Freaking out

I am feeling so anxious about the two embryos, I thought I’d feel better if I shared what I was worrying about.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful, I know lots of women would be so pleased. And most people’s response is “Two for the price of one…”

I’m not even thinking about the practicalities (affording 2 x childcare, and fitting 3 children in our 2 bed flat)

My immediate fear is that we will lose them both. After 7 miscarriages, maybe I was never going to relax, but I did think if I got as far as a viable embryo I’d feel a little confident there would be a baby. Finding it’s two, I feel quite divorced from them, as if I can’t trust they will survive.

One of my closest friends had her singleton daughter born at 24+0, 1lb 10z and I visited her in NICU. I was in tears. She was in hospital for something like 19 weeks. It haunts me. Even though she is doing just fine. I myself was born at 33w and was in hospital for 2 months. The more I think of having baby/ies in hospital long term, the more I freak.

Here in the UK there is a big government campaign for Single Embryo Transfer in IVF. There is a lot of press coverage and stats bandied about. Like the average birthweight of twins is 2.5kg, rather than usual 3.5kg.  50% of twins they say have low birthwieight and suffer long term health problems. The numbers person in me says that statistic must be skewed. But it’s haunting me. And I don’t dare go and research. It’s too raw and terrifying.

I hate hospitals. When I was pregnant with my son, I felt the same. Terrified I’d be ill, and in pain, vulnerable and in the hands of personnel I didn’t know. It comes from handling my mother’s awful death when I was only 21/22.

When pregnant with my son, I had hypnotherapy and arranged an independent midwife. I would have had a homebirth but I had the DVT and was hospitalised for 2 weeks. Then due to the bloodthinners, I had to give birth in hospital. But only she attended me, and I had a beautiful birth.

I thought that’s what would happen again. But when I look into twin birth it’s all induction, caesarian, 2 doctors, 2 midwives, neonatal care teams… policies insisting on continuous fetal monitoring, ARM, epidural. I never expected those things to come with a DE baby. I wouldn’t have signed up for it. I can’t describe the panic it fills me with. With two, it seems so likely.

And coming home.. with DS we coslept, breastfed, I carried him everywhere. What sort of mum can I be to two? How can I do that with two? It will be all new.

I feel so lost and so scared.

My DP is a twin, and he seems so happy it’s two. I feel so ungrateful I’m so scared.

Edited to add: typing that out has helped a bit already.

I can see, firstly, that getting through the viability scan, even with one baby, wasn’t going to be the “home and dry” feeling I hoped. I realise I’d have been freaking out regardless, and finding it hard to bond with the embryo/s. 

The feeling of panic about things medical and fearing a high-tech interventionist birth, was there with my son, and from the same stage. It’s not rational. It’s to do with the trauma I have over hospitals. Admittedly, I know far more now about what can go wrong in pregnancy, thanks mostly to the internet, but I was terrified the first time round. I felt better once I had my midwife. I don’t have to have no control. Even if things don’t go according to plan, I can work things out so I trust the people around me.

Many people have twins, naturally, at term. We can do it too.

Edited again to say:

What do you know. I surf a few other blogs and find both Serenity and Healing Arts are in the same sort of place (though without the twin factor). That does make me feel more normal. 

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~ by drownedgirl on August 29, 2007.

12 Responses to “Freaking out”

  1. I really and truly do understand your anxiety. As I’ve said, I’m not even pg right now and that freaks me out. It is a lot harder, but there is support out there. Here are a few links that have helped me:

    Books on making sure the twins are healthy and have a healthy weight:

    http://www.twinsmagazine.com/tbwhenyou2.html
    The author’s website is here: http://www.drbarbaraluke.com/

    Pictures of bfing twins and co-sleeping positions:
    http://www.karengromada.com/photos/index.htm

    AP Twins: http://members.tripod.com/~breastfeedingtwins/index.html

    In the US, the stats are that 50% of twins are born before 34 weeks. But that means, 50% are born at “term”, too. I think over here in happy c-section land, only 50% are born through c-section. So I’m sure in the UK the stats are lower. You may have to fight more to make sure your docs are not too conservative. But it’s possible to do this the way you want it.

    hugs!!! And in one dicussion with my therapist, I told her I wouldn’t believe I was really going to have a healthy baby until I felt it move. You might have a few more months to go.

  2. Thank you Anita. There was a tool you could use on one of those sites to assess prematurity risk, and I’m not particularly at risk. I know I’m over-reacting. I hope people reading won’t be cross and think I’m an ungrateful cow. I just want to be NORMAL you know? No more loss and sadness here, please.

    And the bf/AP links are reassuring. I know someone who breastfed twins. To be honest, before my son was born, I couldn’t imagine breastfeeding in public, and I used to take a bottle of expressed milk out with me, at first. Later on, it was so easy. I guess breastfeeding twins is the same learning curve all over again.

  3. Try getting in touch with katty at ‘going it alone’ – she had her twins around 38 weeks recently, with no nicu stay and has breastfed both of them successfully until now (they are 5 months). And she is a single mum (she had a maternity nurse for a month or so). She did have a c-section, but I didn’t get the impression she was pressured into it, it just was the right choice given the babies’ positioning. Given this will be the second birth you’ve been through, you may well be able to deliver vaginally, hoping the right baby is the right way up at term.

    Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up for freaking out. It’s perfectly normal given all the losses you’ve been through. just try to hang on to the tiny little part of you which knows that things might, just might, be fine.

  4. XXX HUGS

  5. Thalya, I read her blog, that’s a good idea.

    Thanks for the reassurance everybody.

  6. Of course you’re feeling anxious, scared, freaked out – who wouldn’t?! Wishing you all the best, DG.

  7. Hello,
    1. I don’t know what hospital you are at? But at my london teaching hospital there was absolutely no pressure whatsoever to have a c-section. even though i developed choliostasis in the last few weeks. my babies were both head down and it was assumed i would deliver vaginally. in the end i chose not to, because of 1) the choliostasis and 2) there was apparently some fluid lost in the amniotic sac of twin one. I found the entire pregnancy (apart from the itching at the end with the choliostasis) really not bad at all. I didn’t find the morning sickness bad – just the exhaustion in the first and third trimester. You need to rest a lot. Even if you do have a c-section, it really isn’t so bad. You still get the baby in the end. And if you do go ahead and have a c-section contact me before hand and I shall give you the benfit of my experience…
    2. The hospital will give you extra care becuase you having twins and are forty. this should be reassuring.
    3. your babies are as old as the eggs. that means your risk factors are lower for abnormalities etc.
    4. breast feeding. i have mixed fed since birth… about a quarter to a third of their milk is breast milk. the hospitals WANT you to breast feed. you ahve to keep asking for help and advice. HOWEVER, do not feel presurrised into doing anything you don’t want to. If it all gets too much dont’ feel in the least bit guilty mixed feeding. or even giving up after a few weeks and bottle feeding. honestly. my generation were all bottle fed and we all did fine. I found breast feeding twins really quite easy. very easy. you just need a breast feeding pillow and a LOT OF SUPPORT. your partner wil have to get up in the night to help you, but that’s fine.
    4. look for advice from the TAMBA. your hospital may have a twins group (UCH does and so does st mary’s and i think hammersmith). go along to that. contact as many mothers as you can. contact your local twins club. invaluable advice. also you can get lots of second hand stuff from them. this will save you a lot of money!
    5. I didn’t believe any of it was real until about eighteen weeks. up to that point i sort of held my breath. i couldn’t believe things were going right.
    6. As long as babies are put into a routine, and do things at more or less the same time, they are easy. certainly i do not seem to find motherhood any harder than any of the women in my post natal group – and they have singletons and husbands. in fact, i’d say i find motherhood easier than several of them. once they are in a routine they eat and sleep at the same time and you can get some rest.
    7. hire help at the start. if you can afford it. if you can’t afford a maternity nurse – and they are very expensive, look in to a post natal doula for five hours a day for a few weeks. she will help support you and care for your four year old so you can look after your little ones.
    8. Having two is ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL.
    Really.

  8. I felt so bad after I left all those links—DG, I think you are being COMPLETELY normal in your reaction to this! I had a friend who shouted out F*CK! when her u/s showed twins.

    The anxiety over the pg….the worry over having twins….the guilt over feeing anything but giddy about everything….all completely and utterly normal and what I fully anticipate that I will feel the same way, should I be so lucky to be in your position.

  9. typo: many of them, sorry. about a quarter of the babies feed is bottle milk. the rest is breast milk. i feed six times a day, both at the same time, using a feeding pillow. the baby on the left – weaker breast – gets a supplement, and i swap positions each feed. it was quite hard at first but after a few weeks, became much easier. after three months it became actually easy.

  10. Anita, those links were great. At least I can assume I’ll manage the mummy bit. Noe I am just left to worry about the pregnancy and birth bits!

  11. Warning, assvice ahead. http://barefootand.blogspot.com/ is a really well-written pg-with-ART-twins-after-multiple-miscarriages blog. I also really love http://www.mothering.com which I’m sure has plenty of APing twins stuff on the message boards. Assvice over, sorry!

  12. I can’t really speak to the twins part — though i will say when you feeling overwhelmed, breathe — that usually helps.

    As for the fear — well that is a feeling im on intimate terms with. after two losses — one at 11 weeks and the other at 7 it has been a real struggle to accept and feel any sort of calmness with my pregnancy now. i was in a state of denial — and my husband and i were afraid to actually acknowledge that things we going ok for fear that they wouldn’t. when i went in for my scans i’d start crying on the table out of fear…now, slowly as i go into my 15th week i’m feeling not so afraid — which is not the same as fearless but it’s a calmer place. i have to keep reminding myself that this time things are TOTALLY DIFFERENT because this time we, like you, used donor eggs. suddenly the odds are in our favor — going to get all the other tests — the ones for fetal abnormalities — totally different when the age of the donor is so much younger. i guess this is a long way of saying the fear does subside although, at least for me, it does not totally go away. still i did go and buy maternity clothes yesterday and we have started slowly telling people our news and over the weekend my husband and i had our first conversation about where the baby would sleep…i hope that for you, as things progress your fear will also begin to fade…knock on wood!

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