Pregnancy and birth

Eighteen weeks

Well, another week down!  And if we’re like 50% of people who have twins and don’t get past 37 weeks, we’re probably over halfway there.  What an exciting – albeit terrifying – thought!

You’ll no doubt be relieved to hear that I’m in much better spirits.  The steroid nasal spray that my GP prescribed me started to take effect within a day or two, enabling me to breathe properly again.  Who knew that access to oxygen could improve one’s quality of life so much!  And I’ve been making a concerted effort to spend a few hours of each afternoon with my feet up, which is helping me to deal with the tiredness.  I’m still crossing my fingers that the fabled second trimester Energy Fairy will visit me very soon.

Today’s baby-related update comes from the OHbaby weekly email I have just been sent:

Your baby is now 5.5 inches (14 cm) long and 7 ounces (200 grams). Start brushing up on your lullabies now – this week, your baby can hear! The bones of the inner ear and the nerve endings from the brain have developed enough so that your baby will hear sounds such as your heartbeat and blood moving through the umbilical cord. He or she may even be startled by loud noises! Your baby’s eyes are developing, too – the retinas may be able to detect the beam of a flashlight if you hold it to your uterus. Your baby is also now able to swallow, and he or she may swallow up to a litre of amniotic fluid throughout the day. Recent research indicates that your baby may already be able to feel thirsty! Thirst may be responsible for the amount of fluid swallowed in order to keep the protective amniotic fluid at a constant level.

Until now, your baby’s bones had been developing, but they were still soft. This week, they begin to harden, or ossify. Some of the first bones to ossify are the bones in the legs and the inner ear.

If you hold a stethoscope up to your abdomen you will also be able to hear your babies heart beating.

If the babies can now hear, it’s good news for Tristan: for several weeks he’s been communicating with them by speaking into my tummy button, like it’s some kind of microphone.  He’s been keeping things fairly formal so far – he mainly says “Hello! Hello!  This is your father speaking!  Behave yourselves and don’t give your Mummy a hard time!”  Tristan, it’s time to brush up on your lullabies.

The OHbaby email also has some advice for expectant mothers:

You’re probably beginning to prepare for life with baby. Your preparations should extend beyond gathering the layette and painting the nursery, though. This week is a good week to begin your search for a pediatrician or other health care provider for your child. Schedule visits to meet with potential doctors to discuss issues such as appointment availability, immunisation scheduling, and when to call in an emergency. You’ll also want to learn as much as you can about their practices and procedures (some good questions to ask: How many health care providers are in the practice? Who covers nights and weekends?

What is their policy on phone calls? Which hospitals are they affiliated with? What insurance do they accept? What specialists do they work with? How are emergencies handled?) It’s important that you feel comfortable with your child’s doctor, so do your homework and make your decision carefully.

You may also want to wear low healed shoes and not high heals and the increasing weight can make you feel off balanced.

There are some bras that you can buy to wear at night for support if you are experiencing tenderness.

Ahem: heeled and heels!  Do these website not have sub-editors?

I’ve been meaning to tell you about my bras for a while – since I got pregnant and had horrendously sore boobs at the start, I’ve been wearing stretchy bras day and night (my boob soreness subsided several weeks ago, but I figured that the extra support won’t do them any harm as they continue to expand, and might help to prevent sagging and stretch marks in the future).  My bras have choice have been the ones that you see on the terrible TV advertisements; Ahh Bras, and Thin Lizzy bras.  The two brands are of roughly comparable quality, although the Thin Lizzy bras are cheaper.  Both brands are very comfortable, and do actually give a good shape under clothes.  Imagine – a cheesy product that actually does what the advertisement promises!  They might not be up to the task if you are blessed with very big boobs, but for my shape they’re doing a decent job.

Going back to the email advice, I must say that we have done nothing about either decorating the twins’ nursery or gathering the layette (although there’s certainly plenty of gathering to be done).  We have decided which bedroom to turn into the nursery, though.  Our house has two double bedrooms and a large single bedroom upstairs, and a large room downstairs that we use as a guest room in the summer (and which will eventually be fancied up a bit, when we can afford it).  Upstairs, the smaller room has been my office/dressing room, and houses all of my work-related stuff, plus my clothes.  This leaves us with one double room for us and one for visitors.

I’d kind of planned for the kids to have the smallest room, but this would mean that I would have to either take over the upstairs spare room as my office, or go without.  Instead, we’re now planning to put the babies into the upstairs spare room.  There will be room in there for two cots and the existing queen-sized bed, so rather than having them move into our room for the first few weeks, we can stay in their room (and Tristan can sleep in our room if they’re really restless and he isn’t getting enough sleep).  Once they’re old enough to not need us in there with them, we’ll dismantle the queen-sized bed, leaving them a nice big bedroom to share.  We think that this will be a good plan, and should also help us to keep their toys and paraphernalia under control in one place.

We’re following up a couple of leads to buy two matching cots second-hand, and if that falls through we’ll see if we can get a good deal on cots at the Baby Show in late October.  We’re also borrowing two moses baskets from friends with twins for the first few weeks, when the babies are really tiny.  A lot of twin parents choose to pop both babies in the same cot at the start and then separate them into their own cots later on, but we don’t really see the point in that – after all, they haven’t been in the same sac inside me, so it’s not as if they will be accustomed to cuddling up to each other before birth.  We’ve heard from a few sources that it can be a drama to separate them a little later on, if they’ve had a chance to get used to sleeping together.  Given that they’ll be in neighbouring cots, it won’t be any more convenient to sleep them together, and keeping them separate also makes it easier to deal with things like reflux, if one of them needs to be propped up a bit.

All that talk about auditioning suitable doctors seems a bit OTT – we’ve got a perfectly good local GP practice that will, I’m sure, be well-equipped to cope with our babies’ needs after they graduate from Plunket’s care.  And I’ve already checked on our insurance situation: Tristan’s big job will be to remember to call our health insurers as soon as the babies arrive, to add them to our policy.

Later this week I will tell you of our progress with regard to ensuring the babies’ mobility; for now, I need to write an overdue piece of work…

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6 thoughts on “Eighteen weeks

  1. 18 weeks! wow! Everyone is different, as you know, but I never got the surge of energy with the twin pregnancy. And putting my feet up every afternoon became a necessity. We also kept the babies in the same crib for the first few months. They are so tiny and seemed to calm each other down when they were together. they would both turn their heads toward one another and sleep nose to nose. It was precious. By the time they got too big, started to roll over, move around/kick their legs, we moved them in separate cribs. I read about the “trauma” of separating them, but that never happened. They can still see each other as the cribs are next to each other. and of course they still hear each other. I am fascinated to see how their bond continues to show itself over the months/years!

    glad your nasal passage is open now – I hope it continues to stay that way!

    1. Oh, that must have looked adorable! The cuteness factor certainly does make it tempting – sleeping there like two little peas in a pod! I am also so interested to see how the babies bond with each other. I remember Pip, my sister, describing how amazing it was when her two girls ‘discovered’ each other for the first time.

  2. Sounds like you’ve got it all sussed! The doctors thing is an American thing I think – since they have separate paediatricians for their kids. Very exciting – you find out the babies’ gender on Claire’s birthday! You have to run a sweepstake!!! 🙂

    1. Well, we know what we want to do in theory – we’re well aware that things will almost certainly fall apart in practice! Yes, I’ll run a Facebook sweepstake and see who knows what’s going on. I’m still guessing that it’s one of each!

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