Finding out you’re expecting twins can be a wonderful suprise, a scary shock or it can be something you’ve hoped and dreamed of. Whatever your reaction, you may be wondering how this pregnancy will be different to that of a singleton. Here, NowBaby Mum Sharley shares her experience of a twin pregnancy, from finding out that she was expecting two, to the worries and complications of a multiple pregnancy….
Third time round I should know what to expect and know the signs etc etc right!? Well sort of but all those signs were… different, they were worse, more intense. I’m talking about the early signs of pregnancy. My morning sickness was twice as bad and I seemed to be tired 23 out of 24hrs. I had symptoms I hadn’t experienced before- tender breasts and a metallic taste in my mouth.
I took my sister out for a birthday meal, she was 6 months pregnant at the time and we joked about how maybe rather than just me getting older and having two kids already having an effect on my symptoms that maybe I was expecting twins. Oh how we laughed!
A few weeks later we had the exciting 12 week scan, the first of many hellos to our newest baby girl or boy. Within 5 seconds of the sonographer starting the scan she stopped, looked at us and with a knowing cheeky smile asked if we wanted a surprise and instantly I knew. My partner wass still oblivious, “it’s twins isn’t it?” I said, the sonographer confirmed my suspicions and my other half was completely dumbstruck! He sat there beside me head in hands looking at me and looking at the screen of our two babies; we were going to be doubling the number of children we had before the year was out!
For us that wasn’t the end of the surprise news in our 12 week scan, we were also informed that twin 1 was being giving a high risk of Down syndrome, a risk of 1 in 50.
My world had got turned upside down twice in an hour and I knew that was just the beginning of our rollercoaster. We were given information and leaflets and a number to call to make an appointment for a meeting to get further info and next steps etc
Risks and worries
Expecting twins complicated what would/could happen next. There was increased risk of miscarriage to both twins if we were to test further with an amniocentesis or CVS and a ‘safe test’ blood test was ruled out because we were expecting twins.
However, an amazing midwife called Cynthia became our beacon of light our guardian angel. She called to inform us we could have a safe test at another hospital as part of trial system. So off we went and it was the longest 10 day wait for results I have ever experienced. I had no clue what we would do, whether we could manage or cope but there was nothing we could do but wait… and think.
We were given a 97% assurance we were back to low risk and so moved on with enjoying our pregnancy, already I was pretty sure this would be the last – four children is plenty!
At week 16 we met with our consultant who gave us a very professional opinion and guidance to ensure we understood that the previous test results didn’t guarantee that there wouldn’t be a problem, just that the pregnancy was low risk; to be certain we would need an amniocentesis. I broke down. I had convinced myself that the saga was over and all was ok. Our consultant brought it all crashing back down but I knew no matter what at this point in our pregnancy it didn’t matter what the results would be, I couldn’t terminate one of our babies especially with such low risk. We left our appointment feeling low and drained, we didn’t feel as though we could just enjoy the pregnancy.
Our guardian angel called to make sure we were ok and said she had pushed for us to have a referral for a foetal heart scan, this could help further cement our low risk and check the health of both twins. Our referral was rejected as we weren’t risky enough but our midwife persevered she referred us to another hospital and so we had a foetal heart scan appointment booked
This was nerve racking, we had a long wait until the appointment and the reality of what it would mean if there was a heart issue was weighing on me heavily. I wasn’t even sure if I was ready for four healthy children, what if one or both would need extra medical care?
Our 3rd hospital and 6th scan was what week 20 brought us, whilst I loved seeing my twins each scan brought stress and worry, my partner was my rock and listened to my concerns and reassured me any way he could. I think he was still processing the fact that we were expecting twins, let alone everything else but he didn’t follow my crazy path of making friends with google- sometimes this provided the reassurance and good news I so desperately craved, but when there was something that wasn’t as positive it would fester and bring forward any and all concerns.
Our foetal heart scan at the specialist children’s hospital revealed whilst both twins were healthy twin one had a “variation of normal”. This meant that our twin 1 was ok but his heart had two vena cavas pumping blood into the heart rather than one. Whilst not a health risk on its own it could act as a “speed bump” for the blood pumping through the heart. They wanted to keep an eye on it and so booked a follow up appointment for week 30 of my pregnancy and also expected to be seeing the twins once they were born to scan again. The 30 week foetal scan and post birth heart scan of our baby remained the same but the specialists were happy he was healthy and were not concerned. We were reassured Bilateral superior vena cava (it’s full title) is not a health risk and really is just the body being made in a different way.
From here on my pregnancy continued like any other with just regular 4 weekly scans to check on growth. And boy did they grow!
I was booked to meet with my consultant at week 36 to discuss birth plan and options and this couldn’t come soon enough for me. My bump was huge and I was struggling to carry it around! At week 36, two weeks before Christmas and one week before my eldest child’s birthday we discussed options and agreed to be booked in to be induced the following week…
Sharley has also shared her birth experience with us – you can read it here.