I can’t say when it really set in that we were having twins. I don’t think it has yet, and they are five months old now! After the initial ultrasound, we obviously freaked out. What were we going to to with five kids? How would we make it work? Would they be ok? Where would they sleep? How would we ever sleep again?
But life goes on, and we had to continue working and taking care of our existing family. I was so exhausted all the time, and I had been having morning sickness all day, every day, basically since I found out I was pregnant. My doctor prescribed some Zofran for me back when I was having my panic attack, but it barely kept me feeling normal. I tried to eat vegetables and protein, but nothing seemed to make me feel great. This feeling stuck around until sometime around the 18 week mark. After that period, I could get some relief from the medication, but if I didn’t take it, I was sick again.
I started wearing my maternity clothes at about 8 weeks pregnant. With multiples (and with any baby after your first), your belly can grow pretty quickly.
We saw the perinatologist (also known as a Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist), Dr. MFM, in early June, at about 12 weeks along. The due date was confirmed as Christmas Eve, and we hoped to keep the babies in until early December. The ultrasound also confirmed that yes, there were twins, and yes, they were identical. They had one placenta (monochorionic) and two amniotic sacs (diamniotic), our little Mo-Di babies. Dr. MFM briefly mentioned that we would need to keep an eye out for Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS), but said there wasn’t anything I could do to prevent it, and there weren’t any real signs to look for.
When we heard they were identical, my husband and I looked at each other and agreed, sadly, “obviously, these will be boys.” My husband had three boys already, so we weren’t sure he could have anything else. Not that there’s anything wrong with boys. My toddler is the most amazing little boy in the whole world! He’s smart, funny, loving, kind, and just lights up my life. BUT — I always wanted a girl. I had a girl’s name picked out (just one, though). I was ready to have a sweet girl or two to go with my sweet son.
At Dr. MFM’s office, blood tests were performed which can detect genetic abnormalities and also determine gender. Since our babies were obviously the same gender (identical twins cannot be different genders, unless the girl has a rare disease called Turner’s Syndrome), the blood test would be able to tell us if we were having two girls or two boys! We were told results would take two long weeks.
After the appointment with Dr. MFM, on Father’s Day, 2014, we made the official Facebook announcement that twins were on their way to our family! That Wednesday, I came back up to my office after talking to my boss downstairs, and I saw I had a missed call from Dr. MFM’s office. They had my test results already! I quickly called back and spoke with D, who said that all the genetic tests looked fine. She asked if I wanted to know the genders, and I enthusiastically said, “YES!”
“It’s a girl! Well, it’s TWO girls!”
“YES! Yes! Whoo hoo! Yes!” My coworkers heard my excitement and figured that I had just gotten word that I was having girls. I ran (ok, ran is a strong word, but I hurried as fast as my pregnant ass would go) through the office to tell everyone the good news, and then I came back to my computer and sent my husband a message that we were having girls. Yes, other people knew before he did. I couldn’t hide my excitement! I called my mom and my sister and sent text messages to a few close friends before finding the perfect picture to announce on Facebook that we were going to have twin girls!
I started to get excited, but I remained apprehensive because of all the risks. Multiples have a higher chance of being born prematurely. Dr. OB said that I would probably be on bed rest at some point and that I would no longer be able to drive an hour each way to work after about 24 weeks.
But life goes on, and we had a family vacation planned to visit my husband’s sisters in Maryland and Pennsylvania. I would be about 15 weeks pregnant during the trip, but I hoped, however futile, that I would be past the morning sickness. We decided that it would be “fun for the boys” to take the Amtrak auto train from Sanford, Florida to Lorton, Virginia (Orlando to Washington D.C.). It was an overnight trip, but we would have our vehicle and not have to rent a car or deal with lugging the stroller and carseat on a plane. We initially booked two two-person cabins (the toddler would hang out with me), but we were able to upgrade right before departure to a more spacious family bedroom with four bunks.
Now, if you are prone to motion sickness, you know that taking an overnight train ride is probably a bad idea. If you’re prone to motion sickness and experiencing morning sickness, an overnight train ride is just downright excruciating. I did not sleep at all. Each time I thought I was drifting off, the train would jolt and jostle me back awake. I spent a lot of time in the hallway, trying to catch a good signal so I could post about my misery and look at BuzzFeed. I also read an entire book on my Kindle, and I vowed that I would never set foot on a train like that again.
The trip itself was ok. I was pretty miserable, but I didn’t want to be a drag, so I went along with everything. The worst was a day spent at the Philadelphia Zoo. It was so hot, and I was so tired, hungry, and trying not to become dehydrated. While it’s nice to take the kids to have fun somewhere, my heart and my body just weren’t cooperating that day. We drove back to Florida in three days, and I have never been more excited to be home!
I remained tired and worn out through July. After a trip to St. Petersburg for a deposition, I could barely move. My body was just not happy with the long car trip. Dr. OB wrote a note for my job, saying that I could only work 6 hours a day and was not allowed to travel (other than to go to work).
In August, I continued to be sick, tired, and worn-out. By the end of the month, I was just about 24 weeks along, and Dr. OB wrote another note which said that I needed to work from home for the remainder of my pregnancy, however long that would be! I was so glad that I no longer had to drive to work, and I started to get excited about being at the point where the babies would be viable if they were born prematurely. Obviously, I did not want them to come early, but at least they would have a chance if they happened to arrive after this point. I even started to get excited about my baby shower, which was scheduled for early October. It was the first time in the pregnancy that I felt OK with everything and felt like I really might have two living, healthy babies.
To read about the rest of our TTTS journey, click here.