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Catching up- the first 13 weeks

April 15, 2010

After having miscarried last year in the first tri-mester. We kept the news to ourselves for quite a while, and to catch our loved ones up on this already emotional ride, as well as to relay some things from the first tri-mester to those who are interested in cyberspace, I am doing a long post to summarize and highlight some things from those first 13 weeks.

Since trying to conceive again, I’ve had a few times where I thought I was pregnant and it turned out I wasn’t. Partly because some of my PMS symptoms are the same as symptoms I had in my first pregnancy. But January was different, I absolutely, positively KNEW. I had the teensiest bit of implantation bleeding, at least that’s what I think it was, so I could literally guess when within 2 days, which is more than my 7 week ultrasound can say. Anyway, I was concerned about my zinc levels as I was vegetarian for 8.5 yrs and had a zinc deficiency in the past including during the last pregnancy. In mid January I e-mailed my doctor at just 3 weeks and told her that I really think I’m pregnant but its too early to test and told her my concerns about the zinc. She had me come in for a pregnancy blood test and sho ‘nough my hormone levels indicated extremely early pregnancy, but actually were more than enough to register a positive on a home pregnancy test. (In retrospect, I wonder if the fact that this was possible nearly a week before my expected period should have maybe made me wonder if I might be carrying 2!?)

We were excited but guarded, as we’ve been here before & it ended all too soon.

I talked about my symptoms a bit in my first post. Episodes of extreme fatigue, moodiness, breast tenderness and swelling, abdominal bloating, and  other fun stuff I won’t gross you out with- all of these the same as the 1st pregnancy. But some new ones, cracks on my heels and getting easily winded walking or going upstairs. Also some absent ones, such as no bulging ankle veins. The combination of similarities and differences was comforting. I wanted to be able to recognize familiar pregnancy symptoms but at the same time to feel that this time it’s different, i.e., to have hope that this one will make it! (Granted, the progesterone I asked my doctor to put me on may also be responsible for some of these differences.)

My doctor didn’t want to see me until I had a 7 week ultrasound to determine some viability factors. John went with me, we were both excited and anxious. The tech, who had an accent, and had just caught me off-guard with something else. Said ” you have 2 babies.” To which both John and I replied with, ” Huh, what?” As she repeated, the image on the screen registered in my foggy brain. 2 placentas! I was in an utter state of shock, there are no twins in my family, and I hadn’t yet read that us older moms have an increased incidence of twins. (I am convinced though that this happened because my ovulation had not yet leveled out after the miscarriage, and that I must have released 2 eggs.  In any case, it is very  likely that they are fraternal twins, though we don’t know this for sure. ) John and I were positively giddy as we left the center!

I began obsessively reading on-line, pregnancy books, etc. And meanwhile my belly started protruding and I had to wear my baggiest clothes. (Thank you 1980’s!) As time wore on we started letting ourselves get incrementally more excited, yet still afraid, as we still are & likely will be until the little ones are born!  It became clear to me as I began to need to eat more often, every 2 hrs is what they say, and get wiped out by mid-late afternoon that my unemployment was a blessing in disguise as it would be difficult to hold down a job like this. (Also, not having the stress of a job may have helped me to get pregnant again, that and the baby aspirin!!) It’s a tough thing. We don’t want to jump the gun and start buying stuff and redoing what will be the babyroom in the first tri-mester. But with twins they say to reduce activity at 21 weeks and that will be less than 2 mos. into the second trimester. With my decreased energy level, big projects (home and volunteerwork) to finish,  that doesn’t seem like a lot of time. Also with twins and my age it is quite likely I will be put on bedrest at some point. So we might have a small window of time to do everything. Since I’m hesitant to do too much too soon in the way of preparations, I’m trying to tie up other loose ends. I do a lot of volunteerwork and a little consulting work. I’m trying to tend to that as I plan to resign from my volunteer posts & will need a period of time off from the PT consulting, probably starting in mid August ( my due date is 10/5 but twins tend to come early, I could realistically go into labor at the end of August but hopefully they’ll hang in there  into September. BTW my  official due date is significant  because that was the birthday of my 97 yr old grandma who died last fall.  I am convinced at least one of these babies is a girl and my Grandma is rooting them on.) Also, we have several home remodeling projects to do ,  need to buy a new vehicle desperately, and of course have financial, legal, and medical things to tend to before the babies arrive.Since my husband works, I am tasked with the research and arrangements for these things. I do as much as I can each day. I try not to push myself too much though, though I had a couple of overscheduled days in a row week 11 which wore me out completely. I needed more than half a day to lie around to recharge. Between the frequent meals and various stuff I’m doing I’m actually quite busy!

At nine weeks we told my parents, that I was pregnant but not about the twins. (we decided we weren’t sharing that news until after the next ultrasound. (The internet scared me a bit with the frequency of vanishing twin syndrome.) Also, I didn’t think they’d be able to contain themselves and honor our wish to keep this quiet for a bit longer.) After the 11 week ultrasound,  I told one  close friend and at about 12 weeks we told  John’s parents and sisters.  We will start telling the rest of our close friends and family at 14 wks.

Waiting until 11 weeks was significant because I had an ultrasound where they were going to look for markers of genetic problems. The doctor was great. He was so nice and seemed to be having a ball, I presume due to the novelty of twins. We loved watching them move around. They looked more human than I expected at 11 weeks. We could see the heads of course, and their nasal bones ( good sign) and their spines and hands and feet (one of them seems to have John’s feet!) and knees. It was amazing! One really did resemble a cross between the monsters in Where the Wild Things Are and Jack, the skeleton character in Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas. John giggled he was so happy. We were both relieved. I was bracing myself in the event of a vanishing twin, and was relieved that they both seem to be doing ok, and the markers he told us about seemed to indicate healthy babies.  Thing I obsessed on most was that their heartbeats kept beating.

Telling John’s mother, step-father, sister and brother-in-law was the most memorable and fun. I had made a game based on Family Feud. I made a poster with the survey question at the top (I’ll add a picture) “Kim and John’s News” there were 4 answers covered up with strips of posterboard. We did sound effects for the buzzing and dinging. They of course guessed right away that I was pregnant and congratulatory hugs were given. They got the next answer right, too (twins!) but were floored. I swear I think my sister-in -law who has a beautiful perpetually tan complexion (pale me is envious) went plaster-white for a second. My mother-in-law squeeled gleefully, ” Is this for real?” It was fun, but emotional, I got a little choked up at that point. (the other answers were that we are buying a mini-van and that I started eating meat again- for more on that, see my 1st post.)

We played the game again with John’s Dad, step-mother, and step-sister but it wasn’t as much of a hit.  I rushed it, as they were preparing to go out for the evening, and also the parents were probably exhausted from traveling.

I ended up telling my parents the twins part over the phone as we had trouble catching up with them.

At 13 weeks if I wear anything that clings to the middle, you can already tell. In fact my neighbors noticed. Even the sweats I was living in were getting tight. I found an area twins support group, and joined just in time for their consignment sale and got more books and some clothes. Then,  my sister-in-law, she dropped off a whole bunch of CUTE maternity clothes. I also scored some great stuff on freecycle, and my mom bought me a few nice outfits.  I am now better dressed as a pregnant lady than I was before!

My 13 week doctor appointment involved a brief unexpected ultrasound as apparently  there is no way to get an accurate individual heartbeat for each with the traditional devices. 2 beating hearts, yay!

Also that week: I  had more labwork to see if I am a carrier for some genetic diseases that Jewish people are more prone to. (no results yet, but I am comforted that my gentile husband is unlikely to be a carrier, so even if I am a carrier,  more than likely the babies will be fine.) and saw a nutritionist.

By the end of week 13 my appetite finally started to pick up, which is good because I am supposed to consume about  2400 nutritious calories everyday.

Today is my last day of my first trimester!! Tomorrow will be bitter -sweet; however, as while I will be officially in the 2nd tri-mester, which I am very excited about, it is also 1 year to the day from when I learned I was miscarrying last year. The next day is my birthday, 38. What a difference a year makes; this birthday will indeed be a happy one!

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2 Comments
  1. WOW, it is really amazing how many simiiar things we have in common! I look forward to being able to keep up with your blog and pregnancy, maybe we’ll even have to do lunch or something one day!

    • Yes, I noticed that too! Your blog is great and is really helpful. I need to be better about posting regularly. It would be great to meet you, lunch would be cool.’m not working so I could meet you at your convenience somewhere convenient for you. The comment moderation e-mail that WordPress sent me gave me your e-mail. I’ll shoot you an e-mail so you have mine too. It would be fun to meet (and pick the brain of) another expectant mom of twins. 🙂

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