We gave quite a bit of thought into whether we should add to our family again, with three fairly young children already. One of the reasons why we decided to “go for it” was the fact that my previous pregnancies have been fairly uneventful. I worked full-time until the very end and gave birth to big, healthy babies that came home with me two days later. At 30 weeks pregnant with twins, I’ve learned quite a few lessons, including that you should never, ever assume you can predict the future.
Twin pregnancy is no joke. I won’t belabor you with my many physical complaints, but will say that it’s making my singleton pregnancies pale in comparison. In retrospect, I should have known something was up when the first trimester fatigue seemed to be twice as bad as before. Then, it felt like I jumped directly to the third trimester, without enjoying the “honeymoon” phase of the second trimester. And now, the challenges that increased from week to week in prior pregnancies, seem to be increasing from day to day. This “double blessing” is forcing me to grow in new ways, and I’m not just talking about my midsection (although it is getting pretty big).
You Have To Be Ready For The Unexpected
Everyone wants to talk about whether we were shocked to find out about the twins. Well, yes, we were very shocked. I’ve been telling them all about how, in reading pregnancy books during my other pregnancies, I literally skipped over any and all sections of the books dealing with multiples. Twins do not run in our family and we (fortunately) did not require any sort of special procedures. In my mind, those were the two factors that usually correlated with twin pregnancy. Of course, if I had actually read those other sections of the books, I would have learned that your chance of twin pregnancy goes up with age (turning 35 this year) and with subsequent pregnancies (fourth pregnancy). Well . . . now I know!
We all make plans and that’s a good thing, but you need to build some flexibility into your road-map for the future. Otherwise, small deviations can feel like disasters. We thought we had it all figured out, including the decision to have one more child. We assumed that everything would be the same, we wouldn’t need anything new, and there would be no complications. Now, it seems like every day comes with a new issue to consider.
Don’t worry – we’re still planning on an early semi-retirement. However, this experience is teaching us to be a little more cautious and not to discount the value of incorporating different options in our plans.
Procrastination Is Dangerous
Twin moms tend to offer this advice about pregnancy: “You’re fine, until you’re not.” Everything is accelerated and exacerbated in twin pregnancies. The physical difficulties come on quicker, babies tend to be born sooner, and there is more potential for complications.
I suffer from chronic procrastination issues, tending to need an impending deadline to kick-start me into focusing on a given project. Now, combine this with the fact that my doctor is going to take me out of work very soon. I’m in a very bad situation right now. The time I have left is being decreased from approximately six weeks, to two weeks. There is so much that still needs to be done. Who would have thought, the thing that will finally make me face my issues with procrastination is being pregnant with twins? And I’m not even mentioning the lack of baby preparation or that we have no names picked out.
Learning To Admit Weakness
My stubborn and independent nature is being tested in a big way. I loathe admitting an inability to do things for myself. It’s nice to be catered to once in a while, but it is no fun to feel like a burden all of the time. Mr. Smith has been awesome with helping out and encouraging me to take it easy, but it’s still so frustrating to watch everyone “pick up slack” for me. I’m still working on this issue.
People Are Uncomfortable With The Abnormal
Everyone is shocked by the fact that we are going to have five children. It’s just not “normal.” They cannot understand why we decided to have a fourth child, let alone how we are possibly going to manage so many young children. I can go into long explanations of how we have such small families and always wanted to build something bigger, but they have nothing to say in response. They just don’t understand why we would stray from the standard path.
I believe that this experience is providing a bit of a preview of what is to come when we semi-retire in the near future. It’s actually an encouraging lesson. I’ve learned that I really don’t care whether people are uncomfortable with our choices. I’m gradually feeling less of a need to explain the rationale and just move on, confident that we’re making the best decisions for us.
Find Your Tribe
I love my personal finance blogger friends, but have to apologize for not being so active in our “community” recently. You need support from different types of people during different phases of your life. Lately, I’ve found myself drawn to pregnancy forums. We commiserate about the struggles, strategize about things like feeding and sleeping schedules, and share our experiences with childbirth. My blogger friends remain so supportive and I thank them for that, but right now it’s hard to just focus on personal finance.
Let It Go
I can’t do it all – no one can do it all. I tend to be proud of my ability to juggle a lot of balls, but you have to reevaluate priorities when you start dropping things.
I am usually the one who picks out clothes for the kids. Lately, I’ve surrendered to letting them pick out their own outfits in the morning. There have been some very interesting fashion statements coming out of this house! This is just one example of the little things I’ve had to let go of in the past month or so.
As the breadwinner of our home, I have always worked full-time up until delivery. This “high risk” twin pregnancy is giving me the option to go out early and collect disability. I feel insanely fortunate to be able to rest up and prepare for the birth of the twins, while collecting partial pay. I like to think of myself as pretty tough, but this pregnancy is just getting to be too much. Yes, full pay would be better for getting rid of our debt, but I need these babies to keep on growing. One of my biggest concerns right now is that they will come too early and have to spend weeks in NICU hooked up to tiny tubes and wires. Money isn’t everything.
I’m A Rockstar
While I definitely don’t feel like a Rockstar right now, everyone keeps telling me how awesome it is that I’ve continued to do so much, for so long, while carrying twins. I’m guessing it probably will feel like quite an accomplishment once the babies are here.
But, if I’m a Rockstar, then so is Mr. Smith. I would not have survived this far without all of his help and support, including midnight runs to the store for coconut cream pie.
Readers: This is how special you are: I never, ever share belly photos during pregnancy. However, this is an anonymous blog and some of you may be curious . . . so, this is what it looks like to be 30 weeks pregnant with twins. To be honest, I am absolutely terrified that there are still six to eight weeks left.
It looks like I will be wrapping things up at work in the next few weeks. Then, I hope you’ll stay tuned while we not-so-patiently wait to meet the twins!