Pregnant With Twins At My Irish Twin's Destination Wedding
Ohhh, the pregnant bridesmaid. One of every bride’s greatest fears, right?
When my newly-engaged older sister picked her destination wedding to be October 7, 2017 in Florida and asked me to be her Matron of Honor, it was a no brainer that I would excitedly oblige. She was my Maid of Honor the previous year, we are each other’s only sibling, and we are Irish Twins (meaning we were born less than a year apart). Naturally, we were destined to stand next to each other on the days we said, “I do.” Little did I know, though, that I would be 35 weeks pregnant with twins on her wedding day.
A few weeks later, my husband and I found out we were pregnant… with not one, but TWO babies! When the doctor told me we would likely deliver by late October 2017, the same month as my sister’s wedding, my heart sank. From that point forward, I made it my mission to maintain the healthiest twin pregnancy that I could.
Over the next 7 months, family members repeatedly told my sister that there was a huge chance I wouldn’t make it to her wedding. However, I stayed positive and kept reassuring her I was doing everything I could to be there. I checked in with my sister after every doctor’s appointment to share the good news that everything was going smoothly.
When we later heard that a hurricane was going to hit the same beach and the same weekend that my sister was to get married, everyone panicked. We all nervously watched the weather reports. People tried to talk me out of traveling that late in my pregnancy. But I kept positive.
I checked back in with my doctor the day before we were to make the 12-hour drive down to Florida from Texas. My doctor gave me the “all-clear” to travel at 35 weeks. Side note, she only approved it because I was so adamant about being in my sister’s wedding and as I had an uncomplicated twin pregnancy.
With ample preparation, I was able to make it down to Florida for her wedding and back home within 48 hours. The hurricane hit the day after the wedding and I was able to watch her say her beautiful vows! All in all, it was a success and I can now say I stood by my sister’s side on the most important day of her life. And the story ended with me safely delivering my twins 2.5 weeks later during the week of their scheduled C-section.
In case anyone else is in a similar situation in their 3rd trimester and accepts the invitation to attend a destination wedding while pregnant with twins (if cleared by your doctor), here are the steps I recommend based on my experience:
1) Set realistic expectations for the bride (and for yourself).
As soon as my sister’s wedding planning kicked off, my family and husband made sure my sister understood that there were many risks involved, as twin pregnancies are considered high-risk. If the bride knows there is a possibility you won’t make it to her wedding, then she can mentally prepare herself should it happen. Most airlines won’t let you fly past 32 weeks, but driving, however, is up to you. Don’t push yourself if you have any reservations. It’s not worth it if you’re unsure.
2) Encourage the bride to have a back-up plan, if necessary.
If you end up not being able to make it to her wedding for any last-minute reason (bedrest, pre-term labor, etc.), then it’s best if she has an idea of who could step in in your place. In my situation, my sister asked the next bridesmaid in line to be a part of the contingent plan.
3) If you choose to go, ensure you set up an ultrasound appointment with your OB the day before your departure.
This is what I did, and it provided so much relief for us. Knowing that both babies were still perfectly happy in there made it easier to get in the car to start the long drive to Florida.
4) Map out ALL of your nearby hospitals along the way and at your destination and make sure you’re comfortable with their locations/distances.
Before my drive down to Florida from Texas, I mapped out every level III NICU and labor/delivery unit along the way. I wrote down every hospital’s phone number, as well. My map had every hospital circled for easy visual reference in case of an emergency. Having this information gave not only me peace of mind, but it also gave my family reassurance to know we were prepared for anything.
5) Bring your medical records, if necessary.
If you have any sort of risk or complication, bring your records from your OB with you. It would be easily retrievable from your OB, but it’s always more convenient/faster to have them physically on-hand should an emergency arise.
6) If you travel by car, ensure someone else is driving (not you) and make sure you have space!
First of all, it’s probably not safe for you to be the driver yourself if you’re that pregnant. Braxton Hicks and an oversized belly that doesn’t fit behind the wheel can make it challenging. I opted to have my husband and Father-In-Law take turns driving the car. It was just the 3 of us, so this allowed me to take the backseat and stretch out (and sometimes prop my legs up because the swelling struggle was real). We took an SUV which made it easy to move around if I needed to change positions (which I did often).
7) Make pit stops frequently and stay hydrated.
There’s nothing worse than a throbbing lower back and swollen feet from sitting too long. Plus, if your bladder gets full or you get dehydrated, then you’re just begging for more Braxton Hicks contractions. We stopped every few hours and I kept a full water bottle with me at all times. Gotta keep those babies happy, too!
8) DO WHAT YOUR DOCTOR RECOMMENDS.
This is obviously a biggie. In my case, my OB was very adamant that I was safe to travel, as I had zero complications the entire time. I know this doesn’t apply to everyone and may not be common practice. Either way, you should go through the risks and benefits with your doctor before making any decision at all. You definitely want to be on the same page with your OB!
If you can’t make it, it won’t be the end of the world. Plus, FaceTime is a beautiful thing! Enjoy your pregnancy and all of life’s changes and take care of yourself. Above all, just do what’s right for YOU. Good luck!
All photos by: Kyle Barnes Photography