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Shannon's twin pregnancy journal

Week Eighteen
~ Mixed Blessings . . .

May 18 ~ The halfway point. Well, technically, I have another two weeks to go before I reach the halfway point of the average forty-week pregnancy. Considering my last child was born at 34 1/2 weeks and twins typically arrive early, I think it's fairly safe to shave four weeks off. I figure anything past 36 weeks is an added bonus for the babies.

I'm still fighting this flu thing and have a hunch it's beginning to turn into pneumonia. As I typed that last sentence, I realized I've typed it at least six times in the past two days. Everyone wants to know how I'm doing and I fill them (and you) in as I post on the boards, update my journal and respond to my email. Thank you, by the way, to all of you who are following my journal and sent me your well-wishes via email. Your kind thoughts and sharing of your own stories are much appreciated. Anyhow, back to the flu I have written here about my bleeding, my bronchitis, my kidney infection and my latest thing illness. I've shared some of my concerns regarding a possible miscarriage, pre-term labor, total bedrest, etc. But never once have I talked about how I really feel about being pregnant with twins. I think it's time to dig a little deeper here.

Twins are a blessing. Or so books, medical professionals, my family and other mothers of twins have told me. I agree, to a certain extent. Any new life is a miracle, and I am carrying two inside me, a double miracle. My oldest son will be 16 on June 3. I remember when I was pregnant with him. I was so big that my doctor thought he might be twins. It was somewhat disappointing when we saw only one baby during my 20 week ultrasound (all that extra weight was MINE!). But I never once considered the possibility of twins since then. Five children (three mine and two as a surrogate) and all of them were singles. When Peter and I first talked about having a baby together, it was a difficult decision. With his two "original kids" (not counting the two older ones) and my three "original kids," we have five at home. Add in the fact that I am 35 and he is 45 and you can see where it would be tough to decide to have another child at this point in our lives. We did make the choice though. And we also made the choice for me to have my remaining tube severed after we had our baby. There was never a seventh child in the picture. Until March 19th, that is.

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So how do I feel about this added blessing? Well, sometimes I stand before the mirror, tuck my clothing under my belly and marvel at the growing roundness. There are TWO babies in there! Two months after finding out, I am still astonished when I think about it. Other times, I stand before the mirror and I cry. At four months, I look at least six months. When I went into a maternity store to buy a bathing suit last weekend, I told the salesperson I was looking for something that would still fit me through the summer. She stared at me in shock, asking, "AFTER the baby's born?" I had to explain that I'm carrying twins and not due until October. I'm sure she was embarrassed, it was really the first time I've felt embarrassed myself. I'm also sure it won't be the last time. I have several books about twin pregnancy and there are pictures of pregnant women. These pictures really scare me. Just thinking about looking like that and how it must feel makes me ill. I don't know how women manage to carry triplets and higher multiples.

And there are other considerations here as well. My mini-van seats seven; Peter's sport utility vehicle seats only five. Once the babies are here, in order to go anywhere as a family we will have to either take two cars or buy a larger vehicle. We are looking into purchasing a full-size, 12 passenger van. Before we learned about the twins, we were going to buy a beautiful, luxury conversion van. It had comfy seats for eight (the rear one converting to a bed), real oak-trimmed interior, a television, VCR and two separate stereos (with headphone jacks), everything you could ask for in a vehicle. But it only seats eight. The van we are looking at now costs nearly as much, but all it really has is two front seats and three rows of bench seats. Sure, it still has A/C, power locks and a CD player . . . but no television, no VCR, no convertible bed, no real oak trim. But it seats 12, room for the whole family plus the camping gear or a couple of the kid's friends. Peter would trade in his adorable Bravada. He would drive my mini-van, and I would get the new van. Yippee, I get to drive the Incredible Hulk.

Having solved the transportation problem, we still have the living quarter's problem. Our house (originally Peter's) has only three bedrooms. Right now, we have two to a room and my teenager bunking in the living room. All of the other women who are due in October are beginning to talk about preparing their baby's rooms. Cribs and themes, etc. are hot topics. I have no room to plan. There is no room. We have been looking at houses since we married and haven't yet found one that's quite right. We wanted four bedrooms and a basement. David wants a basement bedroom, and I figured with two to a room again, we would have an extra room for our three computers (Peter's, the kids' and mine). With the babies, four bedrooms and a basement room would be just enough, nothing extra. A fifth bedroom would be great, but if we're having a hard time finding a suitable four-bedroom house, a five-bedroom seems impossible. And how on earth will we manage to move while I'm pregnant and not supposed to be doing ANYTHING?

I guess, in a way, I am still mourning the loss of my perfect, single pregnancy. Of course, I realize that any of the complications and illnesses I've had/will have are not exclusive to a twin pregnancy. The second child, however, is. Where I never worried about how I would breastfeed one baby, or how I would care for five children and an infant . . . I now worry extensively about how I will manage with TWO INFANTS. And my last two children were brought into the world through the wonderfully relaxed atmosphere of homebirth. With twins and placenta previa, my doctor pretty much sees a cesarean section in my future. Wonderful, two babies AND a hip-to-hip incision.

So there you have it, up close and personal, my feelings about having twins. Sometimes I'm incredibly happy, sometimes incredibly sad and always I am aware of the miracle of these two babies growing inside me. They truly are a mixed blessing.

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