The planned pregnancy that I didn’t expect.

How my pregnancy was far from how I imagined it would be, how I was given 50% chance of success and why I’m glad it’s over.

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Let the worries begin.

When my university graduation came closer, my husband and I thought it was a good time to start trying to have a baby. I would graduate around June 2014, I thought it would be good to be pregnant around that time, I just wanted to avoid suddenly going into labour during my finals, so I wanted to make sure that the baby’s due date was not during those early summer months.

I also had to consider the fact that my husband and I were still long distance, him working in Japan and me studying in Denmark, meaning hitting the right fertile timing would be a bit harder than for the average couple.

We started trying in December 2013, when my period came as usual a few weeks later I was devastated, even though I knew that it was normal not getting pregnant after the first try. Due to the distance, our next try was February 2014 and this time I tried to not listen to any symptoms or putting my expectations to high.

I started feeling extremely dizzy, when laying down, my bed seemed to spin around, I was seeing black spots and I started feeling sick and nauseated and when I tested a few days after my expected period, the test was positive. I was over the moon.

The next weeks were spent with feeling sick and tired. I was exhausted. I could sleep 16 hours a day and still feel sleep deprived. I spend too much time online reading stories of miscarriages, so I was a nervous wreck, expecting to see blood every time I went to the bathroom. When I was around 8 weeks along and did see blood on the toilet paper, I decided to pay for an early scan to calm my nerves.

I kept telling my mother that my pregnancy wasn’t “normal”, even though it was my first time. Something felt off. So when the staff at the scan clinic got ready to scan me I was expecting the worst, but nothing had prepared me for what I would hear next.

“Here’s the first one, let’s see if I can find the second”.

The second?! What was she on about?!.

I was baffled. The scan revealed, not one, but two babies. I was in total shock. I never considered the possibility of twins.

One baby was already measuring smaller than the other, which worried me to no end. More worries. I was especially worried about the fact that they were identical twins, meaning they shared a placenta and a quick search online gave me several horror stories about TTTS (Twin to twin transfusion), which means that the twins have an unequal share of blood, one twin, the donor, gets too little blood and the other twin, recipient, gets too much, which can cause, brain damage, heart defects and death. 10-30% of identical twins fall victim of TTTS, which is also means that you get scanned every 2 weeks from 12 weeks gestation.

When I was scanned around 12 weeks, there were still two babies in there wriggling around. There was still a size difference between the two and the small twin had a cyst on its’ cord, which worried the hospital staff. They convinced me to get a sample from the placenta to check for any chromosomal issues.

It took a week before the hospital finally contacted me with the results. Two babies with normal chromosomes and even better, they were girls.

Fifty percent chance of success.

My biggest dream of having girl(s), would be coming true. I was relieved and happy. I had never seen myself as the mother of boys. My mind was running on glitter, big dresses and Disney princesses.

I started having regular scans every two weeks. My little girl, twin B, kept measuring small, but no signs of TTTS and her flow was normal. When I was 16 weeks along, a doctor wanted to discuss my options. My husband was in Japan and I was alone in the room. The doctor told me that she feared something was wrong with my smaller twin and combining the risks of TTTS, she would only give me 50% of having a successful pregnancy.

I was stunned.

The doctor continued to tell me to consider getting an abortion before it was too late and she didn’t see me carrying my girls past week 32. I told her that neither my husband nor I would consider getting an abortion, especially now where everything looked fine.

On the way home I cried.

Two days later I felt my girls move for the first time.

I graduated from university and moved in with my mother, waiting to move to Japan after my pregnancy. Due to the move, I changed hospitals and I was looking forward to a second opinion.

The new hospital was more positive and they were happy with the sizes of my girls. As long as the small twin followed her own curve there should be no reason to panic.

The two weeks between my scan I was a nervous wreck. Constantly worried about the girls’ movement and of any signs of TTTS, some nights I would start crying due to being exhausted from my constant worries, but all scans told me the girls were doing well.

My husband and I decided on two names for the girls. The big girl would be Yurina (友利奈), her first character being “friend”, I imagined a strong and kind girl, who would have a lot of friends. The little girl would be Miharu (美晴), written as beautiful, clear sky, she was small, but, beautiful.

When I was 29 weeks along, my little girl fell off her own chart and wasn’t growing properly. She went down to minus 34% below average, my bigger girl was around 12% below average, so the hospital decided to give me steroid injections to mature the lungs of my girls, if I were to have an emergency c-section.

The final stretch.

The extra scans showed that the flow of the small twin was normal, so they wanted her to stay in as long as possible. During my next scans she started to grow faster and faster and like a miracle she started to catch up to her sister and suddenly there was only an estimated 100 gram difference on them.

I got past 32 weeks and saw it as my own personal victory.

When I was 35 weeks along, the hospital detected protein in my urine, my blood pressure was high and a blood test showed that I was developing preeclampsia. I was then hospitalized.

My kidneys were no longer functioning correctly and my blood plates were decreasing, so the remaining days of my pregnancy we spent in the hospital, getting blood tests several times a day. The good thing was that I got to hear the heart beats of my girls every day, but they started to move less and less. I knew that they were getting big and had a lack of space, but it still worried me. I kept telling the hospital staff that I was worried about their movement and I had nightmares of stillbirth. The pregnancy had taken its’ toll on me, both physically and mentally.

I was getting huge, even walking became painful and I couldn’t sleep at night, but the 8 months of worries was the worst part. My sanity was wearing thin and I wanted it to be over. The hospital wanted to deliver them at 38 weeks, but I wanted them out sooner. A midwife listened to my worries and consulted a doctor for me, he agreed that they would deliver them at 37 weeks. I got the news when I was 36 weeks and 4 days along, so only 3 more days. I couldn’t sleep that same night. Something kept me up. The next day my preeclampsia got worse and they told me that I would deliver that same day. 7 hours later my girls were delivered by c-section, (they were in breech), and they came out screaming and healthy.

When my first girl, Yurina, came out the sound of her crying brought tears to my eyes. It was like I had run a marathon for 8 months and I finally reached goal. I was relieved. Then Miharu was born, emotions I had never felt before was fighting within me and I was just crying.

Today my girls are 5 months old, they are healthy and perfect. They bring me joy and sleepless nights. They’re something I didn’t expect, but they brought me everything I needed.

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5 responses

  1. Hello. It has been a while since I have last visited your blog and I am pleasantly surprised to see all the happy developments and changes in your life. Congratulations!

    I find your blog very resourceful, especially now that I am going through similar life events as you have gone through in the past. My Danish boyfriend is planning to move to Japan next year, and while we both enjoy the overall process of planning and doing the paperwork, we need to resolve a number of issues and questions at the same time, which is not easy as not so many people have done the same thing. Thank you for organizing this blog and please keep up the good work.

  2. I was so happy to find and read your recent blog posts today. I also am the mother of half identical twins living in Saitama. Being a foreigner myself I could absolutely relate to your posts, and it gave me a good laugh. My pregnancy experience was very similar to yours (except that I was hospitalized for a month before they were born). Mine aren’t much older than yours, and I wish you much joy on this journey, because being a foreign mother of twins in Japan is definitely a journey!! Lol!

  3. Hi, I’ve read some posts in your blog and watched a couple of video of your youtube channel. There’s something interesting with you, you look like a strong person.
    Anyway I want to share a song with you if you want to listen to it, it’s Walk from Foo Fighters.

  4. I just stumbled on your blog. I’m American and my husband is Japanese. We are in the process of TTC but I’m a bit older than you. This blog made me tear up. I would have done the same thing if I was in your situation and not have terminated the pregnancy. I’ve been reading your blog and it’s definitely given me some insight as to what having kids in Japan will be like.

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