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Welcoming Our Twins (Anonymous)

March 31, 2014

Age: 34
Pregnancies/births: 1/2
Age of children: 8 months

I found out I was carrying twins when I had a scan at 6 weeks because of some pain and bleeding. Turns out it was my uterus stretching quickly because there were two of them in there! Even at that early stage they located two heartbeats, although the babies were like tiny kidney beans on screen. The ultrasound tech had been called in at short notice because it was a Sunday in the ER (my health anxiety got the better of me), and I’m not saying anything either way but he kind of smelled like whisky. Anyway it was a really fun session once I stopped laughing hysterically and shaking (“what do you mean there’s TWO EGG SACS?!!”), he took a load of pictures for me and explained what everything was and I was sent home to break the news to my husband. He actually laughed as well which was something of a relief.

One of the nicest things about being newly pregnant with twins was that I didn’t have to wait very long until I started to show. One of the other nicest things was that I first felt a tiny kick at 15 weeks; I was so excited! I found it difficult that I didn’t feel confident to exercise, as I’m usually pretty active. I didn’t want to ride my bike or rock climb; I know that some women continue to do both until quite late in pregnancy but I was too worried about having an accident. I love to hike and continued to do that until I got pretty big.

I ate a LOT in the first trimester as I’d read that gaining 25lb by 25weeks was a good way to ensure that your babies would get a great start on their weight gain. Subsequently I got a great start on my own weight gain! I started at 130lb which I felt was slightly overweight for me (but probably isn’t – I was constantly working on losing that “last five pounds”). By the time the twins arrived I was over 200lb, I stopped weighing myself about 10 days before they got here because it was mildly terrifying. So, I gained 70+ lb, partly because I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and hospitalized at 35 weeks. The preeclampsia made me retain a lot of fluid and added to my weight gain.

I wasn’t severely preeclamptic and my blood pressure never got too high (no medication), but I had a horrible case of PUPPS rash (aka Satan incarnate) and it was the hottest summer since about 1411 and the hospital didn’t have air con. I spent most of my days stark naked, standing in my bay on the prenatal ward with the curtain drawn round and my arms held out at my sides (I couldn’t bear any of my own skin to touch myself, that’s how itchy the PUPPS was), scaring the staff when they popped their heads around the curtain. Seriously most of them had never heard of PUPPS, I felt like some sort of teaching aid.

The hospital wanted to induce me which I was dead set against as I was scared it wouldn’t work properly and I’d end up with a c-section, or it’d work too well and the contractions would be too intense and I’d end up with an epidural and then with a c-section (did I mention the health anxiety?). As it turned out my waters broke at 2am when I was 36 weeks, and our girls were born naturally 17 hours later. My husband and my mum were amazing. Labour was more painful than I hoped but nowhere near as painful as I feared. I’d wanted a water birth at home with no pain relief and giving birth in theater while hooked up to a continuous fetal monitor wasn’t exactly the plan but considering the circumstances it was the safest and best outcome possible. No drugs apart from beta blockers to lower my blood pressure, and a vaginal delivery, which I had very much wanted.

I’ve struggled since the birth with my body image. I’m still 20lb overweight and the skin on my belly will never be the same. My breasts have dropped (they went up to a G cup so it’s not surprising!), but I remind myself how lucky I am to have been able to beast feed my girls. I never really liked my boobs that much but I did love my flat, smooth stomach and I do get sad when I look at it now. I’m 5’ 6” and I carried the girls straight out in front, and the skin was stretched beyond repair. It’s wrinkly and crepey and I have a diastasis so my belly sticks out and I still look pregnant. My stretch marks are very fine and pale and hardly noticeable, which I’m grateful for. I wasn’t prepared for the extent of the changes to my body and have found it hard to deal with – my husband tells me that he still finds me attractive but it’s difficult for me to see how he can.

The hardest thing for me to cope with has been the multiple prolapses I suffered since the birth. I have a cystocele and a rectocele (my bladder and rectum both bulge into my vagina); luckily I don’t have problems with incontinence but I do feel uncomfortable most days. It’s been difficult for me to return to exercise. I love to climb, hike, cycle and backpack, and I worry that I won’t be able to do those things in the future. The backpacking is especially hard to think of losing. My husband and I have done many long trips of two or three weeks duration during which we walked for 15-20 miles a day up mountains while wearing 25lb backpacks – right now I can’t imagine a time when my pelvic floor will be able to take that kind of strain, and it kills me. I cry about the prolapse often. I wish that people talked about this issue more because I wasn’t even really aware that it could happen to me until it did and it was a horrible shock. I know that I need to be patient for a while longer as a lot of healing happens in the first year after birth and I don’t yet know what the final outcome will be, but it’s hard and I get scared.

My girls are beautiful, healthy and I love seeing them change every day. I couldn’t have imagined how much I would love them (and I imagined that I would love them a lot!). As I said I wish that prolapse was more widely discussed as I feel that I would have done a few things differently if I’d known that it affects up to 50% of women. I would give anything for the changes to my body to be merely cosmetic and external. I am hoping against hope that if I continue to lose weight and do my kegels religiously then I might eventually be fairly symptom free, although I know that prolapse is lifelong. I am very much hoping to avoid surgery.

The first picture is my stomach at about 6 weeks pregnant, second is me at 8 months post partum. Third is a close up of my stomach post partum, and fourth is a side view. Fifth and sixth are our gorgeous girls :)

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8 Responses to “Welcoming Our Twins (Anonymous)”

  1. Jessica Says:
    March 31st, 2014 at 10:01 am

    I recently had my rectocele and cystocele repaired along with a hysterectomy….because that was falling out too. Let me tell you, I was terrified. Put the surgery off for an entire year. It ended up being the best thing I ever did! Recovery was nothing worse than how you feel after you have given birth. Keep an open mind…..if your problems are or become as severe as mine, surgery could be your answer. Good luck!

  2. Rosalind Says:
    March 31st, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    You talked up the “damage” in your story so much that I was astonished when I finally saw your slender, normal-looking post-partum body! You look wonderful and those twins are beautiful.

    The only problem I would talk to a doctor about is the prolapse. Even if you don’t have incontinence, you’re clearly uncomfortable and the rectocele / cystocele are interfering with your ability to do the outdoor activities that you love. Best of luck. I hope you can come to see your body the way that SOAM readers and your husband do. <3

  3. Kathryn Says:
    April 10th, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    You are beautiful!!
    I too have dealt with prolapse (cystocele and rectocele) since the delivery of my 3rd baby. I HIGHLY recommend physical therapy!! I was feeling very hopeless and was very symptomatic, but once starting the physical therapy (the HAB-IT DVD, you can find it on Amazon!) I noticed huge improvement within 2 weeks!
    Congratulations on your beautiful girls!

  4. C Says:
    April 15th, 2014 at 11:20 am

    You actually look very good for having twins. The way you described your body flaws made me think that they were that flawed, but once I saw the pictures I was like “she doesn’t look bad at all!”. You look better than I do and I only had one 9 lb baby! Imagine what you’ll look like at 2 years PP? ..Most likely FABULOUS! You’re only 8 months PP..it took me 2 years PP to get as close as I could to my prepregnancy body image. I know ultimately I will be getting a mini tuck in the future, but for now I have accepted what I have been dealt. Seriously give yourself some credit and be kind to yourself.

  5. Tomi Says:
    April 16th, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    AHHH. PUPPS. Worse thing ever. I had that too, and I can totally agree that it’s the most awful thing ever. I went through tubes of hydrocortisone cream. At least your stomach isn’t full of stretch marks like mine. I have that same wrinkly, crepey texture, but when I bend over; it looks like I have a ball sac hanging from belly button.

  6. gin Says:
    June 17th, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    got girl you look good for having twins , i had twins three years ago and dont look as good as you . you have to come to terms with the fact you will never have the body you had pre children and learn to love your new body. dont loose too much weight .

  7. Mary Bokoske Says:
    July 5th, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    From a fellow twin mom with diastasis (and many other things you experienced like PUPPS- but beside the point) check out http://fit2b.us/. Lots of info on healing your diastasis and gaining your belly back. I am still a work in progress (twin b/g born 2 years ago) but it was recommended to me by Kelly Dean- a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor issues (Tummy Team- look it up). There is hope. Best wishes! You look fabulous.

  8. Amy Says:
    July 12th, 2014 at 4:49 am

    Also suffered a prolapse on my third and fourth pregnancy. It’s not a pleasent experience to say the least! You look amazing! Rock that body in confidence ;)

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