Revised post; December 31, 2016
If it were physically possible I would be jumping up and down clapping about having made it to the last stretch of carrying two growing babies at once. What a sight that would be…
For those of you that are carrying twins or multiples between 35 to 40 weeks, you can likely sympathize that at this point of your pregnancy jumping up and down is no longer a luxury the body can endure. I feel lucky if I can successfully lift one left in front of the other in a sequence of motions!
My OB’s office is my second home and I am quickly learning that you haven’t lived through a twin pregnancy until you have reached these last few weeks. If you have been pregnant before with a singleton you may have remembered the ‘nauseating if you put a vegetable near me I may be sick,’ first trimester. ‘It’s a beautiful life, energized and glowing,’ second trimester and the ‘Get this d*mn baby outta me… stat,’ third trimester. A beautiful road traveled…
The sick and twisted joke when bearing twins is that the third trimester seems to revert back to the first trimester. All whilst tacking on a few additional obstacles and challenges. Yes! MORE challenges!
Nausea comes back full-throttle, hunger has never been so strong and the ability to move has decreased immensely. Your stomach is sizing up to be an unrecognizable being projecting off your body and aches and pains are sprouting from… well, everywhere.
If you have entered this wonderful last stretch of a twin pregnancy then let me sincerely welcome you! I join you in saying, “Hello, ligament burning and stretching in the worst way, carpal tunnel, acid reflux, hot flashes nausea and continual Braxton hix.”
“Goodbye lower back functionality, the ability to bend down with the fear of never being able to get back up [If you can hear me can you toss a bagel down here!?], moving in general, lifting things and pretty much a full nights sleep due to having to use the bathroom on the hour, every hour. [If you need me i’m likely in the loo! Or stuck on the ground…]
Let me assure you, however, that this is all OK because for twins to make it this far is awesome news. They are thriving and learning the functions that will help them live outside of the womb healthy and happily. They are practicing the motions of using their lungs and they have reached a size that if they were born they could better understand how to nurse for the first time. And when we are in for nursing double trouble the more knowledge prior entering the realities of the outside world the merrier! For that, bring on the extra pain and bed rest!
What we can do is figure out how to make this time a little more tolerable for momma bear. I compiled a list of ideas to make this, yes, exciting time as comfortable as possible.
Use pillows. Pillows, pillows, pillows!
Its ironic but the most uncomfortable I have been has been lying down at night. It’s like once you’re already loose body relaxes, it just gets a tad more painful when you try to move again. So steal your hubby’s pillows, hoard every single one that you have lying around in closets and guest bedrooms. Just surround your body in a cocoon of large, fluffy pillows and fill them in every crevice of your body. Under your feet, knees, behind you back, on your sides. Rolling over and getting your legs from one side to the other is painful! You basically have to lift one leg with your hands and manually move it, so give yourself that extra relief with the extra height from the support of the pillow. Limiting the amount you have to move them to roll them over. And you will need to roll over because the ligaments on your sides have also entered burning and weakness. Oh, the joys.
Stock up on bedside snacks.
Keep a bedside snack with you at all times for those 3a or 4a, nauseating, stomach rumbling, wake up calls. It seems as though the sweet little pair wants to prep you for those early morning feedings. If the snacks are ready and available you are giving yourself one less reason to struggle up and out of bed in the night. Although, this one is hard for me because I’m not into the crackers or granola bars. At that time of morning the babies apparently want scrambled eggs or cereal. All good. I do as they dictate.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
I know, at this point waters a huge turn off. But you still need it. I was always an avid water drinker. But there is something about being pregnant, pregnant with twins especially and needing water in excess. It’s just so much. But chug it down. I have to make a constant effort of this every day. I have substituted with flavored seltzer to help the situation. Even including certain times to devote to just slamming down a 16 oz. bottle multiple times of day will help in the long run. And there will be a run… to the bathroom every 5 minutes.
Have reading material at the ready for restless nights.
Have that reading material next to you and ready for those hourly wake up calls. Getting up every hour means trying to fall asleep again every hour. Some attempts more successful than others. When enduring that sleepless night and nothing seems to be working just grab that book on sleep training twins. Read a chapter and by realizing you are never going to sleep again you will happily close your eyes and drift off.
Eat something immediately upon waking.
I know you don’t want anything. But eat something small and help deter the nausea for as long as possible.
Get fresh air when you can and take on mini projects throughout the day.
As tired as you are or as much as you may not want to move, get up and move around a bit and get fresh air. Take a little stroll outside or take on a mini project like sorting the infant clothes. This helped my aches, pains and nausea. Doesn’t mean you have to be up and about all day. Just a little here and there. Keeping the body in motion!
Have little ones around? Weather depending, set up camp outside with your existing kiddos.
I take my 2-year old to the beach. It’s not your typical beach setup. Its simple, a chair, a magazine, refreshments and her beach toys. It does not require lifting or walking much and she gets to be out and about playing. Hopefully tiring them out. You know, for their, fingers crossed, upcoming (and your upcoming) nap.
If it’s too cold to be outside, or it’s really not a day you are motivated to exert so much energy, buy activities for indoors. Amazon can be your best friend. Markers, crayons, play doh, toddler crafts… maybe the Disney movie, Frozen. Yes, I cheat. I let my 2-year old delve into her obsession with the movie Frozen and then she spends endless hours running around with a towel as a cape pretending to be Elsa and performing the ever so popular song, “Let It Go.”
Give in. Give in to a what’s going down with your body.
If you were a previous daily exerciser, as I was, it’s hard to give into this. I loved my daily jogs. It was my time. Very early on in the pregnancy they did, however, turn into walks. Walks eventually turned into painful expeditions that left me up all night with major ligament and muscle soreness. It’s just not worth it. Another option would be to try alternatives such as swimming or light cycling. Something a little less impactful on your back and lower body.
Leisurely stroll around the mall.
Sit down when you need to and stop when you absolutely have to. You have access to resources such as bathrooms, a drink and a pretzel if need be! I haven’t done this but I have read a lot of forums and books where some women placed on bed rest have utilized a wheelchair to be up and out. I know, it doesn’t sound fun or ideal. But if you are not one to be inside all day than succumb. Why not?
Embrace the weekly (or more) doctors appointments as ‘you time’ and time spent with the growing babies.
The weekly doctor appointments can be a nuisance. Especially if you have a little in tow! But think of it as a special weekly visit to see the babies and see their amazing development.
In a way it’s like royal treatment. Singleton pregnancies only get about two ultrasounds their entire pregnancy to spy on those cute babies growing inside! Us royals can take a peek every week to check on what they are up to. It’s actually pretty amazing being able to see them together!
This is also a great time to bring your book and catch up on any reading you wanted to get done… in the next 18 years. Unless of course you have your other little one(s) with you for your visits.
Ideas for entertaining your kid at the doctor’s office can be written as a whole separate post. We have become experts. Bonus: it has allowed my 2-year old to become more aware of and more understanding of the new pending babies that will soon be sharing her space.
Carpal tunnel is a real side effect. Address it!
Tell your doctor about your carpal tunnel if you feel it coming on in your hands. This isn’t something you have to just ignore and deal with. There are enough ailments we have to tolerate and this isn’t one of them. Your doctor may prescribe wrist brace(s) and as ridiculous and weird as you feel in them they help. I wore them at night and it really reduced the numbness and tingling.
I can’t, however, promise that your hubby won’t whistle the Rocky theme song every night as you lay next to him. I suggest you take your newfound identity and play the part. Punch your hubby.
Ask for help.
Or at least accept help. This one is a hard one for me and if you are pretty independant it may be hard for you too. It has taken me to these last few weeks to really stop and accept that I can’t help my hubby around the house and with my 2-year old as much as I want to. But once I gave in, he has been more than thankful! Wow, right?
Asking for help can be really hard. But you will be very surprised by the overwhelming positive response of people actually happy to be able to do something for you when you need it most.
We had to go through a move at eight months pregnant. I really didn’t want to bother anyone. But it got a little overwhelming when I looked at what I wanted to accomplish vs. what I actually could accomplish on my own. I reached out to two of my best girlfriends and without hesitation they were in my house, tearing boxes apart, initiating the removal of excess stuff and putting everything away in their new places. By the time they left the kitchen, nursery and bathroom were all done. No complaints. And offering more help if needed. Amazing, really. So ask. Even when it feels hard.
Cherish these last few weeks.
Enjoy the babies thriving with minimal assistance right inside of you.
Embrace and spoil your existing family. Your spouse and or singleton. This came as a recommendation from some really great moms.
Use this time for rest, a time spent with family, catching up on reading, maybe shopping and even splurging on a mani, pedi and getting your hair done! It didn’t take too much to twist my arms on this one.
So as much as you feel like you have reached the end of your road, enjoy these last few weeks of holding onto these sweet little peas safely on the inside. Before you know it, they will be on the outside reeking havoc and blessing your family with all the amazing things twins do. Soon enough they will be staring at you waiting for you to feed, change, play and tend to them! Those are a lot of eyes looking at you at once.