Maybe don’t watch this one if you’re hungry…there’s a LOT of chocolate.
I haven’t blogged as much as I’d have liked to over the past few weeks for one simple reason: everything hurts. As my hips crunched together and my thighs went numb, I almost started to fondly miss the nausea and sweating of weeks gone by. Not being able to walk is really very boring.
Pelvic pain is common during pregnancy, the NHS website says that 1 in 5 women get it to some degree, but of course this will range in severity from woman to woman from “ooooh me back hurts” (kinda to be expected unfortunately, during the bizarre miracle that is growing a human inside you) to “can’t walk without crutches”.
Way back in 2010 when I was under the chronic pain & maxfax teams at Royal Surrey for my jaw and neck issues, I was warned that pregnancy would likely be problematic for me. A combo of rubbish hips and a hefty dose of the not-remotely-relaxing “relaxin” hormone was never going to be a recipe for comfort. What I didn’t know back then of course was that I would one day be pregnant with not one baby, but two. Two lovely gorgeous babies who at the 24 week scan registered as being on the 92nd percentile in terms of size. They are big. I am big. And like all twin mums my body has had to stretch to accomodate them ludicrously quickly.
I have found the speed of bump growth hard the whole way along to be honest, I wouldn’t say it has ever felt comfortable, but over the last few weeks it got really bad. There have been times where I’ve tried to dawdle very short distances, then been literally 500 metres from home and had to get a taxi. I was crying on a daily basis because it felt like I was wearing knickers made of lead. My legs wouldn’t move the way they should. I couldn’t bend down. I couldn’t get comfortable sat down. I couldn’t do the stairs. I felt like I couldn’t do ANYTHING.
But! And there is a but, before everyone worries this is purely a moan-fest, I have found some things which have made me feel a lot better. Praise be!
Obviously the main thing that has helped has been giving in to the fact that my body is under a lot of stress and realising it’s absolutely ok to turn down invitations, rest up and duck out of chores. I didn’t expect to wind down work as early as 25 weeks but I’m not going to meetings anymore (well, not unless it’s properly important and I can taxi door-to-door) and I really limit my time at my desk. I do as many emails as I can from my phone whilst horizontal (yey!) and whilst I’m still taking on paid work for now and looking at some really exciting projects, I’m also getting everything in place to start my maternity allowance early. Nothing is more important than the babies and whilst SPD can’t harm the babies in any way, it’s not helpful for me to be upset and stressed at a time when I was otherwise feeling ludicrously joyous. Changing the pressure I was putting on myself to pretty much zero has been a HUGE help and I am so much happier for it.
As well as reducing my workload and saying goodbye to stacking the dishwasher, I’ve also bought a few things which have made a difference…
Serola Sacroiliac Belt
I’ve wanted to buy a pelvic support belt for a while but was at a loss as to where to begin as they all looked so different; some looked like cruel contraptions for the hips whilst others looked more like massive Spanx to cover the whole bump. Luckily the physiotherapist at the hospital let me try a belt which she thought would make a big difference given my symptoms and I went straight home and ordered it. I had felt relief immediately when she’d fastened it on me and whilst I couldn’t take it home (*sob*) I Primed one and since Friday I’ve been wearing it whenever I’ve needed to walk anywhere or be out of the house. It has really helped. Granted I’ve only had it a few days, but it has REALLY changed my ability to do simple things like “walk around the supermarket”. I still doubt I could walk very far, but it has made a world of difference and I wish I had bought one sooner.
I bought a size large (this was what the physio fit me in so I could buy it confidently) and I liked knowing that this is what an NHS physio would recommend. I’m always wary of “gadgets” when it comes to anything as important as “our skeletons” but I read lots of reviews, it’s commonly used across hospitals and – more than anything else – I’ve felt the relief for myself. This was money well spent.
Coccyx Orthopedic Cushion
My tailbone has been in agony for a while now so when this cushion came up as a lightning deal during Prime Day I almost didn’t care if it was going to be a gimmicky load of rubbish. I bought it knowing I was about to sit in the car to Manchester and if it could help even a tiny bit to take the pressure off my bum then it would have been worth buying. Much to my surprise, it has actually been really really helpful. I use it at my desk and when I sit in the car, but I also take it out with me (revel in my coolness) if I know I’ll be sitting down anywhere for long.
It IS weird to sit on something which feels a bit like a potty, but it’s extremely comfortable to sit on and I have found it helps my posture enormously – as well as crucially taking the pressure off my coccyx.
Another recommendation from the physio, I bought this to do some of the pelvic exercises I’d been recommended but it’s also just really nice to sit on in front of the telly. Apparently some people find them useful in labour too!
I’ve fully reviewed the bbhugme already here but I thought I’d include it in this post too as it’s definitely an important weapon in my fight against SPD. It keeps my hips in an optimal position when sleeping and I also use it tied up to support my back when sat down on the sofa. It’s BRILLIANT.
I know I’m only going to get bigger, but I hope these things will continue to help me going forward. I want the babies to stay put as long as possible (and to get as big and strong as possible – COME ON BABIES, YOU CAN DO IT!) so I have no complaints there, it’s just hard sometimes when you feel physically very trapped by discomfort.
I’ll be starting hydrotherapy at the hospital in August hopefully and I would definitely recommend to anyone suffering in pregnancy to speak to their midwife for a referral to physio. Of course there are aspects of pregnancy which are always going to be uncomfortable, but if you think you have pelvic girdle pain (more info here) then you must say because there are definitely things you can try. And the sooner you speak up, the sooner you may get some relief!
Happy waddling 😀
There aren’t many rites of passages quite like sitting in a village hall with a bunch of equally terrified parents-to-be and getting ready to change a dolly’s nappy. That was, in part, how ST and I spent our Saturday…
I went full Cash Hughes and became VERY protective of my twin dolls, especially the diddy one. (Side note: if you’re not sure if you’re decided on your baby names, carry around some dolls for a few hours as I am now 100% convinced. Maaaaan, I miss my dolls.)
We’re doing a local NCT course in September and I intend to to do the free NHS course at my hospital, but the antenatal course which I’ve always been most excited about was the one we went to this weekend – a 6.5 hour twin-fest focused solely on multiple births. The course was run by Twin Birth in conjunction with Tamba, the leading UK multiple birth charity. Tamba offer shorter antenatal classes too (as well as courses for second-time parents who are expecting twins), but we wanted to dive in and do the full day course as we knew this would give us the opportunity to cover everything in more detail.
There were 7 couples on our course and we were all first time parents at a similar stage in pregnancy, so from the get-go it was just really nice to chat to other people going through the exact same stuff that we are. Of course a lot of the fears and questions that new parents face are common across the board, but it IS different when you’re expecting twins and so to be able to talk these things through – face to face – was just really re-assuring I suppose.
There have been times during this pregnancy where I’ve wondered if I was worrying too much/planning too much/reading too much/complaining about my back too much and actually the more I speak to other twin mums-to-be the more I realise it is completely normal. We’re having high-risk pregnancies and our antenatal care and birth choices are different from the outset, not to mention the fact that there’ll be two babies to look after at the end of it (it can be surprisingly easy to forget that part when you’re busy worrying about premature labour and NICU stays) so of course we’re going to approach pregnancy a bit differently. Our pregnancies ARE different.
The course started with us setting out our hopes and aims for the day and by the end of the afternoon we’d definitely covered everything we’d wanted to. The day was structured around the agenda we’d set ourselves but as a loose guide, we basically covered the following…
- Factors influencing type of birth for twins or triplets
- Role of birth partner in vaginal or C section birth
- Recognising signs of labour, what to expect in labour and how multiple birth differs from singleton birth
- How you can cope with labour pain and what choices you have
- How to make a twin or triplet birth plan
- How to make Caesarean birth special if that is your chosen option
- Recovery after both types of birth
- What happens if twins or triplets arrive early
- How to feed, change and care for more than one baby at a time
- Co-bedding twins and routines for twins
- Impact on relationships
- What equipment you really need
- How to get out and about with twins
- How to survive the early days and weeks after the birth
We also had a visit from twin parents who’d been in our position on the course just over a year ago, so they could share their experiences of their first 11 months with their babies. This was really helpful and after we’d all chatted together, the group split so that the men could chat to the dad and the women could chat to the mum. We all had lots of questions as you can imagine, so it was nice to be able to bombard someone who’d done it all so recently!
Whilst the day was structured, our course leader Sharon was really good at keeping an informal feeling throughout. We could all jump in with questions at any time and this was really useful, as inevitably the questions being asked were things I’d been thinking about myself or things I hadn’t considered yet but really should have.
This is where I’d say the course is invaluable really, as whilst I’m looking forward to NCT and meeting local mums from down the road, I’m not expecting the content to turn out to be that enlightening as I highly doubt there’ll be anyone else there expecting twins. Being in a group where everyone was in the same position made life so much easier as every hand raised meant we were all learning something useful and relevant. I’ve also heard horror stories about c-sections only getting a passing mention at NCT so given I know I’m having one, it was great on Saturday to talk about sections in detail and we got some really good pointers about how we can still make the experience ‘special’.
I’ve had the luxury of being able to spend a lot of time reading (and, errr, obsessing) about twin pregnancies, births, breastfeeding and so on, so whilst I wouldn’t necessarily say I “learnt” a huge amount on the day that I hadn’t already thought about, it was really reassuring as it confirmed a lot of the things I’d read and – crucially – it gave ST a chance to ask lots of questions and to gain a much better understanding of what the next year of our lives might look like. The worries he has are very different to mine, so for him to be able to chat these through in the group was great. I also thoroughly enjoyed being proved right throughout the day, as I’ve often said “we need to think about xyz” and it has seemed ludicrous but actually it turns out I’ve been correct all along – HURRAH! I mean surely that sense of oneupmanship is worth the course fee in itself?!
We both really enjoyed the day and probably the best feedback I can give the course is that we drove back home feeling incredibly excited rather than scared. We really can’t wait to meet these bubbas and whilst we do still have loads of things we need to get sorted it all feels very doable. We know it’s going to be hard and we know what challenges we can expect to face, but we also know how rewarding it will be in the long-run.
The course was £150 and that fee included follow-up support, refreshments (yeeeeeah I ate a LOT of biscuits) and loads of materials to take home with us like the above booklets. We went to a course in Chiswick but they’re run all over the country and as I mentioned earlier, there are shorter (and much cheaper) classes as well as webinars on specific topics. There are also classes for parents of older twins on things like sleep, schooling and teen years. I’ve booked to do a breastfeeding multiples webinar next month for £15. You can find out more info on courses and booking details here.
The last thing we did as a group was go round the room and each say what we’re most looking forward to about being twin parents. Everyone said something completely different, but I think we could all relate to everything that was said. There really is so much to look forward to.
It’s going to be a wild ride, but it will be undeniably special too.
We can’t wait!
Me up until the 20 week scan: “We mustn’t buy anything. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.”
Me now: “We need 400 muslins IMMEDIATELY”
This video is all about the baby “stuff” we’ve amassed so far… pram, changing bag, car seats, gadgets, breastfeeding bits – all that type of thing. No clothes though as I can’t really share clothes without giving the game away in terms of genders! (Trust me though, I have very much enjoyed doing the clothes part. I have a favourite babygrow hanging in my office and one under my pillow. *Bit weird*).
I still have stuff some pretty essential stuff to buy but this is where we’re at currently. I’m sure there’ll be more vids like this as the nursery gets kitted out more…..eeeeeeep!
And of course, I’ll review the items properly once the babies are here. At the moment I’m pretty much just going off your recommendations, other bloggers, friends and fam and random strangers on Amazon. Natch.
Thanks for watching!
I think it’s fair to say that everyone loves a Mars Ice Cream Bar. In fact the humble Mars Ice Cream Bar was a major force behind the original WIWT site. Development of the app and all the headaches that went with building a complex fashion social network could often only be remedied by a trip the the newsagents a few doors down for a carrier bag full of said ice cream goodness. This was true of all seasons, too. Just write a few more lines of code, close a few more tickets, check a handful more bug reports and there’d be a heavenly reward waiting in the WIWT HQ freezer: Mars Ice Cream. Honestly, the whole WIWT team was fuelled by these little bars of happiness.
This year though, Mars launched ice cream tubs. That’s right gang, the ice cream goodness of a Mars Ice Cream Bar…IN A TUB. And it wasn’t just Mars, Snickers got in on the action too. The perfect sharing tubs for fans looking for another way to treat themselves to their favourite caramelly chocolatey treats.
Now I was pretty late to the Snickers party, not having even ever tried one til meeting ST six years ago. They’re his favourite though and we now seem to always have them in the fridge. (Does anyone else keep their Snickers in the fridge?! I RECOMMEND IT). How would Snickers fair as an ice cream though? I was very keen to find out…
Well I can confirm that this stuff is like manna from heaven. It’s especially good if you let it melt a bit before tucking in. The caramel swirls are generous and the peanuts are chocolate covered (swoon!) so this is an ice cream that is particularly hard to share, but if you are feeling generous it makes a good addition for a picnic.
Keen to make the most of the early evening sun after work, we headed out to the park with a couple of our neighbours to fully road test both of the new ice cream tubs and discuss all things Love Island. I’m not much fun to take to the pub at the moment, but I can deliver a hamper of ice cream and some top notch Chris and Olivia based chat.
We were 50/50 split as to which of the two tubs we preferred, but the peanuts won it for me and meant the Snickers just about nudged it. If you’re a caramel fan, I think you’d probably like the Mars one slightly more. That being said if you’re going to Asda specifically to pick these up (which I unashamedly was) you may as well get both, right?!
The RRP is £3 but they were on offer for £2 each at my local Asda. Kerching! If we’d been eating them at home I’d have experimented with crafting delectable sundaes (or milkshakes? I bet they’d work amazingly as milkshakes) but as we were headed for the park next door I just took spoons and bowls. These really don’t need dressing up to be enjoyed!
These tubs will definitely be featuring in my next Food Favourites video but as the sun is back, for now at least, I didn’t want to wait to inform you of their wonder.
So grab a spoon! You’re in for a treat.
This post is sponsored by Mars Ice Cream, but all ice-cream loving enthusiasm is very much my own. You can find out more about how I work with brands here.