Twin pregnancy: my experiences

‘Felicidades, hay dos’ or it’s two’. When we heard this at the gynecologist’s office in Spain, I didn’t know what hit me. The first two weeks were also still full of disbelief. I had prepared for a miscarriage or that it was just fine, at least, with 1 baby. I did not expect the answer that I was pregnant with twins! So I would have a twin pregnancy!

Every week I opened back up in the Pregnant + app to see what changes our babies were going through. Because of this, I also noticed that I found it unfortunate that much of the information is focused on women who are pregnant with one baby. Not fun when you have a twin pregnancy. I also did not find very many experience stories of women who were or are pregnant with twins. Hence, I now want to share all my twin pregnancy experiences. If you are pregnant with twins yourself, or also have twins, send me a message or comment at the bottom of the blog. Would be super fun!

Weekend getaway to Miravet. Knew here that I was pregnant, but not yet that there were two!

Twin pregnancy: The first trimester (1 – 12 weeks 1 – 3 months)

The first weeks after the first ultrasound (at 8.5 weeks) we really had to get used to the fact that there were two. Fortunately, though, we were immediately relieved that all was well at that point. We heard both hearts beating enthusiastically AND they both had their own placenta and amniotic sac. A dichorial pregnancy, the “ideal” twin pregnancy they knew to tell me at the hospital.

The Spanish gynecologist explained that within the types of twin pregnancy, this twin pregnancy is probably the least risky. If you are pregnant with twins or multiples, regardless of which “arrangement,” you do run a higher risk of complications than if you are pregnant with one baby. Although a woman pregnant with twins who share the placenta and amniotic sac has even more risk of complications compared to the pregnancy I had. Read more about types of twins and how we experienced the discovery of our twins

So nothing home birth, in the bath, with candles, music and in my own bubble. Our little ones will be the first to see the white walls of the hospital and the face of the gynecologist. We also decided soon after that that I would give birth in the Netherlands. Apart from practical reasons, because how am I going to get up all those stairs to the 3rd floor (no elevator) and also during delivery, I also wanted to make myself fully understood and have my family nearby. Staying in Spain would mean having neither family near us.

Twin Pregnancy: The First Trimester (1 – 12 weeks)

The first trimester of my twin pregnancy was pretty relaxed. Apart from fatigue and some cravings for cheese croissants (yes unfortunately), I was doing well. I was active, still ran a lot and had a nice weekend trip with my little brother, took Spanish lessons, was working a lot and also went running. In addition, I also quickly obtained the certificate for my training as a Natural Nutritionist in between courses.

So things like nausea I thankfully did not have! Also, I didn’t see much change in my body yet. Didn’t really have a belly yet, unlike what you sometimes read about other women who were pregnant with two. This made me insecure at times, but on the other hand, it is my first time having two babies in my belly, so was able to quickly put that insecure feeling into perspective.

Pregnant by train

Twin Pregnancy

My first trimester ended around the beginning of April and because I had the Green Pepper event again, we went by train from Barcelona to the Netherlands. Last time I didn’t find traveling by train from the Netherlands to Barcelona so hard, but now with pregnancy it was a bit more tiring. Once in the Netherlands, my second trimester made its appearance.

Pregnant with twins: the Second trimester (13 – 26 weeks 4 to 6 months)

They say that in the second trimester you feel much better. The nausea is gone, you get your energy back and you are in full glory. At least that’s what they say. For me, fortunately, this was partly true. The fact that I was still not nauseous and felt quite energetic in the first half of my second trimester was wonderful! The second half, on the other hand, was more intense. Glad that first part went well, because I was super busy working as a freelance marketing communications specialist!

Midwife with twins in the Netherlands

After our trip by train from Barcelona to the Netherlands, we went to the midwife in the Netherlands at 12 weeks. What a sweet midwife this was and after the first ultrasound at 12 weeks she made an appointment for us for the 13 week ultrasound. Everything looked good and thankfully the NIPT test also turned out to be good. By the way, normally after your first ultrasound in the Netherlands (at about 8 weeks) at the midwife with twins, you go straight to the hospital. Of course, we had done this first ultrasound in Spain and could not get an appointment at the hospital on short notice, so we could not go to the hospital until after the 13-week ultrasound.

The first hospital appointment was scheduled for early May so in April I had enough energy to catch another concert, go out to dinner, walk through the free market during King’s Day and most of all do lots of fun things besides working. In addition, of course, I had to stock up on all the necessary items.

We bought the Bugaboo Donkey Twin 5

Stroller for twins

For example, I went several times with my parents to look for a stroller for twins on marketplace and in stores. Unfortunately, without a car, it was logistically very difficult to find a used stroller for twins through marketplace. There were not very many on there that were still in good condition and for which you did not have to drive 200km. My tip: start your search early when you want to buy used. The turnover rate is not as high as strollers for one baby, so takes more time to find one. I finally had to choose to buy one new, with the idea of selling it again afterwards. It’s the Bugaboo Donkey Twin 5, by the way. Other than that, we bought, borrowed or got just about everything secondhand. The dresser, co-sleepers, maxi cosis, jugs, sheets etc. In case you find it interesting, I’m going to make a list of stuff that I did find really handy to have.

Baby room decorating for multiple births

Quietly we started putting the “baby room” in order, which – spoiler alert – ended up never being finished and to be honest, it’s not really needed for the first six months either. Especially when you choose rooming-in. That means having your baby (or babies) in the bedroom with you. This is recommended for the first six months according to the Safe Sleep Foundation. The only thing we did to the “baby room” was paint the wall.

My parents helped us tremendously with finding the right stuff through Marketplace. Also, we had thought it would be handy now anyway to refurbish the house a bit with new laminate flooring (there was still just the wood subfloor, which was nice…but not so warm in the winter) and the idea was to replace another window frame. It was finally replaced in early November. Quite a thing when your newborn babies are in the house (I have a first floor apartment so no upstairs) and there are two large construction workers walking in and out of the house. With the necessary construction sounds.

Boy/girl or boy/boy or girl/girl?

When we had the 13-week ultrasound in early April in the Netherlands, they asked us if we wanted to know what gender the babies were. Yes, of course! Very curious! She could tell that one was definitely a boy. The other baby held his hands in front of it. Well….that likes to keep things exciting. And after waiting for some time, the baby still kept turning nicely away from us. So we didn’t know if we were going to have another boy or a girl.

Breaking the news to girlfriends on a warm day in April

Since we have two-egg twins, I thought it would be great to have a girl too. Although I was mostly grateful that both babies were healthy and well in the womb and, of course, in the end it didn’t matter that much. A few weeks later, in early May, I went to the gynecologist with my mother. I asked if she would take a look at the sex of the babies. And yes….both of them, very clearly: two little boys! It was a beautiful moment, joy and a small tear, because with that, the idea of a girl is also gone. The realization that you will never have a daughter because we don’t want to go for 3 children. Something about permanence and only wanting to replace yourself. But that little tear was quickly gone and I could already see myself enjoying myself with my 2 little men on the beach in Spain and in the sea!

The Recognition

The month of May flew by because of work and all the things we had to do. Of course, one of the reasons my boyfriend went with me to the Netherlands was not only that we wanted to be together during the pregnancy, but also to arrange the recognition. It is quite a thing to do when your partner does not live in the Netherlands and you are not married or registered partners. Your partner then needs all documents such as: proof that he/she is not married in his/her home country, birth certificate and all of that must have an apostille. Oh and translated by a sworn translator. It took quite a bit of time and visits to the municipality before we knew exactly what we needed to arrange recognition. Only to have to come back again with all the documents. And then things didn’t go smoothly. In a later blog, I’ll tell you why.

Twin Pregnancy

So, after the sustainable event Green Pepper was over again and I caught up with my colleagues from Fairtrade Original, it was time to head back to Barcelona. Upon arrival, I ticked 20 weeks! And my belly was really starting to grow now and you could start to see it. How extraordinary that is. I also felt the first kicks between 17 and 20 weeks. I couldn’t really distinguish between the two yet. Also, in my belly they were still going in all directions. We already noticed that there was one baby who was a little quieter and one baby who always let us know he was there.

The 20-week ultrasound with twins in the Netherlands and Spain

Before I left, I did have the 20-week ultrasound (at 18.5 weeks) in the Netherlands. It felt nice to do this in the Netherlands. I was helped by a super sweet ultrasound technician who really took the time to go through and explain everything in English and Dutch. We lay there for about 1.5 hours. After going through all the toes, fingers, hearts, livers and other body parts, we went home feeling good. Everything looked good on the men!

20 weeks pregnant

Since I was in the Netherlands for a while, the Spanish gynecologist also wanted to know for himself if everything was ok. So I had another 20-week ultrasound in Barcelona. What a difference that was, and how glad I was to have had a comprehensive 20-week ultrasound in the Netherlands! It was a gruff woman, racing through all organs and limbs, telling nothing and saying at the end, “lista, todo bien.” In the end, of course, that answer is the most important thing, but still. We were outside within 30 minutes. Then you still doubt that she looked and saw everything. I guess it has to do with the fact that in Barcelona I have private insurance.

21 weeks

Quest for a new Spanish casa

It was wonderful to be back in Spain. The weather was nice and I enjoyed seeing my friends there again. Since we were in Chile from November 2021 until early February and back to Holland at the beginning of April. Besides enjoying Spanish life, we also had the goal of finding an apartment. In fact, the apartment we are in now does not have an elevator. A twin stroller + two babies weighing 6 to 7 kg by then is quite a lot of lugging when you live on the 3rd floor.

Unfortunately, the housing market in Barcelona is also really overheated because after the corona many people want to return or are finally moving to Barcelona, so finding a house is difficult. Prices are also skyrocketing. After a month of searching and many disappointments, we gave up. As soon as we get back to Barcelona we will start looking again. And how we get up and down the stairs? Let’s say we return to Spain well trained.

Twin Pregnancy

Corona during twin pregnancy

It was mid-June and it was about 26 degrees. I wanted to go outside, the early bird that I am, I prefer to go as early as 8 a.m., but would rather go with my friend. And who had some things to do in the morning so we ended up going out around noon. We were going to walk to Parc Guinardó. This is one of my favorite parks in Barcelona because it is green and really makes you feel out of the city without taking a train to, say, Collserola National Park.

After about 30 minutes of just walking uphill, the sweat broke out pretty badly on me anyway. Felt less energetic and really tired already. That’s the pregnancy I thought, mean, you’re making two babies! Besides, it’s the middle of the day. So downshifted for a while and ended up taking another fine walk, at intervals. When we got home we were hungry so after a quick shower we went for lunch at our favorite Thai nearby. I had no appetite, again I thought: well pregnant. However, when I got home I really didn’t feel well. Headache, cough, muscle aches and then I thought, this is no longer pregnancy. Passed test and yes. Positive. Hard corona. Fortunately, Humberto had a negative test.

Twin Pregnancy Scha

Difference between Spanish and Dutch health care when corona and pregnant

Eeh yes, and then what do you do? Pregnant with twins and corona. Tasty then. Again, I noticed the difference between Dutch care and Spanish care. I called the Spanish gynecologist and he said, I’ll write you a prescription to get two specific injections against thrombosis at the pharmacy that are 100 euros each.

Twin Pregnancy
24 weeks pregnant

The first thing that came to my mind: yeah right, they definitely have a deal with that pharma company. And besides, injections against thrombosis? Wtf…? I immediately called my Dutch gynecologist and he said no way, we don’t give medication if you have corona and are pregnant. Not even with twins. Do keep a close eye on it and if it gets worse, you do need to contact or go to the hospital. Fortunately, I turned out to be quite sick for 2 full days but then it got better! In time to enjoy a wonderful weekend of Spanish summer with friends. We had booked weekend away together, which was fantastic. And so sweet, they had organized a baby shower!

When I didn’t have children, I thought, what a nonsense, such a baby shower. And yes there are definitely over the top baby showers. I don’t need giant gifts. But having a moment to reflect on the arrival of your little ones by people you love is still very special. The tears, of course, flowed profusely. Hormones.

Heat wave on the third floor

And then it was already July. I was almost entering my third trimester. In early August, our flight to the Netherlands was scheduled. And how glad I was, not so much to go back, but because by now I was suffering from the heat. In addition, we live on the 3rd floor. Without elevator. So that was pretty tough when you’re pregnant with twins in 35 degrees, with no air conditioning.

I also just had to work (from home, that is) so it was a little off. When the shape of your buttocks is left behind from sweat when you stand up, you know you are sweating nicely. Support stockings also went on in the morning when it was still “cool” at 25 degrees. At the end of the second trimester, back pain also began to get worse. The moment was there. I went waddling, like that with your hand on the back of your back. You know those pregnant women. So I was one of those, too.

26 weeks pregnant

Despite having back pain, I still tried to walk a little. Slowly, step by step to do keep active. That way, I still reached almost 8,000 steps every day. Also, I stayed positive because actually I had a fine pregnancy. I was in contact with a Dutch pelvic physiotherapist, but she told me that fortunately I did not have instability. Just so bad back pain.

My lover massaged my back practically every day. That was a really nice moment, the pain gone for a while and us together for a while. I can recommend it to everyone! He always did it without complaining and with attention. Even though you can think: yes but you are pregnant, this is the least he can do, I think it is admirable that he has kept this up all these months. Only six months later he told me that sometimes he didn’t feel like it, but then thought, yes this is the least I can do for her.

25 weeks, Blanes

Babymoon Weekend in Blanes

They call it that, don’t they? Babymoon? Away together for a while longer without the baby, or babies in our case. We had to choose something that could be reached by train and not too far away because sitting was not my favorite activity for me. When I was 19 I went on vacation for the first time, to…yes Blanes! Like any teenager, that was great but I can’t remember more than the pub, beach and some boat trips from Blanes. I heard it has a cute center and beautiful beaches.

Since you can get there very easily (and cheaply) by train, Blanes was for us the place where the two of us with air conditioning could enjoy some more time together. We didn’t do much except eat drink, swim, visit the botanical gardens (very beautiful!) and walk around downtown. And that was just right. There are excellent vegan options in Blanes, by the way! There is even a vegan tapas restaurant Se Capca in the center. Recommended.

In week 27 I still went with friends to festival in Montjuïc, what a delight! So nice that I could still do things. I did find myself boiling from the heat at times, and couldn’t stand for long, but the fact that I still felt good about doing this was a great gift.

27 weeks

Anti D shot in Spain

If you have an Rhesus D-negative blood type, you should have an anti-D shot by week 27. At least, in Spain they just give it to you without doing any research, except of course they have to be sure you have an Rhesus D-negative blood group.

I had to pick up this shot myself at the pharmacy and bring it with me to my appointment. Cost: something like 60 euros. When I told them this later in Holland, they looked at me with big eyes. “But they didn’t even check if it was necessary?”. So turns out that in the Netherlands they also check the babies to see if the baby is rhesus positive. If that is the case only then will you get the prick.

I later understood that because I had already gotten this shot, I had to get that shot again anyway after I gave birth. Just in case I ever wanted to get pregnant again. But here came the real monkey wrench as to why they do blood tests in the Netherlands first: it is expensive in the Netherlands to get an anti-D shot. Anyway piece more expensive than in Spain so. Strange isn’t it that these prices differ so much?

28 weeks

Twins Pregnancy the final weeks: The third trimester: to the Netherlands! (27-41 weeks)

After the anti-D shot and all the preparations (packing with 35 degrees is no fun ;-)), it was finally here at the beginning of August! We went to Holland for the third trimester and thus the last leg. Because we didn’t want to take a risk with this twin pregnancy that they didn’t want to take me by plane and taking the train was too exhausting, we went at 29 weeks. I had arranged a statement from the doctor, but in the end I didn’t even have to show it. They just wanted to know at the check-in desk how far along I was. By the way, we were allowed to check in in the short line, so I didn’t have to stand for a long time.

Then we were told that we could take the special row for the security check for the disabled, parents with children and thus women (fortunately) with twin pregnancies. It was not so much faster and certainly not quieter. What a screech! Haha! It was sweltering, hot, kids everywhere who were tired, hungry or bored.

The flight went fine. By the way, always check in advance until when you can fly. Again, this varies by airline and with a twin pregnancy (=risk pregnancy) you must always (from 20 weeks I believe) have a pregnancy scan from your doctor. That you are “fit to fly” so to speak. In an uncomplicated twin (or multiple) pregnancy, you may fly until 32 weeks. If you are pregnant with 1 baby, that limit is 36 weeks. Always double-check with the airline you plan to fly with.

30 weeks together with friend who was also 30 weeks – of 1 baby – of 1 child.

Once I arrived in Holland, the pleasure was so great that I no longer had to go up and down the third floor with 35 degrees every day. I could just go in and out. With my back pain, that was wonderful. I went to the GGD pretty soon for the whooping cough shot (22 week shot), which I couldn’t take before. Then also a check-up with the gynecologist right away. Where we could just go by bike.

Chilean band and summer vibes

These last few weeks have been tough. I had to work until August 17 and just as well because a month later they were born. When you are pregnant with twins, you get 20 weeks of leave in the Netherlands. Also as a freelancer. It’s not much what you get but in addition to my AOV insurance, the 4.5 months were fine. I recommend this to anyone who freelances and wants to get pregnant, just make sure you know the conditions well, sometimes there is a waiting period. So that you may not already be pregnant when you take out the insurance.

32 weeks pregnant

In my last trimester, I still had some super fun things like: my boyfriend’s birthday in the Netherlands! A friend’s bachelorette party (but I was only up for the day program) then the wedding (driving a car with thick swollen legs, not recommended!) and we spent another night out in The Hague. Further by train was not an option, in case I suddenly had to give birth. We even rode around on the OV bikes through The Hague. I was devastated, but was nice to still do this together.

In the weeks that followed, we had to go to the hospital regularly because one of the babies was not growing enough. Everything was checked but all appeared to be working. Fortunately, the hospital was close by and we were able to bike to all the checkups. Although from week 34 on, that got really tough. My legs were full of fluid (the heat didn’t help either, although I could sleep better than in Spain where it didn’t cool down at night) and the pregnancy pillow was my salvation.

Every night with legs up against the wall. You then do feel at the most charming in your entire life. I also had constant heartburn, what a nasty feeling that is! Couldn’t eat any more sambal. I don’t know how many Rennies I rushed through. Besides the physical discomfort, we did some small activities such as a music festival nearby where a Chilean band played. What are the odds! So it was fun to already bring a little Chilean vibes to the babies in the belly.

12,000 steps 3 days before delivery

I ended up going to the hairdresser a few days before I gave birth. Did over 12,000 steps that day, I don’t know how I did it with the fat belly and fat legs, but I managed. I was devastated after that, though. That following Saturday, I was surprised by my friends in the Netherlands with a baby shower. It was so much fun! On that day, in between presents, I also first discovered some cramps, fluids and blood.

35 weeks, few days before I gave birth
Surprise party of friends, 35 weeks

It was a good thing they did it that day, because two days later the boys were born! A twin pregnancy is quite an experience. It is not carefree, but I am squeezing my hands that it went so well for me and apart from some physical discomfort.

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