Pains of the Twin Third Trimester

I’m closing in on 35 weeks. For most first-time moms, that means five (or even six!) more weeks of baby baking…but for me that means I have three weeks or less to meet my son and daughter. The docs said they’d induce me at 38 weeks if the tots haven’t decided to come out on their own accord. My hope is that at 37 weeks (full-term for twins), they’ll just pop right out, healthy and fully-formed, and start looking for the food.

Though I hear at least once a day, “You don’t even look like you’re having twins,” I feel like I’m having twins. I feel heavy in every sense of the word. I shuffle along the street instead of walk, I moan in pain when I roll over, and I look down to see my feet straining my flip-flop straps, fluffy on top like Pillsbury dinner rolls. Still, I know it could be worse. A twin mom is recommended to gain 45 to 60 pounds during pregnancy, and I’ve gained 45 as of this report. I’m still going to prenatal yoga and pilates, riding my bike, swimming, and taking 3 mile walks, though none of those things are comfortable. In pilates this morning we all had to turn sideways for one of the moves, and in the mirror I compared my silhouette to the other pregnant ladies, some of which are at 39 weeks. No matter what people say, my belly is twice the size of the others, bulging comically like a fully-inflated balloon beneath my shirt. The weight has otherwise kindly decided to evenly distribute itself around my body, but I’m personally aware that my boobs, thighs, and booty have all gone up a few sizes. I’m not too bothered by vanity, though. I’m amazed at how strong my body is to have done what it’s done, and actually excited for what it’s about to do.

That’s right, folks. I am excited to feel my insides ripping themselves into pieces as I push two six-pound bowling balls out of my most sensitive little gateway. (Or whatever it’s going to look like when these kids are born.) I theorize that that’s why they build so much bullshit into the third trimester: to make you desperate for it to end. Otherwise everyone would be too scared to go on to the next step. And to what bullshit am I referring, besides the aforementioned heaviness, slow movement, swollen feet? Well, I’m glad you asked.

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Sorry to do this to you, but these are my feet right now. Not a visible vein or bone.

Third Trimester Misery

For one, I haven’t been able to feel the three middle fingertips on my right hand for a month. No joke. I have ghost fingertips. Typing this sucks (though it’s better than writing with a pen). My hand is asleep, and that’s just normal, apparently. Carpal tunnel is one of the awesome symptoms of having so much blood in your body that it compresses your nerves, rendering your hands floppy and useless. Adding to my floppy uselessness is the fact that my pregnancy brain makes me slow in every sense of the word. Not only can I not form coherent sentences, I also dropped an entire bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats and milk all over the kitchen floor yesterday.

And remember the extreme fatigue I had during the first trimester? Well it’s back. I had to quit all semblance of work after last week because I needed the days free so I could pass out on the couch over and over again. All day and night, I wake up for a few hours, then collapse again for a few. My thirst for sleep cannot be quenched.

One of the reasons I stay sleepy is that I am not just supremely uncomfortable in every position now, I am in real pain.  My lower back aches, my legs cramp, and when I wake up to pee for the fifth time at night, my bones are so out of alignment that it takes an entire ten seconds to consciously will my leg to lift and take a step. It hurts to walk until I really get in motion. I hold onto the backs of chairs and push against the wall just to make it to the toilet. I have recently moved my bed to the couch, so that my tailbone can rest between the cushions, and so that my pillow fort won’t smother Kai. Not to mention, I apparently snore now, which I’ve never had a habit of before. So I’m all alone in the living room with the meowing cat and my tingling numb hand, finally falling asleep until I get a rude awakening during the night from a Braxton-Hicks contraction, which feels like my whole middle is a tube of toothpaste being squeezed. I wonder then if labor is imminent, but the tightening usually passes after a few go-rounds and then dulls to a mild period-style cramp, then goes away.

Needless to say, these symptoms, along with the hormones, affect my mood at times. I feel broke-down and useless. I start crying about it on Kai’s shoulder, or I cry about something else, like how I’m afraid we won’t get to ever spend time together again, or how I feel bad for him since he’s working so hard to make our ends meet and I’m not contributing. Luckily though, it’s not all bad.

Redeeming Qualities of the Third Trimester

-My mood, though prone to occasional big, sad swings, isn’t consistently morose like it was during the first trimester. I’m really looking forward to meeting these little beings, and they move so much, and so dramatically, that I can almost imagine them as real. We also got a 3D ultrasound of the baby boy’s face, and that was startlingly precious and reality-inducing.

-The sex is still good, despite the fact that I can’t see anything that’s happening below my middle.

-So many people have contributed to our stash of baby stuff that I’m starting to actually feel like we have everything we need.

-Kai has come with me to all the classes, and I have a doula at the ready. My doctors are all badass females who are totally supportive of natural birth. The babies are healthy and head-down, and I feel like there’s a good chance that this delivery will happen with minimal stress.

-PREGNANCY IS ALMOST OVER AND I DON’T HAVE TO DO IT EVER AGAIN!

 

 

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My Pregnant Body

“Woo! You’re carryin’ a lot!”
-Man drinking a 40 who cat-called me while I was taking a walk this week.

Yes. It’s undeniable now, even to bums on the street. Things change about my body every day. My belly button is a half-outie now. My nips are the size of silver dollars. I just saw a photo from a year ago and was astonished at the concave waist I never appreciated enough. I wonder how it will feel to be that svelte again? But first, I have the rest of this journey to finish. And on this journey, life is getting slightly inconvenient.

Body Image
Luckily, my face and the rest of my body haven’t changed much (yet?). A dude flirted with me from behind the other day, and when I turned around to quip back, I could see the surprise on his face. He was no longer interested. It’s okay. I feel like a hippopotamus. I only have about seven pairs of pants and seven shirts I can wear, which I rotate like one of those kids in the math word problems from elementary school. Kai still finds me sexy and we still have a good time in bed. I just close my eyes so I can pretend my belly isn’t obscuring the view of his goods, and try to enjoy the increased sensitivity from all the extra blood. I don’t try very hard when I go somewhere. I feel out of place everywhere, like I’m a spectacle. I feel super old around teenagers, super ugly around pretty people, super ghetto in my maternity clothes when others are dressed nice.

Preggers Exercise
The best thing I can do for my self-image is to get exercise and eat mostly healthily. Every day I do at least a bike ride, walk, or yoga, sometimes pilates or barre, last weekend a “mindful triathlon” with a 5K, aerial yoga, and meditation. But it’s not like I’m going hard when I do work out. When I ride my bike, I’m slow as molasses and even the slightest incline makes me huff and puff, dragging my extra 35 pounds. When I do yoga, I can’t twist, up-dog, lie on my front, or bring my knees to my chest ’cause my belly’s in the way. And anytime I walk for longer than 20 minutes I have to wear one of these big elastic back support things, or the twins start weighing down my womb–it starts stretching, hurting, and feeling like it might break.

After the 5K. I’m the bump on the right.

Peeing
Not to mention, I have to factor in peeing in everything I do. Luckily, I’ve always had tricks that are not for the faint of heart (keeping a Big Gulp cup in the car to pee in when stuck in traffic, digging a hole in the sand at the beach and then strategically placing myself to use the litter box under my towel without anyone knowing), but those aren’t always available. When I take a walk, now I have to plot out the route with the most accessible toilets. Every 8 minutes is preferable, but I can go 15 comfortably if I didn’t just drink a ton of water. Either way, the excruciating urgency always gives way only to a disappointing thimble full of pee, since half my bladder is squished under a baby.

Sleep
Sleep is now uncomfortable in every position. I was making the reclining-on-a-ramp-of-pillows thing work until this (26th!) week, but suddenly, my tailbone feels like it’s on fire after a few hours like that. Side-sleeping is hell, as my bottom leg and both arms begin to tingle/hurt within an hour. Last night, I painstakingly changed positions every few hours, turning on the lamp so I can see how to best rearrange 8-10 pillows, and finally getting an airline donut pillow from under the bed to put my butt on.

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The pillow fort

Who is Moving It?
Beneath my skin, the babies have been making their presence known, and it is reassuring and sweet, even though my belly sometimes feels like a dryer that someone put a few pairs of shoes in and then turned on. It’s such a strange feeling; involuntary movement in my body, like a muscle twitch, but it’s someone else doing it. Sometimes they kick and flutter, other times I can feel them totally changing positions–a little butt sliding against my abdominal wall, changing the shape of my belly. I try to picture who is located where, and I wonder if they’re interacting with each other.

I wonder what other nice surprises I’ll be treated to over the next three months. Three months sounds like a long time, but 12 weeks does not. Soon I will have my body back, but, as my good friend, a mom, recently told me–I will never again have my heart.

 

Glowing? and Other Body Issues

I must have been glowing today, or else people feel sorry for me because my belly is huge. But I think I was glowing, because I was wearing a tank top and Venice Beach souvenir sweatpants, with no makeup and my hair in a pile on my head. I had just done laundry and was pumping gas when a duo of twenty-something guys in the car next to me (who could only see my head above the car, and not my Rubenesque bod), kept checking me out and smiling at me. They continued to do so, the way I remember guys doing back when I was “hot,” and then as they got into their car, they said, “Have a good night,” and watched me as they drove away. I wondered if they could spot my carry-on luggage when they got the full view. Or maybe they saw it all along and just have a fetish for round women?

Strangely, though, right after they left, a car from Minnesota pulled up with a young woman, a young man, and a dog. I was almost done pumping my gas, and the woman, a cute red-haired gal, went in to grab a soda, and when she came back, she just yelled, “You’re pretty!” to me and then got into her car. I blushed and said, “Thank you!” and then her man said, “She really means that, because she only says it a couple times a year.” It was the oddest, sweetest thing, and I must say it made a heavy woman feel good.

Not that I don’t feel beautiful anymore; it’s just different. I mean, this pregnancy experience is like going through puberty in fast-forward. Every day there’s a new surprise, and I won’t lie, some of them gross me out. Every pink part of my body is now swollen and dark. I could give you more details, but it might embarrass you. I feel lucky that my face, arms, and legs still resemble their old selves, and I fear the next few months when they might also become unrecognizable.

At least my husband (who every few days is still saying, “You’re my wife!”) is still into me. In fact, he is more into me than he has been since, like, we started dating. I suppose it’s because I’m a living manifestation of his potency as a man, but he maintains that’s not it and that I’m just “beautiful.” I catch him looking at me in this proud haze, as if in disbelief that he nabbed me, and touching me as much as he can (and not just my formerly tiny boobs, which have now doubled in size!)

I’ve so far kept the stretch marks at bay by slathering sweet almond oil all over my belly every time I remember, which is at least once a day, sometimes twice. Here’s hoping it keeps working. My hair is a mane that rivals Fabio’s. People comment on it all the time. My skin is still remarkably clear, while my belly button is halfway to an outtie. My feet don’t seem swollen yet, nor do my hands. My walk is slowly becoming a bit of a waddle, and I actually have been wearing one of those elastic belts to support my heavy womb if I go on a long walk, or else I can feel them in there, stretching ligaments–it feels like a side stitch, right in the gut.

At 22 Weeks, I’m my own science experiment. I’ve been through more extreme ups and downs in the past four months than ever in my whole life (and that’s saying a lot for me). But I’m more than halfway through now, and hope I can continue to watch with interest instead of letting the abruptness of these changes scare the Venice Beach sweatpants off me.

RIP Hand-Eye Coordination

so don’t want to become a pregnancy cliche who uses annoying terms like “pregnancy brain,” but I have no choice. Pregnancy brain is real.  I have to constantly stop mid-sentence to remember what the end of the sentence was supposed to be. It hurts my brain. I commit so many scheduling snafus that I’m verging on just saying “no” to everything so I can maintain my dignity. But let’s be honest: my dignity is gone. Either I forgot to flush the toilet last week, or some ill-humored reverse-burglar snuck in and left poo in our bathroom. Twice.

And it’s not just my mental game that’s being affected. I drop everything I touch. I pour a cup of water and then immediately knock it over. I burn my face with the curling iron so that my cheek turns brown and people think I’m being abused. I lose my earrings under the car seat. I break the egg yolks when I’m trying to do sunny side up, and end up having to scramble them. Luckily, my stability on my feet hasn’t been affected yet, but my hands are as clumsy as my mind.

I am becoming an invalid.