Let me preface this by saying I would do my twin pregnancy ALL over again in a heartbeat. I’m beyond thankful for what I have been given but I also want to be real and show that it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies AFTER they were born.
So as I’ve shared, my twin pregnancy was emotionally very hard at first. Thanks to my first ever and VERY successful IUI, at age 27, I had triplets growing in my belly. We found out after a gush of blood drove us into the fertility center. The scare turned into a blessing and then into another scare. We were encouraged to have a reduction done for the health of my babies and myself (details on that are on a separate blog post if you haven’t read it and are interested). Anyway, it was hard, but we got past that and I ended up having the most amazing pregnancy. I didn’t get sick once, I was active the entire time and I delivered them vaginally at 37.5 weeks after being induced because I was DONE.
My body went into shock mode. I had Eliana at 8am and Natalia didn’t come until 8:30am. I couldn’t stop shaking for about 12 hours’ post-delivery but apparently, it was normal. My girls were healthy but Eliana was 3lbs and 9oz and Natalia was about 4lbs and 11oz. Which meant Eliana went straight to the NICU.
First, I’m SO thankful for those nurses, for the fact that we had such great care, but I felt like a horrible mother. How could I have one in my arms and one in an incubator so far away. The guilt started, I guess mom guilt doesn’t hold back.
Eliana luckily didn’t need a breathing tube. She only had a feeding tube because she needed to gain some weight. You see her umbilical cord was half of the width of her sisters’, so she didn’t get as much food. (funny because now she’s actually the one that eats double of what the other one eats, not sure where it all goes she’s still the tinier one!).
Anyway, we brought Natalia home after two nights. She was so small! I couldn’t completely enjoy her because I knew the other one was in the hospital. I felt so bad leaving my baby there while the three of us made it home. But, looking back, maybe it was Gd’s way of letting us get used to one baby, let alone two.
We took turns visiting her in the NICU. And for 11 days, I would go, with Natalia (her twin) in hand and try to do two feedings during the day. We would lay both on my chest so that they could feel each other and hopefully help Eliana eat more. Nick would stop by at night on his way home from work and do a feeding then and my parents would go for some feedings too. We wanted to make sure she was always with someone. It was the hardest 11 days of my life.
FINALLY, she got to come home (and its true what they say, NICU babies are the strongest ones! She really is my stronger child to this day). We were ready for her. We were complete. Life got real very quickly. Two newborns are no joke. And if you’re the control freak, do it yourself, kind of girl like I am, well let’s just say I became type A to the extreme. We were lucky enough to have a night nurse since nick went back to work quickly (since he owns his own business he can’t take off). She was amazing! She and I would do the night time feedings. She would help me burp them and then I would go back to bed. She would wake me at 6am for the morning feedings, leave and come back at 10pm. She helped me create a schedule and track all the poops and the food. She was a godsend.
So, life was busy. I had a TON of milk. I went from a size 36C to a 36F. I was pumping about 22oz every single time (pumping every 3 hours) after alternating boobs with each baby for every feeding. We ended up having 3 full freezers full of milk and no frozen food. I’m not kidding at all. We had to buy two extra freezers.
But around 5 months postpartum I learned about my diastis recti. That's what they call it when the rectus abdominis muscles in your abdomen separate during pregnancy, leaving a gap that allows your belly to pooch out. Yep I had that. My doctor confirmed and reminded me that I’m a tiny person with 0 hips and basically looked like a torpedo when I had the girls, so it was bound to happen. The issue for me was that everyone kept asking me when my baby was due. That’s how pregnant I looked at 6 months postpartum. I felt so self-conscious and kind of bothered by it. I was only 28 and felt so different!
We later learned that I also had a hernia. My lower back was hurting all the time and the doctor said the only way for my pain to go away is to have surgery that would essentially sew my muscles back together so that my back could have support again. He also insisted that I remove the hernia and we figured we would do this all at once.
So, at 6 months postpartum, after meeting with a plastic surgeon and the surgeon that would be taking out my hernia, we decided to move forward. I was devastated. I wanted to keep breastfeeding my girls. I didn’t want to be on antibiotics for weeks I had just come out of the hospital practically! But it was a good time to get this done. The girls weren’t old enough to ask for me, so I wouldn’t feel guilty not being able to pick them up for 6 weeks (yeah that’s a long time to not be able to pick you baby up). Also, I had so much frozen milk that we actually had enough for them to only drink breast milk for another 3 months! So we took the plunge, blindly I would say so, but we took it.
Let me tell you, when I say this was the hardest thing my body has ever gone through im not kidding. The miscarriage was hard, but it was traumatic more than painful. This was another level. Im thankful I did it, but man, if you asked me if I would do it again today I honestly don’t know.
The doctor removed my hernia. My muscles were sown back together (thankfully no mesh was needed) and my skin was pulled (a perk) so all the extra skin was gone.. My scar runs from one hip bone to the other. I had drains for all the blood for about 3 weeks (which I would have to empty yes). And my belly button was moved (and looks so weird if you ask me).
I honestly don’t remember much. They say you block out trauma and well clearly I did. I don’t remember who helped me wipe my ass, or how I showered. I don’t remember seeing much of the girls or anyone for that matter. I don’t remember much except for going out on NYE to a club because I was sick of being at home (yes with drains in tact).
Nick was my savior. My mom was there a lot and we had a nanny come a couple times a week to help with the girls. I still feel bad about it. I still feel like I put myself first and I feel horrible about it. It’s funny how that happens. I know it was the right decision, I know I needed to do it for my mental health, for my physical strength and in turn to make me a better mom. And yet somehow I still feel bad about it to this day.
I don’t have any sensation on my skin from my belly button down to my pubic bone. I hate that I can’t feel that part of my body. The part that worked so hard for me to hold my babies in place. I hate that I have that scar that I don’t feel I earned. But it is what it is.
Looking back though I am thankful I did it. I'm thankful I didn’t know how hard that surgery was. I’m thankful I had so much support and so much milk! I’m thankful my body did what it needed to do for my girls because that’s what was most important. And no matter what it ends up looking like, no matter how broken it gets, my body is fucking amazing and while I may not be perfect and I may still feel guilt, I know I did the right thing. I know that all of those hard decisions from the moment the girls were conceived to 6 months postpartum were all part of my story, part of why I’m so strong today.