Finding out you’re having twins is a huge shock…
We don’t have twins in either of our families. My grandmother gave birth to 10 kids—zero twins.
Here’s a picture of my sweet, giant family–not a single set of twins:
I always wanted twins…I would hold onto a glimmer of hope at each of my initial ultrasounds—“Please be two babies…” When it actually happened at the ultrasound for my fifth pregnancy, I was floored! You can read more about that ultrasound and about monoamniotic twins in my previous post—Part 1.
No Separating Membrane Found
At 10 weeks and 14 weeks of pregnancy, I returned to the high-risk obstetrician for ultrasounds…hoping to find membrane separating the twins’ amniotic fluid sacs. But it wasn’t there. And it became real—this is a high risk pregnancy. The babies were monoamniotic—they shared both a placenta and amniotic sac. We were the 1 in 30,000 or maybe even 1 in 60,000. The doctor’s expected their umbilical chords to eventually tangle (cutting off oxygen to the babies)—we needed to make it to the 23rd week so the babies could be constantly monitored and delivered by emergency c-section if necessary.
My obstetric care was turned over to the perinatologists. I still visited my regular OB—but the ultimate decisions about my treatment were overseen by the high-risk OB. And so I became a regular at the perinatologist–the office staff not only knew my name, but my story…Soon I had my own little fan club, cheering on my progress at the monthly, then weekly visits. It’s nice to feel like a rock star when toting around 40 extra pounds and sporting the latest maternity fashions (I’m not sure I can ever wear a maxi skirt again)!
I See You, Baby!
I have more ultrasound pics than I know what to do with. They popped out like skee-ball tickets after every ultrasound–one done at every appointment, checking the babies’ growth—making sure one twin wasn’t growing unusually more than the other…a sign of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). Thankfully—we never had to deal with TTTS.
Instead of focusing on the fear of what the doctors might find, I tried to find joy in the frequent ultrasounds—excited to see the babies and enjoying my enormous collection of Baby A and Baby B pics. It was especially sweet to see them interacting together…knowing their little fingers were actually touching and their little bodies were actually snuggled together.
Eventually I could feel those little feet I’d been watching on the ultrasound screen…Every mom loves feeling her baby move (except when it’s 3 am– or it’s a foot in your ribs– or the baby is sitting on your bladder–truth is…we love feeling the baby move when it feels like a butterfly–not necessarily when it feels like a baby elephant). So of course, I loved it—but I was also like…”Chill it out, Babies!! I mean it… You girls are getting excited, and I don’t even need you two tangling up your chords—Time Out!!” These were actual words circling my mind daily. The twins would finally calm down, and I would be relieved—only to start scaring myself after 30 minutes that they weren’t moving enough.
And so we went on…in most ways like a typical pregnancy, but of course it wasn’t.
Facing Our Fears
As we began to learn the risks involved in our pregnancy—I continually held onto God’s promises and resolved that whatever the outcome, it would be okay…God is good. He loves these babies—they are in fact, His babies. He has a plan for their lives—each of their days has already been written (Psalm 139:16). My nature is to worry and be anxious—so I continually reminded myself of these truths. The outcome was beyond my control—it was not mine to worry about. I preached Philippians 4:6-7 to myself and prayed it back to God with my praises and anxieties…”Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
I was left with only one option. Trust God. Sometimes He leaves us with only that option. And honestly, is there really ever any other option? My repeated attempts throughout life to control the future (and basically EVERYTHING)–through worry, excessive planning, or focusing on the problems were all just illusions of control. Here in this time of uncertain of outcomes, I was given a gift– to completely let go and give to God what only God can deal with. This was peace.
From the beginning, our doctors told us that I would be admitted into the hospital when I reached 23-24 weeks. There I would be staying in the antepartum unit, receiving constant care and monitoring. Our goal–keep the babies healthy and happy (and inside of me) until we reached 32 weeks—maybe even 34 weeks, and then deliver the babies by c-section.
The doctors and nurses explained all this as if mommies just up and leave their people and stay in the hospital for 10 weeks all the time…oh sure. No big thing.
As you can imagine, I was desperate for details! What happens when I get there? What do I wear? What do I pack? What are the rooms like? Will I need an IV (Oh my goodness, don’t even go there. I can. not. Just the thought makes me cry!!!)?
And then there were all the arrangements to be made at home…we had 3 young teens (one technically a tween) and a 2 year old! There were church camps, daily gymnastics practices, dance classes…the logistics of an entire summer to work out. How in heaven was my hubby going to do it all? There would still be laundry, baths, meals, dishes, groceries, appointments, and toilets to clean! My big kids were great helpers, but really…how were my people gonna survive without me for 2 months?
Mommy’s Hospital Staycation
Fortunately, the timing of my hospital staycation couldn’t have been much better—I was set to move in on June 3. Which was perfect because we would be done homeschooling for the year—so at least that was one less thing on the list. My big kids were all old enough to stay home alone and babysit our 2 year old as needed, and my mom was able to come and help. She actually ended up being laid off from a job she hated that spring and basically went into early retirement. God was providing for her and for us…Love how He shows up in all the details of our lives! So many of my friends stepped in and offered to help cart my big kids around. And my husband—he is amazing. He was never worried or stressed and told me everything would be fine…It would be a special time for him alone with the kids.
So I packed up my bag and moved to the hospital—truthfully, a little excited to be receiving breakfast in bed and having no dishes to wash for the foreseeable future (there is always a bright side, friends).
I’ll be sharing about my stay in the antepartum unit and our emergency c-section soon—stay tuned for Part 3.
P.S. I’d love to hear your twin stories! Please feel free to share them here or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Psalm 37:4) “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
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