Being pregnant with twins sucks.
It's a good thing I got this silly, goofy belly pic out of the way at week 24, because from here on out, you probably won't see such happiness from me for a while.
Granted, I was being sarcastically happy here. I keep getting flak from friends and family about having such cranky, mug shot-looking belly pics, like so:
I'm not trying to look grumpy, and I don't even feel grumpy in these shots; I just really dislike my profile and don't relish having pictures taken of it.
Now, however, I'm feeling the grumpy.
Actually, what I'm really feeling is pain. Before, I'd get the occasional twinges and stretching sensations — uncomfortable and unpleasant, but bearable. Now it seems that about every four or five weeks the babies (and, subsequently, my belly) go through a growth spurt. The first round of this at about 17 weeks wasn't great, but it wasn't so bad either. Week 21 was pretty painful, with Braxton Hicks contractions starting in earnest, but still bearable. Now, at week 26, I'm dying. I'm ready to just curl up on the couch and stay there until this whole experience is over.
It's not just the pain itself that has me wanting to throw in the towel; much of the agony is due to the sheer repetition of it. Just when I start to feel a bit better, in a few short hours it starts all over again. I am now on day 5 of this growth spurt with no end in sight — and my doctor tells me this is likely to be the norm from here on out. Which makes sense, considering the babies are about 2 pounds each but only have 12 more weeks to grow about 4 additional pounds apiece.
What's worse, there's not much to relieve the pain. That's because it's not a muscle pain or even a contraction that you can ease with a warm bath, Tylenol or massage. These babies are growing, fast, and while that's a wonderful thing, my poor belly just can't handle it. Every bit of tissue is being stretched, every muscle is being pulled apart, every organ is being smashed. And on top of it — literally — two hard, writhing, thrashing lumps of baby are bursting out every which way, apparently trying to make a break for it directly through my skin.
Oh, and have I mentioned the throat-boiling acid reflux and the return of the morning sickness? And the exhaustion that never left? And the shortness of breath that occasionally sends me into a panic attack because I can't get enough air? And the restless leg syndrome that keeps me awake all night — that and having to pee every two hours and the fact that we cannot agree on names for these baby girls for the life of us?
Yeah. Being pregnant with twins sucks.
This is why it always boggles my mind when people tell me they're jealous, that they've always wanted twins. I can kind of get this in theory; if you have terrible pregnancies and you really love babies, then sure, having two at once sounds like a dream come true. But this is no dream, my friends. This nightmare is my reality, and guess what? I have three months to go, and it's only going to get harder — to say nothing of the next 18 years ahead of us in which we must parent not one, but two children at the exact same stage (along with their older brother). So forgive me if I stare at you, incredulous, and ask, "Really? You really want twins??"
All right, that's enough out of me. I can't be all doom and gloom with no silver lining. When I look at the bigger picture, I actually have it pretty great. Yes, this feels pretty icky right now, but in the grand scheme of things I'm having an incredibly healthy pregnancy. Both babies are growing right on schedule and are as healthy as can be. And other than the pain and discomfort, there is nothing actually wrong with me — such a great blessing when you consider all the horrible things that could and often do go wrong in a twin pregnancy. In fact, I've actually had some really great things happen. For instance:
- I have zero stretch marks or varicose veins!
- My babies are perfectly formed and growing strong!
- My husband has taken over all the housework!
- My son has started kissing my belly and "giving loves to the babies"!
- I finally found some really cute and comfy maternity jeans!
And this is just some easy-to-find surface stuff. I probably could have devoted this entire post and then some to all the wonderful things in my life right now, just as easily as I did all this negative stuff. But sometimes, a girl just has to vent. And when that girl has twice the pregnancy hormones coursing through her veins, it becomes an imperative.
To keep myself focused on the positive, a few weeks ago I came up with my twin pregnancy mantra. I should probably plaster this all over my house to remind myself that yeah, this does suck, but I'm actually doing something pretty amazing, so it's worth it:
"Some people run marathons or climb Everest.
I grow two babies at once."
So the next time a pregnant woman in your life starts crying over "nothing" and will not be content until she has consumed an entire carton of ice cream, give her a hug and then go get her a refill. The lady has earned it.