My first pregnancy was a fairy tale: My husband David and I conceived while on a belated honeymoon trip to France, almost one year after our wedding. I had heard horror stories from friends about terrible morning sickness and was relieved that my body seemed to handle the pregnancy quite well. Except for tender breasts, it was almost as if I weren't pregnant. Unfortunately, I soon wasn't.
Twelve weeks into the pregnancy I started spotting. An ultrasound showed that the baby had never developed past the embryo stage. The diagnosis: a blighted ovum. Our baby's heart had never physically started to beat, and our hearts were broken.
Five months later, I was pregnant again. This second pregnancy followed very much in the footsteps of my first. Except for a positive pregnancy test, I experienced no morning sickness or any true indicators that I was pregnant. I felt certain something was wrong with this pregnancy, too.
Six weeks into the pregnancy, I had an ultrasound. The relief and joy my husband and I felt at seeing the baby's heartbeat was overwhelming. The doctor assured us that all was fine with the pregnancy, but as the technician moved the transducer around on my belly, something unexpected appeared on the monitor—a second heartbeat. We were going to have twins!
Dealing with High Risk and Bed Rest
Due to complications involved with carrying more than one baby, the medical community deems any multiple pregnancy high risk. As someone who has always taken good care of myself—eating well and exercising regularly—I found this label hard to accept.
During the first trimester, I continued my regular exercise routine, including weight lifting, step aerobics, hiking, and road biking. As the pregnancy progressed, I worked with a trainer to modify my regime to include exercises that were less strenuous and impactful to my lower body and pelvic area. I switched from road biking to using the recumbent bike at the gym, and from hiking to using the cross-training machine.
As the babies grew, so did the pressure on my cervix, which raised concerns about preterm labor. At the end of the second trimester, I again modified my exercise routine to include the one activity deemed safe for all pregnant women—swimming.