It feels like only yesterday I was trying to find the words to summarise just how the emotional rollercoaster of knowing we were expecting twins was going, and yet somehow we’ve reached the stage where these babies could officially be here any time! Given my size, in some ways it feels as though I’ve been pregnant forever, but in others it seems to have whizzed by, and the fact that the inevitable is now mere weeks rather than months away has me reeling. It makes writing these little updates tricky, to be honest, because I’m finding it hard to focus on anything other than their impending birth and the equal parts of joy and horror that’s likely to bring, so remembering my thoughts and feelings from the last few months isn’t easy. But I’ll give it a go, because I do so want to have a record to look back on one day of this crazy and exciting experience, and since I seem incapable of filling in the lovely diaries and baby books people get me this little old blog is the best hope I have!
It doesn’t help that I don’t really feel as though I had a second trimester this time around. I remember my second trimester with Bailey as a pretty magical time, finally free from a lot of the anxieties that plagued the first couple of months of pregnancy and feeling physically the best I’d felt in a long time! But this time has been very different. Sure, I felt better. The constant sickness and nausea thankfully subsided at around 16 weeks and I was feeling a little more energetic and less dizzy, managing to get through 3 days a week at work without my mid afternoon nap, which would have been unthinkable at the start of the year! The rate with which these little ones – and the bump that houses them – has grown though has been startling, and by the time I was finally able to eat a full meal without gagging I was already the size I was in the final stretch with Bailey! I quickly got used to having to explain I was actually having twins and not mere weeks away from giving birth when people marveled at the size of my bump, but somehow, I never quite managed to convince my brain, and it was a very confusing time. Every time I looked down at that bulging belly I couldn’t help but reflect on my previous pregnancy and start worrying that I hadn’t yet felt much in the way of kicks and wiggles, but soon enough they came, and now I’m finding it hard to imagine a time when I don’t have little hands and feet tinkering around at my insides!
The movements have felt very different to carrying a singleton too. With Bailey, I always found it a little odd that people called the movements ‘kicks’ as I never really felt anything that could be described as that. Instead I tended to feel him rolling around in there like a big slippery fish, sometimes stretching his whole body across the length of me, causing a cute little bulge on my right hand side where his tiny foot stuck out. And he had endless rounds of hiccups, seemingly always just as I was going to bed – something he continued to do for quite a while after he’d exited the womb! But this time around, kicks seems wholly appropriate. Kicks, jabs, pokes – often with vigour and almost aggressive in nature! I I feel them not just on the outside, but deep inside too – there is nothing stranger than pressing on the very top of your abdomen and feeling it deep in your bladder! Yes, it is very apparent that those little babes are pushed for space in there, and they don’t have the wiggle room their brother did as there was no gradual build up of sensations this time, we jumped straight into alien-like scenes! Sometimes that makes life a little uncomfortable, but I can hands down say it’s still my favourite part of being pregnant and the part I’ll miss the most when we’re done. I loved filming the gentle ripples across my tummy when Bailey was still inside and watch the videos back often, but I have to say they didn’t quite prepare me for the sight of whole arms and legs moving across me like a mystical sea creature emerging from the waves!
But the biggest difference by far has been the nerves. I’ve had none of the second trimester calmness that I enjoyed with Bailey. As exciting as the prospect of twins is, it also seems to bring with it so many more things to worry about, and no matter how hard I try I can’t shake it and really settle into enjoying what is most likely my last pregnancy. When we first found out our crazy news I imagined this meant I’d get a lot of face to face time with medical professionals who would talk me through all the intricacies of having multiples, but in reality it wasn’t really until I hit 28 weeks that things started to seem a little clearer and those discussions began. So despite the extra appointments I still spent most of the middle of this pregnancy feeling like I didn’t have a clue what was going on, and full of ‘scanxiety’ that I might be about to receive horrid news any moment. Coupled with that was the fear of premature labour, which continues to follow me around like a dark cloud. At first, I just wanted to make it past 24 weeks and the magical point at which the babies become ‘viable’. Then I panicked every time we had to travel further than the next village in case my waters broke on a motorway somewhere! Next, I became obsessed with them coming too close to Bailey’s birthday, making me miss the whole thing and inadvertently traumatise him for life. Each time one of these milestones came and went I’d temporarily feel better, but the worry never really goes away, because on top of the usual concerns – the house being a mess, Bailey having big changes going on already in his life, and desperately wanting to achieve just a little bit more out of my very brief period back at work – the earlier they are born, the more likely it is we’ll have a prolonged stay in NICU, and I want that chance reduced as much as possible. I hate being in hospital with a passion, and thanks to Covid I’ve never spent more than a day or two without Bailey, so the thought of it potentially being weeks or months is torture. I don’t want to wish any of this experience away, but part of me just wants to fast forward to a time when my littles ones are safely here and we’re home all together as a family of five.
The common feature though? How much I still love being pregnant in spite of it all. Yes, despite the worry, despite the pain, despite all those nasty side effects and the exhaustion, there is something about being pregnant that just feels right to me. I love the way my body looks with a bump, and even though I find it alarming sometimes to find it doing it’s own thing beyond my control, I have a confidence when I’m expecting that I’ve not yet been able to replicate at any other time. I love the closeness it brings to my relationship with Dan, and every time he cuddles up to my belly to talk to our babies or offer them kisses it reminds me how grateful I feel to have found someone that wanted this as much as me. And I could honestly lie for hours watching and feeling them move inside me, trying to imagine what they will look like and how it will feel to hold them both. Best of all though is seeing the curiosity in Bailey as we talk to him about becoming a big brother, and the joy I feel when he talks to me about his baby brothers or sisters, shows them his cars or tries to feed them milk through my belly button is unlike anything I’ve ever known. I just can’t wait to see how he adapts to our new life and think he will be the most amazing sibling.
And we don’t have long to wait and see! I’m finding it very hard to comprehend that in mere weeks our new arrivals will be here. We have much to do still, but barring any early surprises I hope to fill you in on how the last trimester goes before they’re here! In the meantime keep your fingers crossed they stay put for a little while longer. I’ll certainly be crossing mine. And my knees!