There are many emotions that come with the discovery that you are expecting multiples. This is added to the expectations of family, the people around you and health care professionals.
It may be that it was a spontaneous conception and suddenly that positive pregnancy test has taken you from the joy of one baby to two, three or more.
It may be that you’ve had an assisted conception and the possibility of multiples was always there, ie you had more than one embryo implanted.
It may, in a rarer instance, be something that you’ve discovered late in pregnancy, that hidden twin/triplet that suddenly can’t hide anymore.
How did you first feel on hearing the news? Did you laugh? Cry? Shriek with delight? Or did you go silent, as shock ripped through your body?
It’s hard to say what any individual will feel when they hear it’s multiples. It’s hard to know how any individual will feel on hearing that they are pregnant. So much will depend on whether the pregnancy was planned, accidental or much longed and waited for. There is no right or wrong emotion. There can’t be. We none of us are generic beings.
I first heard that I was expecting twins at the eleven week scan. Now, I had twins in my family, every other generation, but always assumed that my child free sister would be the one who had twins. Turns out it was me, the mother of three. From three to five in one easy movement. My cousin had driven me to the hospital. She was going in for her final antenatal appointment before the birth of her fourth baby. The sonographer seemed to be taking time over my scan. I wasn’t unduly worried, but I did notice it was taking longer than the scans that I had had with my first babies. Then her face changed and I was immediately alert to it, but had no time for worry to land before she turned the screen around with the words “There they are!”. Nervous, semi hysterical laughter came from within me. I left her room and went upstairs for a quick antenatal with the midwife. I was clutching my scan photos when my cousin saw me. Her face flooded with worry as she approached and asked me if everything was okay. I hadn’t realised that I had lost several shades of colour and looked totally shocked. It was all I could do to hand her the scan photos. She looked them over and then we both screamed. “TWINS!!!”. The entire department ran out to see what the screaming was about.
Of course, I’d always wanted four children, but had put that idea on pause. There was the expense and space issue to consider. The third baby was already a bonus, having ignored the contraception. She was meant to be on this planet. Discovering that number four came with a bonus sibling was quite a shock. Strangely I didn’t carry the two babies any larger than I had carried the previous three singletons. I was finally able to answer the questions in the affirmative, “Yes. It’s twins!”
Was I ready for twins? I thought so. I mean, how hard could it be after having had three. Just two, right? What I wasn’t initially prepared for was the barrage of commentary that came along with the pregnancy. The questions ranged from the personal – “How did you get pregnant with twins?”, “Did you know it was going to be twins?” to the frankly ridiculous post birth questions “Which one is the evil twin?”, “That one’s bigger than the other. They can’t be twins.”
Then there were the constant hospital appointments. I hadn’t realised that I would have to practically move in. The number of scans went up exponentially, the antenatal checks, etc. I was fortunate that I had a consultant that was happy for me to have a vaginal birth. I meet so many people expecting multiples that have been told a caesarean was the only option, or certainly the preferred option.
So many thoughts went through my mind. Where would I put them? How could I afford them? How would I feed them? How do I explain that it’s not just one potential brother or sister to the older children? How would I manage the sickness? (I was not one of those twin mums who didn’t have a day of sickness. I had hyperemisis.) There were times when I felt I was in a whirlwind of thought.
Emotionally, I’m not sure that I was ever truly ready emotionally. I didn’t doubt my capacity to love more babies. I think that I pretty much had the first three covered and with each of them, realised that the heart stretches and expands without loss to the ones who had come before. I think, for me, after the shock of finding out, I had a building excitement. Two babies. At the same time. Bloody hell!