Earlier this evening while scrolling through photos on my phone, I stumbled upon an image of a positive pregnancy test. My positive pregnancy test, taken on 11 July 2020, just under three weeks after conception. It struck me just how soon I started experiencing pregnancy symptoms this time around, which – I discovered after much reading on the subject – seems to be the case for most twin pregnancies.
I had no idea that I was carrying twins at the time, of course, but I had an inkling that I might be pregnant almost immediately after conception. I know exactly when it happened. I can’t quite explain it, but I just knew. There was no real reason for me to suspect a pregnancy – I’d been tracking my cycle for years and hadn’t ovulated in 4 months (probably as a result of stress from a house move, shortly followed by lockdown and a global pandemic), and even if I had ovulated, I was nowhere near my usual fertility window. But still, I had an inkling. (And how miraculous that I ended up ovulating twice, when I really shouldn’t have ovulated at all?)
There were other symptoms that showed up fairly early on in this pregnancy, apart from The Knowing. A few days before I took the test, while on one of my daily walks around the neighbourhood, I noticed that my boobs were incredibly tender and sore to the touch. They also felt huge. I thought about it for a minute, but then put it down to the fact that I wasn’t wearing a sports bra like I usually would while out for a walk.
But the achy sensation persisted, and I suddenly felt so incredibly tired throughout the day – an exhaustion I’d only experienced once before, while I was pregnant with Bean. Once the uncontrollable tears started (and wouldn’t stop), I knew without a doubt that I was pregnant. A friend urged me to take a test, and I remember telling her that I didn’t need to take a test – I was already 99,9% certain that I was pregnant.
The following day, I woke up and headed to the kitchen to make breakfast (no coffee today, because the thought of coffee was suddenly very unappealing and made me feel queasy). I found a packet from the pharmacy lying on the floor. Inside, a pregnancy test. I checked my phone and saw that my friend had sent me a Whatsapp to say that she had dropped a pregnancy test through the kitchen window, and to let her know the results as soon as possible. I went off to the bathroom, weed on the stick, and left it to do it’s thing while I got Bean ready for the day. I replied to my friend to let her know that I was waiting for the results, but that I already knew.
Five minutes later, I went to check on the test. I wasn’t even remotely surprised. No tears, no shock – I’d known all along. Two solid pink lines. Positive. Pregnant.
It wasn’t long after the positive pregnancy test that I started noticing a few more symptoms: more frequent trips to the loo, headaches, and my nails seemed to be growing at a rapid rate. Oh, and did I mention the exhaustion?
I didn’t experience any morning sickness during my first pregnancy, but before long, the nausea and food aversions hit hard. I was always hungry, but just the thought of food was enough to send me running for the bathroom. All I could manage to eat for the first few weeks of my pregnancy was toast, apples, naartjies, and the occasional bowl of oats. I could barely keep my pre-natal vitamins down. At the time, I was convinced that I was carrying a little girl – given that I hadn’t experienced any morning sickness with Bean, it made complete sense. Little did I know that there were two little babies baking in there!
During my first pregnancy, I was eager to go for a scan as soon as possible and remember going to my gynae at around the 6 week mark. This time around, I felt a lot more at ease and only went for my first gynae visit (and scan) at around 10 weeks. I remember sitting in the waiting room, nervously waiting for our appointment, and fully expecting my gynae to tell me that there was, in fact, nothing in there and that I’d dreamed up my symptoms. (I’d experienced a bit of spotting for a couple of days that same week, which caused quite a few sleepless nights and plenty of stress). The last thing I ever expected was to be told that we were expecting not one, but TWO babies!
We left our appointment in complete shock, and it took a couple of weeks for us to come to terms with the news. Given that there are twins in my family (I have twin brothers), it really shouldn’t have been so surprising but it had honestly never crossed my mind that I might one day give birth to twins. In fact, after my divorce I’d made peace with the fact that Bean would probably be my one and only!
The remainder of my first trimester passed in a blur: writing deadlines, a big move from Greyton back to Cape Town, settling back into life in the Southern Suburbs, applying for schools, general life admin… and all while struggling with intense fatigue and horrid nausea. My ‘morning’ sickness was worst late at night, at around midnight to 2am, which meant that I wasn’t sleeping very well – not great considering that I was already shattered! I struggled to get up in the mornings, and Bean got way too much screen time as I tried to catch up on sleep with regular afternoon naps.
Not long after my first gynae visit, I received the results of my blood tests and found out that my iron and haemoglobin levels were very low. The usual first trimester fatigue, sleepless nights, and anaemia? Looking back, I’m not quite sure how I made it through those first few weeks! I was put on a double-dose of iron, with instructions to have my iron levels retested at around 20 weeks.
I’m so grateful that at every scan the babies seemed to be growing well and were healthy and strong, despite my poor appetite and incredibly low iron levels. We were also lucky enough to find out the babies’ sexes fairly early on, at around 11 weeks, even though we waited a few more weeks before announcing the news to the world. I fully expected that we’d have two girls, but my partner was certain that there were two boys in there – and as much as I seem to know my own body really well (sensing that I was pregnant before taking a test), it would appear that I don’t have the same knack for guessing the sex of my babies! I was also convinced that Bean was a girl, so this was the second time I’d made the wrong prediction. As it turns out, we’re expecting two little boys in March 2021 – and I can’t wait to finally meet these two little beings that have chosen me to be their mama. I wasn’t quite sure that I’d ever have more babies – let alone two at the same time – so I feel very lucky to be carrying these boys.
Stay tuned for my next twin pregnancy update, which will focus on my experiences during my second trimester. Until then, have you read my post on my early pregnancy symptoms yet? I also wrote about pregnancy skincare here and here.