If there’s one thing you can count on when you’re expecting multiples, it’s that there is very little you can count on. Today’s mantra is: information is power. We want the resource that will allow us to plot and plan the pregnancy and the birth to the height of perfection. You want to know exactly what you’re in for.
While twin births are becoming common enough that we can nail down some general patterns and ‘what-to-expects’, each subsequent baby takes you farther out of the realm of ‘typical.’ Each pregnancy becomes ‘case-by-case’.
So how do you prepare? Well, you don’t—at least not in any firm, concrete way. Said one mother of triplets (now two years old), “I had to take the pregnancy one day at a time. One day I was at the doctor hearing everything was just fine and a day later I was back and they were sewing up my cervix and putting me on bedrest.” There was no way to plan for that.
But just because you can’t calibrate your pregnancy, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put down a few plans. Just make sure your plan A is accompanied by plans B and C. The trick to planning with a multiple pregnancy is differentiating between what you can control and manage, and what you can’t. One tip is to meet with a postpartum doula well in advance of your due date. Together you can start to work out your postpartum plan and get an idea of what life might look like when you bring the babies home. Then, when you come home from the hospital, she’ll already be familiar with the house and your pregnancy history. She’ll be ready to hit the ground running.
Parents of multiples, especially triplets, say that their ‘master schedule’ for feeding, changing, and sleeping was the key to success in getting through the first crazy year. Tracking when the babies ate, how much, when they slept, and when they were changed helps keep everyone on track and makes it easy for family and friends to come in and help out. As they feed or change the babies, they can mark it on the schedule and you won’t be left wondering why one of the babies is fussy or why another is sleeping all afternoon.
If you are expecting twins, triplets, or more, your pregnancy is truly unique. There is simply not the same body of experience to draw from that you find among single birth pregnancies–be ready for that. “Moms of Multiples” groups can be helpful, but don’t feel like interviewing every mom is necessary, or even advisable. Find maybe one or two women you connect with and ask them about their experience with pregnancy, delivery, and beyond. But realize that your experience probably won’t match up and you may not be able to apply the advice and wisdom that worked for them.
With your doctor and your personal support system, you will walk through each day of your pregnancy, having exactly what you need to take it as it comes. For some women, the pregnancy is a snap, for others it’s, well, not a snap. If you’re pregnant with multiples, you’re embarking on an adventure. Having that perspective infuses your experience with a little fun and excitement, helping to lift and replace the anxieties that creep in around the things we just can’t fully predict or control.
Expecting multiples? Interested in finding out more about how a postpartum doula can help? Click HERE to learn about Welcome Baby Care.