It was around this time last year that we started getting serious with regard to our second round of IVF, following a brief delay in which we had learnt that my immunity to rubella had faded and I needed to be revaccinated before trying again. The twins were coming up to eight months old and their babyhood seemed to be fading before our very eyes. I remember feeling quite desperate to be pregnant before their first birthday.
In the end, our two wee embryos were transferred the day after they turned one. And here we are, with eighteen-month-old twins and a second set due in just a few weeks.
I’m happy. So, so happy.
But I’m starting to find it difficult.
Up until now I would have said that this was by far the easier pregnancy. Nine weeks of morning sickness compared to twenty, four lbs of weight loss compared to sixteen. Less exhaustion by far. I started a new and very intense job at eight weeks pregnant this time round and I’ve found it easy to be good at it, whereas with the first set of twins my head was a mess.
But there have been a few tricky bits. A virus that lead to my collapsing at work and a couple of faints in the office since. Another hospital trip for a chest infection that wouldn’t shift. And then there was the time that I passed out and landed right by breech twin’s head…
I thought that my anaemia was getting better but actually it’s much worse. Even the consultant looked a little shocked when she was reviewing my blood results. In retrospect I suppose that I should have known that my haemoglobin was dropping when I started having to sit down whilst riding the lift, or bringing my own lunch to work because I couldn’t stand in the queue. It’s hard to tell what is normal for twin pregnancy and what is something wrong, even for somebody who has had twins before.
With this level of anaemia, a planned home birth might be the human equivalent of an animal crawling off to die. It might be fine, if all went well, but I’m not sure that my body could cope with even a mild post-partum hemorrhage right now. Gosh, I’m not even sure that it could cope with labour. Yet again I need a back-up plan.
I’ve always said that I would have blood tests at 35 weeks to assess how my body is looking, and I’m hoping that I’ll see a significant improvement by then. I don’t think that the girls are in any danger of coming early so in theory I still have a good five to seven weeks or so in which to fix my health before attempting childbirth. Originally I had wanted my third trimester to be quite hands-off but now that I’m here, I wonder if it wouldn’t be better to book an appointment every week for a quick blood test to see how things are looking. Thankfully my hospital offers Saturday appointments so I won’t even have to take time off of work.
Aside from the anaemia I’m not doing too badly. The girls are more active than the boys ever were and we are enjoying their constant reminders of their presence. The only difficulty is that breech girl’s head is currently shoved up against my ribs, which is very sore, and I find myself tensing whenever I move just in case I manage to accidentally dislocate it – something that I’m told isn’t terribly uncommon with twins (ugh). I keep trying to tell myself that I’m lucky, that it could be so much worse, that some measure of difficulty is to be expected with twins, but it’s hard not to feel a bit demoralised.
I’m scared that it’s all going to go wrong. I’m scared that my iron levels aren’t going to come up until they’re born. I’m scared that baby one, cephalic twin, is going to flip herself breech again. I’m scared that these last few weeks will be a struggle and I’ll end up letting my workplace down when they have been so kind to me.
And I’m scared that at some point I’m going to end up too tired to care about any of these things, which will probably be worse.
Last weekend I was incredibly privileged to photograph bits of the birth of one of my best friends, at our local hospital. She was amazing and I came away feeling awestruck and inspired by her strength, endurance and determination. Baby Felix was born at the same hospital as my boys and the experience was positive; night and day from what happened when they were born. I liked her midwives a lot. I liked everyone a lot. I still don’t want my children to be born there.
I’ve received a lot of comments on my pregnancy posts of recent and I’ve read them all, properly, even though I haven’t published them yet. I think part of me wants time to digest and to experience my own story before I share other people’s commentary on it – even the supportive, encouraging comments (or the educational comments, which I value just as much [if not more]). I’m reading them though.
Thirty three weeks in two days, or already probably by the time that you’re reading this. Not long to go until they’re in our arms.
I made a little video of my long day in hospital because I had the panasonic with me and had run out of pages in my book! As you can see, they kindly fed me my favourite – toast.