With the success rate of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) pregnancies jumping forward in leaps and bounds over the last few years, surrogate twin pregnancies have become a commonplace occurrence. It used to be that at least two embryos were always transferred during each pregnancy attempt to increase the success rate that just one of them would get cozy and stick around. It’s crazy to think that IVF has advanced so quickly and come so far that today if you transfer two good embryos into a healthy uterus, there is a very good chance that both of them will decide to stick around. Seems like one out of two woman with whom I spoke, have used IVF within the past year to become pregnant and are expecting or have delivered twins recently. I believe that a lot of OBGYNs are still finding their feet when it comes to treating so many multiple pregnancies on a regular basis. Every single doctor I spoke with throughout the course of my own twin journey last year, had a totally different plan for delivery, and widely differing views on what should and shouldn’t be done. Also, every single one of them had delivered multiple sets of twins within the last few years, something that used to be completely out of the ordinary for regular OBGYNs to encounter. Not to mention, every woman’s body reacts to a multiple pregnancy in it’s own way making carrying twins a very individualized situation indeed.
Here are just a few examples of things women have said were more predominate issues in their twin pregnancies than with their singletons:
Their teeth became weak or broke due to the calcium the babies were taking from them. Their vision changed dramatically. They had to pee constantly (think of all that additional weight on your bladder!), sleep evaded them because finding a comfortable position during your last trimester isn’t even an option anymore, and forget about owning their own emotions or being able to be logical at all. Those little ones played with their minds too. “Pregnancy brain” doubled as much as their tummies did. You have to remember that they had two children feeding and growing off of just one body. It’s not the babies’ fault; they are just utilizing what they can to grow healthy. You certainly want to do everything you possibly can for both those little lives but honestly; it’s scary, and it’s literally physically and emotionally draining as well.
There are so many more factors to consider carrying two babies inside one uterus. For some lucky women, it’s not much different then carrying a single child. You get a little bigger, there is a lot more movement in there, but that’s about it. For the majority, however, those little ones feel like they are sucking the life out of you. Especially in the cases where the woman is over 35 years old, which with IVF is very common, putting her on the “high risk” mark right from the get go. In a multiple pregnancy, it’s far more common to bleed or experience early contractions and premature labor. Many complications occur with the placenta(s). Many women find themselves in the hospital before it’s time, or getting to know the ER staff pretty well. Also, most woman end up on bed rest or limited mobility at some point feeling trapped or as if their body isn’t even theirs anymore, especially near the end. I know all this twin pregnancy information isn’t comforting, but in this case, knowledge is power. The more you know and are prepared for, the less stressed (hopefully) you will be.
Because of this rise in twin births, doctors are getting a lot more “hands on” experience with the many different situations that can occur. The best thing to do is ask them about it. You’ll find out all you need to know. Even if you don’t like what you hear, getting your doctor talking always helps. Full answers can always help solve some anxieties.
When and how you deliver is probably the biggest and scariest concern of all to a woman caring twins. You’ll find a range of doctor types regarding multi birth ideas. A few of them have the “wait and see” view. Doctors that say “If the stars align correctly and both those little bundles stay put and decide to go head down when the time comes we’ll have you push them out.” Some that will even try to flip a breached second baby around if the first one is head down. Most doctors, however, stay firm on the C-section only belief though. If you’re having twins they won’t risk delivery any other way. I am in no way qualified to even have a clue at what’s best, I just know from speaking to 6 individual doctors all working in the same hospital, that twins really are on a case by case basis. There is absolutely no way to predict how each journey will end. You just need to make sure you are with the right kind of doctor for you. That makes a world of difference when the big day comes.
Even though I, personally, was put on bed rest at 31 weeks (I was getting a lot of Braxton Hicks contractions) I was lucky and was able to deliver naturally at 37 weeks! And you know what? It was actually an easier birth then my previous singleton! That’s just the way the dice rolled for me. I had a few special ultrasounds, felt tired all the time, and got a ton more stretch marks this time around, but that was about it. A couple of my friends who were also carrying twins and due around the same time as I was; were not as fortunate. One – through no fault of her own- ended up delivering super early and the babies were in the NICU for quite a while. I’m pleased to report they are both fine now and happily home with their super loving and grateful parents. Another was stuck in the hospital for weeks at a time and had to miss out on a few holidays and landmarks with the rest of her family because she needed to be monitored closely. Again, luckily everything ended well for those little ones too. These ladies were around my age (late 20’s early 30’s), all in good health and each with a totally different experience.
You do have to take a step back and think about the coolest part to all this: The fact that in today’s world a person who couldn’t conceive at all, may now be able to have not just one blessing… but two at the same time, a double miracle! In my opinion, it’s way more special than a double rainbow any day, and even though it may be a bit more wear and tear to get there, it’s well worth the effort for a whole extra life 🙂
It’s funny, and it just goes to show you that even if they happen to be identical, each set of twins are truly unique.