I've been quiet on the blog lately. For the past 2 months or so, I've been digesting the news I learned back in September: the news that not only am I pregnant, I'm pregnant with TWINS! I've had trouble coming out with this noteworthy bit of information here, mainly because it's so difficult for me to articulate my feelings about it.
Looking back on that first ultrasound, Jeff and I were so fixated on seeing that one little heartbeat that we didn't even consider the possibility of twins. Then Dr. H. dropped the bomb.
Dr. H.: "Hmm, I'm seeing a nice, strong heartbeat here—see it?"
Me: "Yes, yes! I see it...oh, thank God."
Dr. H.: "Let me just take a better look around here and make sure there's just one."
Me: "Just one?"
Dr. H.: "Yes, let's just double check—so far it looks like there's just one, but let me see...OH. OH. Wait a minute. Look at this. You little stinker. You little stinker. Look who's hiding out over here. That's a second baby, Mom and Dad."
Me: "WHAT? Are you sure?"
Jeff: "Uh, Dr. H., there's no more than two though, right?"
Dr. H.: "No, no more than two, but there's no mistaking these two heartbeats here. Congratulations!"
As Jeff and I gaped at each other in disbelief, Dr. H. advised us to not go telling the world, because it's common for one baby to not make it. They refer to this as a "vanishing twin", and it usually happens early in the pregnancy. But three ultrasounds later, the twins were still going strong. And I've been riding out every feeling and every reaction imaginable since then.
I'm all over the place. One minute I'm thrilled; the next I'm terrified. The first three months I was miserably sick, which only fed my anxiety over just how the hell I'm going to pull this off. None of it felt real during my first trimester—I kept waiting for bad news and wondering if all of it was really happening. This, I think, is only natural when you've suffered a loss in the past. But now there's just no mistaking it. I can feel the familiar little bubbles and taps in my belly, and I've watched no less than six ultrasounds reflecting these two little beings kicking and punching and rolling around inside of me.
I think there's a cycle of acceptance you go through when you discover something as monumental as twins—at least that's been my experience. First, I was in complete shock. Then entered denial and disbelief. After that, mind-numbing fear set in. Finally, I accepted that this was really happening, and that our life as we know it is soon to be completely undone. I think that's what I have the hardest time with: this whole MASSIVE CHANGE concept. I had a clear, set vision of one new life addition to our family—I just couldn't wrap my mind around two.
Guilt plays an integral role in all of this, too. We wanted another baby so badly—and now we were doubly blessed, right? Let's not even mention the battles we've fought with fertility, our recent miscarriage, or what so many women out there would give for even one child. My twin anxiety gave me a huge case of the guilts.
Jeff is remarkably stoic and positive about it all, which is a huge source of relief for me. He insists that it's going to "fun", and that we'll just get lots of help. Still—This is coming from a man who loves his sleep like I love chocolate, which is to say, a great deal.
When I went to Richmond this Christmas with my family, my outlook changed due to two things: one, holding my 1 day old new nephew, and two, seeing Vivienne and her cousin Georgia play together and fall completely in love.
When I held my sister's baby Wallace for the first time and inhaled that unmistakable new infant smell, I remembered it all. I remembered how hard having a newborn was, but more importantly, I remembered how little this bothered me because I was just that in love with Vivienne. The love overshadowed everything else, even lack of sleep and lack of time for, ahem—showering and minor conveniences like that. I have to believe that regardless of how hard this twins gig is, the love will take over again. Love, and a small team of hired help on call at all times.
During this past trip to Richmond, Georgia and Vivienne were inseparable. Georgia spent a lot of time at Mamie's house this holiday so Mindy and Adrian could get acclimated to baby Wallace and get settled in. Consequently, Georgia and Vivi partied it up big time. At 22 months, the cousins interacted so much more together on this visit. They followed each other around the house and cracked each other up with funny face and spitting contests. It was fascinating to watch— they seemed like twins themselves as they mirrored each other's actions and played. Only 19 hours separate their births, and it's uncanny how similar their build, hair length and mannerisms are. As I watched them collapse into giggles and roll around on the floor, I envisioned my future twin boys doing the same. Moments like these turn my anxiety into excitement and make it all seem more manageable, somehow.
Ah, yes. Did I forget to mention that they're boys? That was bombshell #2.
To anyone out there who has experience with twins, I'm hungry for information and advice. I've read 3 books already and feel only slightly more prepared. My tendency is to pull strangers with twins aside and interrogate them like I'm with the CIA. So, I'm eternally grateful for any tidbits you can give me...
In the meantime, I'm staying calm, and fighting with everything that's in me against purchasing a minivan.