Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Twin pregnancy: Week 20

Here we are, the pregnancy midpoint: 20 weeks down, 20 to go — that is, in a typical singleton pregnancy. When you've got two (or more) on board, you're blessedly spared the last few agonizing weeks of pregnancy. Full-term for twins is 37 weeks, and my doctor assured me she wouldn't let me go past 38. So what I'm saying is, I'm more than halfway there!

I have some oh-so-kind friends who jokingly claim I'm just too small to be hiding two babies in there. A lovely thought, and perhaps seemingly true, until you contrast this picture with the one from my pregnancy with Evan also taken at 20 weeks:

Also as proof, though no one but myself can tell: the constant chaos that is two babies moving in utero. I've been feeling them for weeks now, which is actually quite a delight — especially since they're too small to be causing real pain yet. The funny thing is how differently they move: Baby A (the "technical term" given by my docs for the lower twin) hangs out super low in my pelvis and makes her presence known with constant pressure and a flurry of little rapid-fire kicks. Baby B (the top-bunk twin) hardly kicks at all but instead hangs out on my right side, occasionally trying to push her way out through my skin. It's the strangest feeling, not just because of what she's doing (and because a hard little lump will pop up right where she's pushing) but because of where she is: If my belly button is 12 o'clock, then she's over between 2 and 3 o'clock. Very odd feeling indeed.

The good news about this pregnancy is, it has been entirely uneventful. Such a relief after the last time. Not only that, but although I am still pretty exhausted, am starting to have occasional intense back and pelvic pain, and have 24/7 heartburn and reflux like the eternal flames of hell, the nausea is gone and I'm actually feeling really good. I have two doctor's appointments and an ultrasound this week (hooray!), and hopefully the medical squad will confirm that all is well and we are progressing like champions.

The other bit of good news is, I'm no longer terrified. I've had nearly three months to adjust to the thought of two newborns at once, and here's what I've decided: No doubt about it, it's going to be hard. It may even be the most challenging thing I've ever undertaken, and I may be wallowing in misery and hating life for a while. But I've got two really good things going for me: perspective and help.

Although this twin business is entirely new territory, motherhood isn't. Honestly I have no idea how I made it out of Evan's newborn period alive, what with the colic, reflux, milk intolerance, torticollis, plagicephaly, and bleak postpartum depression. But we did in fact make it, and now I know this: It passes, and soon enough the rough stuff will all have been forgotten. As a first-time mom, all I knew was, "This SUCKS. My life is over. This agony is my reality. I will never be human again. Woe is me." Now I know that, yes, I will probably feel that way at some point this time around, but when my rational mind returns to me I will remember that it will not, in fact, last forever. It WILL pass quicker than expected. I'm OK to live in my pajamas, unshowered, eating microwaveable meals and surviving on four hours of sleep a night for the first few months, because it will only be a few short months. Even if those months actually turn out to equal a year (or more), eventually it will all pass and a happier, more clean and well-fed era will begin.

As for the help, all I can say is how touched I am at the offers that have already begun pouring in. I am incredibly blessed to have the support system that I do, with family, friends, neighbors and even people I barely know offering one service or another when the time comes, or even before. One amazing gal even came over to play with my child for a while I took a nap — an act that was so desperately needed and greatly appreciated. There are so many good people in this world, and I am humbled to realize I live among them.

So, onward and upward! Here's to a healthy and happy 17-ish more weeks!

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