Friday, August 22, 2008

An April Fool's Day Surprise

I met my husband in July of 2002, and knew instantly that he was "The One." In fact, I called both of my sisters that night (after a few drinks, of course) to tell them that I had met the man I was going to marry. And in May of 2006, my prediction came true - we tied the knot and happily began our married life together.

After about a year and half of marriage, including a move from downtown Boston to the 'burbs, we started talking about having children. As an only child, my husband Larry talked about having two children some day. As the oldest of three girls, I wanted at least two! And I didn't want to wait any longer - though at 28 I was at the average age of first-time moms in Massachusetts, I had a few friends who were struggling to become pregnant. Add to that all the media attention on infertility, and I wanted to get started so that if there was a problem, we could address it early on.

As it turns out, my worrying was completely unfounded - we became pregnant on the first try. We were somewhat shocked at how easy it had been , but were nonetheless thrilled and excited to be starting the next phase of our lives. We actually discovered the pregnancy while on a trip to Aruba... so much for all-inclusive drinks, right?

(My husband and I in Aruba)

Fast forward to April 1, 2008 - at 13 weeks pregnant, I was scheduled to have my first ultrasound as part of the integrated test for Downs' Syndrome. I had had horrible morning sickness for weeks, prompting my doctor to prescribe Zofran which provided minimal relief. All the nausea and vomiting only convinced me that I was having a girl - I never thought it was a sign of anything else.

As we sat in the waiting room in Maternal Fetal Medicine, my husband and I joked that we should tell our parents (both sets are first-time grandparents who were anxiously awaiting our call after the ultrasound) that we were having twins, as an April Fool's Day joke. As it turns out, the joke was on us. The ultrasound tech called my name, and as we walked into the exam room she asked if this was our first ultrasound. We told her it was, and we held hands as she squeezed warm gel on my bloated tummy. My husband and I strained to make out the images on the screen - grasping for anything that looked like a body part, when the tech said matter-of-factly, "So, you know you're having twins." We looked at each other, and I looked back at the tech and laughed nervously. "Ha ha - April Fool's, right? That's a joke?"

The tech looked amused, and told us that while yes, it was April first, there were definitely two babies in my uterus. We were absolutely shocked. It was just so unexpected - we didn't laugh, we didn't cry - all we could do was stare at the screen as she showed us our two little miracles. It wasn't until my husband looked at me thoughtfully and said, "They'll always have each other" - something he never had - that I began to see what a blessing this was. Needless to say, we had a hard time convincing our family and friends that we were telling the truth as we tried to spread the news later that day!

(Our two little beans at that first ultrasound)

That April afternoon seems so long ago now as I lie here on my couch, under house arrest for the past 2 months due to an extremely shortened cervix - I went from about 4cm to only 1cm in just 4 weeks (I was also laid off from my job when I was 6 months pregnant, but in retrospect, it was a good thing). But I've learned to expect the unexpected with this pregnancy, and I am happy to say that today I've reached the 34 week mark, when my doctors told me I'd be lucky to reach 32. As each day goes by I'm grateful to be able to increase the odds of my children being born completely healthy with little or no need for medical interventions. I've also had a lot of time to think about the cyclical nature of life. Since April, my husband has lost a grandmother, and I recently lost my only grandfather. How fitting that in a few short weeks we will bring a new boy and girl into our family, and into the world!

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