I always wanted twins!

I am told quite often by strangers “I always wanted twins!” or something to that degree. My external reaction to this is usually a smile or nod, but inside I am always thinking “Really???”.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE being a mother to twins and I feel completely blessed to have these two beautiful girls in my life.  However, it is not an easy job being a parent to twins. While no parenting is actually easy having twins adds a whole new level of difficulty.

First of all – there is the sleep, or lack of sleep I should say. For anyone who has had a newborn at home, please reflect on that time. Now for every time you had to get up to change a diaper or make a bottle or simply rock that baby to sleep… please double it. But it doesn’t stop there, now imagine you just got that little baby to finally stop crying and set them in the crib and you start to climb into bed. When suddenly another baby wakes up crying which also causes that little angel you just set down to wake back up as well. Think about that. Over and over and over. Sounds fun, right?

I also have to mention the cost. I am not even going to touch on formula, diapers, clothes and everything else babies need, I only want to mention the cost of a multiple pregnancy. While many Americans are left with little or no health coverage the cost of giving birth to twins could put them in debt for the rest of their lives. Frequent visits to a Perinatologist, extended NICU stays, seeing specialists like a gastroenterologist, or pediatric cardiologist can add up very quickly. My pregnancy, plus our hospital stay cost over $250,000. I was talking with another mom this week whose babies’ medical bills were 1 million a piece!

And then there is another issue that has been weighing heavily on my heart recently. Pregnancy complications. I don’t think parents of healthy singleton babies realize just how lucky they are. (I have added healthy to that list as I am aware pregnancy complications are not limited to multiple births) To have a complication free pregnancy, deliver within a week or two of your due date, and to be able to leave the hospital with your baby is truly a blessing. If that has been your experience – please be thankful for it. Unfortunately, for many parents of multiples that is not a reality. Along with those two (or more!) little heartbeats also comes added risks. These include but are not limited to TTTS (twin to twin transfusion syndrome), gestational diabetes, placenta previa and placenta abruptio, pre-eclampsia, heart problems, and preterm labor. It can be easy to just read that list of complications without really understanding the lives that are affected by them. So I want to share with you some real life stories I have come across.

I’ll start with the pre-eclampsia because that is what caused our twins to be born at 7 1/2 months. We were extremely lucky that I did not develop this pregnancy induced, high blood pressure condition until I was already 31 weeks. My doctors worked with me and allowed me to carry to 34 weeks before deciding to take the babies. Here are a couple of pictures of their first days.

Alyssa

Kylie

Kylie on left, Alyssa on right

As I mentioned, I feel so lucky that I was able to carry our girls as long as I did. There is a mom of triplets who just joined our mother of multiples group who was in the hospital with severe pre-eclampsia at 25 weeks. At our meeting on monday one mom said she thought she had to deliver already, although I have not heard for sure. At 25 weeks the babies could be viable, having somewhere around a 50% survival rate. The road would be long though. Babies born that early face a long journey and many possible life long problems.

TTTS. Twin to twin transfusion syndrome affects identical twins sharing a placenta and causes disproportionate nutrition and growth between the babies. Babies can survive TTTS, although sometimes they do not. For this story I am sending you to a friend’s blog. It was their nieces affected. Please go read their story here.

I would also like to share a recent blog post from a dad whose twin boys were born at only 19 weeks. At just 10 ounces and 8 ounces their boys were born alive and actually survived for over an hour. Please read about their struggles here.

These stories are just a few of many, many more out there, and are all too common for parents of multiples. I remember as my pregnancy progressed I was always aware of what my babies’ chances of survival were at any given point. I know other twin moms felt the same. It is a difficult journey and one I am very thankful to have made it through.

Now for the next 17 years….

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Published in: on November 5, 2010 at 9:32 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. Oh my gosh, Anina. I just read this and I am in tears. There are so many more stories that could be added to this. I could add my own and I’m sure every other Mother of Multiples could too. I feel exactly the same as you do – grateful for the gift, but wish others understood what it was they were “wishing” for. And now that I’ve been lucky enough to have a healthy singleton, I can compare the experiences very well. Having a healthy singleton/uncomplicated pregnancy is a blessing to be thoroughly grateful for.


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