Thursday, October 3, 2013

Twin pregnancy: Week 21

One of the best things about the frequent doctor's appointments required for a twin pregnancy is the number of ultrasounds we get to have. Our latest set was last week, the big anatomy scan, otherwise known as the 20-week ultrasound where you're most likely to find out the gender of your baby.

For us, the prediction made by the tech at 14 weeks was confirmed: We are expecting two girls!

And by the looks of things, we are also expecting two kickboxers. It's no wonder Baby B likes to hide out on my right side — she was getting a foot-to-face beatdown from Baby A, whose feet were right in her face.

It was funny to watch and a little sad that in response, Baby B kept putting her arms and hands in front of her face to fend off the kicks.

But not to worry; Baby B could give as good as she got.

I guess it's to be expected when they're in such close quarters. Even though they are in separate amniotic sacs, the membrane is about as thin as cellophane (though thankfully much stronger). It's no wonder I feel these two kicking and moving all day long. They are not only jockeying for position and fighting for space, they're constantly throwing elbows and knees and then trying to get the heck out of the way. Must be rough being a twin in utero. I mean, can you even tell what's going on or who is who or what is what in these two pics?

While the ultrasounds are always fun, they've taken on a more serious tone of late. In the past I have always taken this milestone for granted. When I was pregnant with Evan (and even before), the 20-week ultrasound was just the chance to finally get a glimpse at your baby-to-be, find out the gender, and take home a cute little black and white photo of Junior. But now having three vastly different pregnancy experiences, I realize this is actually serious business. 

It's called an "anatomy scan" because that's what the doctor is doing: scanning the baby's anatomy from head to toe to be sure all the organs are in working order. I have known too many parents whose scans did not go well, and in the week before my own scan there were three other mothers on my Twins and Multiples message board who found out they lost one or both of their babies at such an appointment. After having lost a pregnancy myself and realizing that a twin pregnancy contains many perils, I now approach these appointments with equal parts excitement and trepidation. It's another reminder of how precious life is, and that the things we take for granted are not always given to everyone.

With that all going through my mind, it was with great relief and joy to hear that both babies are healthy and growing perfectly. There are no deformities or imperfections, and their growth is right where it should be. How blessed we are indeed to have such a healthy pregnancy.

And it's a good thing I was able to have that perspective, too, because this week has been particularly rough. I've started having Braxton Hicks contractions, which is normal at this stage of a twin pregnancy. But I was having them for more than 48 hours straight, followed by an intense shooting pain. I could still feel both babies moving, so I knew they were OK, but the doctor was concerned that too many contractions (mild as they were) could be preparing my body for labor already, so I had to check into the hospital to be sure everything was all right.

The only thing worse than going into the Labor & Delivery ward for pre-term labor is leaving without any answers. The nurses were able to determine that there has been no actual labor progression, thank the heavens above, but they don't know why I was having so many contractions or what that horrible pain is. It could be that the contractions were causing the pain, or the pain causing the contractions. It could be that the babies are just growing so fast that my body can't keep up. Whatever is going on, it hurts like the dickens and I am terrified that the next 16 or so weeks will be more of the same, or worse.

Subsequently, I've been on the couch or in bed for two days straight, and although it has helped with the pain, it's killing me to be incapacitated. I don't like feeling helpless, and even worse I don't like actually BEING helpless. Luckily I have one amazing husband who has been taking care of Evan and me and doing all of the housework (a girl can definitely get used to THAT!) and we have wonderful family who jump to help when asked.

So thank goodness for silver linings, or else I would probably be losing my mind right now. I'm choosing to focus on the thought that I am just so awesome at growing babies my body can't handle the two supergirls and their bodies of steel. I am hoping that it's just a growth spurt and in a few more days I'll be back on my feet, at least enough to feel like I'm participating in life.

In the meantime, if you need me I'll be catching up on my Netflix queue. Any suggestions?

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