I know I usually write Bitstrips cartoons and act like a fool, but I'd like to bring the real today. I've had a stress headache for more than 24 hours that has cemented my shoulders and nearly blinded me. (Not to mention the debilitating morning sickness. Cry, cry.) The days are blurring together for me at this point but I believe it was Tuesday I found out I'm pregnant with twins. I already have two kids. Yes, I know where babies come from. Yes, I know how it happens. (I'm imagining all the looks and comments I'll be getting rolling out a brood of four, allow me this preemptive defense.)
I never saw myself as a mother of four. FOUR. That makes the immediate family under my roof a half dozen people. I know there's quite a span between four and nineteen-kids-and-counting and no offense to people who love and want a basketball team under their roofs, but that's just not me. This isn't something I'm even sure I'm capable of. How do you? What? Four?
When I was a newly-married 27-year-old trying to get pregnant for the first time, I imagined baby making would take all of 20 minutes. After all, pregnancy is something you take great pains to avoid for most of your life, so as soon as you let down the gatekeepers you assume you'll be pregnant five minutes later, sort of like I assume if I unlock my car and park it in the street full of my jewelry that surely it'll get broken into. I was a 27-year-old Corvette (hi, I'm modest) in perfect running order. But that's not what happened. I didn't get pregnant. Then I did. Then I wasn't. Then I was. Then I wasn't again.
Who's infertile at 27? Miscarriage after miscarriage left me heartbroken, obviously, and it screwed with my mind. It screwed with my relationship, to be honest. All of a sudden my new husband had to give me shots in my stomach. Ladies, he had to pinch a roll of fat in order to get the medicine in correctly. In the words of Madonna, I feel so beautiful! Magical! END SARCASM. It sucked.
One day I got pregnant with my daughter, Bee. The news was not celebrated. Surely this was another false start. I reluctantly told Niko there was a positive pregnancy test and he didn't even look up from his paper. I'm not sure when we eventually celebrated, but she was born in 2008. Awesome! Infertility conquered! My plan for two kids was under way. Hopefully I would have one daughter, one son, stay home for about five years and then be on to my next grand adventure in life, like starting my own business . . . being fabulous? Maybe I'd even save the world or something! I didn't have the deets worked out, but that was the basic plan.
Flash forward. I did have another baby. Stella came along and my pregnancy was fraught with scares and hiccups, but to my glorious dismay, she's perfectly, 100% healthy. Bee had a sister. Angels sang. Now with issues about schools and space, this easy little family booked it to the burbs.
Have you ever been to the burbs? It's like Super Mario Brother's "giant world" out here. My house is huge! Well, by city standards it seems pretty big. If I yell at Niko from one end, he can't even hear me at the other. (Full disclosure, he does not hear anything I say even close up. But still. Cavernous 'round here.) So what do we do with this space? My arms were starting to feel a little empty as Stella approached three and started going to drop-off dance class and saying things to me like, "mom, I'll take some eggs". Maybe we had room in our hearts and arms and wallets (barely) for one more little baby. How much trouble can one more be? Besides lots?
We thought about this third baby. Thought about. We even came close to trying once last fall (not to mention a brief foray into the world of adoption last summer, which I will elaborate o n when I'm ready), but the realities of sending a third kid to college and moving the guest room to the basement banished that idea to cloud talk. Besides, it was "now or never" last fall for various reasons and since the time had passed, we accepted never. We shook on it. No problem.
Then I felt a little nauseous in March. If I were a Teen Mom, one might call this an accident. Since I'm a married lady in a stable situation, we call it a "surprise". The question of whether we'd complete our family with a third child had been answered for us. We decided it was fate and got excited. BABY! Actually, as we learned on Tuesday, BABIES!!
Now let me explain what it feels like to discover twins. Say you were at a restaurant after having breakfast that morning and a decent lunch. You're hungry for something light, maybe a salad. You know it always ends up being more food that you were picturing, but what arrives are two hearty entrees and if you don't finish them, you're banished to hell. It's overwhelming. Delicious and a great problem as far as problems, but logistics and stamina taint the joy. Four kids?
Not everyone has been excited about my news lately. While I've been overwhelmed by the love and support of so many friends who know I have a bit of a tough road ahead, there's been a little hurt behind the scenes from people not having such an "easy" time building families. I know what battling infertility feels like. It feels like you're in the desert with no food. You can't comprehend how someone would look at a double entree at dinner time and not inhale and inhale and inhale until exhaustion. I get that. I get that more than they know.
One of my twins is measuring a little small, so I have to go back in May for what was hurtfully stamped on my medical papers as a "viability ultrasound". I'm rooting for that baby with my life. COME ON TWIN A. Even though I've been presented with a double entree it feels like I can never finish, I want to try. I want that baby. I've never flipped my emotions so fast from "slightly hesitant" to "fiercely in love" as between the moments of discovering the second twin and hearing the midwife say he or she might be in jeopardy.
I guess I do want to be a mother of four after all.
(Michelle Duggar, call me!)
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