We’re having what?!

My husband and I found out at seven weeks we were having twins. We were lucky to find out so early and have almost the entire pregnancy to get used to welcoming two new members of our family into the world this coming spring.

I’m so used to the idea of twins now that I almost forget all the things I had to learn in the first few months. But after the surprise at seven weeks when we sat there looking at two precious little people on the ultrasound screen, it took a while for the initial shock to wear off and figure out what we’d gotten ourselves into.

My first reaction after the surprise was, “How do I hold two babies at once?!” I knew actually having twins would be very different from one. But it really didn’t cross my mind that pregnancy with twins would be any different until the ultrasound technician said, “Well, I don’t see a membrane. I guess you’ll go to a specialist, since you’re considered high risk. Good luck!”

Excuse me?

I’m sure she didn’t mean to ignite panic, but those words sent me into a frenzy of research. What did it mean? Were our babies safe? What would pregnancy with twins look like?

It turns out we’re not an especially high-risk case, which I’m thankful for, and we haven’t had to see a specialist. We just have to watch the babies more carefully than we’d watch one. Ours are mono-di twins, meaning they share a placenta but each have their own amniotic sac. They’re also identical, which I think is adorable.

But whether they share a placenta and/or an amniotic sac or not, having twins isn’t “two for the price of one,” as my doctor put it. There’s a lot more to nurturing two lives at the same time. 

My excellent doctor helped me get a better grasp on what to expect. Here’s the gist of it:

  • Twins have to be monitored more closely than singletons, especially if they share a placenta and/or amniotic sac. This means more ultrasounds– which I love! We’ve had an ultrasound at every appointment. (But be prepared for the bills; they will likely charge you per baby.)
  • Prepare mentally for a C-Section. It’s more common with twins, not least because both aren’t always in the right position when it’s go time. I’ve met several women who delivered twins naturally, but C-Sections are more common for twin moms than those having singletons.
  • You will gain more weight than you thought possible! At my 16 week appointment I had gained 9 pounds– all since week 13-ish. We’ll see how much more the three of us have put on at my 20 week appointment; for all I know I could already have gained 9 more pounds. One twin mom told me she gained 80 pounds during her pregnancy!
  • Twins often come early, especially if they’re sharing. Twins sharing a placenta often come early because it becomes harder for them to get all their nourishment that way as they get bigger. Twins sharing an amniotic sac may come earlier for space reasons, especially with two umbilical cords in one area. And they’re considered full term at 37 weeks, instead of 39.

Fortunately, with a bit of Google searching to find the right balance between the super-scientific and the anecdotal, we learned a great deal about how twins happen, different types of twins, and how twin pregnancies differ from singleton pregnancies. I recommend browsing a few community forums, but not too many– one person’s scary story can send you on a roller coaster of unnecessary anxiety, but a few good personal posts can help clear up all the technical jargon. After a bit of reading, you’ll feel more prepared to nurture your little ones with minimum stress.

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