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Well, as I posted on Facebook, the babies face eviction on the 15th, unless they are prepared to vacate the premises on their own before such time.

And under other thinly veiled euphemisms, unless I go into labor on my own before next Thursday, I’m being induced then. 

I have mixed feelings about this.  While it’s kind of a relief (albeit unnatural) to have a deadline, a timeline, a birthdate (practically, though it could happen Friday if this takes a while, or Wednesday if the Pitocin drip is feeling frisky), and a plan, it feels like we’re jumping the gun and subverting Mother Nature.

If full-term for twins is 37 weeks, and average gestation is 35 weeks, then they can be born now anytime.  It’s not their health or development that is concerning me.  For goodness sake, I’ll be 38 weeks tomorrow, which is pretty much full-term (38-42 weeks is the range, actually) for a singleton pregnancy.  That’s not my worry at all, and that, of course is what’s most important — having two healthy babies.  By all signs, that’s what they’ll be.  I’ve witnessed fetal breathing (practicing for the real thing), and seen numerous ultrasounds.  I’ve felt thousands of kicks, and seen them recorded during non-stress tests.  My babies are within normal range for weight.  Today they were estimated at 6lb 5oz and 6lb 9oz, respectively.  And I’m shocked I can still walk around.  All this is very, very good.

No, what worries me, is a loss of control, a loss of a plan, ironic, really, when we have a scheduled induction of labor.  Much as I’m not the type of person to go to a birth center or even dream of  a homebirth, I worry about jumping into medical interventions when there doesn’t seem to be a need.  I’m upset that continuous fetal monitoring will ruin my plans to walk my way through contractions, that I’ll be confined to the hospital bed, and so miserable I’ll jump at the chance for an epidural, rather than taking the wait-and-see approach I’d planned on.  I worry about the cascade of medical interventions.  I worry about causing fetal distress from inducing labor before the babies tell us they’re ready.  I’m worried that the increased risk of a C-section will ruin my plans for a vaginal birth. 

Sure, I’ve done too much Googling, and not enough talking with my doctor directly.  Of course, she’s on vacation until next Thursday, so I’d have to talk to some other doc at her practice and try to get him to explain her clinical judgment that lead her to decide inducing labor was the best choice.  I should have asked her about risks and benefits when I had the chance.  And I’m not thrilled that I haven’t found any clinical studies or journal articles that indicate that a multiple pregnancy is a reason to induce.  I don’t have any other indicators — pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, threats to maternal well-being, babies not growing inside me, threats to their health, lack of access to medical facilities, being more than 2 weeks beyond my due date — so why?  I should have asked, eh?  I guess it all just made sense in the moment, or at least I made it up to convince myself that if I went to 40 weeks, they might get too big and make delivery more difficult.  Is that true?  Or did I make it up completely?

As any good mother-to-be who has an abstract-sequential personality, I have a list of pros and cons. 

Pros:

  • My family can actually plan a time to be here. 
  • My sister can start her 16 hour drive from St. Louis, and won’t miss more than one class. 
  • My mother-in-law can put in for time off before the frantic phone-call. 
  • My parents can make a hotel reservation. 
  • The 15th is my late grandfather’s birthday. 
  • It’s as far from Christmas as can be, given our Dec. 24th due date. 
  • The babies will (hopefully) be home with us in time for Chanukah, so they can wear the “My First Chanukah” bibs my crazy aunt sent (just kidding about that last part). 
  • I won’t have to worry about a skeletal hospital staffing near the Christmas holiday. 
  • I can work up until the last few days before the Holiday break, and I’ll only miss 2 days of work, days dedicated to packing up and moving from our old building to the new school (work a pregnant lady oughtn’t do anyway). 
  • We can plan dog care. 
  • We can go to the hospital after rush hour, with our bags packed, and hopefully in a lower panic mode, sans regular contractions. 

And then there are the cons:

  • I’ll be on continuous fetal monitoring, and, lacking telemetry, be restricted to finding laboring positions a hospital bed will allow.
  • Contractions won’t be “natural” and are rumored to be stronger when induced with Pitocin.
  • Inducing might not actually work. 
  • It can take a long time.
  • I don’t get to have the realization that I’m in labor, and the opportunity to labor at home comfortably during the early phases.
  • Increased risk of C-section.
  • Increased risk of additional medical interventions.
  • I won’t get to walk around, not even in my room.
  • I’ll never know how long I could have naturally maintained this complication-free, miraculous pregnancy. 

I mean, come on!  Who else can boast a nearly full-term twin pregnancy with a net weight gain of only 25lbs, and babies estimated to weigh over 6lbs each?  Without any morning sickness?  Not on bed rest?  Still able to drive and walk dogs and craft and only having edema in her last week (and still wearing my wedding band)?  Without wretched mood swings that drove her husband nuts? I must say, I have had a pretty awesome pregnancy.  I just wonder how it would have ended, had we given it the chance to end naturally.  And that’s part of my confusion, too. 

When it’s all over and done with, God willing we’ll have two healthy, beautiful, brilliant babies, I’ll miraculously get my figure back, lose the eight thousand stretch marks I’ve incurred over the last 6 weeks, and my dearest husband and I will have a family that all sleeps through the night.  That, of course, is the end goal, one I must not lose sight of, even as I prepare for the end of the pregnancy, and the labor and delivery that will mark the beginning of our little famly.

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Let me go on record as saying that while I am approaching that phase most women reach late in their pregnancies where I am kind of sick of looking like a Volkswagen Beetle and feeling like Humpty Dumpty, I have rather enjoyed being pregnant.
I hesitate to apply the word “blessed” to my easy pregnancy as I think some might attribute this “blessing” to other-worldly factors, or divine intervention, but I have been fortunate, extremely fortunate.  Far from my initial (okay, pervading) worries about the inherently high-risk nature of a twin pregnancy, or the looming threat of pre-term labor and/or months of bed rest, the actual pregnancy has been remarkably, well, unremarkable.
I have been spared many of the statistically and stereotypically common ailments and complaints, or at least the annoyances have been late in coming, minor, or easy to cope with.  Morning sickness?  Twice I think I felt slightly queasy.   If anything, not having morning sickness caused me to worry, as I was paranoid I had miscarried, or in disbelief that, after 18 months of trying, I actually was truly pregnant.  Yet the distinct lack of heaving and vomiting let me keep the first trimester a secret from work and family.  Cravings?  I remember feeling constantly thirsty during the first trimester, and craving juicy fruits, but luckily I was kept flush with my need throughout the spring and summer as peaches and watermelon came into season and were ever-present in our home.  My husband was spared the midnight run to the grocery store for pickles and rocky road ice cream.  Swelling?  I’m at 36 weeks with twins, and still wearing my wedding bands.  I still have ankles, even if I can’t see them.  Stretch marks?  My first appeared around 32 weeks, and I’ll admit, my lower belly is now covered in deep red ridges like magma flowing from a volcano.  They itch all night long, no matter how much baby oil and cream I slather over them, but at least I was spared these ghastly disfigurements until 32 weeks.  Hemorrhoids?  Never heard of ’em.  Constipation?  Just drink more water.  Trouble sleeping?  Once my belly became large enough to need “support” I found a pregnancy support pillow called a “Snoogle” and it has been my sleep partner from month 4 till month 8.  Only recently has sleep become evasive again.
The point here is not to catalog a list of woes, or to minimize the difficulties others have had throughout their pregnancies; it is only to demonstrate how fortunate I have been to have such an uneventful twin pregnancy, thus far.
When I began feeling the babies kicking around 22 weeks, I suddenly became one of those pregnant women resting her hands on her belly.  I am addicted to feeling them squirm and wiggle and kick.  Our nightly kick counts, where I just zone out on the couch and focus on their movements until I have counted ten, are moments of pure self-indulgence.  If I’m this hooked on feeling a little foot in my belly, I wonder how mesmerized I’ll be watching their chests rise and fall while they sleep, or seeing the smiles on their little faces as they fall deep into a milk coma.
Initially, as I said, I kept my pregnancy a secret.  Our previous miscarriage made me afraid to jump the gun telling people, not for fear I would jinx the pregnancy, but because of the pain we had endured having to “untell” our friends and family last time.  I didn’t have to tell, either, because I didn’t show for some time.  Though my doctor warned of the lordosis and back aches many pregnant women develop from leaning back to off-set their growing bellies, I was only able to see that I had a baby bump when I did arch my back.  Even at 4.5 months pregnant, on our trip to Ireland, I was barely showing.  I was almost embarrassed to have a belly, to have something to show for my growing babies.  I’m not accustomed to changes in my body shape, and I was self-conscious as I passed into that “Is she pregnant or just fat?” stage.   I often joked with friends and family who wanted to know how huge I was, that I just looked like I had had a large meal.
Now, however, the enormity of my belly is finally a result of having two nearly formed beings inside, and it’s unavoidable, which has also become fun.  As my belly grows more and more comically oversized, strangers’ attitudes have shifted from polite comments and questions, “Oh, when are you due?  Do you  know if it’s a boy or a girl?” (when it wasn’t obvious I was carrying more than one) to more brazen “Oh, jeez, lady!  When are you due?  Tomorrow?”  I have also received my fair share of inappropriate questions and comments, such as our neighbor who asked if it was okay to call my “chubby”.  And the awkward lady at the grocery store, who, upon hearing we were expecting twins, asked if I’d had something “done”.  My favorite is when people ask if we know the sex, which we have kept a secret so far.  My hubby will usually say, “Why, yes, obviously.  We do know The Sex.”  We’ve taken to telling people who ask if we know what they are, that they are lemurs.  This catches them off guard enough to head off any further probing.
The attention is interesting.  Sometimes people are overly accommodating, opening check-out lines just for me, and freeing up chairs when I’ve made it clear I can, thanks to prenatal yoga, be perfectly comfortable on the floor.  Other times, they wait for me to ask for what I need.  Pregnancy is not a disability, though I do take advantage now of “stork parking” at the Superfresh, and try to minimize the number of trips up and down the steps if I can help it.
I’m 36+ weeks pregnant with twins.  The last growth scan/ultrasound (at nearly 34 weeks) estimated the babies each weighed more than 4.5 lbs, and were within “average” size for singletons.  I’m still working full-time.  I climb 63 stairs each morning to get to my office.  I go to yoga every other week.  I’m still walking our 64lb (though elderly) and 32lb (though spritely) dogs.  I’m still out doing things I love, and I’m very grateful my babies and my body allow me to do so.
We were visiting with one of Mr. Apron’s friends when she brought her 1-year old to town, and she asked if I was enjoying being pregnant.  I modestly replied I didn’t mind so much, as I knew she was not the type to embrace her pregnancy glow, and had probably found the belly burdensome to her daily farmer chores.  While I do confess I’m sick to pieces of maternity clothing (I wax nostalgic about my  pants that stayed up without advanced engineering and the closet full of shirts I haven’t been able to wear in 5 months), and I would love to be able to turn over in bed without a Herculean effort (or sleep on my back!  What luxury), it’s been rather enjoyable.  I’m bonding with the little parasites in my belly, imagining what they’ll look like and who they’ll become.  I’m channeling my excess hormones lovingly crafting clothing for them and decorations for their nursery.  I’m keeping busy researching sleep training, breast pumps, and high chairs.  I’m thrilled to pieces to hear that the cribs and the bedding will be arriving within a week.  The excitement from our friends and family is infectious.
With most of the threat of premature labor behind us, and my bag packed for the hospital, I’m preparing for the final portion of my pregnancy, the part that ends in the doubling of our family and the welcoming of two precious babies into our home and our lives.