What to Expect When You Are Expecting More Than One Baby

I have worked as a Registered Nurse on the labor and delivery and high-risk pregnancy floors at South Shore Hospital for the last 34 years. In my role, I’ve helped countless families welcome one baby. Or two babies. Or more.

But all my clinical knowledge couldn’t prepare me when I welcomed my own triplets.

The Burgess triplets cry in a bassinet after being born in 2004
Terri Burgess, RN's triplets were born in 2004.

I will never forget that first ultrasound. They found one sac, and a heartbeat! A second sac, and a heartbeat! A third sac, and…..silence.

Those moments waiting were awful.

Finally, a heartbeat.

I was pregnant with triplets.

I didn’t really want triplets, did I?

Well, sure enough, I did.

If you’re reading this blog because you’re expecting twins, triplets, or more, I want to start by congratulating you. Being the parents of multiples can be a crazy ride – but one I would do again in a heartbeat.

Whether you’re still reeling from your first ultrasound, or whether you’re about to head to the birthing unit, I want to share what I’ve learned about pregnancy and parenting with multiples.

Pregnancy with Multiples Means More of Everything

When expecting multiples you can automatically expect more of everything: More ultrasounds, more office visits, more advice from everyone!

All of these can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. The relief was incredible when I saw my babies growing on the ultrasound. But every ultrasound from then on brought a little anxiety too.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions and have your OBGYN, midwife, or maternal fetal medicine doctor explain things again and again.

Pregnancy is when you learn to be the advocate for your child.

Don’t be afraid to ask for, and sometimes push a little harder, to get what you and your kids need.

Dealing with “Advice” when Pregnant with Multiples

Without asking, you will get comments and advice from friends, relatives, and even strangers.

Take it all in. Some of it will be good, but you and your partner are the only ones who can decide what is right for your family.

C-section or Vaginal Delivery with Multiples

The first decision is usually, do you want to have a cesarean section or a vaginal birth? Talk to your care provider. Again, ask as many questions as you need to understand the pros and cons of both.

Sometimes, when delivery day comes, there is no choice, depending on how many babies you are having, and if they are in the right position or not.

Feeding Multiple Newborns

How to feed your babies is another big decision.

Breastfeeding, pumping and feeding breastmilk with a bottle, or formula-feeding are all perfectly good ways to feed your newborns.

And sometimes, it turns in to a combination of all three!

The important thing is to feel comfortable with your decision. Feeding more than one baby every 2-3 hours is exhausting enough without any added stress.

Get Organized

Being organized and having my babies on the same schedule was the only way I was able to manage for the first couple of months. I had three small notebooks that I used to keep it all straight.

In the beginning, we would put a quick check mark for a wet diaper, or a number for how much they ate. I would bring the little books in the diaper bag everywhere. You’ll know you changed a lot of diapers – but was that one kid, or all three?

The notebook solution helps keep it straight—which is helpful when the babies visit the pediatrician.

The notebooks also came in handy as little diaries over the early months. You can document every first holiday, and small milestones that each baby reaches. Trust me, you will forget if you don’t jot it down.

These days of course there are probably plenty of apps out there that you can use – find a user-friendly one!

Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

Being and advocate for your kids also means asking for something else: Help for yourself.

Ask for help with the laundry. Ask for help picking up items at the store. Or ask for time to take a ride and get a coffee for yourself.

Your babies will be OK while you are gone, even if it is not exactly how you would have done it. And when you get home, and those little people look at you, and reach for you, there is no better feeling in the world.


Learn more about Pregnancy & Childbirth at South Shore Health