve now written the “any tips or advice for twin pregnancy / birth” email about 3 times, it goes a little something like this;
CONGRATULATIONS!! Twins are just the best thing in the world ever; you’re going to love it. You’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed by the news at the moment, that’s completely natural. I remember it well, G and I went for lunch following our scan and alternated between giggling hysterically and staring into our plates for a good long while. The hysterical giggling didn’t go away either, we regularly find ourselves laughing in disbelief at just how incredibly lucky we are and how mind-blowingly amazing the whole thing is. Right now you have 20 fingers and 20 toes inside you. You’re wonderful.
Twin pregnancies are hard on your body, expect to be tired ALL THE TIME. Embrace it. Allow yourself to be fussed over, take naps at every possible opportunity,put your feet up and enjoy it because once those beautiful babies arrive, in a haze of new beginnings and sleepless nights, you’re going to wish that you did. I’m speaking from experience here.
If you’re working you can expect to start your maternity leave around about 28-30 weeks. This is normal for multiple pregnancies. Don’t naively believe you’re the exception to the rule. If you are then more power to you!! I thought I was the exception, that I wouldn’t need to stop working at 30 weeks but I did. I really did. I *may* have had a slight sobbing episode at our 28 week scan willing the doc to tell me to stop working. He didn’t, it’s not his decision, I can see that now but at 28 weeks, in a haze of pure hormones, I needed someone else to make that decision for me.
I loved my pregnant body, I absolutely adored that bump but towards the end of my pregnancy I was HUGE!! From around about 5/6 months expect comments such as “not long to go now” and (when you explain that you have 2/3 months still to go) “WOW, you’re massive”. I enjoyed messing with people, I didn’t take the comments to heart. The looks of shock when you tell people you still have 2/3 months to go is hilarious. When people ask if you know what you’re having and you tell them it’s twins, that look is a peach too. Expect them to follow it up by telling you that their aunt / next door neighbour / mailman’s cousin’s daughter has twins too.
Invest in a good pair of shoes you can put on with minimal / no intervention from your hands as you’re unlikely to be able to access your feet. There’s only so much puffy foot wrangling your partner will be able to do.
People tend to lose their boundaries when you’re pregnant; it’s a sad fact but people can be dicks. Usually without meaning to be. Expect to be asked if your conception was natural or IVF despite the fact that IVF multiples are now very rare in the UK due to the increased risks of a multiple pregnancy. Try not to be offended, I quite believe it’s just mindless small talk. Sometimes you don’t know how offensive something is until you’re on the other end of it. I never really had many bump touching incidents, I think it really depends on who you are. I didn’t mind too much if people asked. In fact, I don’t think anyone didn’t ask before touching. I think we’re now at a stage where such a big thing has been made about not touching a pregnant woman’s bump that people are now scared to ask at all which I think is a bit of a shame really. Pregnancy is a magical thing and it’s nice to be able to share a piece of it. That’s my opinion though, I’m aware it’s a wildly divisive topic which people rarely seem to sit on the fence about. The dog seemed to enjoy a good snuggle with it anyway.
Speaking of bumps, I spent hours, literally HOURS, watching mine move around. Trying to guess who’s little foot or hand that was poking out, whether that big lump there is a head or a bum and giggling at the teeny hiccups. I have countless videos and I love them all!
You’ll give birth early, that’s just a fact. Full term for twins is considered to be 37/38 weeks (it varies from hospital to hospital). I was lucky enough to have an incredibly straightforward pregnancy and delivered as planned (by scheduled c-section thanks to H being breech) at 37 weeks on the dot. I remember going in for the scan on the Monday to confirm that H was still breech ready to inform the consultant in no uncertain terms that regardless of the outcome of the scan I was giving birth that week. I was massive and tired and uncomfortable and well and truly ready to meet my babies (who, at this stage, I was convinced were a boy and a girl… oops! When they told us we had 2 girls we looked at each other in stunned disbelief. The surgeon actually stopped what he was doing and laughed at G who just said ‘Monsters!’, he couldn’t believe someone would call their 2 minute old daughter a monster!).
Because there is a higher chance of delivering prematurely, make sure you have your bag packed well in advance, even just to take the weight off your mind and tick another thing off the list. It has the bonus of being a fairly easy thing to tick off the list and involves not much in the way of physical effort thankfully! My top 5 items to have packed are; lucozade, huge button down jammies, feeding vests (if you plan to breastfeed), BIG MASSIVE GRANNY PANTS (seriously, they can’t be too big!) and slippers. Don’t take a long dressing gown, in my opinion it just gets in the way. Plus hospitals are hotter than hell. You’ll notice that my recommendations are mostly in the form of comfy clothes. This is no coincidence. Don’t pack your straighteners, you won’t even glance in their direction.
Do investigate and find out if there is a multiples club near to you, we’re members of ours and although I’ve not made it along to any of the BBT (Babies, Bumps and Toddlers) meetings I make use of their wealth of knowledge and for sale page on a daily basis. Our club run a course of antenatal classes designed specifically with multiples in mind, they cost us £35 but were worth every penny. They’re run by mum’s of multiples so contained so much valuable information and, unlike the normal antenatal classes where a lot of the sessions will likely be followed by the midwife running it turning to you and saying “of course, things will be a little different for you”, it’s all relevant to you. All of it. From how likely you are to deliver by c-section right through the logistics of feeding 2 babies at once and all the way to just how many vests you really will need (*cough* we had 60 *cough*).
The advice I will leave you with cannot be understated and is relevant regardless of how many sets of toes you’re growing; fill up your freezer with frozen meals that can be microwaved or shoved in the oven once your babies arrive. I don’t think G and I would have eaten a hot meal left to our own devices had we not done that. I say hot meal because I personally would have quite happily eaten a scabby horse following the birth. Do not underestimate how hungry breastfeeding will make you. But that’s another story…