I’m a little late posting this latest update on my pregnancy! For those who don’t follow me on Instagram, we welcomed two beautiful baby boys – Taylor & Jesse – via planned c-section at 9.03am on Friday 15th October and both babes are doing fantastically. I’d originally planned to schedule this for the weeks in which I knew I’d be recovering, but in what became quite typical for those last couple of weeks before the birth, my brain was a complete fog and I just couldn’t find the motivation nor the time. So now here I am, my newborn sons sleeping soundly next to me, trying to find the words to sum up that last trimester, and honestly, it’s stirred up some emotions I wasn’t quite prepared for!
Reaching 28 weeks was a real milestone for me. As I’ve mentioned a few times, one of my biggest anxieties throughout this pregnancy has been going into early labour, so hitting the third trimester felt like a bit of an achievement! But we didn’t have long to relax as our 28 week scan brought with it a little drama. Almost every scan I’ve ever had starts with me in a state of mild panic, fully expecting something horrible to happen as soon as that cold jelly goes onto my belly. But this scan, much like the others before it, seemed uneventful. The babies looked good. Twin 2 was being shy as usual, but they were moving nicely and appearing as expected. We even got to hear their heartbeats for the first time! So it completely took me by surprise when the Sonographer came out to the waiting room with their measurements to tell me we needed to go over to the Antenatal Care Unit due to twin 2’s measurements suddenly jumping off the charts! Cue a very anxious 40 minute wait to see a consultant while I dreamed up a multitude of horrific outcomes. Thankfully it transpired it wasn’t a cause for concern, as while the change in measurements looked dramatic on their own, when comparing the two babies there wasn’t much in it, so we were ushered on our way and told not to worry. But of course I did worry, because worrying is what I do best, and I became thankful for the now 4 weekly scans we were going to have. It finally felt as though we had some sort of a clue what was going on, and that was very welcome after all the uncertainty of the last few months.
It was around this time a much bigger anxiety took over. Pretty much since the day we discovered we’d be having twins I’d been thinking about the birth. To be honest, even before we found out I was pregnant I was thinking about the birth, because despite Bailey’s birth being complication free it wasn’t something I looked forward to doing again! But twins threw a whole new spin on things! With Bailey I was able to find a very zen place where I was completely accepting that I couldn’t control how he would be born and what would be would be. With a lot of my options taken away this time I just couldn’t find that place again. I had found giving birth quite a traumatic experience – in particular the feeling that I wasn’t in control of my body or mind – so it was very worrying to me that all the things that has given me a small amount of comfort the first time were off the table. Firstly I had to come to terms with the fact I wouldn’t be having the home birth I’d planned for my second. Then the fact I couldn’t give birth in the water, which really helped to calm me down. It was likely I’d be encouraged to consider pain management drugs – something I was keen to avoid during my first birth due to my fear of not being compos mentis. And I also found out I wouldn’t get the immediate skin on skin I’d had with Bailey due to the fact they would have to clamp my stomach after delivering the first twin to avoid the second twin moving too much! Quite early on I leaned towards the idea of a c-section, but as the weeks passed and twin 2 continued to present in a breech position I became more and more attached to the idea. It was bad enough having to consider the fact that the twins might arrive too early and spend a large amount of time in NICU, also meaning prolonged time away from Bailey, without also having to think about all of the awful things that could go wrong for me during the process of having them. I also had to accept that I would not be carrying these babies to full term either way, so even if they behaved and stayed put, a vaginal birth most likely meant being induced and that thought frankly petrified me. I’d not heard many positive induction stories, and knowing it could take a few days to even get going really rattled me given that my main goal in any circumstances is to spend as little time in hospital as possible! I also had a niggling fear in the back of my mind that Covid had not by any means gone away, and that a Winter surge in cases could mean tightened restrictions and I just couldn’t bear the thought of labouring on my own without Dan there to hold my hand. So despite the fact I knew it was major surgery, and I found the thought of being heavily anaesthetised terrifying, I quite quickly decided a c-section was the only real option for me.
It wasn’t just myself I had to convince though. I knew from friends’ experiences there was a good chance the consultant may try to encourage me to have a ‘natural’ delivery (and I use that term loosely because I don’t think there is much you can call natural about a birth that involves lots of drugs, monitors and about 10 people in the room ready to intervene!) if they thought it was possible, and here came the bit I feared the most – having to advocate for myself! I’ve never been good at this. I knew that if medical professionals decided they didn’t want me to have a section I would find it very difficult to discuss as I’d start doubting myself as soon as they started giving me the spiel, especially as at the time we weren’t sure whether or not Dan was going to be allowed to be present for those appointments. Thankfully though I needn’t have worried as my consultant appeared to understand that the uncertainty was causing me a lot of anxiety and was supportive of my wishes. Still though, despite positive conversations, due to the changes in measurements and them wanting to closely monitor their growth before committing to anything, it was still quite some time before we finally got given a date – just two weeks before the big day itself.
I had thought that getting my date confirmed would ease my fears, and it did to a certain extent – it was certainly one less thing to dwell on. But having a confirmed due date really put a different spin on things. Bailey’s arrival really took me by surprise and triggered all sorts of emotions I wasn’t expecting, largely around not being pregnant anymore and not having the opportunity to say goodbye to that chapter of my life. It hit me hard in the weeks following his birth and given that this was likely to be my last pregnancy I was very concerned I’d suffer these feelings of sadness again, which I did, but much earlier than I expected. Essentially it forced me to really start grieving my pregnancy before it was even over and meant the last few weeks were very emotional and full of tears. I was exhausted by this stage – I hadn’t slept properly in months, was struggling to walk much further than the top of the road and was in pain a lot of the time. But I still didn’t feel ready to wish away the last part. Just looking down at my swelling belly made my eyes well up and towards the end I found it difficult to talk about their impending arrival without getting a lump in my throat. And it wasn’t just the thought of not being pregnant again. It was the knowledge of what was to come. The birth of your first child is an innocent time with no real knowledge of just how hard it can be, but this time I was in the know and was struggling to imagine how I’d cope with two newborns, especially with a toddler in tow. And I couldn’t stop worrying about how Bailey would cope with the upheaval. This time there was a definite sense that life was about to change dramatically for good, and while it was exciting, it was sad too. Bailey was at such a cute stage and I was really enjoying the time we spent together. I was also really enjoying being back at work and didn’t feel quite ready to stop again. Most of all, I felt I’d really found my stride again. It had taken a while, but I felt as though I’d really settled into my new identity as a working mum and was living life with a new confidence I hadn’t felt in a really long time. I had become so accustomed to our life as a threesome, the predictability of our routines and the ease with which it came to me that the thought of all that changing made me feel incredibly vulnerable. When I look back now, as hard as it was at the time, having Bailey really didn’t impact our lives in the way I thought it would. Of course things changed, but we were blessed with an easy child and still managed to maintain a lot of our freedoms and way of life. I could feel distinctly that we wouldn’t have that same luck this time – parenting three children was never going to be easy – and the prospect of losing so much control over our lives was more than a little daunting.
The biggest difference though this time was how organised we were! I can’t take all the credit – obviously having to accomodate a toddler into our plans meant we couldn’t afford to take the blasé ‘let’s just see what happens’ approach we did when Bailey was due – but this time the nesting instinct was hyper strong and rather than spending the last few weeks resting as I imagined I would, it was a frenzy of last minute shopping, washing and tidying in preparation for our little bundles coming home. It felt very strange organising a new nursery that would house someone other than Bailey, but there was something very cathartic about folding and putting away all of his little clothes ready for his new brothers or sisters to wear. I felt really happy and at home in their room, sometimes just sitting on the floor and taking it in, imagining what it would be like when two new little people lived there – something I never had chance to do with Bailey thanks to the renovations we were doing at the time. Having Bailey so suddenly and without being in any way prepared taught us that you don’t actually need a lot to get by in those first few weeks, but I still relished the chance to daydream about what our new life would look like as I put away their little trinkets and toys. It helped bring a calmness that was much needed and reminded me that for all my worries there was ultimately something magical and wonderful afoot. Most of all though it brought back beautiful memories of our early days with Bailey and really helped me feel connected to my gorgeous firstborn son, and remember that even though life was going to change, nothing could take away how special he was to us.
And that pretty much brings us up to today, 4 weeks in with our new baby boys! The last few weeks have been a complete whirlwind and I hope to fill you all in soon with the ups and downs we’ve been through, if these little darlings of mine will allow (I’ve been writing this post for two weeks now, so we’ll see…..!) In the meantime, thank you to those of you who have read along with our journey and offered your words of wisdom and encouragement along the way. You’ve been an incredible source of comfort to me in the times when I didn’t have a clue what was happening! It really has been the most amazing experience, in both good ways and bad, and I can hardly believe the first chapter is already over! Thus begins a whole new path for our family though and I can’t wait to share it with you all!