What to Expect When You're Expecting Twins
Knix Founder & CEO Joanna Griffiths is celebrating International Women's Day a little differently this year—by giving birth to twin girls!
Between last minute preparations, meetings and appointments, we were so excited to catch up with Joanna before her new adventure begins. Read on to learn about her experience carrying twins, what it's like to be pregnant during the pandemic, and how she was able to find community during the last few months.
How's it going Jo! At the time of us chatting, how far along are you? How’re you feeling?
I am 35 weeks and 3 days— with 5 days to go until my induction (March 8!). So in other words… I’m in the final stretch.
I am feeling OK. My body is in a lot of pain and has been for a couple of months now. But I feel fortunate that I am not on bedrest and am still able to lift my son, walk around and do what I love (work at Knix). There is so much going on with work that the days are flying by which is definitely a distraction.
What’s the biggest difference this round of pregnancy compared to your last?
Well, to start off— I'm having twins so that in and of itself is different! But for the most part everything is different this time around. With my first child, Cole, I had a very easy pregnancy and my biggest complaint was wait times for my appointments.
This time I've had a high risk pregnancy. At my 20 week anatomy scan they picked up on a large cyst in one of my twins, so that has required a lot of extra monitoring and worry. In the beginning it looked like it was kidney related and that one of our girls would be born with a single functioning kidney.
Since that initial diagnosis, we’ve switched gears to think that the cyst is ovarian. I’ve had bi-weekly ultrasounds and watched as the cyst grew from 3 cm to a peak of 9 cm. It’s given me a new level of respect for people who go through challenging pregnancies— and a deep understanding of fearing the unknown when it comes to someone inside you that is so small and helpless. I’ve come to learn that we do not give enough credit to pregnant people and what they might be going through.
On top of that, it’s just been far more physically draining. Carrying twins is no joke! It’s by far the hardest physical thing that I have gone through. It’s a big physical strain on your body that makes it hard to sleep, move, eat and even breathe.
Finally, with this being my last pregnancy (3 kids under 2 is plenty for me) I’ve been holding onto it in different ways. Even as I write this— as much as I want to be finished with the pain and discomfort, I know these are my last few days of feeling life inside of me. There is something surreal about that— like the end of a chapter in the story that is my body.
I’m nervous about how my life is going to change. I'm wondering how my heart could possibly hold space for two more little ones when it currently belongs to Cole. But I’ve heard such beautiful stories from other people. I’m learning that love isn’t finite— it grows exponentially. And with each new little one you grow another heart.
What's been the most challenging part about being pregnant in the midst of the pandemic?
The hardest part by far has been going to my appointments alone, as visitors aren’t allowed. Especially the difficult appointments where you’re learning that there is something wrong with your unborn child. It’s a lot to take on solo. Especially when all you want to do is hug your partner and ask them to tell you that everything is going to be okay— and you can’t.
Has your birth plan changed at all because of it?
My birth plan is a bit more involved than the last time. I will go in at 36 weeks to the day and the first thing they will do is drain the twin’s cyst in utero. From there I will be induced and the plan is that I will deliver both twins vaginally. With twins, you deliver in an operating room in the event that there is an issue with twin B and an emergency C section needs to be performed. There is also quite the audience. Between the 2 OB’s, each twin has a paediatric team as well as nurses— it’s going to be quite the party.
One thing I know for SURE is that this time I am opting for the epidural. I delivered Cole vaginally and without pain relief while on pitocin. Practicing HypnoBirthing was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I’m excited to have a different birth experience this go around.
What are some ways you were able to find community during the last 9 months?
I have been so lucky to really connect with my OB Dr. Carmen McCaffrey at St. Michael’s hospital in Toronto. I met her through our PPE donation program at the start of COVID last year. The OB unit had run out of PPE and she actually stopped by my house to pick up the first shipment of N95 masks we had. She has gone above and beyond for me throughout this pregnancy and it has meant the world to me. I can’t express how important it is to feel supported by your birth team. With COVID, I’m not allowed a doula and only one support person— so I feel grateful to have found another in the form of my OB.
What’s something new you’ve learned about your body recently?
Honestly, I’m just in awe of what the human body is capable of. As I write this I carry 3 hearts, 3 brains, 12 limbs, 60 fingers and toes. It truly is a miracle.
What are you the proudest of during this pregnancy?
I’m proud of making it this far. I’m proud of navigating the uncharted waters of a high risk pregnancy and for not letting it beat me mentally. And I’m so proud that I’ve been patient and kind to myself. I have so many other proud moments too, but that’s for another update and blog!