Reader Question: Twin Pregnancy

Sahara writes:

I think I remember you saying that you originally started your blog thinking that it was going to be about raising twins, yes? But I don’t think I’ve ever heard you describe your pregnancy with the twins. You know, how did you find out there were two in there? What were your immediate thoughts/how did that change (if at all)? That kind of thing. If you’re at all interested, I’d love to hear about that!

It is unwise to ask a woman about her pregnancy unless you don’t have anywhere else to be that day.

Okay! I will tell you about the twins, and about that pregnancy, and so forth, and I will try—TRY—not to go on so long that everyone goes off for a drink refill and never manages to make it back.

I found out at a routine appointment, when I was nearly 14 weeks along. The obstetrician couldn’t find a heartbeat, and he said he’d really like to have an ultrasound done. They had an ultrasound machine/technician in-office, so I went to the waiting room and spent 45 minutes trying to think about how VERY NORMAL it could be not to hear a heartbeat at 14 weeks. VERY NORMAL. Even though they’d heard it at 10 weeks with my other pregnancies. NORMAL.

The technician called me in, and she was brusque and unpleasant: she was already overbooked, and I was the third unscheduled patient an OB had sent her that morning, so she was in a hurry and acting crabby. She found the heartbeat almost right away, and I was so relieved. But then she kept taking measurement after measurement after measurement, and I was puzzled because she was only supposed to check for the heartbeat, and I knew she was in a hurry so why was she doing all this extra stuff? Since she was looking anyway, I said, “Is it too early to tell if it’s a boy or a girl?” and she said, “Hang on…hang on…in a minute I’ll have something to tell you…” I couldn’t tell from her tone if she was answering my question or if she had some bad news about the baby. Then she said, “It’s twins.” I started laugh-weeping right away.


I know it’s hard to see ultrasounds, so here is is again with some helpful lines added. The babies were both facing away and I’ve drawn them facing towards, but it’ll give the GIST anyway:


I was soooooooooo excited and happy. I’d WANTED twins—but then again, I’d also wanted to win the lottery but I’d never thought either one would ACTUALLY HAPPEN.

I went home and emailed everyone I knew. Then I took Rob to kindergarten and told everyone there. Then I went home and started panicking about needing a minivan. Seriously, that was my PRIMARY CONCERN: the stress of buying a car.

I found the whole pregnancy much more stressful than my first two, but also much more exciting. Everyone had been kind of “Oh, how nice” about the third pregnancy—until I found out it was twins, when everyone hit the ceiling. I don’t think there was even as much fuss about my first pregnancy as there was about the twin pregnancy.

But I was constantly worried that something would go wrong. I felt like I now had three times as much worry: not just worry about “the baby,” but worry about “Baby A” AND “Baby B” AND “the twinness.” I was worried that something would happen to one baby, and I’d lose not just that baby but also the twinness of the babies—and plenty of people told me stories about this happening. I also worried about prematurity.

Oh, and I was soooooo uncomfortable. I was close to full-term size at the beginning of the third trimester (at 28 weeks I measured 36 weeks) and I was so discouraged about how long there was to go. I was so tired I used to need to lie down for awhile after taking a shower. I took a nap with William almost every day while Rob was in kindergarten. By 30 weeks I had to stand sideways at the sink to do the dishes because my tum was too big to reach around, and I found it very difficult to walk even from one end of the mall to the other. I started sleeping semi-upright in a recliner because it hurt too much to lie down. I felt crampy and contractiony every time I walked. The babies hurt me when they moved. My legs swelled up from my hips to my toes; I bought backless slip-on shoes 2 sizes larger than my usual size. My ribs felt cold and painful. I outgrew maternity pants a month before the birth and had to wear men’s drawstring pajama pants. Every evening I couldn’t believe we were only one day closer. It was like the last couple intolerable weeks of pregnancy, but for three months.

This is the night before they were born: 38-1/2 weeks.

And here they are on the outside at last. Elizabeth was born first, 8 pounds 2 ounces; Edward was born second, 7 pounds 4 ounces. No wonder I was a little uncomfortable.

59 thoughts on “Reader Question: Twin Pregnancy

  1. beyond

    thank you for sharing your twin story. i sometimes secretly want twins too. double the work (especially at the beginning), double the joy? i guess that’s a whole other post…

  2. Becky

    They are SO CUTE. Thank you for sharing this story. I’m due today (Eek!) with just one baby and am having a hard time keeping it in perspective that I have it pretty easy compared to a lot of pregnancies. This helps!

  3. Katharine

    ZOMG that story could have been three times as long and I would have still loved it. Your drawing over the ultrasound was easily the cutest thing I’ve seen in weeks. Thanks for sharing the story!

    I can’t believe their size either. You are a CHAMP!

  4. Linda

    Oh how fun! I feel such a kinship with other twin moms sometimes. I was nodding almost the whole time I was reading. Mine were about 6 lbs each and the soreness and the hugeness and all that: YES.

    Now where is the birth story? Did you already post it somewhere? And the difficulties of the first few months? I felt like the first year was one big blur that I need to survive. Once we hit crawling/walking/entertaining themselves, I felt such a relief and it became FUN.

  5. ALW

    OMG that is alot of baby. Wow. I love your stories Swistle, I could have remained spellbound if that post were like six times that length.

  6. Sahara

    Wait a second! That was waaaay too short!! I need a Part II! What did you do about the car/car seat situation? How did specific people (MIL! William!) react? Did you know you would get one boy and one girl ahead of time? So many questions left unanswered! So much punctuation in this comment!!

    (Thanks!)

  7. Amanda

    I love pregnancy/twin stories! I love how ginormous they were. Good gracious my Skyler was 8lb 3oz and I thought she was huge. I can’t imagine there being two of her. No wonder you were uncomfortable!

    Great story. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Tess

    Oh, yay! I could have read about 10 times that much about it.

    I want to know about twin DYNAMICS. Like, is Edward closer to his TWIN, or to the other boys? Do you think twins born as MIDDLE children are less twin-y than only twins or oldest twins?

  9. Alice

    oh my LORD, most of my friends who have had just ONE baby at a time had smaller babies than you, and you had TWO OF THEM IN. AT ONCE. you are part superhuman, yes?

    also, i am not pregnant, have never been pregnant, amd not close to being pregnant etc etc and yet i am ENTHRALLED with any/all pregnancy or birth stories.

  10. TheGoriWife

    How did Paul find out/react? And when did you find out about they were boy-girl twins, and how did you react to that. Plus, I second Sahara and Tess’s questions too.

  11. Lawyerish

    Oh, this was so fun to read about! I’ve had two close friends have twin pregnancies (and wildly different experiences), and I salute anyone who carries more than one baby in their body. I know how uncomfortable I am now with one (and I think my pregnancy has actually been really easy, and still is compared to many others), and reading about how you felt with two just made my insides HURT. You’re a hero!

    Also, OMG, SUCH CUTE NEWBORNS.

  12. Anonymous

    PLEASE SHARE MORE TWIN STORIES – I AM MESMERIZED AND FASCINATED.

    I am so proud of how much they weighed, and how perfect they are! You go girl – inspirational.

    Please share more!!!!

    ~Jenny in MD

  13. d e v a n

    Love this post. :) They look SO much like themselves in those baby pictures. YOu can totally tell it’s them! SO cute.
    You are The Woman for carrying around almost 16 lbs of baby! Holy moly.

  14. Jess

    This post makes me REALLY happy. I love that photo of you SO PREGNANT. But I have a question. Do twins run in either of your families? Or were they just a total surprise?

  15. TJ

    WOW!

    You are like the KING of carrying twins! For so long and so big! I am totally appreciating how trying the pregnancy was, but I hope you made your husband call you “Champ” for some time afterwards.

    Because come on! Wow!

  16. Alicia @ bethsix

    That description of your discomfort is just the EXACT description I would give of my singleton pregnancies. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the discomfort of pregnancy described so perfectly. Down to the cold ribs! Shudder.

  17. Nellyru

    You know something? You don’t look bad in that picture! That tummy is BIG, yes-and OMG, I’m also thinking you are super human carrying around both those big babes in you-but the rest of you looks good! Look! There’s some definition in your forearm! If I’d have been carrying TWO big babies around, my arms with have been giant undulating waterbags. Like, with no wrists and huge sausages for fingers. Which may have been what happened to me with one baby…
    Anyway! I’m going to add to the list of folks who would be happy to read and read and read WAY MORE! Like, did the nasty ultrasound tech change her tune at all when she knew she was going to be the one to tell you something exciting? And Paul? Did he hyperventilate? Scream? Go silent? And did you go out and buy a lottery ticket that day, too? =)

  18. Eleanor Q.

    Agreed, this could be 8x longer and I would still read every word. Here’s what I’m still wondering: How were the early days (months) different with the twins than it was when William was born? How did you have to adapt your “bringing home baby/dealing with an older child” plan to the twins? How did you feed them? Did you schedule like crazy? Do you think the twins are closer to each other than their other siblings? Do you think that being a boy/girl set takes away some of the difficulty of establishing ones own identity that some twins have or does it not matter? Did you feel awesome when annoying strangeers would say “must be twins” and then you could retort “actually, it is.”

  19. Jodi

    I second the TOO SHORT! part. Tell us about the birth and how life was with twins.

    And I cannot how big they were! Good job momma!

  20. Party of 5

    Good God. I have pride in birthing my 9lb. baby girl naturally. Can’t imagine the PRIDE you feel in knowing you carried both of them and birthed them both.

  21. Shelly

    Oh wow! I totally could have read four more pages of this story! Oh, they were beautiful babies! And so big! How wonderful. I do want twins, in the worst way.

    *happy sigh*

  22. Omaha Mama

    I love this post! The pictures are so great. The last one made me want to weep a little. They are just so precious (and are so big now!). I’ve been reading since you were pregnant with Henry and feel a little stalkerish with how much I “know” you. Thanks for sharing your twins story.

  23. Merrily Down the Stream

    Those are some full grown ones! You were singing my song sister – the old human bod is not really built for carrying two. My pregnancy was insanely uncomfortable (to put it mildy). And mine were only 6lb 8oz and 5lb 3oz! And now I cannot imagine only having one of them around. They are divine – as are yours.

  24. Nicole

    HOLY SMOKES THOSE ARE BIG BABIES!

    Why, oh why, do people say such weird things to pregnant women – stories about death and miscarriage and stillbirth – especially to women with “higher risk” pregnancies. There should be a damn law.

  25. Jen

    Cold ribs! Holy cow, if I had read that a few weeks ago I would have been totally confused by that statement. Now I’m 32 weeks pregnant with twins and I 100% get the cold ribs phenomenon. It’s so terrible on my left side, it’s like a burning, frostbitten type of cold. When I lay on my left side the pain is so bad after five minutes that I have to move. I never had anything like this the first two pregnancies so this is a fun new discovery.

  26. Erin

    OH WOW. This was such an awesome post. And that pic of the baby twins! EEEE!

    The thought of having THAT MUCH baby inside me makes me HURT.

  27. Jessica

    Do not apologize for posting about pregnangy! I love to talk pregnancy and birth! Now I want to hear the birth story. And I know you’re a C-sectioner, so I’d like to hear your birth history as well. Were you always a C-sectioner?

    And how was life with newborn twins? I had never wished for twins until this current pregnancy which I plan to be my last. I thought that it would be “more kids, less pregnancy”. But I also kind of feel like in reality, having twin newborns mught be kind of nightmarish, when I remember the hard, hard emotionally taxing days (and nights) of just one newborn.

  28. Kim

    Swistle – yes please, more story please! I’ve had a horrendous week, and it’s only Wednesday. I LOVE coming to your blog because you always cheer me up. Your tum was big, indeed! Very sweet photos of you, the ultrasounds, and the babies. Loved your post and can’t wait to hear more. Thanks.

  29. Swistle's mom

    I’ll never forget the fun of getting the call from Swistle telling me there were two. I was teaching school; Swistle never called me during class, but that day she did. So I picked up, a little anxious … to get the news that there were TWO babies! Even five years later, I’m still suddenly struck from time to time with a feeling of disbelief: HOW can there be TWO of them? (And if I do say so myself, they’re mighty cute!)

  30. Debbie

    Wow…My singleton, full term, healthy babies both weighed 6’13…you had TWO babies OVER SIX POUNDS in your belly. You are the Queen of Pregnancy.

    Seriously, there should be some sort of award for that pregnancy. And not “oh, two healthy sweet babies” kind of award. I’m talking daily massages, chocolate on demand and a red wine fountain kind of award.

  31. Penny

    I could have read MORE. That picture of you pregnant at 38.5 weeks, for me, was even more telling then all the words about the uncomfortableness. Oy.

  32. Brooke

    Holy cow, I’m so impressed! You had two full-size babies! I thought twins were, you know, mostly 75% the size of regular babies so there was room! My kids were only 7 and 12 oz bigger than Elizabeth. You’re cool.

  33. The New Girl

    I LOVE that story! And the pictures! And the fact that I’ll never have to be that kind of uncomfortable because I’m NEVER having another baby!

    Oh, wait. This is about you and your babies.

    How EXCITING to find out there were two. I love that it was while you were having an ultrasound, so you could see them right away.

    I also love the picture of them busting out of their swaddles together. SU-WHEEEET.

  34. CraezieLady

    Ok, totally unrelated and somewhat belated, but my three year old was looking over my shoulder as I was reading this post just now (found your blog through blognosh), and she looked at the before and after pics, and said “I wanna see the babies coming out!” Just thought you’d get a laugh out of that. Great blog!

  35. Anonymous

    OH NO! I just found out I am pregnant with twins, still very early. Your memories make me a little nervous!

Comments are closed.