I have to chuckle at people asking me if I ate anything to conceive supertwins (high order multiples). They want to know because they want to try too. I find it curious because if there was indeed such an ingredient, surely it would be all over Google. They get a bit dismayed to hear that there is no magic ingredient outside of fertility drugs and IVF. With fertility drugs the odds are better but not that much better. With IVF, you will have 50-50 odds of having twins.
What people rarely know is that within the medical field, an IVF leading to a multiple pregnancy is considered a failure. Yes. A Failure. Because having multiples is not ideal nor safe for the foetus and the mother. All multiple pregnancies are automatically assigned as high risk. In fact it has been worked into the laws of developed nations that women below the age of 35 pursuing IVF are only allowed to implant 2 embryos (it used to be 3) to lower the risk of having a multiple pregnancy. And when one does conceive multiples naturally or via fertility treatments, you are immediately provided counselling to reduce (a nicer way of saying abort) your foetuses – a very difficult and personal decision to make. This procedure is called Selective Reduction and doctors recommend it because it allows higher survivability for the remaining foetus, there will be less risk for pre-term labor and complications and etc. There are indeed many who undergo this procedure, especially those with very high order multiples.
The medical costs of having multiples also soars significantly because of the need to employ a maternal foetal medicine (MFM) specialist and a perinatologist to monitor your pregnancy. Such specialists can only be found in large, well-established hospitals. While mothers of singleton pregnancies only see their OBGYNs every once a month, mothers of multiple pregnancies visit their specialists very frequently from once a week to every two weeks right from the start of the pregnancy. The more complicated, the more frequent the visits.
The everyday situation of being pregnant with multiples is also bleaker. While most multiple pregnancies turn out fairly normal, a higher percentage of multiple pregnancies (compared to singleton pregnancies) are fraught with immense difficulties. There are higher possibilities for congenital defects, TTTS, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and in majority of cases pre-term labor is imminent. And because the female womb is just not well-designed to carry multiples, your pregnancy is faced with more medical interventions. You will also have to come to terms of having weekly progesterone injections, and possibly having your cervix sewn if dilation occurs early. Injecting steroids via amnio to strengthen the lungs of your babies because they would be born premature is also a very common occurrence for multiples. You are also denied the joy of natural birth as your medical specialists would highly recommend a C-section because of the risks natural birth pose to twins and the mother. And when they are born, likely premature, they would have to stay in NICU. Depending on your country or state, NICU stay is covered by insurance but usually not more than 30 days. So imagine if they had to stay longer times the number of multiple children, the cost is tremendous. Multiples compared to singletons are also more likely to be delayed in their development. It could be partly because many are born premature. But research has also shown that because twins engage in a special way of communicating this actually causes them to have speech delays. Given these special needs, it is also more difficult for a parent to give multiples the kind of one-to-one attention a singleton would receive.
As a mother of a multiple pregnancy, worrying becomes a daily part of pregnant life. You are also told to slow down, eat enormously, and lie down more – the complete opposite of when you are pregnant with a singleton where activity and exercise is encouraged. It is easier to fall into depression from worry and lack of movement.
Other than health concerns for the babies, you find it hard to imagine how to do anything with twins – how to practice attachment parenting, how to breastfeed, how to baby-carry and basically how to do all the normal things you would do with singletons seem impossible or extremely difficult with multiples. Heck, how do you even bring them home from the hospital without an extra sets of hands? The cost of baby things also soar with multiples simply from the fact that you need double or triple of baby things. Not to mention also paying your paediatrician twice or three times more. Insurance premiums for multiples, therefore, are a lot more costly. And let’s not even start thinking what it is like to pay for two or three kids entering university at the very same time.
Before even giving birth, people also ask all sorts of questions about having multiples and you can imagine after birth, how the staring and questions will never end. Its like you are suddenly the freak show.
It is truly a blessing to have twins or triplets because it is a very unique parenthood journey not many people have the opportunity to experience. But to want twins really badly, I’m not so sure I can recommend it to anyone.