As I sit here today I am a mother of four. However, just three years ago I had one child. I think to myself how life changes in a blink of an eye. My oldest daughter is now twelve.
Three years ago I was newly married when we found out we were having our son. Life was amazing. We were so happy to be blessed with a healthy 10 pound 2 ounce baby boy in April of 2006. Our family was what we thought was picture perfect.
In May of 2007 my son had just turned one year old; we were just getting into the grove of the toddler years when I learned I was pregnant once again. Although this was a surprise to us because we didn't anticipate having another baby so soon, we were ecstatic. I made my appointment with the midwife to be examined and waited for my appointment anxiously. When the day of the appointment arrived, I was so excited to hear when my expected delivery date would be, and to get the actual confirmation that I was indeed pregnant. I hurried to my appointment with anticipation.
Once at the appointment things started to get interesting, as I am being examined by the midwife I notice a confused look upon her face. She begins to ask me some questions to make sure I had the date of my last menstrual cycle correct. I of course confirm that I am one hundred percent positive of the date of my last cycle. She again has a puzzled look on her face, so I question her as to whether anything is wrong. She quickly puts my mind at ease stating that my uterus is just measuring a little larger than it should be at this point.
However, she quickly explains that there could be a few reasons for the larger uterus. Naturally, she explains that the first reason could be that only 13 months prior I did deliver a very healthy sized baby and quite possibly my uterus just plumped right back up. Then, she adds that her second and final reason was that possibly there was more than one baby.
The thought of having twins was an overwhelming concept. When we found out about the pregnancy, we thought three children was a good place to stop adding to our family. I went right home from my appointment and discussed the conversation I had with the midwife, with my husband. Quickly my husband and I alleviated our worry because neither of us thought twins ran on either side of our families, so we decided the first explanation the midwife had given was the likely answer. However, my midwife had decided to schedule an ultrasound to make sure the pregnancy was dated correctly and to evaluate my pregnancy.
The ultrasound was scheduled to take place at the hospital in the perinatal unit. It was scheduled to be done when I was just about eight weeks pregnant. To my surprise, immediately the ultrasound technician saw two babies. The babies were each in their own sacs and with their little hearts beating. It was an amazing and overwhelming feeling. I never imagined being the mother of twins. When I left the appointment I called my husband and he was floored with excitement. We immediately called everyone we knew and shared the news.
As the pregnancy continued I was monitored very closely by the perinatal unit with ultrasounds monthly. I enjoyed going to each and every ultrasound to see how the babies were developing. We decided to find out the sex of the babies since we were going to have our hands full after their arrival we wanted to be prepared the best we could. We found out we were going to have twin girls.
As the months passed by I was growing and growing in leaps and bounds. The perinatal specialist could not believe the size the twins were on each visit. Early on they estimated that the babies would be larger than average twin babies. Each month Baby A was slightly bigger than Baby B. Fortunately, both were always healthy. Baby A was along my right side and Baby B was tucked up under my left rib cage. Being pregnant before, I knew that feeling the baby move was an exciting time. However, feeling two babies move around inside of you together in a little dance is something that is truly a miracle. When I lay down you could see little feet and heads moving. It was very surreal.
I worked during my pregnancy until the doctors and midwives decided I should not be making a long commute. I was in my 29th week when I took time off of work. During my pregnancy I was blessed to have no health issues or concerns except for the size of the babies, so I was fortunate not to be confined to bed. During my time home before the babies were born I spent the time trying to prepare and taking care of my other children.
During one of the ultrasound appointments the specialists mentioned that I may have to have a cesarean section as Baby B was breech and may not turn after the delivery of Baby A. As all of my other pregnancies were vaginal this was a scary thought. We decided to discuss the situation with our doctor and weigh the risks to the babies and myself if we went vaginally. The decision was made to schedule a cesarean section for my 38th week.
Due to my size and being in my 37th week my mother accompanied me to my perinatal test and doctor appointment. My doctor’s appointment was first and we talked about how I was feeling and then my upcoming surgery. However, my complaints of some mild discomfort were chalked up to just normal pregnancy complaints. Between appointments my mother, son and I decided to get lunch at a local pizza shop. During lunch I kept complaining to my mother that the chair was really hurting my back. I remember her saying that possibly I was in labor and I shrugged it off as I was just at the doctor and I was told I was not in labor.
We went to my perinatal test over at the hospital where I refused to be transported in a wheelchair to my exam. My size made people stop and stare consistently. When the technician performing my exam came to get me I could barely walk. She expressed her concern and I told her it was just the chair I sat in during lunch. That it must have hurt my back. During my test my back pain never subsided. The technician, being concerned, called my doctor and had me admitted for further evaluation.
After my admission I was examined by the doctor and it was determined that I was in active labor and would have to have the surgery within an hour. My husband was on his way, but he was about forty-five minutes from the hospital, so I pleaded with one of the nurses to make sure we did not begin until he got there. She was able to stall for a bit, but then I was being walked into the delivery room without my husband. As I lay on the table with teams of doctors and nurses surrounding me, I suddenly heard the wonderful voice of my husband. He made it! All of my fears started to diminish and I knew things were going to be okay.
During the delivery of my girls, Baby A was delivered first with Baby B following one minute behind. Baby A was immediately our Sofie. She was amazing at nine pounds. She was so chubby and cute with dark hair. Our little one Baby B is Jolie. She weighed in at an outstanding 7 pounds 14 ounces with light hair. Not little by any means. But for us she is our smallest baby. Both girls were swept away quickly as Jolie was having some breathing problems and needed to be resuscitated. Both of our girls spent just about an hour in the neonatal unit.
I was not able to see the girls or hold them for hours after the birth. It was the longest couple hours of my life. Once I was able to hold them and see their beautiful faces, I knew this was going to be an adventure of a lifetime. Each girl was so different. I remember thinking during my pregnancy about how I would be able to tell them apart as babies. They ended up being fraternal twins, so I never had to worry about it.
As I sat holding my girls, I was overwhelmed by the thought of caring for two babies at one time. I would like to say that I never had doubt in my ability to care for newborn twins, a toddler and a preteen, but that would not be the truth. During my stay in the hospital after several attempts to nurse the girls I was finally able to take a shower when I heard a crying baby coming back down the hall. I immediately knew that was one of mine. I broke down into tears. The nurse took the baby back to the nursery and came back to console me and let me finish my shower.
I was advised by my midwife to accept all the help I could get and to remember that I needed time for myself as well. It is not always about being the perfect mother, but about being there and being their mother. To my little girls I am the best mother, and I see that in their faces every morning when I go in to get them out of bed.
I sit here now a year later, my girls just turned one. I am watching the girls take their first steps, and try new things, and I cannot believe that I made it through my first year as a mother of twins. Time truly flies when you are having fun. Imagining my family without our spectacular twin girls is not even possible. They have taught me about the joys in life and to not take myself too seriously. Life is short and you must cherish each bump and bruise along the way.