My Mo-Di Twin Pregnancy Story
With the girls being 6 months now, I feel like I finally have the energy to share my Mo-Di Pregnancy story! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not because I am getting more sleep; HAH! It’s just because I’m finally past the baby baby stage and am able to drink more coffee and their bodies can process it better as I’m nursing.
So let’s start from the beginning.
Feeling like death? No, just pregnant with twins!
It was Christmas Eve, and there had been a terrible sickness going around. My husband and I live in Jackson, Wyoming and often hunt for our meat for the year, and he was busy processing it. I, however, felt like I must have been sick with the WORST stomach bug ever. My whole body hurt, I was vomiting more than I ever had, I felt dizzy.. all before Christmas and we were supposed to have company.
In the daze of my sickness, I decided to take a pregnancy test. If you have ever tried to have children, you know the excitement you get when ANY little sign pops up that you might be pregnant. Though we already had one kiddo, it was taking us a little longer to get pregnant again, which we had been warned of. But, I figured, I was vomiting, and that’s morning sickness.. right?
I had ordered some bulk pregnancy tests because I took them way more often than needed. So when I took it, and I saw TWO lines I immediately thought “No way! Too good to be true!” and so proceeded to take around 5 more.
I showed them to my husband, saying “This is why!” but told him to not get too excited because who knows how accurate these cheapy tests really were.
The next day, we bought a “real” test, and what do you know.. two lines, but MUCH darker! (Later on I would find out an early indicator of twins includes DOUBLE the pregnancy symptoms such as nauseousness, as well as an extremely dark indicator line early on due to the double amount of hormones in your body from the twins!)
Fast forward to my first OB visit. I used to work at a midwifes office, and although I quit to take care of my son, still kept in touch and she actually delivered him. I decided to use her for this pregnancy again. The moment of truth comes; I had waited 8 long weeks, taking a test every couple of days to make sure everything was “still good”, worried about what she might see… and now it was time.
“Oh look, there’s two!”
“HOLY SHI**! Are you serious?!”
“Yes I can’t see you as it’s high risk. I’ll refer you to someone”
With 4 words, mine and my husbands chest burst with joy. Twins?! Two little babies?! Of course, as soon as we left we called everyone. My mom was convinced I had photo shopped an image from google. When I told her that’s way too much effort for a joke, she was ecstatic. So was everyone else of course! TWO little beings were developing in me!
Initial Twin Pregnancy Butterflies Lessened After Becoming Aware of the Risks
Then reality set in; this is not to say we weren’t still excited, but we found out how much was involved in a twin pregnancy in terms of doctor appointments and such. It ends up I had a Monochorionic-diamniotic pregnancy. This is when the babies are identical, and they share a placenta but not an amniotic sac. Check out webMD for more info about it; it’s interesting to know what type of twins you have!
There are risks for this pregnancy, including Twin-twin transfusion syndrome, referred to as TTTS. This is when some blood vessel connections form in the placenta and allow blood to flow unevenly between the babies. There is a laser surgery than can correct this if caught early on (though not always successful) but it is still super scary to think that the risk of this condition going undiscovered is death of one or both the babies.
For this reason, I had to see a specialist as well as my normal OB. This is what could happen according to TTTSfoundation.org.
- The transfusion causes the donor twin to have decreased blood volume. This in turn leads to slower than normal growth than its co-twin, and poor urinary output causing little to no amniotic fluid or oligohydramnios (the source of most of the amniotic fluid is urine from the baby). The recipient twin becomes overloaded with blood. This excess blood puts a strain on this baby’s heart to the point that it may develop heart failure, and also causes this baby to have too much amniotic fluid (polyhydramnios) from a greater than normal production of urine.
Among many other reasons, my specialist checked the ratio of the babies bladder levels and amniotic fluid levels EVERY week starting at 18 weeks, then twice a week for other risks at 28 weeks.
The good news? We got to see our babies A LOT on the ultra sounds. I have a ton of print outs, and even stopped saving some because I had around 30 already. I also felt good in knowing I didn’t have to go weeks without a check up, and worry if something happened to the baby/babies in that time like I did with my son.
There was a TTTS scare, which of course happened to be at the one appointment with the specialist my husband couldn’t be at. I called him in tears, freaking out about having to go fly to a doctor even capable of such a specialized surgery, what might happen to the babies, if it would even work… but thankfully, when I came back a couple of days later my doc said all looked good and their levels had corrected themselves.
Biggest relief ever!
I needed an Epidural, but was overjoyed at being allowed to try for a vaginal delivery!
As time went on, the talk of delivery options came up. With my son, I had an epidural free delivery, which from the first contraction to him being laid on my chest was around 5 hours. I knew not to expect the same experience, but holy cow was it different!
My OB said she would be ok with attempting a vaginal delivery as long as both babies were head down. She even said she’d be ok if only Baby A (the one lowest down) was head down, as she could manually move Baby B into position after A was delivered.
My next question of course was “Do I need an epidural?”
I had a wonderful experience without one with an amazing doula to guide me though it all. My OB told me that the concern with that was if Baby B was breach (which at this conversation, she was) it would be EXTREMELY painful to stick her whole hand up there to move her. To be honest, her hand is smaller than a baby’s head so I didn’t feel like it would be that bad. I am not a doctor though, and after much research I decided to get the epidural.
I didn’t want to be hero, why bother fighting so hard against getting pain relief? There was also the GIANT factor of if I chose not to get an epidural and something went wrong and I needed an emergency C-Section, I would have to be completely knocked out and miss their birth.
A Gender Reveal!
With all the stress of the pregnancy, I was excited to do a gender reveal. While some people think they are ridiculous, I had a super fun one with my son and wanted to do my best to enjoy as much of this pregnancy as possible.
With my son we had cut a cake made by a close family member.
Funny story, actually.
The middle was made with blueberries, which, when cooked, look purple. So when we cut it there was the question of “Is that purple for a girl? Or is this blueberries for a boy?” It was a great laugh; for these babies I wanted to try it again since it was likely my last pregnancy.
We decided on our friend to make a cake, and our aunt to make a box of balloons.
We made a fun game out of it, and had everyone choose a little plastic pair of pink shoes or blue shoes based on what they thought the genders would be.
With this pregnancy, however, since they were identical, they would likely be the same gender. We had no idea what the gender was; my husband gave the envelope with the sex to my old Midwifes office, who placed the calls to the people who would be making the reveal items.
First we cut the cake.. peered in and… PINK! IT’S A GIRL! Everyone cheered, and it was so amazingly exciting! I was so happy to be able to have a girl (though I would have of course loved a little boy!)
Then came the box of balloons…. PINK! ANOTHER GIRL! Woo! Two perfect little girls on the way!
It was a great day, and a much needed break from all the stress.
Getting bigger, more tired, and needing more help!
Kudos to the women who work so late in their twin pregnancies. That was NOT the case for me! Having to chase a two year old around was exhausting; I was the same at 27 weeks as I was full term at 38 weeks with my son. So I had ZERO energy!
Before this, my son rarely watched TV. Now, I was getting my naps in while he watched Shrek sitting next to me. It came time to get help, so my mom started coming out Monday through Friday to help out with things. I am super thankful to have my parents, as well as so much other family near by. My neighbor, who is one of my good friends, has a little girl around Luke’s age and took him for hours at a time to go outside which was amazing. So did the rest of my family!
I felt incredibly guilty for not getting out as much, and him being stuck inside all the time. It definitely was not our style to be indoors (I am the crazy outdoor mama after all, right?)
I overheated in like 10 minutes, couldn’t walk across the yard hardly… but by golly, I did kept my garden WEEDED. And when my husband was here to help, did attempt as much as possible to hit the national park and various other activities.
I was giant, and I know I should want to keep these babies cooking as long as possible, but I was ready. By 35 weeks, my body seemed like it was giving out. I could barely get up from the couch, slept all the time, couldn’t keep up with eating (I went from 118 to 180!) and in general felt awful. I’m a petite person, so my frame was not built for this.
Mo-Di twins are typically delivered no later than 36 weeks and 5 days, due to the exponential rate of still birth due to the placenta calcifying after this date. This is not detectable by ultrasounds, and is worth fighting your provider if they are unaware of this. There are many studies to support this fact; please message me if you need this info!
My specialist said he didn’t feel the need to induce before 37 weeks, however said if it made me feel more comfortable he would give the OK to my OB to allow this to happen. I was relieved, as I was on many support sites and had seen awful stories of providers being unaware of this tendency and their beautiful 38 week babies being still born. =(
Off to the petting zoo! But first… BABIES!
The fair was in town, and my son was finally old enough to really enjoy it. We had a normal check up appointment first, but I’d been feeling no tired than normal, so figured it’d be a quick weight check then we’d head out.
When I checked in, I asked her when she would start checking me for effacement and dilation, as my previous OB/midwife had at this point. She said because the hospital in our small town does not deliver babies before 36 weeks, and also it was unlikely for anything to happen and me not feel it, she wouldn’t. I told her how my mom had been joking that it would be perfect if they were born on July 25th, as that was her mom’s birthday. She again cautioned that would not be good, as I’d have to go somewhere else because I’d only be 35 weeks and 5 days.
After my fetal non stress test (they hook you up to heart monitors and such to make sure the babies are not in distress, and check for contractions as well) she mentioned I was having contractions.
What? I KNOW what those are. I was on all 4 in the back of my car on the way to the hospital with my son screaming obscentieis. The kind of contractions that are straight from a movie and scare other women from ever getting pregnant. That was me.
I wasn’t having contractions. But, based on the readings, she decided to check me.
I was 5 cm dialated, 100 percent effaced. ACTIVE. LABOR.
She said I am in labor, and must report to labor and delivery immediately. Although it was too early for this hospital, she did not want to fly my anywhere as she was nervous I would give birth in the air.
HOLY COW! I felt nothing! I was supposed to go to the petting zoo! Thank goodness I had already had my son’s birthday part early. HOLY COW I’M HAVING THESE BABIES TODAY!
We drove over to labor and delivery, about 3 minutes away, and checked in. At that point I was 8 cm dilated! I got my epidural, and was whisked off to the Operating Room to be prepped. I couldn’t give birth in an normal birthing room as all the right people and equipment had to be ready in the event things took a turn for the worst and I had to have an emergency C section.
After they burst my bag, Summer came first. I got to hold her for a little bit, but then they took her so I could work on getting Emma out. A couple pushes later, Emma was in the world now too!
Unfortunately, though initially healthy, their lungs were still premature and my hospital lacked the steroid shot necessary to mature them faster. I was able to hold Summer, but Emma went straight to the nursery to be hooked up to various make shift machines to help her breath.
A quick transition to another journey
Both of my little ladies had to be put in the nursery for special care. At the end of the night I was by myself in the hospital room, just me and my husband. No babies on my chest, or next to me in a bassinet.
I couldn’t help but wonder if there was something I could have done to keep them in longer, no matter how uncomfortable I was. Somehow get just enough time for their lungs to mature, so that they wouldn’t be laying alone and exposed in a crib in another room.
We were allowed to see them, and I tried to express colustrum for them but was pretty stressed so it was hard. With my son I was able to nurse right away. He stayed with me through the night. We went home the next day. This was different.
I had to come to terms with the fact that this journey would be different; perhaps more difficult, but in the end, WONDERFUL.
Our babies had to be life flighted to a bigger hospital with a NICU. (If you need info on what to expect, the March of Dimes is a wonderful resource!) They stayed there for 2 weeks. Compared to others, it’s not so bad. But compared to “normal” pregnancies, it’s awful. We had to leave them everyday so that we could get some sleep and hang out with our son. Then we had to bring them home on supplemental oxygen, which they needed for an additional month.
But I knew I would look back on those days, and it would be just a very small chapter in a giant book!
They are 6 months old now, sitting up, laughing, eating tons, and you would never know what they went through.
NICU Stories of Success – After our girls stay, I became inspired by the strength of these little ladies and created a collection of other babies who had a similar journey! Then and now pictures are included!
The most DELICIOUS lactation cookies ever; that are healthy! – I seriously needed these trying to pump for two. My mom even enjoys them and she is not nursing (LOL!) You gotta try them! I got an 1-2 ounces extra each side from each pump session!
Already have a single, and want to know how different it really is? – You’re in for a surprise… it’s VERY different! Find out what to expect, and what to come to terms with here!
The Ultimate Breastfeeding Guide for twins! – All the positions, pillows and tips you’ll need to up your chances at a successful breastfeeding journey!
11 Weird Early Pregnancy Symptoms – Even if you already know you’re pregnant, these are fun to look at!
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