Week 34 and things I’ve learned during this pregnancy

Week 34! We’re almost there… it’s crazy to look back and see how far we’ve come and at the same time know how close we’re getting (check out my updated weekly picture collage HERE!). At our appointment this morning, both babies were estimated to be a whopping 5 lbs each! It’s such a great feeling to know they have been growing as expected and things are looking great. Stay tuned b/c things may be picking up fast!

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The hubs went to CHP (California Highway Patrol) to get the carseats inspected. It’ll be a tight fit in there, but we’ll manage!

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From reading books & online articles, talking with family/friends/nurses/doctors, watching videos, & attending classes, I’ve learned so much that I want to share with anyone who is interested. Here’s my list of things I’ve learned! WARNING: The rest of this post is pretty lengthy and wordy, so feel free to just skim through and read the bold print only!

Each woman’s experience is different: I really loved and continue to love talking with other women and their pregnancy experiences. It’s amazing how much others can offer, insight that I never would have had myself, advice and tips that were not only timely, but actually worked, and other fun and inspiring stories. However, I learned to also take in what I heard with a grain of salt. If something a woman told me really scared me or concerned me, I reminded myself that every experience is different, not only from woman to woman, but from pregnancy to pregnancy among the same woman! This helped to make sure I didn’t ever think I was insane or weird. It is just a fact that you have to accept!

Accepting and asking for help: It was very hard for me to get used to accepting help from others and asking for help. I don’t like imposing on others and I am usually pretty independent. However, when your body is going through tons of changes and preparing to bring a baby/babies into the world, the process takes a huge toll on yourself. I’ve come to realize that it is more important to swallow my pride and accept the fact that others really do want to help than to try and be tough and risk hurting myself or the babies.

Rolling with the punches: This pregnancy has been a very challenging one. When I first got pregnant, I took for granted the times others wished me a healthy and smooth and problem-free pregnancy. I really couldn’t think of what could go wrong. I began this pregnancy fit, young, mentally and emotionally prepared, and ready for a new chapter in my life with my husband. But little did I know how instantly things could change. One moment, I am running a 5K at 14 weeks pregnant and another I was being put on strict bed rest. We were told our babies had a condition with a 50-50 chance of getting better. Then we fought day after day, week after week, pushing to keep them cooking as long as possible. One moment we were told their condition was improving! Then the next moment, I was told there were complications with myself that put me at risk for preterm labor. It truly has been a roller coaster of emotions. What helped us get through it all? We had faith, kept an open mind, and rolled with the punches. It was important to be flexible and realize there were things far out of our hands. I could eat as healthy as possible, do all the right things in a pregnancy, and get all the sleep in the world and yet have to face big challenges like we did. Here’s a very good quote from the BabyCenter:

Instead of focusing on “the perfect birth,” build your knowledge of different labor outcomes and decide how you’d want to deal with the various possibilities.

And focus we did. We learned quickly that the best pregnancy is doing whatever is healthiest and safest for mom and baby. This was hard for me at first, being a big planner and Type A person, always wanting to be in control and know everything. But once I embraced this idea that we had to go with the flow and trust everything would work out somehow and that we already were doing everything in our power for these babies, I was able to keep it together and move forward.

Preterm labor: If you heard someone was having contractions, what would you think? What about if she told you she was dilated a centimeter? The movies certainly paint this picture of pregnancy, labor, and delivery that invokes these ideas once we hear such key words. What I’m trying to say is that going into this pregnancy, I didn’t know you could have contractions early on in pregnancy without being in labor. They can last for days, weeks, or (in my case) months! Sometimes these contractions are not even felt or they just may not be painful. The first time I was told I might be having contractions, I think I went pale thinking it meant I was going into labor and would deliver soon. It was only week 23. No one warned me about having contractions before labor, so the minute I heard the word in reference to myself, I associated it with all things labor and delivery, as in this is it... I learned quickly (thank goodness) that it is normal and quite common with twin pregnancies and there is medication to help stop or slow the contractions. Just when the word “contractions” triggered such a scare in me, I also was found to be a centimeter dilated. But just as you can have contractions without going into labor, I learned that you can be dilated without going into labor! The key is to stop the dilation from going any further, as well as keep my contractions under control. This was accomplished since week 23 through meds and bed rest.

Eyes on the prize: Along with rolling with the punches and dealing with all my preterm labor scares, I learned to keep my eyes on the prize. If I were to make it through this journey, I had to stay focused, calm, and poised. Not to say I wasn’t allowed to vent or complain at all, but I had to be careful and not let just any bump in the road throw me off the course I had been steadily following and doing rather well on. One particular instance in which I was tested with keeping my eyes on the prize was during the time I found out I was dilated a centimeter. I had a mini melt down and was freaking out because I was in a labor and delivery room in the hospital, the doctor came barging in (or so I thought she did, maybe she was really just walking in), and I just felt overwhelmed with everything going on and felt like I didn’t have any time to breathe or sort through my thoughts and feelings. It was one thing after another at that point. But what saved me was an amazing nurse, Myranda, who practically grabbed my arm and shoulder and told me to get a grip! She explained that I couldn’t freak out every time the doctor walked in or whenever something happened. She reminded me of the flight or flight response, that I could either “flee” from the situation or I could “fight” back. Her little pep talk really snapped me out of my whirlwind of emotions and into reality. I was ever so thankful for her ability to bring me back down to earth and stay focused on the end goal, which is healthy babies. These little hiccups in the road may appear, but they don’t necessarily mean the end of my journey. I am surrounded by an amazing support team (my husband, family, and friends) and very talented medical staff who will always pull out more guns as necessary to help me fight. 

Enjoy the journey: Lastly, I have learned to ENJOY the pregnancy journey! This is a fleeting moment in my life in which I can choose to complain about all the aches and pains and worry about what could be, or I can choose to embrace the good and be thankful for everything I’ve been blessed with so far. There are times I catch myself over-thinking my situation, the babies, caring for them when they get here, wondering if we’re ready… I read books, I reread them, I write lists, I do research, I ask a billion questions, I ask the same questions again even when I know the answers… But I can’t let all of this stress and planning and worry take away from the beautiful emotional experience of creating a life – in my case TWO! – and sharing that experience with the most important person in my life, my husband. I have to slap myself, put down the books and the computer, and just enjoy the moment. I have to feel every ounce of happiness and joy that we have been blessed with. Despite all of the scary things I discussed above, there have been so many good, good things that have happened to us! The condition the twins had (where there was a 50-50 chance of it improving) is GONE!

“Getting preoccupied with having all the right stuff can detract from more important emotional preparations” – BabyCenter

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If you made it this far through my post, thanks for reading!

Mothers and pregnant women: Is there something you learned from your pregnancy that is not on my list? 

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One thought on “Week 34 and things I’ve learned during this pregnancy

  1. The only thing I would add is a lesson I had to learn the hard way, which was to take it easy. Like you I struggle with just sittin back and I was determined to not let this pregnancy slow me down…to the point where I was actually doing more damage than good. So I had to mentally and physically slow myself down and just accept that I was pregnant and couldn’t do everything like I used to be able to. It can still be frustrating at times but its worth it for this angel growing inside of me 🙂

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