What an exciting time to write my first guest post for The Bump! Today I'm officially 36 weeks pregnant with twins. I have so many different emotions regarding my pregnancy and feel so happy to share my experiences with you. My name is Mercedes and I am a housewife/homemaker/future first-time-stay-at-home mom/whatever else you'd like to call it! My husband and I have been married for just over a year, and we have been living as expats since last June. We started in Cape Town, South Africa, with a brief stint in Luanda, Angola, and are soon to end up in Aberdeen, Scotland. Pre-pregnancy, my interests included belly dance, reading, calligraphy and blogging — I cope with my chronic procrastination issues at my blog, Project ProcrastiNOT.
When we first found out we were having twins, my doctor (a twin mom herself!) told me she would be happy if I made to 36 weeks — where I am now. It turns out that the majority of twin pregnancies only last around 35 weeks. While my c-section is scheduled for 38 weeks, I wonder if I will make it that long. Early in my pregnancy, I joined a local Moms of Multiples (a.k.a. MoMs) group. There were about six other pregnant women, and we all had due dates within several days of each other. The past few weeks, my Facebook newsfeed has been flooded with the other MoMs' birth stories at 33, 35 and 36 weeks, so the possibility of a premature has birth hit me. Because they were born prematurely, the majority of these twins are spending time in the NICU for issues ranging from temperature regulation, feeding and breathing issues and jaundice — common preemie problems, even for otherwise healthy babies.
Many veteran MoMs have told me how different and difficult a multiples pregnancy can be. Besides the extra weight and hormones of carrying two (or more!) babies, multiple pregnancies can be at a higher risk for other complications including preterm labor and low birth weight, preeclampsia and gestational diabetes (which, yes, I was diagnosed with). For these reasons, I'm very grateful to have "baked" my twins for so long, and I'm hopeful to make it at least another week, when they would be considered full term. So far, I have received many compliments on how long I've carried my babies. While it's a little hard to accept praise for something that is largely out of my control, I feel that some things I've done may have helped prolong the pregnancy, including:
- Rest: many MoMs-to-be get put on bed rest at some point in time. I have been very fortunate in that I don't have to work, so I have rested whenever I needed it.
- Healthy weight gain: The American Pregnancy Association recommends gaining 24 pounds by 24 weeks to minimize the chance of preterm labor. At this point my weight gain has slowly tapered off at around 55 pounds, the upper end of the range given to me by my doctor (but keep in mind, everyone is different — consult your doctor about your specific needs).
- Water consumption: Dehydration can cause contractions and drinking plenty of water can also help with swelling and general well being. I drink ice water, with a straw, with pieces of fruit, and sip flavored sparkling varieties to change it up.
At 34 weeks, I felt like I hit "the wall" — mentally, I was just done being pregnant. Later that week, I ended up at the hospital for fetal monitoring when I noticed a decrease in my twins' movement. Then I realized, it was selfish of me to think that I was through when these babies obviously needed more time. As tough as it may be, my goal is to make it to at least 37 weeks and my biggest hopes are for the twins to be able to nurse, breathe and warm themselves so they are able to come home with me. As the hardships of pregnancy pile up, it gets more and more difficult to stay positive, but I keep telling myself that one or two more weeks of discomfort will be worth it when I see my healthy children for the first time. So until that moment, whether today, tomorrow or two weeks from now, I'm relishing the time with my hubby and urging these babies to keep baking!
How did you deal with those tough final weeks of pregnancy? At what week was your baby (or babies) born?