Having twins can be the most amazing experience of your life. It can also cause you to wake up in the morning wishing you were someone else. Twinning offers an honest depiction of life with twins from a mom who tries to keep things somewhere in the middle.
While everyone loves a pregnant woman, people really love a woman pregnant with twins. Complete strangers would offer up genuine excitement when they learned I was having twins. If they heard I was having a boy and a girl (which is basically winning the jackpot in the world of Twindom), they’d get even more giddy. They’d rave, “A boy and a girl! You’re all done! Aren’t you lucky?” and I immediately bought into the hype. Even in the early days of my first trimester, I found that being pregnant with twins means more of everything. And that should’ve made me nervous.
My enthusiasm over my new mother-to-be status quickly waned as morning sickness set in…all day long, for three solid months. Far beyond regular nausea, this was an all-encompassing, never-ending feeling of wanting to crawl into a hole and die. Everything made me feel sick—from the obvious (perfume) to the inexplicable (reading a magazine). Eating became an insurmountable challenge, and the organic diet I had intended on following went out the window in favor of elbow macaroni and cheese-covered chicken patties. My doctor explained that having twins means having more of the hormones that cause morning sickness. Double ugh!
All these extra hormones also resulted in a truly unfair case of acne—on my face, chest, and back. That “pregnant glow” everyone rhapsodizes about? Sure, I had it—the glowing oily sheen of a 15-year-old. All those low-cut cleavage-bearing maternity shirts modern moms are sporting nowadays were off-limits for me, and I ended up wearing tank tops and turtlenecks under even the most modest ones to hide my embarrassing spots. I had envisioned being fashionably pregnant like the celebs we see in People, still wearing stilettos and flaunting a tiny bump. Ah, the innocence.
Right around then I realized that carrying twins wasn’t going to be the exalted experience I’d imagined it would be.
So things weren’t looking too pretty here. Despite my appearance, I tried to appreciate my new existence. I was temporarily a trinity: three people in one, and I was as big as a cathedral. Few people can say that. Does it matter that few people would want to?
Women carrying twins also need to gain more weight—my doctor recommended 40 pounds, 20 for each baby. I always thought that guilt-free eating would be one of the coolest parts of being pregnant, but I never imagined packing 40 pounds onto my five foot four inch frame. Once my all-day sickness subsided during the second trimester, I concentrated on eating. The first 10 pounds were old friends from my college days, and they flew back on. The next 10 were not as enjoyable, because they were gained by eating recommended foods I hate, like cauliflower, pork and broccoli, all in the name of having healthy babies.
One thing I was looking forward to having more of during my twin pregnancy was cleavage. I thought that big voluptuous breasts were a given once you got pregnant, but no, not for me. While the rest of me got bigger, my barely-Bs didn’t increase even a half a cup size. My pregnancy was starting to read like a “Rare Unfortunate Happenings” list in the What To Expect books.
Around Week 26, the Braxton-Hicks contractions started. And they didn’t stop. I was hospitalized for a week and was sent home on strict bed rest with a portable IV in my leg. I couldn’t believe it—I’d done everything all the books said to do: gaining weight, drinking water and laying on your side, taking prenatal vitamins and doing yoga—and still I was going to spend the rest of my pregnancy in bed.
I’d lost five hard-won pounds in the hospital, and I found that gaining weight when you’re not doing anything but lying in bed is not the easy task it sounds like. Some days I’d wake up and eat breakfast, then go back to sleep and eat another breakfast mid-morning. My new existence was so far-removed from my non-pregnant one, I hardly even noticed when I developed purple stretch marks and a linea negra, which is the beautiful term for “ugly brown line from your belly button down.”
I stayed in bed for the duration, which was a nightmare, but certainly not the worst thing that could happen to someone who’s recently packed on 40 pounds (not to mention the pimples and the puritanical wardrobe).
My twin pregnancy was indeed more difficult than I had imagined. I felt like I’d run a long marathon that I had grievously underestimated—and after 11 weeks in bed, I crawled to the finish line and gave birth to my son and daughter, who couldn’t have been more perfect.