I found out I was pregnant a little after Christmas in January 2014, my husband Paddy and I had not planned the pregnancy, needless to say we were shocked. I did a pregnancy test after work without him in the house, I didn’t think I was going to see that little + sign, so i had a little wee on the stick, left it in the bathroom and returned to it 30mins later. When I saw the little red + I began to hyperventilate, I paced our bedroom and told myself there must be a mistake. I was doing this test for reassurance that I wasn’t pregnant, I did not expect for the test to read positive!! What were we going to do? I had not long started in a new job which I was really enjoying, Paddy and I hadn’t even been married for a full year, the night previously we had been looking at a holiday to Mexico. One baby would completely change life as we knew it.
As I calmed myself and waited for Paddy to come home, I began to think about the little life growing inside of me, I began to wonder if it would be a boy or a girl, what sort of interests would they grow to have, if they would look more like me or more like Paddy, i even wondered what they might be when they grew up… I took a deep breath and told myself to relax, I put on the kettle and had a cup of tea (then panicked about my caffeine intake over the last few weeks). Paddy returned home and I handed him the ++++ little wee stick, and said “Hey Dad!”, his face lit up and tears tripped me, everything was confirmed… This pregnancy was not a bad thing, it was a huge shock, but it was a blessing, and soon to be the making of us.
Over the next few weeks we began to come to terms with the fact that we would have a tiny little person joining us in the next eight months, I went to my GP and the pregnancy was confirmed. THIS WAS IT!! Then, when I was nine weeks pregnant I had a very heavy bleed, my heart sank and I began to think the worst. I came out of the bathroom and obviously appeared slightly ‘off’. Paddy asked what was wrong and I told him I had had a ‘little bleed… nothing to worry about… will phone GP in the morning…’, I didn’t want to scare him as much as I had scared myself. I got into work the next morning and called my GP as soon as the office had opened, my GP made an appointment for me at the early pregnancy unit after work that day for a scan to see if the bleeding meant we had lost the tiny life inside of me, needless to say I couldn’t concentrate. I was gearing myself up to hear the worst, i never told anyone (even Paddy) this, because I didn’t want to ‘panic’ Paddy, he had been so happy and excited, but I told him about the appointment, and of course he came with me. We sat for 40mins in the waiting room, it felt like forever!
We were brought in and I was asked to lie on the bed, Paddy stood by my side, we were seen by a midwife, she said she would scan me, but as it was ‘early days’ she may have to use THE WAND!! Eeeeeeek….
After some cold jelly, on my THEN flat tummy, she placed the scanner on it and BAM!! TWO LITTLE BLOBS!! I burst out laughing, I COULD SEE THEM MOVING ABOUT, the midwife smiled and I asked through my laughter “Is that what I think it is? Are there two?”, she confirmed it. I couldn’t believe it, neither could Paddy, he went very quiet and slowly sat down. I looked at him and although he looked completely shocked, I will never forget that grin.
So that was that, WE WERE HAVING TWINS!! I can still remember feeling so excited, skipping down the hospital corridor, tears and laughter tripping me, I looked completely mental to passers by. I couldn’t wait to tell our families, who we had already broke the news to about being pregnant, it was our first pregnancy and we just couldn’t help it. Our families were overjoyed, especially my mum, she had been waiting years for her first grandchild and she gets a double whammy!
One of my sisters (Carla) bought us ‘Expecting Twins?’ by Mark Kilby (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Expecting-Twins-Born-Every-Minute/dp/1849493162)
, and it was forever my pregnancy bible. As far as finding a good book to use as a reference to a twin pregnancy, I feel this one was the best.
I also picked up Gina Ford’s ‘Contented House With Twins’ book, and I read it cover to cover at least three times during my pregnancy, I had myself convinced that I was going to follow her routines, I had myself convinced that if my twins did not follow her suggested routines that there would never be ANY structure in our lives and that life would just be HELL. Personally, the best use that book will have in our house will be to steady a wobbly coffee table, or to make a fine door stop when needed… But I will post about that one day soon…
At the first scan we had been told that our twins were ‘probably’ not identical because they were in their own sacs… So we went home thinking we could have two boys, or two girls, or the best of both- a boy and a girl!! Because twin pregnancies are considered ‘higher risk’ to single pregnancies, you are placed under care of a consultant and go to see them for a scan every other week. i couldn’t tell you how many times our babies were scanned, and found it so odd when chatting to ladies with one baby at the very few times they had been scanned. It makes you feel very special, especially when medical students and trainee midwives are queued outside the door to come and have a look at your two blobs on screen because they are yet to witness such a thing.
At our first appointment with the consultant he sat down and told us that today he would scan us to see if the twins were ‘monochorionic’ (identical) or ‘fraternal’ (non identical), he used a lot of medical jargon that Paddy and I could not follow, so we kindly asked him to talk to us as though we did not have a medical degree. He took to this very well and we developed a good relationship with him and everything was clearly communicated to us from the very beginning. Although, when he scanned the twins and said “Ohhh, this isn’t what we want!” I became very panicked, I asked him AGAIN to explain… Basically, the twins were sharing a placenta, and although they were in their own sacs, they were monochorionic twins, which meant they would be identical. After he explained this, I was confused… WHO WOULDN’T WANT IDENTICAL TWINS? HOW SPECIAL!!! I think it’s important to be able to challenge your consultant/midwife, if you don’t understand what they are saying, ASK, never feel silly for asking.
We later found out at a scan that our twins were GIRLS. How very lovely… I am a little bit of a girly girl. Great! I will know what to do with girls… I HOPE!
And so it began, I was endlessly researching blogs of twin mums, I wanted to hear from the women who were doing it, I wanted to hear from them what to expect.
What I came to find was that there really weren’t many twin mum blogs, especially from twin mum’s in the motherland (no pun intended) of Northern Ireland.
Recently, I referred back to the blogs I used to religiously read and fantasise about how a life of raising twins was going to be. What hit home was that what I thought life would be with twins, and how it really is, were two completely different things. I couldn’t help but feel emotional, I wanted to send a little message to the pregnant me, I wanted to tell her about the things I learnt that worked for me (through lots of trial and error), I wanted to tell my pregnant self to NEVER put pressure on herself, and to drop all of those expectations of a perfect contented chaos-free life with two newborns. This I can not do, it is not possible, but what I can do is create a blog aimed towards expecting twin mums and twin mums, and of course, anyone else who finds life with twins interesting…
This isn’t a HOW TO type of blog, this is a WHAT WORKS FOR ME type of blog. I don’t claim to be an expert on twins, I am far from it. I just want to share, with whoever is interested, my experiences and the little things that helped make life a little easier… I am aware that this is sounding as though life with twins is filled with nothing but hard work, I do not want to focus on the negative, but what I will say is that having twins is really hard work, it is overwhelming, and to be blunt, it’s really fucking tough! Any twin mum I spoke to before having our girls never truly told me so. What I would like to tell my pregnant self is: “This will be the hardest thing you ever do, you will be challenged and pushed to your limits, you will be overwhelmed with the craziest of emotions and you will love like you have never loved before.”
Oh how I digress, as the pregnancy went on and I got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger… And after hitting the 28week mark (the first big milestone for a twin pregnancy I was told), I was continuously reminded by the consultant that “You could go any time now…”, I tried not to take that on board too much, I was pretty chilled out throughout the entire pregnancy, and I believe my husband Paddy was a contributing factor to that, any time I felt anxious he seemed to say the right thing to bring me back down to Earth, which was usually “Awk, sure it’s all grand!” or “Just remember, you can drink red by the bucket load when the girls get here!”.
I believe that being chilled out throughout the pregnancy helped us to hit the 37 week mark (to the surprise of the consultant) and be taken in for a scheduled cesarean section (Twin 1 was breech).
On Thursday 28th August 2014 at 13:13, Bonnie Dinsmore was brought into the world, followed very closely by her little sister Isla Dinsmore, who joined us at 13:14.
Life as we knew it no longer existed…..