‘Conceiving will be difficult’

Anthea is sharing her story with us tonight and it’s nothing short of a miracle. After battling Endometriosis and Polycystic ovary syndrome her chances of falling pregnant were slim, she was advised of this in her early 20’s.

Despite being told ‘conceiving will be difficult’ and being stuck in bed for almost half of her pregnancy she is now the mum of adorable twin boys, read on to find out more!

When did you find out you were pregnant with multiples? Did you have any idea before your scan?

We found out we were pregnant with twins at our 12-week nuchal translucency scan. This was our very first scan so tensions were high already. Funnily enough, my partner the night before said: “what if it’s twins?” My exact response was “babe it’s a miracle we got pregnant in the first place, there’s no chance it’s twins”

We went into the exam room & the technician asked me if we had had any scans yet & this was our first one.

He didn’t show us the screen & said “oh that’s interesting” I’m thinking “fuck it has a tail”

Then the screen turned on & he said that’s number 1 & number 2.

How old are your children now? 

Our boys are 6 1/2 months now.

Do multiples run in your family? 

My dad is a fraternal twin.

One set of twin girls on my mothers side back in the ’40s or ’50s.

What is the best thing about having more than 1 baby at a time?

I love when my boys interact, smile & laugh with each other. It fills my heart knowing that they will always have a friend, they may argue & fight but they will always have each other.

What sort of pram do you have? Why did you choose the one you have?

I actually have two prams now. We have a Valco Snap Duo Trend & a Love N Care Twingo.

We initially got the Valco because I just couldn’t justify spending $1200 on the Twingo package even though it was the pram I really wanted. Then just recently the Twingo went on sale & I snapped it up.

How do you manage with more than one baby?

We get asked this a lot & my response is:

  1. You just do it. You have no choice, these little people rely on you. You become creative. You do things you never thought possible.
  2. I’m super lucky we have some really happy little boys. We’ve had some problems early on but we have great sleepers, good eaters, happy, smiley babies.

Are your babies identical or fraternal?

I say fraternal. We had 2 separate sacs & 2 separate but fuzed placentas. My boys are chalk & cheese but new studies have shown identical genetic sequences but different featured bubs so I’m considering testing just to confirm.

Were your babies naturally conceived?

Short answer: Yes, they were naturally conceived.

The long answer though:

I have endometriosis & polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

My partner & I found this out about 3 years into our relationship (we have been together almost 9 years now)

We already were super committed to each other but after some surgery, my specialist said we would need to try while we were fairly young as conceiving was expected to be difficult. So I said to my partner at that point (22 at the time) “we need to try to have kids at some point in the next 5 years & if that’s something your not prepared for you can piss off now & I’ll find someone who is”

Needless to say, he was okay with it 😂

One night in May 2018, I got an incredible indescribable pain in my right side.

Now I’m used to having horrendous period pain but this was something else. I ignored it for a few days until I could get to a doctor who sent us straight up to emergency with concerns my appendix was bursting.

It turns out it’s wasn’t, in fact, my appendix but instead I had around 12 or more cysts in my right ovary burst at the same time.

So back to the specialist I went. We decided then it was time to take out my Merina & give it a go.

We pre-booked an appointment for 12 months from that date to begin our Clomid treatment.

We checked my ovulation temps daily, tried when a “standard” cycle would have ovulated.

Not once in 9 months from July 2018 – March 2019 did we ovulate.

We had a wedding towards the end of April in QLD so we decided not to try because I wanted to have a big holiday 🍹🥂🍾 & that’s what we did.

Turns out we fell pregnant naturally in mid-April before we left for Queensland. I had no idea. I had some cramping but that’s not out of the ordinary for me.

No morning sickness at all which was amazing & I’ve never had regular periods so it took us a while to figure out we were pregnant at all.

Around 6 weeks later I just had a feeling. I did a pregnancy test on Friday & it returned a negative result but I just couldn’t shake this feeling I had. So the following Tuesday morning I did another one. Before I even had the chance to pull my pants up it was POSITIVE!

We were so excited & just couldn’t believe we managed to get pregnant & so it naturally!

Our appointment booked 12 months before to begin our Clomid & hormone treatments turned out to be our very first obstetrics appointment!

What are some of your top purchases for multiples?

Electric baby swings – a lifesaver when they both want to be settled at the same time.

Twin Z Pillow!! so handy for bottle feeding. Our boys basically lived in one for their first few weeks at home.

Twin Carrier – if they are both losing it you can wear them & have them close & calm safely.

My BrestFriend Twin feeding pillow.

How do you decide which baby to settle/feed/change if you’re alone?

I have always had a routine with my boys & I’ve stuck with it since day one.

Change Wes put back into the cot then Oli.

For bottle feeds, I would move both out to Twin Z Pillow & get a bottle at the same time. Burp once during bottle & then after.

When I was able to breastfeed I would wrap the feeding pillow around me & attach it. Slide my hands from their bums up to their necks, lift them onto my chest, move to the chair & sit. Then bubs down onto the pillow & boobie for Wes (right side) then boobie for Oli (left side)

How do you tell your babies apart?

Easy, mine a fraternal so that’s not a problem.

Wes is my chunky, dark-haired blue-eyed boy & Oli is my slender, green-eyed ginger.

Do you have a set routine and if so are the babies all on the same routine?

I have always maintained the boys on the same feeding schedule. If one woke I always woke the other or dreamfed the other.

It wasn’t until around 12 weeks that I set in a proper nap routine because they would be awake for 45 minutes asleep for 30 minutes then would just repeat this all day.

Now they are waking up to a bottle, awake for 2 hours then sleep for 1.5-2hours.

They sleep overnight from around 7/7:30pm – 7/7:30am. With a 9 pm top-up dream feed.

Did you spend any time in the NICU or SCN?

We spent almost 3 weeks in SCN. For feeding & to get back to birth weight.

We also had all of tachycardia, bradycardia & jaundice. Also, my little boy would forget to breathe so he was on caffeine for a while to keep his brain on high alert to remind his lungs to move.

What complications did you encounter as part of your twin birth and how did that impact your pregnancy and beyond?

I had such a wonderful start to my pregnancy. I was so so tired but didn’t have a moment of morning sickness. We were never supposed to be pregnant so when we found out there was two we were just so shocked & excited.

At our 20 week morphology, it was found that I had a shorter cervix than what was supposed to be at this gestation.

At 20 weeks you should have about 40mm if closed cervix. They found that I had only 11mm & I was funnelling. I was sent home immediately to go on bedrest & within 2 days was taken to FMU in Canberra Hospital were I was diagnosed with an incompetent cervix.

Essentially my cervix was dialling & funnelling you try to birth early.

I was put into surgery to place a stitch to hold everything in.

It’s traumatic thinking your body is basically rejecting your pregnancy & forcing labour. And the survival of babies born before 26 & 28 weeks is minimal & if they do survive they are likely to have ongoing health problems. Being told “you’ll have enough time to say goodbye” it stays with you forever.

I was then placed in the hospital on bed rest.

I remained on bed rest from 20 weeks to 35 when our boys were born.

During my stay in the hospital, I had weekly scans, at some point I was told they had black spots in their heads & tummies which could be tumours. Thankfully they disappeared a couple of weeks later.

My boys also stayed below the 7th percentile in weights my entire pregnancy so we were watched for IUGR (Intrauterine growth restriction) & I was placed on a high protein diet.

Along with their femurs always measured below the 3rd percentile which was mentioned to me could mean dwarfism.

My boys were born at 35w3d via planned caesarean. I began to lose my mucus plug & they didn’t want to risk spontaneous labour with a cerclage in place.

Wesley was transverse breech was born 2350grams (5lb1oz)

Oliver was head down (but Wes kept his foot firmly in front) was born 2220grams (4lb9oz)

I also had significant ab separation, I had 1 1/2 hands width (normal is 1-2 finger-widths).

Did bed rest impact you in any way?

Bedrest had its biggest impact on my body.

My muscle mass depleted so quickly. Just moving for 15 minutes was exhausting. I still haven’t recovered my muscle mass & still have 2-3cms of ab separation at almost 7 months postpartum.

Bedrest is also incredibly isolating, you have so much time to think & you can quickly tumble down the rabbit hole of anxiety with your thoughts.

My biggest thing was making sure we still had a baby shower. David & I wanted just a big event with all our female & male friends & family. My OB & midwife both attended my shower at 25 weeks to ensure I was safe & doing as I was told.

Everyone’s complaining about their 3 months in lockdown, Try doing it for 10 months.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I want to add that even though my pregnancy was what it was I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I was asked if I could do it again & have a normal pregnancy but I had to only have one would I do it. My answer was NEVER!

My boys are happy boys, they are beautiful & strong & I know they will be amazing humans.

They are my biggest & proudest accomplishment.

They are my heart & soul. They are my entire reason for being. They chose me & I know now, I was always meant to be their Mama & they were always meant to be mine.

Thank you, Anthea, for sharing your story. Your boys are absolutely gorgeous and it is obvious that they are being raised by the strongest role model of a mama!

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