Stages of Shock

I'd like you to think that the reason I haven't blogged for over a week is because I've been so busy with the Thanksgiving holiday and assorted other celebratory events. Unfortunately, that's just not true. I haven't written because I've been too consumed with trying to come to terms with the fact that I am carrying twins. At 24 and a half weeks pregnant, I was utterly unprepared for the news and I'm afraid I haven't been handling it well.

I'm not sure if there are "official" stages of emotional shock like there are with grief, but I think my husband and I have run the gamut of emotions at this point. Here is what the last week has held for us:

DISBELIEF
I guess deep down I knew that there was a possibility I could have twins but it just never seemed likely. This pregnancy seemed to mirror my experience with Vivi with the exception that I felt more tired. I was assured that this was common because I was chasing after a 2 and a half year old. Even showing earlier than usual didn't seem to warrant any concern and my size wasn't at all abnormal for a single baby until a few weeks ago. How could so much time pass without even a clue?

RELIEF
After my most recent midwife appointment, I was petrified that I had somehow done something wrong to be so big and that maybe I had endangered our baby. It was a relief to learn that, in fact, I am completely normal size for carrying twins and both babies look great.

ANGER
We feel like we have been duped. My husband, Vivi, and I spent five months bonding with a baby that didn't really exist. Sure the movements were there and so was a heartbeat, but who did those things belong to? Turtle A or Turtle B?

And what about our plans to have a homebirth? Why do I have to go to the hospital now? Isn't anything in my control? I don't want to be delivering a baby in an operating room "just in case" nor do I want to build a relationship with a new practitioner this far into my pregnancy. Plus, since twins tend to come around 38 weeks, we hardly have any time to prepare! I hate that everything has to change and I don't feel like I have a say in any of it. We didn't ask for this.

HELPLESSNESS
If it takes a village to raise one child, how the heck are we going to raise three that are three and under? We don't have family close by and while we have wonderful friends, they all have their own familial responsibilities. We don't know if we can do it. When will we sleep? How on earth am I ever going to leave the house without my husband? How can I manage all this without freaking out and not seriously screw-up my kids?

ACCEPTANCE
This is what we've been given so we've got to deal with it. Maybe it's okay not to know how it's going to work logistically or how we are going to pay for everything. The reality is that I have two in there and we've got to get it together. I am not willing to tempt fate by wishing I was given only one. Besides, it doesn't matter now anyway.

EXCITEMENT
Twins. Wow. That's pretty cool. I guess we don't have to revisit the question of another baby in three years. I can't wait to see what I've got in there.

Comments

  1. Congratulations to you from a mom of 7 1/2 yr old twins! I came to your blog from Snickollet (you said something witty, and I wanted to find out who was writing.) I commented on your previous post, but the post never made it to cyberspace somehow. Anyway, I agree with Snickollet in that you should try to ignore any negative twin pregnancy/birth stories that some people feel complelled to tell you.

    I relied heavily on this great book - When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets, Or Quads: Proven Guidelines for a Healthy Multiple Pregnancy
    By Barbara Luke and Tamara Eberlein. Dr. Luke happened to be practicing in Ann Arbor when I was pregnant, and so I got to go see her as well as read her book. She was great - very supportive and clear. She's researched some important dietary factors which correlate to the health of the babiew. Most of these have to do with increasing your protein intake and gaining weight. It sounds as if you're already a nutrition-conscious person and, from what you've written, you're gaining more than you would for a single baby, so you're on the right track. I guess that problems have arisen in the past when women were encouraged to keep their weight down during pregnancy, and this would cause twins to have problems, along with being born early. Sorry to go on, but the book is great and worth it.

    Also, all of your stages are totally reasonable.

    And finally (for now, since this comment is getting kind of, you know, lengthy) you and your husband are already ahead of the game in one respect, and that's that you've had a kid already with whom to experience First Time Parent Panic, so even though two babies are way more intense, you'll also be more relaxed about the mundane things that throw first-time parents into a frenzy. And Vivi will be a total help in entertaining the babies and maybe even holding them. And one more thing - my husband and I found that at first we often needed three adults to take care of two babies - one for each baby, and one to take care of the two adults. Granted, we were first-time parents, so we frequently didn't know what we were doing, so you might not need or want so much help, but try to get some friends/family/hired help scheduled to be at your house for at least the first couple of weeks.

    All of that being said, twins are a total delight. You'll have so much fun!

    Okay, I'll stop here, but feel free to email me if you have any questions.

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  2. Thanks so much! I really appreciate all your advice and I'll definitely take it. The book sounds great and I've been looking for something like that. (Seems everything I've gotten out of the library so far has been so alarmist!) I feel so lucky that there is such a great collection of parents of multiples on the web to help me figure all this out!

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