Updated: Jun 24
My husband and I met back in 2003 when I was 18 and he was 20. We met through drum corps, which is a bit like professional marching band. He played the trumpet and I was in the colorguard (so cliche I know). We had a long distance relationship for 2 years before I moved from my home country of England to be with him in the USA.
We were married in 2011 and our first son Henry was born on our second wedding anniversary in 2013. When Henry was about to turn 4 we began to, very hesitantly, consider having another child. Honestly, I've never been one of those 'always wanted to be a mother' types of women, and for several years we both agreed Henry would be our only child. But watching him play alone as he grew got the Sarah McLaughlin music ringing in my ears and feeling guilty for how lonely he looked (although in reality he was probably happy as a clam being the spoiled only child). Henry was in fact a complete surprise for us, a one time 'whoops' at a time that the text books say you can't get pregnant... so when it came to actually having to TRY to get pregnant I felt like a newbie.
I bought the ovulation kit, downloaded the app, sent happy thoughts to my womb, the whole nine yards..but after 5 months still nothing. I had decided that if we didn't get pregnant after the 6th month I'd speak to our Dr, but low and behold, the test that month was a weak positive. I felt great for the first 6 weeks but then pretty quickly started to get nauseous and tired, more-so than with my first pregnancy. We were traveling Europe at the time and hadn't been able to visit a Dr, but I felt pretty blah and clothes that I had bought a week into our trip didn't fit me 2 weeks later which was strange for me as I didn't show for several months with my first pregnancy. When we returned to the USA we scheduled an appointment with my OB at which point I was technically 9 weeks pregnant. When she measured my stomach she mentioned that I was measuring around 3 weeks ahead. Honestly, it didn't even enter my mind that there could be more than one...I just thought I was having a massive baby! It was my husband who mentioned the possibility of multiples....and if it had been possible for my stomach to fall out my backside at that moment I think it would have.
Suddenly my head was spinning and everything made sense, the weight gain/worse morning sickness/tiredness. I didn't even need the ultrasound to confirm it because in my heart I already knew the answer. Unfortunately the ultrasound tech had left early that day (isn't that just swell?) so we had to wait until after the weekend to get confirmation, which was of course the longest weekend of my life. Monday rolled around and it took less than 5 seconds with the tech's magic wand to spot those two little nuggets waving back at us. Between my husband and I we pretty much sucked the air right out of the room and took turns alternating between laughing, crying (mostly me) and sitting in stunned silence. Full disclosure - I was pretty devastated. This wasn't in my 'plan'. We couldn't afford two babies, we couldn't travel like we would want to, live how we would want to. I even kept thinking: 'I'm not good at dealing with vomit - how will I ever handle 3 kids with a stomach bug at once'?! All I could think about was all the reasons why this was terrible, how my body would be ruined, how I'd probably be on bedrest, how my hopes of a VBAC were dashed, how it would affect our son to have two siblings instead of one, how we'd need a new car. The list was endless, yet at the same time when they handed me the picture of these two little nuggets inside me I swelled with pride... before returning to floods of tears for several weeks.
Despite having the mental struggle of accepting we were having TWO babies, physically I had an amazing pregnancy. Yes, I got bigger quicker, yes, it was harder to get around, but my blood pressure was great and I had no dilation. We even took Henry to Disney World when I was 6 months pregnant for a last 'only child' hurrah before he would be relegated to diaper fetcher and rattle shaker. I did a lot of sitting on benches while Dad did the rides, but no-one asked me for an autograph thinking I was Pooh Bear so I called it a win. Keeping up with a 4 year old kept me active and I ate a balanced diet with the occasional dairy craving that had my husband scouring the supermarket for my favorite kind of yogurt late at night. With each OB appointment and scan I kept expecting to hear 'bad' news about babies growth or my dilation but thankfully it never came.
I had a c-section scheduled for the first day of my 37th week. I had desperately hoped for a VBAC after a terrible birth experience with Henry, but it was quickly noted that Twin A was breech, and footling breech at that. No amount of bouncing, rolling, icing, or laying on an upwards resting ironing board (yes, yes I did) would get her to turn. I even went to a renowned VBAC friendly Dr in Atlanta who said it was a no. I was disappointed, but at the same time felt a sense of peace and closure that this is just how it was meant to be and I should trust in that. 4 days before my scheduled c-section, at 36 weeks 4 days I drove to pick up my in-laws from Atlanta Airport. They were supposed to fly in the day before but were caught up in the 'Atlanta Airport has no power' debacle of 2017. Within a few minutes of getting them home I began to feel a little queasy and crampy so decided to lay down. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions constantly since around 20 weeks so I was so used to the tightening and on/off aching that I didn't really begin to pay attention until I timed them at 3 minutes apart. I causally told my husband that they were pretty regular and we called the nurse and left a message for her. I didn't want to seem dramatic since my in-laws had literally just walked in the door, but by 6pm I was pushing my husband out the door to the car.
The timing was no doubt part of a greater plan as we were able to leave our son with his Grandparents and head for the hospital. Naturally, Monday evening traffic in Atlanta is insufferable and that night was no different. I didn't want to alarm my husband but I remember looking out at the slow moving billboards wondering how I'd deliver a baby in the back of a 3 door Toyota Yaris. When we got to the hospital I was calm and there seemed to be no rush among the nurses so I rolled with it. It was only when the Dr checked me and with an alarmed look told me I was 5cm dialed and 100% effaced that things started to go into fast forward. I remember lots of lovely nurses moving quickly, getting my epidural, and feeling nervous yet ready to not be pregnant anymore.
Less than 2 hours after walking into the hospital our babies, Verity Rose (6lb) and Owen Adam (5lb 12oz) were born 30 seconds apart. The c-section experience was much calmer this time, I felt more alert, and when it came to it glad that I was having the safest and fastest intervention to deliver the babies. Our daughter had some jaundice and had one night of phototherapy in our room, and our son had 3 days in the NICU until his O2 levels were steady enough to go home. It was hard to not have him in the room with us but 3 days was a nothing compared to what we had prepared ourselves for. Secretly, it was also a little bit of a relief the first 2 days to ease into it with one baby to care for, knowing that he was well looked after in the NICU. We came home December 23rd and Owen came home the next day on December 24th just in time for Christmas.
The pregnancy and birth was easier than I thought it would be. Everyone is different, so if I were to give any advice to expecting Moms, I would say: Prepare yourself for any eventuality, but don't let yourself believe that any of it destined to happen because it may well not. I gained 60lb in my pregnancy with not a single stretch mark, and am probably in better physical shape now than I was before I got pregnant. Many of my fears and worries, although huge at the time, turned out to be a non-issue. We got a bigger car at a great price and we love it. Henry adores his siblings and he's a more caring and thoughtful little boy because of them. Money works itself out. We traveled to Europe TWICE with them this year, at 5 months and 9 months. Yes it was harder, but it was doable, and we did it. I'm passionate about being a positive voice in an understandably daunting multiple birth scenario. I wish I had read more accounts of positive pregnancies and positive outcomes, and truly believed that it could be positive for me too. Our babies are 10 months old now and it has been a wild ride. Don't be hard on yourself, you're learning just as much as your babies are. You won't mentally scar them if they fuss for a minute while you change the others diaper. Try to laugh as often as you can and know that the days are LONG but the years are so short. Ask for help, and TAKE it when it is offered....don't be to proud. You may feel 'babied out' at times but other people love to cuddle babies for awhile so take advantage of it. Don't be ashamed to feel not enough, but know that you are enough, and you will be ok. Find a community of Mothers to lean on for support and try to get out of the house every day even for a 5 minute walk, I promise it helps. So many of my fears about having twins have been dispelled, discounted, diminished. I'm still scared of puke and the day that stomach bug takes hold I may well be a wreck but if nothing else having twins has taught me the significance of the age old manta 'This too shall pass'.
You can follow Rebecca on Instagram @beckzbrighton
Enjoy the beautiful video of her and her family compliments of her husband