Taking you through our journey through my third pregnancy, this time with identical twins! I’ll be sharing everything about my first trimester, including nausea, the shocking moment we found out we’re having twins, and more.
We’re Pregnant Again – with Identical Twins! The First Trimester Recap
I can’t believe I’m actually typing this, but… we’re pregnant with identical twins! Identical twins. Identical twins. Typing it somehow makes it feel more real.
Where do I even begin? I’ve done first trimester recaps with both of my children (with Luca and with Roma) but this one feels very different. Actually, it has felt very different since the beginning. So let me back up to the beginning and talk about our discussion around having a third baby and how all of this happened (it was quite the shock the way it happened!)
I want to preface this post with a trigger warning. I know that for anyone struggling with infertility now or at any point, it can be extremely painful to read about experiences like mine. I have friends around me who struggle with their fertility, friends who have miscarried early and late in their pregnancies, and I’m very conscious that pregnancy is a miracle, a blessing, and an absolute gift, and I never have and never will take it for granted. While I want to share my story, I also want to be sensitive to others who may not have as simple of a journey as I have had so far with pregnancy and fertility. I’m sending you my love and strength.
How We Found Out We Were Pregnant
Lu and I were so torn over the decision to try for another baby, or stop at two. We both came from larger families (I am 1 of 3 and he is 1 of 4) and when we first met, we talked about having “very festive Thanksgivings,” meaning, we wanted a bigger family. However, after COVID and the pandemic and everything, we weren’t sure if 3 was the right choice for us. We were leaning towards not trying and just being thankful and grateful for our two, Roma and Luca. However, if I was going to have a third, I wanted to keep their ages close together and that would mean to start trying for another soon. Long story short, we had a conversation and decided two was it for us. The next day, I found out I was pregnant!
No, we weren’t trying, but we weren’t on any form of birth control (I never went back to it after getting pregnant with my first, because I didn’t like the idea of hormones messing with my breastfeeding journey or possibly delaying my chances of future pregnancies, so I just ditched it.) The month before we went to Florida for the holidays (in December), my period was 2 weeks late. Now, I have never had a late period. Like, never, ever, ever – I have such a predictable cycle (on or off birth control), so I was worried that I was pregnant back in December! But, 2 weeks later, I got my period. Hmm… weird, I thought! And, phew!
Then, we had sex (yes, that’s how it happens!) the day after New Year’s day. There was just never time to get intimate while we were staying at my parents’ house in Florida (where my sister and her BIL were also staying at the same time!) and Lu was sleeping with Luca every night, so we were never even in the same bedroom at night! However, everyone left the house for separate reasons that day (literally, this was the only time that ever happened) and ….. we jumped on the opportunity! I looked at my ovulation tracker app (Flo – which I used to avoid ovulation days!) and it said I wasn’t ovulating – phew! Little did I know, that one wonky cycle the month before must have changed my ovulation days and…. pregnant I became!
Since my period was 2 weeks late the month prior, I had purchased so many pregnancy tests, and I happened to have one left over. My period was 2 days late again, and I was in the bathroom, about to hop in the shower, and I saw the test and took it. I hopped in the shower and afterwards, got out, looked at the stick and sure enough…. two lines. I was pregnant. At this point, I’m not into big reveals and surprises with my husband and he was about to go out for the morning to golf with my father and BIL, so right before he went, I pulled him into our room and showed him the stick. He was as shocked as I was and then happy (I think we both secretly wanted more kids, but we were just scared to do it.)
How I Knew We Were Having Twins Before My First Prenatal Appointment
After the shock wore off, I was excited to be pregnant again – and, pregnant with my sister! My sister’s due Memorial Day weekend, so we will only be 4 months apart. Since you don’t go for your first prenatal visit until week 8/9, I had some time in Florida and then a couple weeks when I got back to Jersey City (in February) to see the doctor.
In the meantime, I had symptoms that I had never had before with either of my pregnancies:
- Nausea: from week 6 to 10, I was nauseous all day long. It would start around 11 and last until about 6 or 7pm, on and off, but mostly consistent. I never puked, but there were times when I did get that wet mouth feeling, and I had a lot of moments when I couldn’t do anything but lay down.
- Food aversions: with the nausea came food aversions. Guys. I couldn’t eat a single vegetable. I remember looking at broccoli and thinking, “I could never!” This was extremely difficult, because I am writing a cookbook and had to test 6 recipes a day – the smells and the sights of vegetables made me so nauseous. More on that later.
- Signs and a gut feeling: this sounds odd, but I had the “feeling” it was twins. I kept seeing signs everywhere – I’d see more twins out (like, at the grocery store) or they’d pop up in my Facebook or Instagram feed. I read two books and both included characters that were twins (which wasn’t in the synopsis when I bought the books.) I felt I was having twins, I can’t explain it! A mother’s intuition!
- Ravenous from week 4: I sound crazy, but almost right after I took the pregnancy test, I was insatiably hungry. I felt so silly being so hungry and thought at first maybe I was making this up in my head. But if I didn’t eat, I felt depleted. Now that I’m reading about twin pregnancies, many twin moms report that they have the same symptom and it’s your body storing your fat for the pregnancy earlier on, which makes you hungry.
- Discharge: not to gross anyone out, but the white thick discharge was (and still is!) insane. Like, I was worried my uterus was slowly melting or something – it was out of control!
I told my family I thought it was twins. My grandfather allegedly had twins in his family, so my grandmother said, “It’s possible!” I just had this feeling. The thought made me extremely nervous and terrified, but also a little excited at the same time (twins are cool blessing and a certain type of miracle.)
First prenatal visits: no twins?!
It was time for my first prenatal visit at around week 8/9 and when I sat in that chair, I was fully prepared to see twins: just like in the movies, two little sacs. When the doctor did my sonogram and listened to the heartbeat, to my surprise, I only saw one sac and one little baby. Hmm, well, that’s much easier, I thought and went home and mentally planned for one. Easy, I’ve done this twice already – I’ve got this!
The second appointment, at 10 weeks, they listened to the heartbeat and took my blood for some prenatal testing. Still, no mention of twins. And at 10 weeks, I was showing – I couldn’t believe, especially at the end of the day, how much I was showing. I just attributed it to all the bread and cheese I was eating during my first trimester – it’s all I could get down. A little extra weight gain was the reason I gave my little bloated belly. Little did I know…… twins were in there!
Apparently, this can happen when one twin is positioned in a way where it is “hidden.” Apparently, it’s very rare, but it happened to us – they totally missed it! And we heard the heartbeat, as well (thinking it was only one.)
My 12 week ultrasound: twins it is!
This is when my life changed. I went for my 12 week ultrasound on Thursday, March 18th. This was an ultrasound where they check to make sure the baby is growing properly, measures lengths, and scans for things like Down’s Syndrome. Going into this, I was nervous – it always makes me nervous, and I’m just praying silently that everything is okay. I’m all alone, because of COVID, Lu can’t be in the room with me. She lays me down, puts the tool on my belly, starts scanning, and is very quiet at first. I’m looking at the screen, but I can’t tell what I’m looking at and she says, very calm, “Are you seeing what I’m seeing?” My heart sank, oh no, what is it?! And she goes, “There’s two in there. Twins.”
You can imagine my shock. I covered my eyes and said, “Oh my god. No, no, I’m only having one! Oh my god. Oh my god.” After the shock wore off a bit, I said to the technician, “I knew it!” and told her all about how I thought they were twins in the beginning, blah blah. I was absolutely shocked during the 1 hour scan. She said I was reacting better than most people would, but I just was totally stunned. I had mentally accepted one, I had two appointments to confirm one, so I wasn’t expecting to see two. But sure enough, there were two heads, two sets of legs, and two heartbeats.
The appointment was a bit scary after that. The high risk doctor came in and spoke to me about my twin pregnancy. She confirmed that I was having identical twins, but that they are not the highest risk identical- they are monochorionic/diamniotic twins, so they share the same placenta, but they have their own thin sacs which separate them, so they have their own separate amniotic fluid. There are so many risks to this type of pregnancy, and I was still in such shock, I just shook my head “yes” and “okay” while the doctor explained what was happening. I think I absorbed about 10% of what she said. They did some more blood work.
My due date is end of September, only a few days after Luca was born (Luca’s birthday is September 25th!) but most twin pregnancies don’t go to full term, especially identical, so the doctor told us probably around Labor Day weekend.
Thankfully, the scan went well and the babies were healthy. I walked out of there with a LOT to Google and a LOT to think about. I thought about surprising Lu with the news, but I was shaking when I walked out of there, so I just told him the second I got in the car (he had waited for me, because it was pouring rain outside.) He didn’t believe me and was totally shocked, too. He was driving, so he couldn’t really process what was happening and we got home and we decided to just talk about it after the kids go down. I also had the results in an envelope with the gender (they’re identical, so the genders are the same!)
Decisions, decisions… and the gender!
That evening, we sat down together on the couch with the envelope containing the gender, written on a piece of paper by the doctor. Both of us looked at each other and said the same thing: TWO MORE?!! It was a mix of terror, disbelief, confusion, and just utter shock. We weren’t feeling excitement yet, it was all about logistics, how we’d make this work where we live, what this meant for our lives, and just how we’d manage having 4 under 4 at first! We called our families and there were laughs, jokes about minivans, and lots of congratulations and love. Since I am born on April Fool’s Day, plenty of “is this an April Fool’s joke?”
We opened the envelope and recorded a short video of our reaction to text to our family and friends. No formal gender reveal like the last times, this was just us, at home. Sharing the gender soon! Any guesses? Here are our faces when we found out:
We decided to stay in our current apartment, instead of moving to the suburbs. We came to this decision, for a few reasons:
- We have enough living space and if we put Roma and Luca in the same room, we’ll free up a bedroom for the twins.
- Moving to a new town away from family and friends would be incredibly isolating overwhelming, and frankly, we’re going to need more help, not less help!
- Lu is most likely going to start working from the office again this summer, so I would be alone at home in the morning and at night with the kids alone, knowing nobody. Sounds dreadful.
- Luca and Roma are already enrolled in schools for the fall, which are conveniently a 5 minute walk from our apartment.
- The thought of purchasing, furnishing, and moving into a home with 2 toddlers while pregnant with twins seems like….. a LOT.
So if you see a crazy lady with 2 toddlers and newborn identical twins strollin’ through Jersey City, you’ll know it’s me!
The First Trimester Overall
As I mentioned in the beginning of this now extremely long post, I had some symptoms that I never had with either of my previous pregnancies, but there were some other typical ones that were just heightened.
Let’s go week by week (I made a little note in my phone to remember all of this.)
- Week 4: So hungry! My sensitivity to smell also started. I remember smelling my sister’s perfume from across the house.
- Week 5: I started to feel a little fatigued and a little nausea (very light) started to creep in later in the day, around 4pm.
- Week 6: The nausea kicked in, along with the food aversions (no vegetables for me, only bland/basic foods like grilled cheeses and bagels)! Also, the hormones kicked up, which heightened everything. At one point, I almost killed Lu because he unplugged my slow cooker half way through a recipe. Also, if I didn’t eat immediately when I woke up, I would get very nauseous.
- Week 7: The nausea worsened and my sense of smell got out of control sensitive. I also got smell aversions, which I didn’t think was possible, but the smell of Lu’s deodorant angered me (haha!)
- Week 8: Extreme bloat, it almost seemed like I already had a bump. The exhaustion also kicked in this week, and I couldn’t do anything but nap from 3:30-4:30pm-ish.
- Week 9: If I didn’t eat every 1.5 hours, I would get nauseous, so I started eating more frequently, smaller meals. Little did I know, it was the demanding needs of carrying twins – I should’ve been upping my caloric intake.
- Week 10: FINALLY, the nausea faded away and I could start to eat normally again. I remember my first salad, I felt like a new woman. I also started craving cartons of raspberries – I ate eat one a night for the next 2 weeks!
- Week 11: I started to work out again! It felt so good to move my body, after taking so much time off from exercise. My boobs also started to swell and be a bit swollen this week.
- Week 12: This was when I went for my 12 week ultrasound and found out we were having twins! Some of the dizziness and nausea came back, and I started upping my food intake to properly nourish myself, now that I was expecting twins.
- Week 13: I changed my diet after reading When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads, a book about how to properly nourish yourself for a healthy multiples pregnancy. I can’t believe the macro-needs of growing healthy twins! Also, I’m having pelvic floor issues again. I scheduled an appointment in April with my pelvic floor therapist to discuss what can be done during a pregnancy to help.
- Week 14: We’re in it, but so far symptoms are just slight headaches on and off, and my belly has POPPED. It’s unbelievable, I look 20 weeks pregnant in the morning and 25 weeks by 3pm. I can’t believe the size of this belly!
Due to the demands of writing a cookbook (we turned the manuscript in yesterday!!) and the nausea, I completely stopped working out in the months of January and February. I tried to squeeze in a workout or two on the weekends, but during the week, I couldn’t. Any time I had that I wasn’t working, I was resting, saving energy up to spend it with my toddlers, or just laying down and resting.
If you know me, you know I love HIIT workouts and spinning, but with a twin pregnancy, things are a bit more delicate, so I’m planning on switching from those types of workouts to light strength workouts and long walks (now that it’s nice out.)
First Trimester Favorites
You don’t need much in the first trimester, especially now that we’re all working from home and living in stretchy pants. But there are a few things that I already have purchased especially for this pregnancy (since I’m showing sooner) and books I’m reading to quell my anxiety about having twins.
- Binto vitamins: when I found out I was pregnant, I told the specialists at Binto and they changed my vitamin plan to include what I need for a healthy pregnancy (including prenatal vitamins, of course.) You can use code INSPIRALIZED for a discount off their customized vitamin plans.
- When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads, an eye-opening read about how the proper nutrition during a multiples pregnancy can reduce your risk of pre-term birth, low birth weight, and more.
- Lululemon aligns (with pockets): I bought these during my pregnancy with Roma and they are just the best – they’re supportive and last up until the very last day of your pregnancy!
- Mama Mio tummy butter cream and Zoe Organics Belly Oil: my belly is going to be HUGE this time, and to prevent and treat discomfort from skin stretching, I stocked up on the same creams I used with my other pregnancies. I like oil at night (it soaks into the skin overnight better) and cream in the morning.
- This comfy bra to wear during the daytime – it’s supportive, but light. I’m obsessed!
- These Maternity AG Jeans – they don’t have a belly panel or band, but somehow, they are so comfortable and don’t dig into my love handles and give me an awkward shape. They grow with you and will be great to have postpartum, as well. I’ve been wearing them since about 9 weeks, when my regular pants just didn’t fit anymore.
My Fears Around Twin Pregnancy & For All the Twin Moms..
Thank you for all your kindness in advance. While I’m talking a lot about being shocked and all the changes that need to happen, I truly feel blessed. I feel like I was chosen to carry these miracles, and I feel so lucky to be able to experience a twin pregnancy, twin birth, and have twin children. It’s very cool, and I am excited to grow our family and see Roma become a big sister!
However, I am fearful. I’m fearful of having to have a C-section with newborn twins and two demanding toddlers, living in a 3 story apartment (stairs!) I’m fearful of all that can go wrong with an identical twin pregnancy, like Twin-to-Twin Transfusion (you can Google that!) and preterm labor. I’m fearful of the night time, taking care of two babies (we’re debating whether or not we need to hire help for this) and the nursing experience. I’m going to do everything that I can possibly do to have the healthiest pregnancy possible, but understand that some things are out of my control. And of course, I’m worried about giving attention to all of my children – 4 is a lot!
Lastly, I do have one thing I’d like to ask you…. for all twin moms (identical or not!), can you please share your best advice, how to handle the first few weeks, your tricks for surviving the night time. Anything and everything twin-related!