This series is all about sharing stories of moms with multiples of all ages, including in utero! Melissa and I did this interview back in March when she was 35 weeks pregnant with twins and I knew it would be such a relatable read for those of you currently expecting, a nostalgic read for those of us with babies and (hopefully) a happy read for her now (probably at 3am – when she does most of her reading). You will instantly see how lovely and honest she is about her experience and how she acknowledges her anxiety while honouring herself (I have to say she is handling motherhood with the same strength and humour). Let’s all get to know a little bit more about Melissa!
Q: What is your favourite thing to do on the weekend?
A: Lazy sleep-in, cook breakfast with my husband, slow wander around our neighbourhood in the sunshine.
Q: What was the last event you bought a ticket and went to?
A: I’m going to the symphony tonight, wearing my running shoes (the only shoes that fit) and hoping I can fit into the chair! (I think we both know there’s a 90% chance I’ll fall asleep at some point, too.)
Q: What is your ideal alone time activity?
A: Reading, sipping tea, making something with my hands.
About THE BUMP
Q: When are you due?
A: 40 weeks would be April 15th. But with twins, I suppose I am due any minute now. (K’s note: Melissa delivered two beautiful girls on March 26th)
Q: How did you find out you were having twins?
A: I found out really early. My husband and I were in NYC when I was about seven weeks pregnant and I had developed some bad cramping and bleeding while there. We went to emergency and the doctor did an ultrasound. We saw one baby on the screen, were told everything was fine, but to follow up with our doctor at home. So, back in Toronto a few days later, my doctor sent me for an ultrasound, just to be sure things were okay. The technician kept a strained look on her face throughout, and started asking me questions, like, “was this a natural pregnancy?” and “are you a drug user?”. I got worried. Eventually she left the room and told me to “hang on one minute, I need to see the doctor.” When she came back I asked her if everything was okay, could she see a heartbeat? She said yes, and then offered to show me. “There is the heartbeat!” she said and I saw the light flickering on the screen. Relief. Then she slid the ultrasound receiver over a few inches and said, “And there is the other heartbeat. Two heartbeats.” I nearly collapsed on the table. After confirming that I wasn’t in fact having one baby with two hearts, but two babies, I phoned my husband and told him the news while I was waiting for the elevator. I don’t think he spoke to me that whole night. Needless to say, both of us were totally in shock and needed time to process the news. (We’re good now.)
Q: What was the general reaction from your partner/your family and friends?
A: I read somewhere that a common reaction to finding out you’re having twins is grieving the experience you thought you were going to have when you found out your were pregnant. This really resonated with me. Obviously, we’re extremely grateful, but it’s a big game-changer in so many ways. We spent a fair amount of time in shock. Responses of family and friends are like I imagine they would be if we told them we were getting a pet unicorn. Twins seem to be magical creatures for so many people.
Q: Are you sharing the gender of the babies with anyone?
A: We don’t know gender. We will meet them soon and let you know! (K’s note: GIRLS)
Q: Is pregnancy different than you expected?
A: It is, but I’m not sure how much of that has to do with pregnancy itself, or the particular strains of being pregnant with multiples. I felt great up until about 25 weeks. Now that I’m 35 weeks, I can’t use my hands (carpal tunnel and supreme swelling), I can only fit into extra wide Nike running shoes (attractive with a dress!) and am sleeping about an hour and a half per night. Who knows if the experience would be different if there was just one baby in there, but despite all of that, and just between you and me I do confess to seeing women at my doctor’s appointments with their streamlined bumps, or pushing their single stroller around my neighbourhood, and feeling a little bit superior for just a minute. But I’ll never admit to it.
Q: In what ways have you been dealing with the ups and downs of pregnancy?
A: I think I’m pretty good at looking after myself. I stopped working at 30 weeks and went on short-term disability, thanks for the forward-thinking and support of my doctor. This has allowed me to calmly and slowly prepare for the babes at a much more reasonable pace, and find moments to put up my feet and rest. I’ve made it now to 36 weeks and I don’t doubt it has to do with having that time off. I celebrate the days I’m feeling energetic and uplifted. I plan one outing a day. I nap a lot, and try not to be hard on myself if the kitchen is messy, or not everything on my to-do list has gotten done.
Q: Have you found surprising moments of calm and/or anxiety during this pregnancy?
A: I feel calm when I feel the babies squirming. I try to manage my anxiety – at first I was nervous about pre-term labour, but tried to combat those worries with positive thinking, staying healthy and educating myself.
Q: What was the funniest/most ridiculous reason you have cried?
A: My mum brought a tray of sandwiches over for lunch one day. I was in a bad mood and not at my best. We ate them, then she left and I was immediately overcome by guilt about how I didn’t show her my gratitude for the sandwiches and tears ensued.
Q: What classes/courses are you taking?
A: We took a pre-natal class for parents of multiples and were the only ones in the room. We’ve also tapped into our local parents of multiples support group (in our case, TPOMBA) and gone to a couple of their events. POMs seem to be a wealth of information and so eager to help in any way. We also have a doula who has been great, supportive, informative and a good reminder of non-medical perspectives on birth choices (which I found were often presented as ‘off the table’ with a multiple, or high-risk pregnancy).
Q: What is the most helpful thing someone has said to you?
A: My doula tells me regularly that “you are your own keeper,” which means something entirely different to me each time she says it. Its important for me to remember when everyone seems to have such strong opinions about everything baby-related.
Q: What is the least helpful thing someone has said to you?
A: “You’re having twins? That’s my worst nightmare.” And not just once! I have gotten this from more than three people!
Q: And Finally: Have you thought of any fabulous Halloween costumes for the twins?
A: Halloween hasn’t even crossed my mind yet – I’m focused on getting these kids out in to the world. I’ll let you know on November 1st.
*Stay tuned for a follow up interview POST babies with Melissa…. like in a few months… when the fog has lifted and she has some time for herself again.*
WE’RE NOT IN THIS ALONE!!
Each month we feature a mom of multiples and share how they handle life and all the unique situations that come with parenthood. Check out previous M.O.M posts here.