Moms share their real life stories about being pregnant with twins.
Twin births have increased 70 percent in the past three decades. Here, three moms of multiples share their pregnancy and birth experiences.
"I was excited, but I knew that increased risk came with carrying more than one baby." Jennifer Busk, Chicago
I found out I was having twins when I was eight weeks pregnant. I was excited, but also scared because there are always risks with multiple births. At 14 weeks, an ultrasound revealed that the babies could be identical twins, which can sometimes carry an additional risk, so I was referred to a high-risk maternal fetal practice. (The babies shared a placenta, but are fraternal.) Plus, throughout the entire pregnancy I knew that bed rest could come at any time. My husband, James, and I operated on an accelerated timeline to prepare for the arrival of the babies because I wasn't certain I would be able to go to term with twins.
Overall, I had an almost flawless pregnancy. My nausea subsided at 12 weeks and I worked until 10 days before I delivered. But, at 35 weeks an ultrasound showed that one of the babies wasn't growing very much. The doctor was concerned that it could be a sign that my placenta was getting old. I wasn't dilated at all, but he suggested that I be induced at 37 weeks. When they induced me, I was planning to have a vaginal delivery, but after laboring for over 24 hours with little progress, I opted for a Cesarean section. I had two goals when I found out I was having twins: I wanted to make it to 37 weeks and I wanted my girls to be over five pounds each. Even though I ended up having a C-section, because I realized my goals, I considered my pregnancy a success.
"I didn't know what to expect with one baby. So the fact that I was going to be having two really threw me for a loop." Janella Gaylord, Cobleskill, N.Y.
I discovered I was having twins at 12 weeks. My husband, Mark, and I were completely shocked. I decided to switch to an OB-GYN who specialized in twin pregnancies because I was older (I gave birth at age 37) and I thought I would be better taken care of at a practice that catered to mothers expecting multiples. I was nauseous until 14 weeks, but found that keeping food in my stomach helped. In my second trimester, I felt really good, but I got big really fast. (I stopped looking at the scale after I gained 30 pounds.) Toward the end of my second trimester, I started feeling very uncomfortable. Because of the size of my belly, it was hard to sleep. In my third trimester, it was summertime and I had a lot of swelling.
I wasn't anticipating going to full term because I was told that it was unlikely with twins, but my weekly ultrasounds showed that my cervix was not dilating. I wasn't put on bed rest, but by 35 weeks I was lying down much of the time. I decided to have a scheduled Cesarean section at 38 weeks. I was in recovery for four days and ended up back in the hospital a week later because I was still bleeding. It turns out that part of the placenta was still attached and had to be removed. My advice for moms-to-be of multiples: Don't feel guilty about taking a nap or time for yourself. Being pregnant with twins is hard work.
"My sons, Max and Luca, were so small when they were born at 31 weeks, I was scared to pick them up." Desiree Mannino, Union City,N.J.
My husband, Anthony, and I tried for two years to get pregnant. I underwent one round of Clomid, three rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and three rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF) before a fourth try finally worked. I was five weeks along when I discovered I was having twins.
I had a rough pregnancy. I started spotting at six weeks and that lasted until 12 weeks. At 20 weeks, my hands and feet started to itch and I was diagnosed with cholestasis of pregnancy, a liver condition that can increase the risk for preterm birth and stillbirth. I was immediately put on medication and, in the weeks following, the babies had their heart rates monitored twice a week. At 24 weeks, I was one centimeter dilated and my doctor recommended that I modify my work schedule so I could stay off my feet, which I did. But, at 28 weeks, I was diagnosed with preeclampsia. I was admitted to the hospital and put on bed rest.
In the hospital, I wasn't sleeping. I was overwhelmed because I was having twins and didn't feel mentally prepared to become a mother. And, I was worried about the babies. At 31 weeks, my water broke, and I had a Cesarean section. My sons, Max and Luca, were 3 pounds 2 ounces and 3 pounds, respectively. The amazing thing was that as soon as I gave birth, my blood pressure went back to normal and the itchiness subsided. I felt like myself, except for the pain of the C-section. It was hard to see my babies with all those tubes in the neonatal intensive care unit, but as the tubes were removed, I started to feel more confident as a mom. Max and Luca came home after five weeks in the hospital, and now they are as healthy as can be.