What Life Is Like Pregnant With Twins
A story of what to expect when you are expecting multiples
By Kim Dyer
When searching for a pediatrician, I realized how much I never considered before becoming pregnant with twins.
There were several things I looked for when searching for a pediatrician. I wanted someone with a great bedside manner who would be engaging and personable with the twins. It was also very important that the doctor’s office would be able to schedule back-to-back well child visits so I wouldn’t have to bring the girls up on separate days or separate times.
I haven’t even had the girls yet but trust me, you don’t want to be lugging both babies up to the doctor’s office at different times, especially in those first six months when you see your pediatrician so frequently!
It was important to me that my pediatrician had experience with twins, since there are certain situations and issues that can arise from having multiples. Ramon Kinloch, M.D., a pediatrician at Cook Children’s Forest Park office, met all of those qualifications for me and we are so excited to have him as the girls’ pediatrician.
“When looking for a pediatrician, I think it is extremely important that the doctor is patient. This is especially true for new parents and parents of multiples,” Dr. Kinloch said. “There may be a lot of questions or concerns that you have, and sometimes feel that they are either too silly or bothersome to ask. However, a great pediatrician is understanding and willing to listen to all of your concerns to ensure that you are comfortable taking care of your little one(s).”
I’ve had so many questions and as I draw closer to the birth of our twins, I still have so many more that will be answered over the next few days, months and years to come.
Being pregnant is such an exciting, scary, overwhelming, exhausting and beautiful journey but being pregnant with twins comes with a lot of special circumstances. I wanted to share my story of how I became pregnant, my twin pregnancy journey up until now and also some of the differences I’ve noticed between a singleton pregnancy and a multiples. Please keep in my mind that this is just my experience. Every woman and every pregnancy is so different, including twin pregnancies. I hope that by sharing my story, those of you who are pregnant with twins will feel more prepared for what’s to come. I know when I first found out I was pregnant with twins I scoured the Internet reading so many articles about what to expect and it was comforting, albeit sometimes a little terrifying.
In January of 2018, my husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for a little over eight months when I went to my doctor wanting to know our options. I didn’t want to keep trying for a year if there were issues we needed to know about that would hinder us from getting pregnant at all. After we both went through a barrage of testing, the results all came back completely normal and I was told “it’s possible you just aren’t ovulating every month.” Great! Luckily, my doctor agreed to start me on a round of Clomid, which is a medication that is used to stimulate ovulation. My doctor actually warned me before I started that I had about a 5-8 percent chance of having multiples on Clomid, but I never for a second thought it would actually happen since we were having trouble getting pregnant on our own.
After just one round of Clomid, I found out I was pregnant on March 22, 2018. I took the test at home by myself and remember just falling to the floor sobbing with complete disbelief and happiness. After seeing so many negative tests it felt surreal to see a positive one. I told my husband that night and we told our immediate family shortly after. No one was shocked since I had been very open about us trying, but they were all thrilled and excited for us.
Because I had been going to my OB so much for testing and monitoring during this process, I went in at four weeks to take a blood pregnancy test to confirm I was for sure pregnant. After that came back positive, they scheduled me to come in at the end of my seventh week to do an ultrasound.
I remember being incredibly nervous that something would go wrong and that there wouldn’t be a baby in there. Once my doctor started the ultrasound she became silent and I started panicking thinking, “She’s going to tell us that we lost the baby, there’s nothing in there.” But my mom, who was with us, immediately said, “There he is, I see him!” as she was looking at the monitor.
I was staring down my doctor, silently pushing her to make eye contact with me and tell me everything was fine. I’m sure she noticed and reassured me that everything looked OK and that she needed to check something in my file really quickly. She then turned back to the ultrasound machine, turned the monitor toward us and said, “So……I’m actually seeing two pregnancies!”
I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life. I turned to my husband and our jaws dropped to the floor simultaneously, we were in complete and utter shock. My mom immediately started crying and jumping up and down with joy, but I remember it feeling just as surreal as when I saw that positive pregnancy test. We were incredibly surprised but instantly overjoyed. We have always wanted two children close together, and you can’t get much closer than twins! It was so much fun breaking the news to our loved ones, everyone guessed that we were pregnant but NO ONE was expecting twins.
‘A Threatened Miscarriage’
The first trimester of my twin pregnancy was filled with a lot of scary and traumatizing moments. I found out fairly early on that I was RH negative (read more about that here), had a septate uterus, which upped my chances of a miscarriage and worst of all I developed a subchorionic hemorrhage.
When I was 8 weeks and 4 days, I woke up to blood gushing out me in bed. My husband had already left for the day, and I immediately jumped up and ran to the bathroom. It felt like a nightmare and I remember chanting, “No, no, no, no, please no” as I struggled to call my husband and my mom. After attempting to calm down, I called my doctor’s office and they told me to come in immediately and they would do an ultrasound to check on the babies.
Thankfully, they were fine and doing well with strong heartbeats, which was such a relief. My doctor told me bleeding in the first trimester is fairly common and I had what she referred to as a “threatened miscarriage.” She told me to go home and take it easy for the next 2-3 days and that there was really nothing I could do to either help or hurt the situation. I remember feeling numb and helpless, completely out of control within my own body. I was convinced that I had miscarried and we were going to lose our babies that we had wanted for so long.
Everything was fine for a few weeks until I woke up around 11 weeks to another bleed. Cue the panic and fear all over again, the crying phone calls to my mom and my doctor. I went in for an ultrasound and again the babies were fine. This time, my doctor told me I had what looked like a subchorionic hemorrhage in my uterus.
According to heathline.com, “Subchorionic bleeding occurs when the placenta detaches from the original site of implantation. This is called a subchorionic hemorrhage or hematoma. It affects the chorionic membranes. These lift apart and form another sac between the placenta and the uterus. The movement and resulting clots are what cause this type of bleeding.” While this sounded scary, it helped to finally have a name for what was happening to me. My doctor told me again to go home, stay off my feet and take it easy. Ultimately, if my body decided to reject the pregnancies there was little I could do about it. That was both helpful and frustrating as you can imagine.
Unfortunately only four days later I would have a bleed so bad that I ended up in the ER on Mother’s Day. It was the worst night of my entire life, sitting in a hospital bed for five hours with my family. No one could tell us anything and I was certain this time that I had lost the babies because of the massive amount of blood. By some miracle, the twins were alive and well, both with strong heartbeats. They were already little fighters and I’m still in awe of how strong they are! Thankfully, that was my last bleed and by the time I was about 17 weeks pregnant my hemorrhage had all but disappeared. During that time I researched, read articles and watched videos about subchorionic hemorrhages and how many women experienced them during their pregnancies. I am so grateful everything turned out okay in my case and that my babies are still growing inside me today.
Relatively Smooth Sailing
After that, everything was relatively smooth sailing despite the typical pregnancy symptoms. I experienced severe nausea and exhaustion from weeks 8-16, so much so that I had to be put on anti-nausea medicine just to be able to come into work. I remember coming home from the office and collapsing on the couch, unable to do anything but sleep. I survived off soup and bread; I rarely was hungry but knew I needed to eat to help my stomach. The medicine helped but also made me even more tired than I already was. My doctor told me this was normal especially with multiples as I had such a large amount of hormones in my body.
I know not everyone suffers from morning sickness and exhaustion, but I have heard from many other twin moms that they too suffered from this their first trimester. Just know for most women, it will get better! By week 14 I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and by week 16 my nausea and exhaustion had noticeably decreased. Unfortunately, as soon as I got over those symptoms my body decided to gift me with pregnancy headaches! In some ways this was worse than the nausea because I really couldn’t take anything but Tylenol, which rarely helped. I was back to coming home from work and falling asleep, this time to escape the constant pounding in my head. After about four weeks of this, I finally linked it to my blood sugar being low, and became vigilant about eating every couple of hours and making sure I was getting enough food in my stomach at meal times.
Now that I’m 26 weeks pregnant, most of my symptoms have turned to just aches and pains as my body grows to accommodate two babies! For most women pregnant with one baby, this is referred to as the “honeymoon trimester.” Your first trimester nausea is over, but you aren’t physically uncomfortable yet; many women with singleton pregnancies say they feel the most like themselves during the second trimester. For me, by about 22 weeks I started to experience round ligament pain in my legs and hips and noticed that my sleep was getting worse. I started having to get up in the night to go to the bathroom, and rolling over in bed became a process. Moving from a seated or reclined position started to require effort and by the end of each day I was feeling sore and achy. To help with this, I try to take a warm bath with Epsom salts and have generally taken it easy my entire pregnancy. I don’t work out and since I have a desk job I don’t have to do too much walking around. I notice when I do, my body will let me know I overdid it the next day, big time. With a multiples pregnancy it is so important not to push yourself or overdo it. Of course, you know your body and its limits better than anyone but do not feel bad about taking it easy- this is such a short phase in your life and the most important thing is making sure the babies are healthy and growing!
Here have been the biggest differences I’ve noticed in my twin pregnancy compared to a singleton pregnancy:
- More appointments: even if you don’t face any of the issues I did during my first trimester, you will be going to the doctor a lot more than your friends with one baby did. It is very common for your regular OB to have you also see a high risk OB, also called a MFM or maternal-fetal medicine specialist. I see both my regular OB and my high risk OB once a month right now, and I will start seeing them even more frequently once I move into my third trimester. Twin pregnancies are considered high risk and therefore need to be monitored more closely than a singleton pregnancy. I actually find this quite comforting, although spending so much time in a doctor’s office waiting room can get old fast.
- More ultrasounds: this is one definite positive of a multiples pregnancy- you get to see your babies so much more! I think by the end of my first trimester I had already had between 6-7 ultrasounds. We definitely are spoiled seeing the babies so often. Every doctor’s office is different so it all depends on how your doctor operates, but up until the end of my second trimester I would say we’ve had an ultrasound every 2-3 weeks. It’s been really great to have my husband and even my parents get to see the babies and we get lots of cute pictures of them to share with our loved ones.
- More symptoms: When they say twins are double everything, they mean it. And this isn’t when they’re born, this starts at the beginning of pregnancy! I had such extreme nausea and exhaustion up until about week 16 of my pregnancy, I could barely function. My doctor explained that many twin moms experience heightened pregnancy symptoms due to the large amount of hormones in their body. Nausea, exhaustion, headaches, aches and pains are all common pregnancy symptoms but twin moms can sometimes experience them on a whole new level.
- More questions: anyone who has ever been pregnant will tell you that you get tons of questions and advice thrown your way during your pregnancy. With multiples, the questions can sometimes be quite personal. I have had many people ask me if twins run in our family, did we get pregnant with twins naturally, etc. At first it really threw me off but now I just smile and either respond with, “no, they don’t!” or if I feel comfortable I’ll share that we were on Clomid. Your situation and comfort level will dictate your answers, but I try not to let people’s questions bother me. Most are genuinely interested and curious because twins are still fairly rare. I know if I met a woman who was pregnant with twins I would probably be asking her the same questions!
- More growth: going back to my “twins are double everything” comment above, your belly will grow bigger much faster with twins! Again, this doesn’t hold true for every twin mom but I’ve heard that a woman pregnant with multiples can measure anywhere from 4-8 weeks ahead of where she would be with a singleton pregnancy. This means at 26 weeks I could be measuring anywhere from 30-34 weeks. Regardless of measurements, most twin moms that I’ve talked to have said they started to get physically uncomfortable well before their friends with just one baby did. The aches and soreness start earlier, the belly is bigger (you are growing two in there after all!) and overall you just start to feel more pregnant more quickly. My advice would be to take it easy, rest as much as you can, take warm baths and overall just focus on the two beautiful babies you are growing inside you!
I know that being pregnant with twins, especially at the beginning, can seem daunting and overwhelming. It doesn’t help that even family and friends will tell you, “I just couldn’t imagine having twins I don’t know how you’re going to do it!” Don’t let anyone stress you out! I truly believe we are given twins for a reason. You will make it work and survive because that is the only option. While a twin pregnancy can be more complicated and intense than a singleton, focus on the fact that at the end of it you get to bring home two babies to love and care for and that no matter how scared you are, you will make it through! I hope my story helped some of you, whether you are trying to get pregnant, are pregnant with twins or are just curious about what a twin pregnancy is like. I would love to hear from you if you are a twin mom what your pregnancy was like and what your experience has been as a twin mom!
Expecting twins, triplets, or more?
Whether you just found out you're expecting twins, triplets, or more, or you're still recovering from the news that your pregnancy also means a bigger family — all at once, you probably have lots of questions about having a multiple pregnancy. Here's where you can find more information from the experts at Cook Children's:
- Want more information on multiple birth pregnancies? You’ll find it here.
- Are you expecting twins, triplets or more? Let us help you get prepared.
- Breastfeeding multiples can be a challenge. Our virtual lactation specialist can help.
- Preparing for premature births? Our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit delivers the highest level of care.