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Friday, October 24th, 2014
Remember the couple struggling with infertility whose story went viral after they posted photos of their shocked reaction to finding out they were expecting quadruplets? Who could forget!
If you’ve been following the Gardners’ story — as so many empathetic parents on Facebook now are — you know the family met with a huge challenge this week: Mom-to-be Ashley had to undergo surgery to save her babies after it was discovered that one set of her two sets of twins was suffering from twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, or TTTS. That means that one twin isn’t getting enough blood, and the other is getting too much by way of the placenta they share.
She underwent the surgery on Wednesday, and after a tense wait to find out the results of the surgery through ultrasound, the couple learned that all four hearts were still beating. Dad Tyson posted a YouTube video to update loved ones — and family fans! — with the results.
The duo also posted this message to their Facebook page, which currently has about 156,000 followers:
“God is GOOD! Prayers have been answered!! Miracles continue to take place. ALL the babies survived the surgery, they heard 4 heartbeats today! We want to thank all of you for being part of our miracle!! We don’t know how to say THANK YOU enough!! xoxo”
Ashley’s now about halfway through her pregnancy and on bedrest for the duration.
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Photo courtesy of Facebook
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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
I like to think I have a lot in common with Kate Middleton (ahem). Her first son, Prince George, shares a July 22 birthday with my own twins. Beyond that, she also may have twins on the way!
No, it’s not something the palace has confirmed, of course. And yes, all sorts of false rumors have been swirling about Kate’s pregnancy—even long before she was actually pregnant (both times). But one bit of recent news from across the pond actually has us really wondering.
It turns out that bookmaker William Hill has refused to take any further bets on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge having twins after a throng of first-time betters opened new accounts and heaped cash on 20-to-1 odds for twins. The odds fell steeply to 9-to-1 before Hill called off bets.
“We have had a load of unexpected bets including a large number of new accounts,” Hill spokesman Rupert Adams told the U.K.’s Express. “With any other market, I would say that people know.”
Did you catch that? People might actually already know about a twin pregnancy. I am a gambling gal, and it’s getting to the point where I’d stake some chips on this one!
The Express also cites that the Duchess’s apparent hyperemesis gravidarum (acute morning sickness) is a condition experienced more frequently by women expecting twins. But of course let’s remember that she also had it in her first pregnancy—while carrying a singleton.
It was the 15th century the last time the mother of a future monarch delivered twins in Britain. So if Kate is actually expecting two babies, she may find it hard to relate to people in her sphere. But fear not, Duchess: As the new mother of twins myself, I have two months of experience and can provide you with tons of advice! Text me, sister.
Pregnant? Sign up for our pregnancy newsletters to give you the inside scoop, every step of the way. And don’t forget to like Everything Pregnancy to keep up with the very latest in pregnancy news.
Photo courtesy of Shaun Jeffers/Shutterstock.com
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Monday, July 21st, 2014
As surreal as it is to even write this, I’m officially winding down my pregnancy now, with just days to go until I meet my twins. Since I expect this will be my only pregnancy, it’s with a mix of deep emotions that I experience these final moments. (Emotional?! During pregnancy? Shocker, I know!)
Every pregnancy is completely unique, of course. I felt deep relief to have suffered no nausea or fatigue—no major symptoms at all, really—until I neared my third trimester, which, if I’m being honest, has been physically pretty challenging.
Looking back and surveying the whole journey (and there is truly no better word to describe pregnancy), here’s what I see as among the highlights and lowlights.
What I’ll miss about being pregnant…
The special bonding time with my husband. I wouldn’t trade the five years I spent with my guy before babies for anything in the world. But so special, too, has been our time together as a couple during pregnancy. My heart explodes when I see him beaming as he glances between me and pictures of our future kids on the ultrasound machine at doctors appointments (and I might add he’s never missed a single one). And our European babymoon was probably the most romantic trip we have ever taken together—after filling our passports since our wedding. Yes, there are many unglamorous moments too—here at the end, he’s practically had to serve as my nurse—but the bond we’ve shared through this totally singular time in life has been nothing short of magic.
A real connection with strangers. Yes, pregnancy has provoked a lot of negative attention from people on the street (and I’ll get to that later), but it’s also sparked a few incredible personal connections among random folks I never otherwise would have gotten a chance to meet. Just last week, while cruising Target in my motorized cart, my ginormous belly caught the attention of another twin mom, now expecting a third. It was the most surprisingly fulfilling time I’ve ever spent in a frozen-food aisle, and I learned so much, and was so inspired, by the conversation and guidance. She’s one of several strangers I met in such situations with whom I hope to remain friendly on the flip side!
Some special perks. I have not waited in a bathroom line for months, nor have I had to stand if there was a single chair available in a crowded room. I even got a few inches of extra legroom by way of free economy-cabin upgrade while flying (alas—no first class). When you’re obviously pregnant, you’re a target for little perks like that, and it’s been fun while it lasted!
What I won’t miss about being pregnant…
Acid reflux. Need I say more? Nothing defines “bummer” more than the fact the reflux strikes just as you try to get comfy in bed either. As if a pregnant woman isn’t deserving of her good night’s sleep! Thank you, modern science, for Tums and Zantac.
Physical impairment. I’m a generally fit person—or at least I was. In fact, I’ve written here before about scheduling entire days around gimmicky workouts. But I wasn’t prepared for just how limited my mobility would be during my last trimester of twin pregnancy. (See above: confined to motorized carts!) Now at 37 weeks, I can’t so much as flip over in bed without assistance from hubby, nor stand through a whole shower (thank you, newly remodeled bench seat)—let alone manage a walk in the neighborhood. I’m eager to get back into a fit lifestyle—and I have many fantasies (which I hope will soon become reality) about such things as beach walks with my Bob Revolution Flex Duallie double stroller (which I’m told all the fit parents swear by), or hikes with my kids in front-and-back Ergos!
Negative attention. Many women who have ever been pregnant are quite familiar with the tactless “you’re ready to pop” line of questioning from strangers, or the unwelcome rubbing of the belly. (Seriously, were people raised in barns?) Because I’m carrying multiples, I’ve received, ahem, copious feedback from strangers since about 24 weeks. Yes, my belly is big. And no, pointing it out is not flattery—it makes me feel conspicuous and much worse. For instance, when a cashier tells me I look like I’m going to pop when I’m only at 26 weeks, and my specialist has just undescrored the dangers and my high risk of early delivery, that stranger is playing on my deepest fears, and making me feel like a time bomb when all I wanted was to order a burrito. There was one day in particular when I felt so targeted by so many gawkers, I came home and cried it out, and wrote a list of “what not to say to a woman pregnant with twins” on my personal blog. Then I went out at night for one last errand before the day was done, and the store clerk pretty much went through each verboten item on the list I’d just written, one by one. Finally, she asked when I was due, and then fired off this kicker: “July?! You’ll be absolutely bedridden by then! I hear that’s very depressing.” Yeah, thanks. Cue the waterworks again. I will not miss those entitled invasions of privacy nor the total suspension of decorum.
Now I’d love to hear from you: What were your most and least favorite things about pregnancy?
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Photo courtesy of Alesandra Dubin
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Thursday, June 19th, 2014
I’d heard the term “night nurse” (sometimes called a “baby nurse”) floating around for a while earlier in my twin pregnancy. It sounded luxurious, but I investigated just to be sure. When I found out the going rate was about $35 per hour here in Los Angeles, I balked. In fact, I clearly remember telling my husband, “Oh well! I guess night nurses are just luxuries for celebrities only.”
We took a class at our delivery hospital called “parents-to-be of multiples,” and one of the key takeaways was how essential such help is, and how it’s some of the most important money you can spend. I believe the language the instructor used was, “I’d take a second mortgage if I had to, and it would be worth it.” We heard this sentiment echoed dozens of times throughout the parents of multiples’ groups we joined on Facebook and IRL. I was scared straight. (I also remember thinking how specialized was the advice being given and discussed among the patients at what is well-known to be one of the country’s toniest hospitals. The patient demographic’s ability to make it happen was presumed.)
I resumed my night nurse search, and I learned a lot more about who they are and what they do. For one thing, they are not actually registered nurses (for which you might expect to pay double the above-mentioned going rate). For another, hiring such a person isn’t really just about the luxury of a better night’s sleep—it may be an investment in your entire first year with your children, given the nurse’s experience with sleep- and routine-training. Think about it: With multiples, you may not just feed and hope to go back to sleep for two- to three-hour stretches, because you’re feeding multiple babies in sequence. Your total sleep yield could equal zero without skilled intervention. You’re paying not just for an extra set of hands, but for an expertise that I can only imagine will seem worth its weight in gold in those early first weeks when we are blind and batty with fatigue.
I also learned that it’s possible to find really wonderful night nurses who ask less than the going rate, especially through friend referrals and negotiation. I learned that they offer whole range of personalities and philosophies, including how early and aggressively to sleep train babies. And I learned (the hard way) that you should act fast if you find a night nurse you like and trust. Their world is one of unpredictable scheduling, especially where multiple deliveries are concerned, and they might vanish if another family delivers earlier than expected and snags the chunk of your candidate’s schedule that overlaps your due date. They frequently ask for a week’s deposit to secure that time period, and they include a buffer around your expected date.
By the time we made our decision and wrote our deposit check, we were thrilled to have the reassurance of a night nurse lined up. Yes, we’re dipping into our savings. And yes, the whole thing makes us question every other purchase and defend its importance and its value before pulling the trigger—even for small stuff. And yes, the cost of the five-week commitment we made to her is equivalent to the cost of some of the most extraordinary, far-flung vacations we’ve ever taken. But I think we made the right choice. And I’m hoping it might help us be a little more present—and maybe even be able to have some fun—in those bleary, unsure, and probably terrifying early days.
Are you considering a night nurse?
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Sleeping babies image courtesy of Shutterstock
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Friday, June 13th, 2014
We’ve heard of twins technically being born a year apart, thanks to a holiday delivery. And one of the twin moms in my multiples Facebook group posted that her twins were technically born in separate months, when the calendar page flipped during her delivery. I thought those stories were amazing enough until I saw this week’s news of the twins born 24 days apart. And “wow” is all I can say.
Massachusetts parents Lindalva DaSilva and Ronaldo Anlunes were excitedly expecting twins, slated to arrive this June—but daSilva’s water broke in February, just 24 weeks into her pregnancy. Naturally, she was terrified of losing the babies when the family rushed to Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and doctors scrambled to manage the contractions with drugs, and provide antibiotics and brain- and lung-maturity medication to protect the babies, according to Today.com.
The first twin came on March 2, weighing just one and a half pounds—but he survived, with intensive care to keep him alive. Recognizing the extreme danger to the other twin if he were to be born at the same time, doctors made the exceedingly rare decision to keep him and the placenta inside. It was a move that Tufts chief of maternal-fetal medicine Dr. Sabrina Craigo told Today.com she’d seen maybe only 10 times in her 20 years of practice.
All the family and medical staff could do was wait and monitor the situation while DaSilva remained in the hospital. Her labor didn’t begin again for nearly a month, with the second twin finally arriving on March 26, weighing a full pound more than his brother. By then, he’d cooked for 28 weeks, when babies’ survival chances soar to 90 percent.
Both twins have been in the NICU since their births, but both are now close to seven pounds and are breathing on their own.
It’s an amazing story, and one that surely provides some measure of comfort for multiples moms fearing early delivery—a fear which has plagued me for the duration of my twin pregnancy. Pregnancy and birth may be frustratingly—even terrifyingly—unpredictable, but it’s very reassuring to have modern medicine on our side!
Pregnant? Find out when your baby is likely to make an entrance with our due date calculator. And don’t forget to like Everything Pregnancy on Facebook to keep up with the very latest in pregnancy news and trends!
Image of twins courtesy of Shutterstock
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