This is the first entry in what I want to be a series on “truths”. I want to be honest about what it is like to be pregnant with twins, right when your career is starting to kick off, right when your marriage is really hitting its growth and stride, and right as you are starting to venture into the comfort that is your 30’s. I think its important that this space becomes a place for mom’s to come and see what its REALLY like. I have no intention to hold back, and I hope you’re ready for the ride!
In my introduction, I mentioned how I first felt real, true morning sickness boarding a plane to Chicago to go see my beloved Philadelphia Flyers, a trip I had spent months planning for and the first real “vacation” my husband and I were taking together since our honeymoon. Around the same time, I was at a very important work conference in Philadelphia. I was an invited speaker for the first time since leaving graduate school for my professional career and, while I got the terrible 8:45 am timeslot, I was SO excited to get up to the podium and share my work. I won’t toot my own horn too much, but I genuinely love public speaking. I enjoy sharing knowledge with people and it brings me back to my roots of teaching chemistry to unsuspecting undergraduate students. I take a lot of pride in my presentations and how I convey information.
So I stepped up that Tuesday morning, started my talk, felt the room start to actively engage…and my stomach dropped out from under me.
I must have looked a wreck as the reality washed over me in waves, as the babies were growing inside of me and turning my body against me. I managed to pull through the entire presentation, answer the questions I had to the best of my ability, and run to the restroom.
I didn’t get sick.
In fact, I rarely got sick throughout my first trimester. I had that lovely mix of symptoms where I felt like I was on a spinning tea cup (I do NOT do circular motions) just about 24/7, but no actual relief in sight from the act of physically getting sick. Sometimes, I think it was almost worse that way. It would come at all hours of the day…don’t let anyone tell you morning sickness is restricted to the morning. Some additional fun, although obnoxious, side effects:
- I could not handle the smell of my beloved coffee, which I had gotten special permission to continue having. I made my husband buy me tons ofSstarbucks pink drinks to try to help the caffeine and started a heavy love affair with Chai Tea Lattes.
- I had NO other aversions to food, but the feeling would come on like a vengeance if I DIDN’T eat. So I snacked 24/7 and still tried to watch my weight, which was nearly impossible
- I have a bad hip naturally (I’ve dislocated it three times in my life), and within a few weeks of finding out I was pregnant it was as if the twins were playing baseball against my hip bone. NOTHING was comfortable: not driving, not laying down, not walking. It was painful 24/7
- I was unnecessarily, unfathomably tired. ALL the time. My whole body felt like it was running on empty. I slept at least one two-hour block every day of our Chicago vacation. I thank God everyday we scheduled it over March Madness and it was freezing, so my husband at least didn’t feel TOO much like he was missing out
- I lived on Preggie Pops and Seabands. These were the ONLY things that helped keep the morning sickness waves at bay. I would recommend them to anyone.
- My sex drive dropped out from the sickness and I felt like a subpar wife (and woman in general). I’ll get into this more soon, but I promise it’s natural!
I had to straddle that fine line in your first trimester, particularly with a high-risk pregnancy, where you aren’t able to tell people just yet what is going on and yet you are running to the bathroom constantly, not eating like normally, and just generally not yourself. This was abundantly true at work, where I could feel my performance slipping. I don’t think it was obvious to many people beside myself, but I couldn’t handle being in the lab as much as I was used to, had trouble not getting up in the middle of meetings, and kept having to duck out for all my maternal fetal medicine appointments. I never EVER took time off of work (more on that later), so it was pretty obvious something was off. I made the decision to tell my boss early. That decision is NOT for everyone, so don’t feel the pressure. But I needed my career “slips” to be acknowledged for what they were and I needed some support. Which, in my case, I got in waves. I’ll never be more grateful for the way I was treated in those first couple of months, thank goodness.
I continued to luck out. As my first trimester morphed into my second, most of my symptoms vanished. The morning sickness took an extra week or two, which is pretty common in twins, but by the time my belly really started popping I was feeling more and more on the verge of “normal”! Hopefully you are too!