Things I worry about

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It’s been two weeks and a day since I found out there are 2 babies in my tummy. The idea has kind of sunken in, but man oh man, the reality is a long way off. Today I went to buy body soap for the kids and I was in the baby section of the drugstore where all the sippy cups and things are, and I was looking at them thinking “good lord, we are going to need 2 of EVERYTHING!” I know it’s obvious, but unless you are actually facing the imminent birth of 2 babies at once, I don’t think you ever REALLY think about what kind of impact that is going to have on your life or your wallet or your time, or your sanity. But really, that’s not what I’m worried about at the moment. I know once the babies arrive we will work it out. We won’t have a choice. Everything will work out.

I have yet to be seen by a doctor at the Red Cross hospital here, which seems to be my only choice for giving birth here. I have to do a bit more research, but the Red Cross hospital is the nearest hospital with a NICU, so I want to talk to a doctor there first, and if I really don’t like what they have to say I will look for a different hospital a bit further away, but my choices are really limited to possibly 2 other hospitals, and I think most cases of multiples get sent back to the Red Cross hospital anyway. Multiple births are seen as just too high risk here.

I have spoken to 3 mothers of twins who all gave birth at the Red Cross hospital. One is a good friend of ours and I know she was having contractions from around week 24 or so, and she was admitted at week 28 and on a constant IV to keep the babies inside, until they just wouldn’t hold anymore and she had a C-section at week 32. The other 2 moms I haven’t had the chance to speak to in length about their births, but both of them and everyone else I know who knows anyone who has had twins at the Red Cross hospital has said the same thing; they hospitalize you at 28 weeks no matter what your health, or the babies’ health is like. You can be experiencing absolutely no signs of early labor, both babies can be perfectly healthy, perfect weight, facing down, perfectly healthy cervical length, and they will still hospitalize you because they consider 28 weeks full-term for twins and basically the situation could change at a moment’s notice and they want to monitor you daily. For me 28 weeks exactly is Amelie’s 2nd birthday, and I am not going to enter the hospital on her birthday. I’m hoping the hospital will be a bit flexible with me considering I have two young children at home already, but I have serious doubts. I’ve already spoken to the daycare Sara attended when I was pregnant with Amelie and where Amelie now goes once a week, and they said they would able to take her from March 1st, which would make me 32 weeks. I’m wondering if the hospital would let me get away with coming in every day for an NST, pee in a cup, have my blood pressure taken, etc. without actually staying overnight in the hospital. Obviously I’m not going to know the answer to any of these questions until I actually go to the hospital, but when I called to find out when I should go in to be seen they said not until the last week of October, so instead I’ve just got time to sit and wonder and worry about all of this stuff.

Of course the other reason I don’t want to be hospitalized is because it just seems like a bad idea if I’m healthy and the babies are healthy. My two older babies need me, and I will have a very hard time negotiating in my own head, being away from them when it doesn’t seem absolutely necessary. Never mind my concerns that I will be bored out of my mind, and that laying around in a hospital bed all day is actually going to be worse for my health than being at home with my family where  I can remain active.

The thought of a C-section also worries me. Of course, the thought of birthing twins vaginally also scares the crap out of me! I’ve heard that the Red Cross hospital will allow you to attempt it though if all the conditions are right. My doctor at the hospital where I was being seen until now told me that giving birth to twins vaginally, sometime after 37 weeks and never being hospitalized throughout the pregnancy is incredibly rare. I suppose knowing the odds are not in my favor for my ideal birth to happen sets me up to not be disappointed when it doesn’t happen, so that is a good thing. I’ve been so lucky up until now with two pretty fabulous birth experiences that I think I am mostly worried about this one not living up to previous expectations. I think I just need a new mindset. Like giving birth to twins is just not the same thing at all, and therefore I should take about 50 steps back and think about it as a whole different ball game rather than comparing it to anything I have experienced in the past. But I really, really want Akinori to be able to be with me. I’m afraid if I have a c-section and they try to give me spinal anesthesia it won’t take, as I had the same problem when I had surgery on my ankle about 10 years ago and OMG, I’ve never, not even when I gave birth, felt so much pain in my entire life. But I’m also worried that if it ends up being an emergency c-section they’ll put me under altogether and I won’t see my babies for hours until I wake up and they won’t get any kangaroo care.

And then of course I worry about miscarriage a lot still since it is not at all uncommon to lose one twin. From everything I have read it seems like that is going to be a concern until the babies are viable at 22-24 weeks. And then what if they are born at 22 weeks? Or we lose one of them once they are born?  I’ve heard that for twin births the Red Cross hospital orders a medical helicopter onsite so that if there are any complications with one or both of the babies, they can be quickly whisked away to the Children’s hospital, which is at least an hour away from us by car. What would we do then? I would most likely be in the hospital recovering from a c-section. Would they take me with in the helicopter and hospitalize me at the Children’s hospital? Would I just have to wait days before I could be with my baby/babies? What would we do if they were hospitalized at the Children’s hospital for a long period of time? We have two other children who need looking after too. There would be one hell of a lot of commuting involved!

And will the hospital work with me on breastfeeding or are they going to shove formula down my and my babies’ throats? I know I am capable of feeding two babies. I hope the hospital realizes this as well. And wanting to breastfeed them is all fine and dandy, but will I ever sleep again?

I’ve been trying not to think about this stuff of blog about it until I actually get to the Red Cross hospital and speak with the doctors and midwives there, but it’s in my head ALL the time so I’m hoping that at least writing some of it down on my blog will clear my head space to deal a little better with the here and now. I know most of the stuff I worry about is unlikely to ever happen. It doesn’t keep you from worrying though, does it?

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About Brenda in Nagano

Originally from Chicago, I knew I was destined to spend the rest of my life in Japan the moment I set foot in the country at the tender age of 16. However, I was quite intent on spending that rest of my life in a major city with a full on career, until my Japanese Prince Charming came trotting down from the mountains of Nagano to sweep me off my feet and whisk me away, turning my whole life plan on its head. Two months after moving to Nagano I gave birth to our little Princess Charming, so now I am officially a SAHM and teach a little belly dance on the side.

8 responses »

  1. I think it’s fairly normal to worry about everything you wrote about. And writing it all down hopefully helped to take a little of the weight off your shoulders.

    It’s a bit like having a birth plan and it not really going according to plan. I really think, like you said, that changing your mindset will help. Trusting in the doctors and midwives, while keeping the basics in mind, such as expressing that you want to breastfeed (and being able to express your milk if you need to), that you would prefer not to be hospitalised at 28 weeks unless necessary, and at least being able to be home for Amelie’s birthday, which in good conditions should be possible I’d imagine. But also accepting that neither of these things may be possible, but that it would still be OK.

    I know it’s a different hospital, but in my experience with the Gunma Red Cross, they were very efficient and organised, and listened to what I wanted, while telling me that they would cater to me as much as possible. I think it’s just necessary to be open minded about things just in case they don’t go to plan.

    Multiple pregnancies ARE high risk anywhere, but women often do give birth to healthy twins, albeit usually earlier than with single pregnancies. How were your first two? Early/on time/overdue?

    Can your husband or mil help with the children while you’re in hospital? It took me three children to learn to accept as much help as I could. Please let me know if I can do anything.

    What I always tried to do was to think of possible situations and then tell myself it would be ok. The only thing that matters are healthy babies and healthy Mummy (and worrying about this going wrong is just going to stress you out..not good for baby and you either). Everything else is just small stuff.

    • Yes, like I said I’ve been trying really hard not to think or worry about any of this stuff until I can actually have a conversation with a doctor or a midwife at the hospital and listen to what they have to say and I have a better idea of things to come. I’m sure there will be a lot of compromises made (hopefully on both ends) and a lot of letting go of ideal birth plan ideas.

      Sara was born 5 days late, and Amelie 4 days early, though I’m not sure she would have been born that early had I not had an internal exam by the midwife the day before my contractions started. I don’t know what that means in terms of twins though, like how much earlier that makes them likely to come.

      Both my IL’s work full-time, so they won’t be able to take care of Amelie during the day. Since hub works for his dad, I’m sure he could work something out, but I would prefer she were in daycare and life went on as normal as possible. FIL isn’t getting younger and the thought of him working contraction sites alone scares me. Plus my ILs do so much for us already, I know they would continue paying hub a salary even if he weren’t working, and that’s just not fair. Not that I don’t plan on accepting any help I can get. I would just rather look for other means while we still have time than leaving it to the last minute and being forced into a situation that’s really not good for anyone. Thank you for your offer! If I can think of anything, I’ll certainly let you know! ❤

  2. Hi there
    I’m delurking – I’ve followed your blog for a while but I don’t think i’ve ever left a comment – sorry!
    I just wanted to say that I know how you feel and the million possibilites that run through your head – it’s hard to not think about them of course, but I recommend not googling or researching things that can go wrong. It’ll only make you more stressed out! I have had twins and carried them to 39 weeks with zero issues during the pregnancy (i was lucky not to even have morning sickness!) – in the end I was induced and gave birth naturally with an epidural (my hospital’s policy for twins). So it IS possible. Being hospitalised at 28 weeks is insane, I hope they don’t make you do that. 28 weeks is not considered full term for twins ( at least here in Australia it isn’t). I think it’s around 35 weeks.
    It’s true no one knows how any pregnancy is going to pan out but try to keep positive, plan what you’ll need and start getting ready early – you won’t feel like walking around too much after about 30 weeks! I was paranoid for the first 3 months that something would go wrong and then waited until the half way mark when I could find out the genders until I started buying stuff. Start earlier 🙂 At least you probably have some stuff from your two girls already.
    Lastly, I highly recommend getting help from your family. You will need it. You look after the babies and your family looks after you and does housework, cooking etc!
    Best of luck!

    • Thank you so much for delurking and sharing your experience! It really helps to know what other women have experienced. I am extremely envious of your lack of morning sickness, as I am still suffering on and off, but fortunately lately it is more off than on.

      I don’t think 28 weeks is considered full-term for twins here either, honestly. That is either the way the doctors explained to the other mothers I spoke to, or the way they interpreted what the doctor said, as that is the way they put it to me when trying to convince me it was necessary. Either way, I feel like being hospitalized at 28 weeks is the biggest item I am going to have to come to terms with, more so than the thought of a C-section.

      Thank you for all of your advice though! We do have lots of baby stuff from the girls still, but there are definitely still items we need because we only have one. Like another child seat for the car, or another bouncer, etc. And of course if they are boys, a whole mess of new clothes! Hopefully we’ll be able to work something out with DH’s family, in terms of helping out once the babies arrive, as having my parents here will really not help matters at all.

  3. Brenda, if at all possible though, it might be better not to plan too much. Like you said, have a new mindset for twins. Know that whatever the doctors do is for your and the babies own safety and health. There aren’t enough NICU beds in Japan and Japanese hospitals aren’t good at emergency type conditions, so that may be why they are talking about the early hospitalization. (so they would know immediately if you needed a C-section and could be sure that there were doctors called in etc.) Once things settle down more, you could maybe go and talk to the public health dept and tell them about your concerns etc. Most cities have places which will take care of small children in an emergency situation. (like a parent being hosptalized etc.) It may not be ideal for your other two, but everyone would get through it safely. Just thinking though that sometimes you have to adjust your hopes and plans (which I know that you already know, but..)and that the final goal is a healthy mother and babies.. Nancy Tsurumaki in Tokyo…

    • Nancy, thank you so much for your comment and insights into the Japanese medical system. What you wrote makes a lot of sense, and having the advice of an uninvolved person in the medical profession is invaluable to me. I made a few phone calls today and am feeling loads better about my options, but I’ll blog about that later. Thank you again!

  4. Heyyyyy!! Never had twins but have spent time in the Childrens Hospital and *if* you need to use their services they are a VERY parent friendly place. They have a parent kitchen stocked and a Ronald MacDonald House style room for people who come from far away. Anyway- that is just a microscopic whatif, right? And Auntie Heather drives right past the hospital on her way to work each day and could probably fool a few nurses I was you to sneak in and take paparazzi pics and cuddle and all!

    And in a totally ESP way I think I told you yesterday that I still have Amy’s baby carrier, childseat and bouncer still? If you don’t find anything newer or fancier they’re yours!

    Anyway- you looked gorgeous and you have a huge army of support just waiting to see what we can do to help, yeah?

    • Thanks Heather! Really good to know about the Children’s hospital. I have my fingers and toes crossed we won’t need to go there though! Though it’s awesome to know that you are nearby too, if we do end up there for some reason. And yes, don’t go getting rid of Amy’s stuff just yet! I’m not sure what exactly we will need yet, but a child seat and bouncer are definitely on the list. Thanks for being my army 🙂

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