I was 23 when I went overseas to London and had been there a year when I met Rocky, four and a half months later we were engaged. He has a very small family, his mum is Lithuanian and his stepdad is Australian and were both living in London at the time. When we knew that our relationship was serious we started talking about Australia. Rocky had always wanted to go even before he met me so it kind of all just fitted for us to move back. It took Rocky six months to get his visa approved, so we spent close to five months apart.
When I first got back at 25 I was having pain daily in really strange spots. I went to my gynaecologist who performed a laparoscopy to check for endometriosis. It was in four different places so he lasered it away. A couple of years later we got married and after a year began trying for kids. It had been about eight months when I started to panic that I wasn’t ovulating. I’d done a lot of reading that said endometriosis can come back worse than before. I’d also been having really bad pain on my right side. I went to the Alfred hospital and they did an internal ultrasound. The lady looked up at the screen and said I had severe polycystic ovaries. They got the leading gynaecologist to come in and he said it might be worth discussing options to help me conceive because it’s likely I would struggle.
When I told this to my gynaecologist he said I had nothing to worry about because he’d seen my ovaries and according to him they were pristine. He said if you’re not ovulating I can write you a script for chlomyd but my thoughts are that the next time I see you, you’ll be pregnant. I decided to go to another doctor in Melbourne, he called me and said that he didn’t think chlomyd was the right option for me. He said people in my situation with polycystic ovaries have ended up hospitalised. I remember calling mum in tears. I said I’ve got three different opinions and she told me I needed to stick with my original doctor. The following week I ovulated naturally. I was waiting for my period to come so I could start the chlomyd script.
After about three weeks I bought a pregnancy test and the two lines come up straight away, really fast. I called Rocky from work and could barely even talk my heart was beating so fast, he couldn’t believe it. After two weeks of knowing I was pregnant I was eating in the middle of the night. Muesli bars, crackers, cheese, every night I’d wake up so hungry that I felt sick so I had to have snacks beside the bed. I was showing at about ten weeks, I already had a little belly. I also got my hCG levels tested and he said I was sitting at eight to nine weeks when I was only six at the time, all of those things combined led me to believe I was having twins before the ultrasound.
I had my 10-week ultrasound with my original gynaecologist who said I told you so. He asked if I used the chlomyd and I said no. He had said that chlomyd increases the chance of having multiples. I have lots of sets of twins in my family, I have an aunty that has twins, I have a cousin that has twins, my great grandmother had twins. During the ultrasound, he looked at Rocky and asked how many bedrooms we had in our house. As soon as he said that I knew but Rocky still had no idea. Rocky thought the doctor was insinuating we were going to have a really big baby with long arms and legs.
I got pretty uncomfortable early on. Intense sickness from the moment my eyes opened to the moment I went to sleep, all day everyday up until about 16-weeks. I looked full term at 27-weeks. A 28-week scan showed my cervix had shortened dramatically in a two-week period. Because I was having twins they were monitoring me regularly all the way throughout my pregnancy. I went to my doctor and he said I think you should be at home on bed rest. I’d gone from being at work on a Monday to not going back. I felt guilty because I could see things that needed to be done around the home. A few times I would stand up and then I’d feel the sheer weight of them pushing down.
At 30-weeks my back pain and hip pain was really bad. I went into hospital and the doctor said I was having contractions every five minutes but they turned out to be Braxton hicks. The next day an ultrasound showed my cervix had shortened even more. They put me in hospital on bed rest at 31 weeks and I stayed there for 45 days, delivering the boys at 36 weeks. There were days I was bored out of my mind, there’s only so much day time T.V you can watch but for comfortability I knew I was in the best place. The night before I had the boys Rocky stayed overnight. I’d only had two hours sleep. That whole week I’d only been averaging three hours sleep a night. We were booked in for a caesarean at seven in the morning. I felt so emotional when they were pushing me in the trolley and when they put the epidural in my back, it was so surreal. When they put them both on my chest I couldn’t believe that they were mine.
The boys were in Special Care Nursery for two weeks after they were born. It meant having to go home every day without them, that was the hardest part. I was so lucky to have the support from my mum, she drove me to and from the hospital every day while Rocky was at work. I was breastfeeding the boys four times a day, with the first feed being at 7am and the last at 6pm. The midwives would feed them my expressed milk over-night. Sometimes I would call the Special Care Nursery in the middle of the night to check how they were. I’d be at home expressing in the middle of the night and thinking of them. It was all new to me and I didn’t have my babies there. It was a horrible feeling.
I breast fed the boys for six months. The hardest thing about breastfeeding twins when you’re home alone is you can’t have one baby attached and pick up a newborn with one arm. I use to have to feed one and let one cry. You have to try and decipher who you think is most hungry to begin with. Sometimes I’d forget who I had fed. In the end, I’d put one in the rocker in front of me and start feeding the other one. You find ways of coping, being a twin mum. In the newborn stage when they’re really little, particularly when they’re crying at different times, you start off really positive. You go yep, I’m going to get them both into some kind of routine and it just goes out the window. The hard thing about having twins is one baby’s crying and you’re doing something with the other baby. It’s also very hard when they’re both crying at the same time and you can only pick up one at a time.
For us them constantly waking at different times and then waking each other was hard. Some nights I was getting two, three hours sleep a night in snippets. I broke down and I cried to Rocky because I was so mentally and physically exhausted I felt sick. I was that sleep deprived and was thinking how long is this going to go for? He said you go lie down I’ll look after them, he got my mum and my sister over and they watched them too. As parents to twins you really need to work together as a team as best as you can. Having twins is about both taking charge. There’s no way I could’ve done all that on my own. I guess what has surprised me about being a mother is how relentless it is. That’s the one word that stands out in my mind.
There are so many things that make it worth it. Seeing them start to recognise me as their mum, watching them grow, watching them interact with each. Just watching little humans taking off in life. It gets easier day by day. One day they just start sleeping longer and then before you know it they’re sleeping through the night. It does happen. They grow so quickly too, it’s so easy to be caught up in feeding and be so sleep deprived but you’ve got to remember to stop and enjoy them and live in the moment. I think I’ve taken to motherhood pretty well, you have to have a certain part of you that’s relaxed. Even though it’s hard to say relax when you’ve got babies screaming in your ear. It’s about us fitting into their life and them fitting into our lives. The love that you have for your babies is like nothing I’ve ever felt before. You’d do absolutely anything for them. I think they’re going to be the best of friends so it’s nice to know that they have each other.
Pia Sobolevskis mother to twin boys Kaspar and Mason