Whether you suspected I was pregnant or were surprised, I think everyone is a little shocked that we are expecting not one, but TWO babies. Honestly, I am still in shock myself and it hasn’t fully sunk in that I’ll have two more mouths to feed and two babies to cuddle soon.
Finding Out We’re Expecting Twins
I’d love to share the story of how we discovered that we were expecting twins with you. Going back a few weeks prior to the big news, I got my positive pregnancy test the day that our offer was accepted on our new house (thank goodness we ended up buying a four bedroom since most of the houses in our budget were three!). I started getting nauseous at 5 1/2 weeks on the dot, the exact same time I started to get sick with Siena. I felt more tired but not exponentially so (yet). I actually almost didn’t have my first ultrasound until 10 weeks due to scheduling conflicts between both the doctor and Mike’s travel schedule, but for some reason my gut insisted I go in earlier and luckily the doctor allowed me to come in at 7 weeks. That morning I went to a gentle flow class at Yoga Six and even though the class wasn’t heated, it was a warm day and the class was full. I felt OK going into the class but while I was lying on my back in savasana, my nausea took a turn for the worse and I ended up rushing out and throwing up! I definitely knew I was sicker this time but didn’t think that meant much!
We headed into the doctor’s office and began by talking through various questions we had. We talked about my running and he encouraged me to continue. Despite being just 7 weeks, he started by trying to see if he could do an ultrasound on my stomach. The picture flashed onto the screen overhead, but he couldn’t get a clear enough picture that way. He left the room so I could change into a gown and I said to Mike, “I think I saw two sacs.” Mike told me there’s no way I could have seen anything and to not scare him like that! Ha….
The doctor returned and began the transvaginal ultrasound. Immediately a picture popped up and there were two distinct “bubbles.” As a regular on the pregnancy forums (I know I said I wouldn’t go on them this time but I can’t resist!!) I know what a twin ultrasound looks like. However, the doctor didn’t say anything at first. So I said, “Are there two!?” He said something like “Well, it looks like there might be, but let’s take a look.” Mike and I looked at each other and I got tears in my eyes. Was this happening!? He found Baby A first and we listened to her heartbeat, loud and clear and strong (around 150 bpm). He measured her at 7 weeks 1 day which was exactly how far along I was at the time according to my last menstrual cycle. Then he moved over to Baby B and sure enough, we listened to her similarly strong heart beat and she measured at 7 weeks exactly. Two growing TWIN babies. We were going to be the parents of twins.
Mike asked the doctor to make sure there wasn’t one more in there and he told us he was pretty sure there isn’t (Mike’s good friend ebt’ently had triplets). After the ultrasound, the doctor explained the main differences between a twin pregnancy and a singleton one. First, we would need more doctor appointments and I will be seeing a specialist regularly after 20 weeks. I will get more ultrasounds. I need to take more folic acid (same dose of my prenatal vitamin though). He told me that twins usually come much earlier than singletons (after researching the average gestation is just under 36 weeks) and that he will induce at 39 weeks if I make it that far. (I went to 41 weeks 2 days with Siena). He also said that he is very supportive of vaginal twin births and that as long as Baby A is not breech, we should be able to deliver that way (he will flip Baby B or deliver her breech if he has to). If Baby A is breech, I’ll need a C-section (over half of twins are born via c-section). If I do deliver vaginally I will have to be monitored MUCH more than I was with Siena and I will have to deliver in an operating room with a full staff (10+ people) present. Of course this has me thinking about my previous plan to have another natural birth…but more on that later!
Running During Twin Pregnancy
Of course, I had to ask about running. My first reaction was that I was going to be told to stop. And I was very relieved to hear his response, “Keep running.” Keep doing what I’m doing until it doesn’t feel good or he tells me otherwise. Yay! Running is so important to me and I do not want to give it up, though I obviously would if the doctor asked me to. Based on my google research, it seems like most twin moms stop running around 20 weeks, but honestly there isn’t a lot out there on running during twin pregnancy. I’m 14 weeks now and feeling pretty good (as you know, I ran a trail half marathon two weeks ago – I will publish my race report soon!). My bump has recently started growing so that is starting to cause a little more discomfort but generally I’m just running slower and taking some walk breaks when needed, but am still able to comfortably run decent mileage.
Letting It All Sink In – I’m Going to Be a Twin Mom!
We left the appointment in shock. Everything was different. I’d heard from fellow moms of two that their second pregnancy was nearly an afterthought – that they sometimes forgot they were pregnant because they were so focused on their toddler (of course those who suffer from severe morning sickness, one baby, two or three, would NEVER say they forget they’re pregnant – I’m not downplaying it by any means, carrying any baby is hard work for mom). That wouldn’t be the case! We were in for a crazy journey and going into uncharted territory. Instead of possibly brushing up on birthing techniques or trying to remember how to swaddle, I now had a lot to learn. One toddler and one infant seemed daunting but a toddler and TWO infants seemed impossible. Mike was really optimistic and kept saying, “Embrace the chaos!!!” – a phrase he picked up from a couple we met several years back who had 7 kids.
Mike and I had driven separately to the appointment because he had come straight from a meeting. As soon as I got in the car I called my mom and told her the news – she was as shocked as me! She asked if she could tell my grandma and a couple hours later my grandma called me. I knew that my grandma’s sisters were twins but she also told me about two other sets of twins in our extended family. I guess I always knew that there was a remote chance that I could be a twin mom, but I didn’t really expect it to happen to me!
If I’m honest, I didn’t fully accept that I was going to be a mother to twins until our second ultrasound appointment and even now I don’t think I fully grasp it! I didn’t do a lot of research on twin pregnancy loss because it scared me, but I did find a statistic that about 10% of the time after a promising first ultrasound, one of the twins can “disappear” without any miscarriage symptoms – this is called Vanishing Twin Syndrome. In total, 21-30% of multifetal pregnancies result in vanishing twin (many women may not even know they were pregnant with twins in the first place).
At our 11 week appointment and ultrasound we were able to see two growing babies with strong heart beats. They were both moving around a lot! At this point, I left thinking to myself that it was real. I’m going to be a twin mom. I started telling more friends and family our news after that.
Finding Out the Genders of Our Twins Via Genetic Testing (NIPT)
I opted to do the new NIPT genetic screening blood test instead of the nuchal screening that I did with Siena. The only company that currently can give you separate results for both twins is Natera, who runs the Harmony test. The FDA just very recently approved them to use it on twins (Sept/October 2017) – previously you could only find out if you were having at least one boy or two girls – they could not tell you the gender of both babies.
A phlebotomist came to my house and took the sample. It was incredibly convenient! If I’d gone the other route, I would have had to go to a lab for a blood draw and drive quite a ways to the specialist for my ultrasound. Although overall this route is a little more expensive (they will give you a discounted rate if you have a high deductible plan like ours), it was really convenient and meant that I wasn’t spending my precious time when I have childcare driving all over town.
My friend Allison learned the gender results before us and put together an adorable reveal for us. Mike and I opened it privately on Monday when he returned from his most recent business trip. To say we were shocked to learn that we are having two more girls is an understatement. The odds were in our favor that at least one boy was in there (75% chance!) and given that we already have a girl and that I’ve dreamt at least twice that I was carrying two boys, we weren’t expecting two girls! If I’m honest, we were initially a little disappointed that we wouldn’t have a little boy (we are definitely not having any more children), but in the days following, I am super excited to have three girls! And I love that our twins will be the same gender and share such a special bond! And yes, I’m already anticipating some turbulence in the teenage years, but at least our girls will have each other to lean on during those tough years of growth.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out with well wishes! We are excited and a bit terrified for this journey but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s our family’s story and I can’t wait to tell it. I’ll be documenting my pregnancy in this blog, and of course continuing to talk about running and fitness along the way.
Do twins run in your family? Twin moms, I’d love to hear from you!