How to prepare emotionally and physically for twins: Two mums, Louise Ryan and Katrina Bowman have done the research and share their experiences in their easy-to-read book, Twins.
In this extract, Katrina shares her reaction to the news she was expecting twins:
When I was told I was having twins, I cried for the first four days. Day five was my birthday. I spent the evening eating my birthday chocolates and telling my friends the ‘bad’ news over the phone. I finally had the strength to call my mother. She said it was a double blessing. Mum reminded me that my godmother had identical twin boys after her two daughters. She’s sane, she has a career and her children are great fun and well-balanced.
My GP wrote ‘anxious’ on my medical card for reference. My husband was worried, and didn’t know how to deal with me. He was happy about the news. He was very proud of himself – he figured his sperm had the power to split eggs. He thought I should snap out of it, accept the situation and soldier on. I agreed with him, but didn’t know how to.
At my first ultrasound there was concern that there might not be a membrane dividing the babies into two sacs. This meant the umbilical cords could become tangled. I quickly started to learn why twin pregnancies are more risky. A membrane showed up on later scans, but it was so ‘fine’ it indicated that our twins were probably identical.
I had been really tired through my first trimester, all I did was work shorter hours and operate the remote control from the couch. The 12-week turnaround was instant. I suddenly had energy to burn and was feeling great. From around 30 weeks it was back to life on the couch. It was summer and my feet and ankles were elephantine. My belly was big, but not as big as I expected it to be.
I rang our local Australian Multiple Birth Association contact and was greeted with warmth and friendship and invited to the Christmas party to meet some twins and parents. It was a very busy and noisy party. ‘It’s as hard as you want it to be,’ I was told. At first I found this comforting. Later I realised that comment had been aimed at keeping me in a positive frame of mind. I wasn’t feeling up to it.
Then slowly I began to feel a special buzz. Twins came out of the woodwork.
Mine wasn’t just another office pregnancy. ‘You never do things by half’, ‘twins are only blessed on those who can cope.’ I was amazed by people’s generosity. Their confidence that I was strong enough started to rub off on me.
This is an edited extract from Twins by Katrina Bowman and Louise Ryan, published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $39.99, Available 3 March 2014.