It’s a clear spring day. The sun is shining. It’s in the mid-60’s with a light breeze. As we step out of the car in the parking lot of the OB’s office, the smell of freshly planted flowers wafts up. The day is glowing and we are glowing. Chris and I are expecting our first child. We are full of excitement as we walk into our very first prenatal appointment.
The 6-week appointment went well, not too much to do at that point. After the exam, the doc asks, “Do you want an ultrasound?”
“Yes, we’d like an ultrasound!”
Asking as an option is code for ‘not covered by insurance’ which we would learn when the bill arrives. Of course as first time expectant parents we said Yes! We couldn’t wait to hear the heartbeat and see our baby on screen. And looking back, I am sooo glad we did.
So here we are in the dimly lit ultrasound room, sitting and waiting while the tech preps everything for us. We know that there won’t be much to see except for a tiny speck on the monitor, but we are anxious to see what this little being we created looks like and to hear that everything is okay, as much as you can at 6 weeks in.
I’m laying back in the patient chair, Chris is seated to my left and the tech is to my right along with a fancy cart housing the computer and control panel. I look over and see Chris frozen in his chair. I grasp his hand and we give a unified squeeze, no turning back now.
Everything appears to be going as expected. Such an important moment in our lives seems to be routine for the ultrasound tech, which is somehow comforting. A black and white image appears on the flat screen monitor hanging on the wall across from us.
I find myself staring at the screen, not gazing, not grinning, not regular staring, I am eyes-popping-out-of-my-head staring at the screen. You can see the oval-shaped outline of my uterus and two dots inside.
In this moment, I think I already know deep down that there are two babies, but I also can’t even fathom that. There is just no way.
I keep thinking to myself, “Everyone says not to try to read your own ultrasound.” “Everyone says not to try to read your own ultrasound.” I am repeating this phrase and other phrases in my head like, “A thumb can look like a penis.” Perhaps this concept translates to, “Two dots are the baby and the placenta” or more simply, “One dot is just a speck on the ultrasound reader that is actually nothing.” After all, the whole image is quite grainy. It must be nothing. I won’t look at Chris. I won’t look at the ultrasound tech. If I do, this feeling deep down might become real and I am not quite ready for it to be real.
Meanwhile Chris is also eyes-popping-out-of-his-head staring at the screen. He too is silent.
After a few moments of bug-eyed staring I pop back into reality and I’m suddenly aware that the ultrasound tech had been silent for waaay too long. Just when I start to worry that something might be wrong, she begins to speak.
As she begins a sentence, she moves a pointer over one of the dots on the screen. She gently says, “Here’s baby A…” and she moves the pointer to the other dot on the screen and completes her sentence, “…and here’s baby B.”
“…and here’s baby B”. That simple phrase changed our family forever.
Not one baby, but two babies. There are already four tiny feet forming inside of me.
We are stunned, but saying this out loud broke the spell. Chris and I actually make eye contact and we begin talking and asking questions.
I don’t really remember what we asked or exactly how much time has passed. Has it been 5 minutes? 20 minutes? I don’t know. Time doesn’t feel real.
All I know is that now I’m sitting up and stepping down from the elevated chair and I do remember to ask the tech if she could tell if the babies…yeah two of them… are in separate sacks. I have a good friend who was born very early when her and her sister were sharing one sack and I DESPERATELY want the answer to be two. There are two sacks!!! Thank God! That is why we could see the two separate dots on the screen. Even though I am not ready to process this information, I already care deeply about the safety of these two dots. I again find myself lost in thought as the tech is going on about the odds of fraternal vs. identical twins and a lot of other information that we’ll have to google later because we aren’t absorbing much right now.
As we collect our belongings and walk out of the dark ultrasound room, squinting as we enter the bright office lobby, the tech hands the print-outs to the doctor who also confirms that there are two babies…as if there is any question at this point. The doctor ribs us a bit about coming in for a fertility consult only about 6 weeks earlier (I was probably pregnant with twins at the time of that appointment). We make our next appointment and step back out into the fresh spring day.
The whole world looks and feels different somehow.
Ultrasound pictures in hand, crinkling in the wind, we walk back to my car. I clasp onto them as if they will provide some sort of comfort. I am in complete shock. So is Chris.
Even though we drove separately, we sit down in my car together for a moment alone. We let the news sink in for a few minutes…it doesn’t.
What next? Call our parents. In a dazed and exuberant state we make the calls. First my mom, she is so excited. She has always wanted boy girl twins and she is just ecstatic. Then my dad, we are excited and can barely get the news out. There are many nervous giggles. It still doesn’t feel real. It feels like there are other people there telling someone else’s dad about their twins. Then Chris’s parents. His mom is more practical, “Oh my gosh, that is lot…” She will tell Chris’s dad when he calls on his break.
Later, my dad shared his recollection of this conversation and how much fun it was to hear us tell him the big news right away. He could tell that we were in shock and didn’t fully comprehend the news and its reality.
Practical next steps???
Still feeling this crazy high from extremely unexpected yet joyous news, we both have to go to work. That seems so mundane. I only want to talk about having twins. Getting to the practical side of things we manage to discuss who/when to tell the twin news. Even though we are very early on in the pregnancy, I attended a bachelorette party right after finding out, so we told all of our friends about the pregnancy very early on…there wouldn’t have been any other reason I wasn’t drinking for an entire bachelorette weekend in Nashville. But this is different. Now we are getting excited about two, starting to love two, but we inherently know this is riskier and it’s very early on in the pregnancy. We agree that I can call and tell my best friend, but that we won’t tell anyone else for now. We get out of the car, hug, still reeling and go our separate ways into work.
Just focus on work. Really? With twins on the way?
Back at the office, we are working on a new finance system implementation. I have to sit though, participate in, even lead meetings. Normally I enjoy working but this is excruciating. I find myself leading meetings that other people are getting quite heated about but it is like I am watching myself participate in the meetings from another world, contemplating my two little sweet peas.
At the end of the workday I am grateful and want to shout, “I did it!” The whole day I desperately wanted to tell a female coworker about the news and that my mind was elsewhere. I held back. No one else in the conference room even knew I was pregnant, let alone how much my life had changed, with such a simple phrase, “…and here’s baby B.”
Even though I know that millions of babies are born each year and I even looked up that 3% of births in the US are twins or other multiples, it felt like we were the only ones experiencing a massive shift. My perception of reality was completely different than how it was before we walked into that dimly lit ultrasound room.
And so I became a mother of twins.