this pregnancy

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i’ve been growing two tiny humans for the past twenty three weeks, and i am totally awed by the absolute miracle that is happening inside my body. i wanted to jot down some random thoughts and tidbits from this pregnancy to help me remember this incredibly unique, wild, amazing experience.

everything seems to be kicking in earlier than in previous pregnancies – nesting instinct, back pain, heart burn, felt fetal movement, crazy dreams, difficulty sleeping, general discomfort and physically slowing down.

i am sooo lucky to not get sick when i am pregnant, and with twins i’ve felt similar to my previous pregnancies when it comes to nausea – very little, and zero vomit. i do feel incredibly tired and hungry the vast majority of the time, but this has moderated in the second trimester (i think a combination of me getting used to it and it actually subsiding!).

i’ve been able to get in a decent workout most days, and like in my previous pregnancies have loved doing yoga (although with the pandemic my practice has been at home rather than in a studio).

i haven’t had a lot of intense food cravings or aversions, but have had a hard time keeping my body fueled when almost nothing sounds good to eat. in the beginning, bagels with plain cream cheese were my jam, and lately i’ve been really into chicken nuggets and string cheese (both very weird to me). about once a month i get a severe hankering for a good burger (i usually eat pretty much zero red meat, so this is always a bit of a surprise). a friend of mine who had twins a few years ago told me that she was surprised during her twin pregnancy to feel simultaneously very hungry and very full – and i’ve experienced the same peculiar sensation. it feels like a lot of work to keep myself (and the babies!) fed, and sometimes eating feels like a chore, which is so sad to me as a true lover of good food.

i swear i felt some fluttering fetal movement just after we learned we were having twins (at about thirteen weeks). by sixteen weeks the jabs i felt in my body were unmistakably from tiny humans. ian felt the babies move with his hand on my belly for the first time at about eighteen weeks. i learned at the twenty week ultrasound that “twin 1” (our boy baby) has an anterior placenta, which helped explain why i’ve been feeling movement mostly on one side of my belly only.

we are still very much wrapping our heads around the fact that we are having twins. i have had some cool experiences within myself and with god as i’ve tried to embrace this unexpected new reality for my life and my family. the truth is that somewhat regularly i wake up in the morning just aching to have only one baby right now and i have spent lots of evenings lying in bed feeling like my soul is being crushed by the overwhelm of having two babies at once. i’ve waded though lots of anxiety about carrying, birthing, and most of all caring for twins. i’m trying to just allow myself to feel all of this – once i just acknowledge and embrace the emotion i can let it go and focus on the positive. this is a crazy adventure that is going to get really intense, and while sometimes i feel completely not up to the task, i know i will be because i have to be! and i’m learning so, so much along the way. i have faith that these babies will bring our family so much joy and goodness and that the fact that they will come at the same time will strengthen, bond and enrich our family too.

i’ll post some photos from our experience finding out the sexes of the babies soon. we have been hearing and thinking a lot about the great things about having opposite-sex twins. i, of course, am so excited to be having the new experience of mothering a daughter.

we’ve had our hearts set on a girl name since before we got pregnant with moses, so half of our babies will be a cinch to name. the other half is going to be reallllly difficult, as ian and i super struggle to agree on boy names. while our first two children are named for people that are in the bible, we are by no means going for a theme! it’s tricky though because there is a want for all the kids’ names in a family to “go together” well.

we are planning to stay put in our current flat for the foreseeable future – at least until the babies stop sleeping in our bedroom with us (with moses and gabriel, that was around six months old). we have a large-for-london living room and access to a garden square, which is what we really want/need with lots of bodies in a living space, so we’re good to go for a while. we have been moving furniture around and strategizing storage solutions. we are planning to have a family friend come live with us and help out a bit with all the kids in the fall, and we’re so grateful for that! my parents are also hoping to come for several weeks around the arrival of the twins, pending covid-travel-precautions/regulations. it’s gonna be a wild party in this household!

the combination of the isolation and uncertainty of the past few months thanks to the global pandemic + the crazy cocktail of pregnancy hormones that my body has been constantly stewing up has made me feel a bit fragile mentally/emotionally lately. i’ve learned some coping mechanisms and feel like i’m really becoming a stronger person throughout all this. i am really, really irritable sometimes though, haha. and really sad sometimes, too. i have to keep reminding myself that all these emotional experiences are valid and are not my “fault.” it’s just such a crazy time!

ian and i just decided a few days ago to not go to the states this summer. we were considering keeping our planned july trip over the course of the past few months, taking a prolonged wait-and-see approach in our rapidly changing world … but ultimately decided to stay on this side of the pond. a lot of our friends have gone to the usa to see family and enjoy more space in our current virus-driven world, but the combination of things for us just didn’t add up for making the trip. forfeiting being in favourite places, having a change of scenery and spreading out a bit beyond our small flat, and most of all seeing family before this huuuuge transition point in our lives with the birth of our twins has been really painful for me. but we are trying to come up with some alternatives of safer summer adventures that could be healing and good mental/emotional preparation for the big changes ahead.

we’ve been learning a lot about how twin pregnancies and births are managed on the nhs (national health service) here in the uk. we are soooo lucky and happy to be having prenatal appointments with the midwife who attended gabriel’s birth at home (who just happens to now work at our local hospital!). we are hoping to birth the babies with as little medical interventions as possible, while still being totally open to any and all scenarios that may play out to ensure health and safety of me and the twins. i’ve been surprised in my study of twin pregnancies and birth to discover that actually they’re not that markedly different from singleton pregnancies and birth! they’re made out to be really high-risk but (especially in my case, with a history of straightforward pregnancies and twins with their own sacs and placentas) actually they are pretty much the same deal, just with two bodies! i’m soooo grateful that i’ve already given birth and breastfed and cared for a newborn a couple of times before approaching doing all that with two instead of one at at time.

moses and gabriel are so excited about the babies – a brother and a sister! they both like to give my belly two quick kisses – one for each sibling – and to tell people that there are two babies in my belly 🙂 moses is particularly interested in the whole process of pregnancy and often mentions how cool it is that whatever i am eating at that particular moment is going down two cords to feed two babies in addition to me! he was actually super sad when we told him he couldn’t be there when the babies come out. he even asked me if we could have another baby “not like right away, but in a while” so we could have a home birth and he could be there when the baby was born. it hurts my heart sometimes to think about how much attention i’m going to have to take from my boys to care for the twins, but i’m also excited for all four of us to be a baby-caretaking-team.

i’ve never enjoyed an ultrasound more than the twenty week anatomy scan i had a few weeks ago. i just watched in total awe as the sonographer gave me a tour of our perfectly healthy babies. two beating hearts, two hearty brains, four legs and four arms, a couple of stomachs and bladders and pairs of lips, twenty fingers and twenty toes. i just kept saying “wow,” over and over, humbled by the miracle.

i am trying to make adjustments now to prepare for the laser focus and strong self-discipline i know i will need when the babies arrive. there’s a lot of things to get ready physically, but i’m also working to get ready spiritually. i want to become a pure vessel through which two perfect souls can come to earth. it is really hard right now to be motivated – i’m in such a slump from the pandemic lockdown not to mention from the exhaustion of growing two babies. but i’m determined to develop more self-mastery, cut out bad habits, use my time more wisely, and feel peacefully ready (as much as possible!).

this is very likely my last pregnancy, and that makes me so sad. i genuinely love so much about being pregnant, and i love giving birth. so i’m trying to embrace and cherish every day and week.

we love you soooo much already, twin 1 and twin 2!

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12 comments

  1. It’s been many years since my own two “singleton” pregnancies, but your post brought back a flood of very vivid (and joyous and honest) memories. Bless you and your beautiful family!

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  2. Have you seen the tenth season of modern family? I won’t go into details, but I had to think of you (and felt a bit of compassion).

    I think your approach of letting yourself feel the emotion and then getting over it sounds very healthy.

    As for your desire to better yourself before the birth of your twins, I definitely don’t want to discourage you! Good for you, if you can cut out bad habits. I just want to advise you to not be too strict on yourself. If maybe a little too much time on your phone (or whatever that bad habit is) is good for your mental health right now (with so much going on), just do it. You still have a long life to become perfect/better, it doesn’t have to be before the babies are born.

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  3. Congratulations Charity! I’m so glad you’re already planning to get household help
    When the babies are born! Go easy on the self improvement. You’re great, you’re working so hard every day, and and you will be a wonderful mother to all four.

    My favorite moment of my whole life was the moment my older son entered the hospital room and embraced his little brother. I knew cuddled up on my hospital bed with my husband and two boys that we were complete and felt such intense gratitude and peace. Wishing you the same.

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  4. Congratulations Charity to you and your family TWINS are a very exciting addition! You are going to do great and these babies will be a huge blessing and addition to your family.
    My daughter & her husband just had twins a boy & a girl after having one child already. It was crazy hard for them the first couple of months for sure but things are starting to get a bit easier.
    The one piece of furniture that they got for the babies which has helped out immensely and kept their sanity is the SNOO Baby sleeper. You might have already heard of it if not it is something to look into. They are crazy pricey to purchase and I know some places rent them but so incredibly worth it. I wish I would have had them when my children were babies.
    Good luck & God bless!

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  5. A very exciting time for you all.

    Are you going to join TAMBA, or any of the other twin helps? (I can’t think of the right word)

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  6. Congratulations Charity, Ian, Moses and Gabe!

    So exciting – You are going to do great!
    Charity, you will be a wonderful mother to all four.

    Lots of love to you!

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  7. Love that wonderful attitude! This will be the most exhilarating, exasperating, exciting and excellent learning experience of your life so far. You will be magnificent!

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  8. I’m also living across the ocean from my family (I’m in West Africa, they’re in the US) and trying to decide whether to come home for the summer as planned. It’s a tough decision (and all the travel restrictions make it hard to plan anything) so I feel for you guys.

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  9. Oh I love that you are making a record of your pregnancy here! I don’t write enough about my pregnancies…and I should because I really wish my mom had! 😂 So beautiful. I’m expecting just one baby and the exhaustion is real!! Be extra kind to yourself as you are making two!!

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  10. Thanks so much for this post! I am preparing for maternity leave right now (mine will begin in roughly a month) and it was inspiring to read about your preparations for yours. Getting to see how different women think about this sacred time of life is interesting and thought-provoking, and it helps me to orient myself as I enter the precious months ahead. Thank you for sharing openly and honeslty!

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