If you have entered this wonderful last stretch (35 weeks onwards) of a twin pregnancy, then let me sincerely welcome you! I join you in saying, “Hello, ligament burning and stretching in the worst way, carpal tunnel, acid reflux, hot flashes, nausea, and continual Braxton Hicks contractions. Goodbye, lower back functionality, the ability to bend down with the fear of never being able to get back up, moving, lifting things, and pretty much a full nights sleep due to having to use the bathroom on the hour, every hour.
Let me assure you, however, that this is all okay because for twins to make it this far is awesome. They are thriving and learning the functions that will help them live outside of the womb healthy and happily. They are practicing the motions of using their lungs, and they have reached a size that if they were born, they could better understand how to nurse for the first time. And when we are in for double nursing trouble, the more knowledge before entering the realities of the outside world, the merrier! For that, bring on the extra pain and bed rest!
What we can do is figure out how to make this time a little more tolerable for you, Mom. I compiled a list of ideas to make this, yes, exciting time as comfortable as possible.
USE PILLOWS. PILLOWS, PILLOWS, PILLOWS!
It’s ironic, but the most uncomfortable position was lying down at night. It’s like once your body relaxes, it gets a tad more painful when you try to move again. So steal your hubby’s pillows, hoard every single one that you have lying around in closets and guest bedrooms. Just surround your body in a cocoon of large, fluffy pillows and fill them in every crevice of your body. Under your feet, knees, behind you back, on your sides. Rolling over and getting your legs from one side to the other is painful! You have to lift one leg with your hands and manually move it, so give yourself that extra relief with the extra height from the support of the pillow, limiting the amount you have to move them to roll them over. And you will need to roll over because the ligaments on your sides are also burning and weak. Oh, the joys.
STOCK UP ON BEDSIDE SNACKS.
Keep a bedside snack with you at all times for those nauseating, stomach rumbling, wake-up calls. It seems as though the sweet little pair wants to prep you for those early morning feedings. If the snacks are ready and available you are giving yourself one less reason to struggle up and out of bed at night.
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE.
I know, at this point water is a turn-off. But you still need it. I was always an avid water drinker. But there was something about being pregnant, pregnant with twins especially, and needing water in excess. It’s just so much. But chug it down. I substituted with flavored seltzer to help the situation. Even including certain times to devote to just slamming down a 16 oz. bottle multiple times of day will help in the long run. And there will be a run to the bathroom every five minutes.
HAVE READING MATERIAL READY FOR RESTLESS NIGHTS.
Have that reading material next to you and ready for those hourly wake-up calls. Getting up every hour means trying to fall asleep again every hour. Some attempts will be more successful than others. When enduring that sleepless night and nothing seems to be working, just grab that book on sleep training twins. Read a chapter, and by realizing you are never going to sleep again, you will happily close your eyes and drift off.
EAT SOMETHING IMMEDIATELY UPON WAKING.
I know you don’t want anything. But eat something small and help deter nausea for as long as possible.
MOVE AROUND AND GET OUTSIDE
Get fresh air when you can and take on mini-projects throughout the day. As tired as you are or as much as you may not want to move, get up and move around a bit and go outside. Take a little stroll or take on a mini project like sorting the infant clothes. This helped my aches, pains, and nausea. It doesn’t mean you have to be up and about all day. Just a little here and there. Keep the body in motion!
Have little ones around? Weather depending, set up camp outside with your kiddos. I took my two-year-old to the beach. It’s not your typical beach setup. It was simple, a chair, a magazine, refreshments, and her beach toys. It did not require lifting or walking much and she got to be out and about playing. Hopefully tiring them out. You know, for their (fingers crossed), upcoming nap.
If it’s too cold to be outside, or it’s really not a day you are motivated to exert so much energy, buy activities for indoors. Amazon can be your best friend. Markers, crayons, Play-Doh, toddler crafts, maybe even a Disney movie. Yes, I cheat. I let my two-year-old delve into her obsession with the movie Frozen and then she spends endless hours running around with a towel as a cape pretending to be Elsa and performing “Let It Go.”
GIVE IN. GIVE INTO WHAT’S GOING DOWN WITH YOUR BODY.
If you exercised daily like I used to, it’s hard to give into this. I loved my daily jogs. It was my time. Very early on in the pregnancy they did, however, turn into walks. Walks eventually turned into painful expeditions that left me up all night with major ligament and muscle soreness. It’s just not worth it. Another option would be to try alternatives such as swimming or light cycling. Something a little less impactful on your back and lower body.
LEISURELY STROLL AROUND THE MALL.
Sit down when you need to and stop when you absolutely have to. You have access to resources such as bathrooms, a drink and a pretzel if need be! I didn’t do this but I read a lot of forums and books where some women placed on bedrest have utilized a wheelchair to be up and out. I know, it doesn’t sound fun or ideal. But if you are not one to be inside all day than succumb. Why not?
EMBRACE THE WEEKLY (OR MORE) DOCTORS APPOINTMENTS AS ‘YOU TIME’ AND TIME SPENT WITH THE GROWING BABIES.
The weekly doctor appointments can be a nuisance. Especially if you have a little one in tow! But think of it as a special weekly visit to see the babies and witness their amazing development. In a way, it’s like royal treatment. Singleton pregnancies only get about two ultrasounds their entire pregnancy. Us royals can take a peek every week to check on what they are up to. It’s actually pretty amazing being able to see them together!
This is also a great time to bring your book and catch up on any reading you wanted to get done. Unless of course you have your other little one(s) with you for your visits.
CARPAL TUNNEL IS A REAL SIDE EFFECT. ADDRESS IT!
Tell your doctor about carpal tunnel if you feel it coming on in your hands. This isn’t something you ignore and deal with. There are enough ailments we have to tolerate and this isn’t one of them. Your doctor may prescribe wrist brace(s) and as ridiculous and weird as you feel in them, they help. I wore them at night and it really reduced the numbness and tingling.
I can’t, however, promise that your hubby won’t whistle the Rocky theme song every night as you lay next to him. I suggest you take your newfound identity and play the part. Punch your hubby.
ASK FOR HELP.
Or at least accept help. This one is a hard one for me and if you are pretty independant it may be hard for you too. I only accepted in the last few weeks that I couldn’t help my hubby around the house and with my toddler as much as I want to. But once I gave in, he has been more than thankful! Wow, right?
Asking for help can be really hard. But you will be very surprised by the overwhelming positive response of people happy to be able to do something for you when you need it most.
We had to go through a move at eight months pregnant. I really didn’t want to bother anyone. But it got a little overwhelming when I looked at what I wanted to accomplish versus what I actually could accomplish on my own. I reached out to two of my best girlfriends and without hesitation they were in my house, tearing boxes apart, initiating the removal of excess stuff, and putting everything away in their new places. By the time they left, the kitchen, nursery and bathroom were all done. No complaints. And offering more help if needed. Amazing, really. So ask. Even when it feels hard.
CHERISH THESE LAST FEW WEEKS.
Enjoy the babies thriving with minimal assistance right inside of you.
Embrace and spoil your family. Your spouse and or singleton.
Use this time for rest, spend time with your family, catch up on reading, maybe shop and even splurge on a manicure/ pedicure, and getting your hair done! It didn’t take too much to twist my arms on this one.
As much as you feel like you have reached the end of your road, enjoy these last few weeks of holding onto these sweet little peas safely on the inside. Before you know it, they will be on the outside wreaking havoc, and blessing your family with all the amazing things twins do. Soon enough they will be staring at you waiting for you to feed, change, play and tend to them! Those are a lot of eyes looking at you at once.
This post is part of a series of essays by the contributors to our second anthology, Multiples Illuminated: Life with Twins and Triplets, the Toddler to Twin Years. Subscribe to get new posts on your favorite reader as and when they’re published.