As a, wife, parent of twin girls AND twin boys and a pediatrician, my perspective of pregnancy, life as a working mother and plans for the future may be a little skewed. I see everything in two’s. Being pregnant and having a baby is a joy and it can also be scary. Being told that you’re having more than one can be even scarier, especially if you have just a little bit of knowledge.
Multiples occur in 3% of all pregnancies with twins being the most common. When carrying two babies the risk of maternal complications rise and prematurity is more prevalent. Higher order multiples occur in much smaller numbers and with even more possibility of complicated pregnancies, risk of prematurity and less chance of survival. In my case, as a pediatrician working full time, co-owner in private practice, considering pregnancy is a very serious one and then to be told that you were having multiples brings in a very different element.
Our journey began after multiple tries to conceive, multiple rounds of Clomid, with the threat of having to go to a fertility specialist if it didn’t take on the 6th cycle. I think my uterus heard the message and on the 6th time around, I was hypersensitive, nauseated almost immediately the day my menstrual cycle was to appear. I guess it was intuition or anticipation, but I literally used 20+ pregnancy sticks (both expensive and non-expensive – a tip one of my MA‘s gave me to prove to myself I was really pregnant), and they were all positive. “Ok…. wow this may really be real” I thought to myself and made an appointment to see my OB. Dr. Gunn came in to the room all grins and excitement as I am sure she does with each one of her successful impregnated patients. We were there for the first ultrasound after the positive pregnancy test and she exclaimed “Avolonne do you see what I see?” All I could do was laugh. She then went on to say “I see two heartbeats”. My husband with such seriousness in his tone of voice (he was already nervous) asked “what’s wrong with THE baby”? Dr. Gunn and I burst into tears laughing and the roller coaster began from there.
Sometimes with pregnancies, complications occur, and at about 12 weeks I had some bleeding. We went in for an ultrasound and they noted that there was a third sac, a blighted ovum. It was the triplet that failed to develop (and God knew that we would not be able to handle). We were still joyful even with the loss of one. We still had our “punkin” and “dunkin” (our new nicknames for the twins). I know I had to be very cautious and took about a week off of work for bed rest then went back feeling much better. Getting out of the first trimester of a pregnancy is a great feeling for any mother, but for a mother who has complications, I think cartwheels are in order, although that might be contraindicated! I was just thankful my little ones were still doing well and I was still upright and not on bed rest.
This is the first in a series of articles by Dr. Avolonne Kimble, describing her personal experiences with multiple births. Dr. Avolonne Kimble is a UTMB Pediatrician at The Children’s Clinic of Clear Lake, Webster.