The More the Merrier is this week’s Birth Post series devoted to mums of twins or multiples. Three mothers tell us how their life changed with receiving the news of expecting not of just one but more babies.
Caitlin, 36 weeks pregnant at the time when we talk, still doesn’t know if the saying the more the merrier is acurate — so far, she definitely feels that the more the heavier! While expecting her twins to arrive, despite her husband’s incredible support, she fears that having three babies (she has a little daughter too) will leave her no space for just being herself.
Hello Caitlin, how are you feeling today?
Hi! I’m feeling as well as could be expected at 36 weeks pregnant with twins! I will admit, today is one of the tougher days of twin pregnancy. I always say it comes in waves – some days I feel amazing, full of energy and relatively pain-free. And then other days, like today, I’m just lethargic and sore. It’s been so important in this third trimester to just take it one day at a time, and roll with whatever symptoms my body has to endure that day.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Coffee and 24-grain toast with my homemade blackberry merlot jelly on it. 🙂 (Don’t worry, all of the booze is cooked out during the jelly-making process. LOL)
When are you expecting your twins to arrive?
As someone who is a planner and a bit of a control freak, I wish I could say that I knew. But these boys still seem to be pretty cozy right where they’re at! They’ve passed all of their growth scans with flying colors and the doctor wants them to stay right where they are to avoid any NICU time. I know a lot of twin mamas are not this lucky and I can only imagine how difficult it must be to deliver early and unexpectedly, along with watching your babies in the NICU for long periods of time. I am truly grateful that we have made it this far. I am 60% effaced and 1.5 cm dilated, so I know my body is slowly preparing itself. However, if they have not made their arrival in the next week, I will be trying some natural labor induction techniques to give them a gentle nudge. These babies are gettin’ heavy!
What was your first reaction when you found out you were expecting not one but two children?
To be honest, when we found out we were having twins back in July, it had only been five months since we had experienced a miscarriage at 12 weeks pregnant. So my first reaction during the ultrasound was just, “But they look good? They both have heartbeats?” That was honestly my biggest concern. Then obviously, once the news really sunk in, my husband and I just kept laughing and shaking our heads in total shock. Twins don’t run on either side of our families, so the chance of having twins never even crossed our minds.
Do you have a delivery plan?
Yes, we do! When I started to research birth plans for twins, I had no idea how complex the information was and how many decisions I would need to make. It felt like I was preparing for my first childbirth all over again. However, after joining a local Facebook group for mothers of multiples, I was able to gather SO much helpful information from other twin moms.
We also have hired an amazing doula from Portland Doula Love who has helped us with the preparation process. I want as close to a natural, unmedicated birth as I can get, and I feel confident that my educated birth plan and team are going to help me achieve that. Regardless, what’s important is that these babies and I remain healthy through our labor and delivery experience, and if that means some of my plan ends up going out the window, then we are comfortable with that too. It’s all about trusting your body and trusting your instincts.
Do you know the twins gender?
Yes, we are having two boys! My doctor is 80% sure they are fraternal, as the 8-week ultrasound revealed two sacs and two placentas, with a thick membrane in-between, meaning they likely started out as two eggs. However, there is still a chance they could be identical because they are the same gender. We can opt to have them tested after they are born, but it is not particularly important to us.
Have you picked out any names yet?
Yes, we have! Baby A is Fisher Grey. Fisher is the maiden name of my husband’s grandmother, who just recently passed away and who has been one of the most supportive, loving members of our extended family. Grey is the maiden name of my grandmother, who I miss dearly and wanted to continue on her family name. Baby B is Gunnar Allen. Gunnar is a name we fell in love with from the television show, Nashville. And Allen is my husband’s middle name we wanted to carry on.
What is your biggest fear in becoming a mother of three?
This is a tough question for me. I think my fears change daily. If I’m being completely honest, I think my biggest fear is that I will completely lose myself and my identity to motherhood. I feel like I finally started to figure out a good healthy me + motherhood balance with having one child and was prepared to handle the challenge of adding a second. When I found out I would be a mother to three instead, I was terrified I would never work again, or have any freedom, or be able to do anything outside of being a mom.
However, I am truly truly blessed with a husband who is incredibly supportive of me, my ambitions and my mental health. He and I are both committed to making sure those fears don’t come true. It’s going to be challenging, and it’s going to take us awhile to figure out how to navigate that. But I think the important part is that we’ve addressed it ahead of time.
What are you most looking forward to after their arrival?
I’m looking forward to those baby snuggles! With my first, I don’t think I actually realized how fleeting those moments are. Those moments where they are perfectly content with laying on your chest, or sleeping in your arms. The toddler years are fun in their own way but they also never stop moving. LOL. I’m also really looking forward to seeing my daughter with her brothers. She’s so fascinated with babies and I think she’s really going to love having siblings.
How did your older child react to the news of becoming a big sister?
She was only 18 months or so when we found out I was pregnant it wasn’t really something she was able to grasp yet. We would tell her there were babies in my belly. And as my tummy started to grow (very quickly) she started giving them hugs and kisses and sharing her stuffed animals with them. We also have used the app called Flo which shows a graphic of what the twins look like in the belly each week as they grow. I think that has helped. She loves to look at “their picture” on my phone. Now she asks to see my big belly every day, points to them when I ask where Fisher and Gunnar or her brothers are. I’ve tried in little ways to explain they are going to come out of mommy’s tummy very soon, but honestly I don’t think she’s really going to understand until they are here in our home. And that’s ok. I don’t want to force anything on her. I want her to show her patience and let her come around to this big change on her own. That’s something that is really important to me.
Do you have any tips for women who out find out they’re going to have twins?
I think the most important advice I can give is, make friends with other twin moms as soon as possible. Find a support group on Facebook, reach out to twin moms on Instagram, find a local support group through your hospital (your doctor may know of some). They truly understand what you are going through and they are going to be able to offer you a ton of advice that you won’t be able to find through a simple Google search. Tips on twin pregnancy, your birth plan, what to expect in the delivery room, breastfeeding twins, handling sleep, etc. Any time I start to get worried or panic about a new pregnancy symptom or how to handle day to day life with two infants, I always reach out to a twin mom. They get it, and they can offer some advice that might ease some of your concerns.