4 months have been and gone. We seem to be so focused on getting from one appointment date to the next, that while time seems to be moving on fast forward, it also seems to be moving slowly. I don’t mean to wish away my pregnancy, after all I may never have another, but seeing the babies on the screen, hearing their heartbeats, and hearing that everything is ok, that they’re healthy, that’s all I can think about… well, that and knowing if they’re boys, girls or if we have one of each.
“I can feel them” The very first day of week 16 I felt the first signs of our little ones, popping sensations, like popping candy very low down in my tummy. It tickled and made me want to itch or rub my tummy hard, it was super distracting at work but, it was lovely. A couple of days later, after a packet of skittles, I felt a surging pulse, like how I imagine a kick, under my left rib – that one made me cry a little with happiness. Cue excited emails and texts to Ryan and our parents. Since then I’ve felt lots of swooshing and more popping, which I guess is them swimming around each other. I know they’re only tiny (avocado’s at week 16) but, while they’re in there, I like knowing that they have each other to play with and love.
Appointments As we’re having twins, we’re deemed high risk, and the pregnancy is led by a consultant who will monitor for signs of gestational diabetes, placental abruption and preeclampsia, among other things. We had our first appointment and our consultant was really friendly and forthcoming with information, Ryan and I both felt in good hands and hope that he’ll be with us at the time the babies decide to make their way into our arms.
Towards the end of week 16 my lower abdomen across my pubic bone was so tender that sitting, bending over or having my underwear resting there was causing extreme discomfort – oh, and I couldn’t have more than a sip of water without having to pee. The midwife assigned had been completely unreachable since I first spoke with her in early September so I wasn’t surprised when I called her and had no answer. The midwife in the surgery that day queried if I’d had my 16 week appointment, which I hadn’t and didn’t have booked, so suggested that I head over that day to see her. During the appointment she wanted to have a listen to the heartbeats which I was so excited about – the need for confirmation everything is OK is overwhelming. The Dr came in to give a second opinion and they both concluded that the twins were absolutely fine but, unfortunately me for, both of them were sat extremely low down, lower than is ideal for this stage. Although it’s not a problem, if they hadn’t shifted upwards more permanently over the next week she’d suggest I go back to get checked over by the consultant (thankfully they did – good babies!). She was so thorough, asked lots of questions and didn’t once make me feel like I was a crazy first time pregnant lady, making a big deal out of nothing – when she asked if I wanted to switch so that she’d be my midwife at all appointments, I snapped her hand off!
Birth Thinking When we found out we were having twins I’d assumed I’d have to have a caesarean and, originally, that seemed like the most sensible option – we’d have a date, we’d know when the babies were coming and when to have everything ready by, providing they didn’t decide to come earlier of their own accord, of course. It felt like it would be less stressful to have the element of surprise taken away. I’d also read about mothers of twins having one baby naturally and the other then having to be delivered by c-section (due to various reasons) – I definitely did not want to have to recover from both a natural and c-section birth.
Over time, and after reading and learning more about natural births, when the consultant asked me if I’d had any thoughts about the type of birth I would like, I was confident I wanted to keep everything as natural as possible. He was supportive and said we’d discuss more at the 28 week appointment in January, when we would be in a better position to assess the options, however, he had no reason to think that a natural birth wouldn’t be achievable. I was surprised to learn that only 40% of twins births are via c-section.
Pregnancy and Birth Gurus During the 3rd and 4th month, I was listening to Sarah Keens Pure Natural Pregnancy Podcast and reading Positive Birth Book by the Positive Birth Movements Milli Hill. Both have had a huge impact on me, not just in terms of learning and understanding more about the biology of birth (things like optimal cord clamping, placenta deliveries, birth canal microbiomes and hormone reactions), but also in forcing me to think about the type of Mummy I want to be, how I want to bring my babies into the world physically and emotionally, and to face my fears of labour, and birthing not just one, but 2 babies. Everyone is scared of giving birth, right?! I don’t think I’ve ever heard a story that wasn’t marred in horror (actually, thinking about it, I’ve heard one, very recently – a friend who gave birth to her second baby at home). Everything that I read in this book, or heard in the podcasts I listened to, resonated with me on some level. I definitely recommend both wholeheartedly.
Ryan is going to read Positive Birth Book once I’ve finished it – I really want him to understand the reasons behind the choices I’m making. There’s a high chance that I’ll lose my shit at some point and will need him to be able to remind me and reinforce the positivity and love that I’d like to try maintain throughout the births. I want labour to be filled with as much oxytocin as possible and very little adrenaline and cortisol – positive hormones only, please.
I am fully aware that to some I sound like a bit of stoned hippie with weird delusions of a magical, transient experience and, perhaps, like I need a dose of reality, but, for me, this seems the better approach – these babies have to be born, so I need to try and find a peace of mind that cuts out, or at least reduces, negativity, stress and fear.
Ryan even now says ‘don’t get stressed, think about the oxytocin’ haha! Although he isn’t at a point where birth is at the forefront of his mind (YET), he is being really supportive and reminds me that he trusts my judgement and that all he wants is for me to be comfortable and safe, and for the babies to be healthy.
Bumpdate The change from the beginning to end of month 4 feels pretty dramatic. Babies have grown from peaches, to navel oranges, to avocados, finally to pomegranates. I am fairly sure that some of the weight I’m putting on isn’t baby or fluid related but is the result of carbs and chocolate. I try to be healthy, but sometimes the veg just doesn’t cut it, and other times its getting late in the afternoon at work and I start to get sleepy so need a pick me up. I’m conscious that I need to watch that though, not just because I’ll have to work it all off once the babies are born but because it’s bad for the them and I anyway, and I am already at an increased risk of gestational diabetes.
Week 17 saw the introduction of dead legs and stiff, numb hips, a few trips back to the gym and being able to stay awake past 9.30 most, but not all, nights. Being back at the gym has felt good, although, the first time I was very self conscious and uneasy, not sure what I was comfortable doing and what would be safe for the twinnies.
Because the babies were so low I was forced to stop wearing the Secret Saviours Band that had been recommended. Instead I’ve been strict with applying copious amounts of bio oil each morning and then using the Secret Saviours night cream before bed. So far, no stretch marks and no itching. I have noticed that the skin on my lower back is dry so I’m having to make sure I cream my back too – not sure if this is normal? I hadn’t read anything about it.
So, that’s month 4 done – week 18 could potentially be our half way point. The average pregnancy term for twins is 36 weeks which would mean the babies arriving some time around 23rd March – Ryan coincidentally picked this date as his guesstimate due date. I’m hopeful that they will stay cosy in my tummy til 36 weeks minimum as it’s reduces their chances of needing medical support. Also, March feels very close; First we have Matt’s Birthday, then December is all about Ryan’s Birthday and Christmas and then, before we know it, it will be January… January!!! My predicted date is 6th April, which would take us nearer 38 weeks… picked purely on the roundness and prettiness of the date 06.04.18 – all nice even numbers, ha!
The consultant warned me that by the time of my 20 week scan I would be ‘enormous’, at the moment I don’t think I’m bigger than anyone else 4 months pregnant, but we’ll see how that changes over the next few weeks!
Love, Hayley & the Babies ❤️👶🏻👶🏼❤️