It’s a concept that had never even crossed my mind, at least not as something that would ever be a part of my own reality. I’ve never wished for or wondered about a multiples pregnancy. Six months ago, nothing was further from my radar.
I think it’s safe to say that my husband, Nick, and I were on the fence about having a second child, possibly me more than him. At the onset of our marriage, being a “one and done” family hadn’t seemed like it was for us, until it did. Our three-year-old son is amazing and exhausting, what more could we need? And while his current stage is challenging, we could also see more freedom coming. It was just over the horizon. Did we really want to start over again at square one?
Well, it turns out we sort of did. We tend to back up into our pregnancies, never able to truly make a decision. And I do realize how fortunate this makes us. But we know how babies are made so to say it was unplanned wouldn’t be totally accurate either. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the positive pregnancy test. I was even more delighted to see how happy my husband was. It was different than the first time we found out we were pregnant. We knew what to expect, we were already parents, and now we were going to be able to give our son a sibling! It was more exciting than scary this time around.
My first appointment with my OB was scheduled for what I assumed was around the 10-week mark, it felt like a long wait! I had been feeling very sick and very thick. Was I further along than I thought? Of course, I made sure Nick came along as there’s always a chance there won’t be a heartbeat and I wouldn’t want to face that alone.
As soon as the doctor put the ultrasound wand on my belly, I saw something change on her face. I panicked. Something was wrong. I looked at Nick then back at my doctor. It felt like an eternity before she smiled and made a peace sign with her fingers.
“Two!” she said.
Stage #1: Shock
I saw the blood drain out of my husband’s face.
“WHAT?” I asked, sitting up as she turned the screen towards me to point out the two sacs.
“Ohmygod, we just bought a house and now we need a bigger one.” is the next thing I said as I thought about our three upstairs bedrooms.
Nick had still not said anything. Boy, was I glad I made him come along. He would not have believed me otherwise.
Our OB reminded me that she herself had twins. Then her nurse piped in that she was a twin. Nick looked accusingly at the medical student in the room, “And you?” he said. The student held his hands up innocently, “Nope, not a twin!”
“Is this because of the surrogacy?” my husband asked. (Check out my surrogacy series if you are new to the blog!)
“No, it has nothing to do with that, except that she’s that much older and age increases the chance of multiples.” the doctor answered.
I was thirty five years old when I learned that the older you are the higher your chances of conceiving multiples are. If that’s new info for you too, consider yourself warned.
After checking for two strong heartbeats and allowing us to process the initial shock for a bit, they left us in the room. We looked at each other wide eyed and pulled out our phones. Maybe it would feel more real if we told our families. There was no way we could keep this a secret. So we sent a Marco Polo video message to all of our immediate family members. Their responses were equally shocked and hilarious.
We walked out of the clinic that day in a daze. I remember feeling very validated about the fact that my clothes were already not fitting and that I’d been feeling so sick. It all made sense.
Stage #2: Panic
The morning after we found out the news, I woke up to a mile long text from my husband that he’d sent in the middle of the night. Clearly he hadn’t been able to sleep. In it he listed all the things he was worrying about. How would we give Beau the attention he was used to after the babies came? We were going to need a mini-van and a double stroller. I had to chuckle at the double stroller comment. Like okay?? That was the least of my concerns. But the mini-van thing was valid.
I tend to handle stress better than my husband. So I’d slept fine. But now I was panicking that he was panicking. I needed him to be solid! Because I definitely had my own concerns. Not about double strollers but about the cost of daycare for two infants and a preschooler. How in the world would we afford that?
Plus it was happening to my body and the thought of carrying and delivering two babies freaked me out. How big was I going to get? Would I have to have a C-section? Here come the stretch marks.
Over the next few weeks, I noticed a change in Nick. His previous excitement about the pregnancy had turned into stress. He sulked around and had a mood about him. One day I finally had to tell him to snap out of it. “This is happening. We are having twins. And we can handle it. We will figure it out. You need to stop acting like the world is ending.”
He did get better after that. Then came time to announce our news to the world and that’s always fun. Of course, people are extra excited when they find out you’re having twins. So we lived on that high for a bit. But other people’s excitement for two babies that they won’t have to care for or pay for doesn’t do much to quell the panic of the parents who are going to be living it.
Stage #3: Regret
This one is hard to explain. Since the moment I found out there are two babies in my belly, I’ve never wished one of them away. I immediately felt fiercely protective over both heartbeats. I would be absolutely devastated to lose one. At the same time, I couldn’t help but go further back in my mind, to before they were ever conceived.
Why couldn’t we have just been happy with one? He’s so great. Life was just getting easier and it would soon have been getting cheaper as he transitioned from daycare to preschool. But now instead of easier, things were going to get hard. Really hard. And expensive. I never wanted three kids! I wanted two. Very specifically, two. One child per parent. Manageable.
I fully understood how much of a blessing these babies are. But I’d be lying if I said I was happy about being pregnant with twins. It was not what I’d wanted. The confidence I felt upon first learning I was pregnant had turned into fear. I had been ready for a second baby. I had learned so much from the first time around and couldn’t wait for a chance to correct my mistakes, be more chill and hopefully enjoy the newborn phase more. But two babies changed everything. There’s no way this is going to go smoothly. Two babies sounds fun but the reality of it? Terrifying.
What had we done?!
Stage #4: Acceptance
At nineteen weeks, we found out that it’s a boy and a girl. Just what I’d hoped for! I was thrilled to be getting another boy, to be able to reuse all of my son’s baby clothes that I’d sentimentally saved. And to get a girl too!! It’s perfect. Seeing how excited our son was about a brother and a sister made me excited too. He seems to have a pretty good understanding of what’s going on. He will turn four just before the babies arrive. I’ve started to imagine seeing him as a big brother for the first time and how amazing that will be.
Yes, this is going to be hard but it is going to be really fulfilling too.
I’ve started to wrap my head around all of the logistics. I am nothing if not practical so it’s hard for me to get excited before I get organized. We may have gotten rid of all our baby items, other than clothes, during a “never doing that again” phase. But I’ve been doing my research and making lists of what we need. I scored two high end barely used car seats for $100. That got me pumped about finding deals on used stuff – no baby shower this time around! I discovered a podcast called Twiniversity and have thrown myself into learning how to be a twin mom, one episode a day.
I hired a weekly babysitter (she starts tomorrow!) and each time she comes my husband and I will go out to dinner to talk about things that need talking about: baby names, budgeting, etc. Then we’ll come back home and work on the nursery, which is currently a guest room, while the sitter keeps our son occupied. It feels good to have a plan.
The thing is, I’ve always enjoyed a little chaos, a good plot twist. When life starts to feel dull, I tend to throw myself into something new and a bit crazy. Whether it’s “Hey I’m going to be a surrogate!” or “Let’s buy a new house in this market!” or “I’m going to write a book!”. Give me something to tackle. I have a tendency to rise to the occasion – once I’ve wrapped my head around it.
When I feel the overwhelm setting in, I found a quote that helps me:
Get in over your head as often and as joyfully as possible. – Alexander isley
It reminds me that it’s possible to be overwhelmed and joyful, scared and excited. This is something that “happened” to us, we didn’t choose it. But now it’s our life path and instead of resisting it, I want to fully embrace it.
Yes, we are having twins! This is happening – and it’s OKAY! We can do this. Yes, I’d already said those words to my husband to try to get him out of his funk but now I am believing them myself.
I might not be in the “Bliss” stage yet. Maybe that will come once I meet these sweet babes. Maybe sooner. Who knows. When people ask “Are you soooo excited?” I still cringe a little bit. Excited isn’t the word for what I’m feeling. I still remember what sleep deprivation felt like and I know it’s coming for me. But I am grateful that God chose me, chose us (sorry Nick), for this wild ride and I’m ready to give it all I’ve got.