Monday, August 25, 2008

You are aware there are two?

I research. I prepare. I like to be organized. I have itineraries for trips we want to take . . . someday. I know what we’re doing for my husband’s birthday . . . in 8 months. I love planning. It’s what I do, and it’s what I’m best at.

When we started thinking about having a baby I started preparing. I typed questions for the birth center we were going to use. I knew which stroller we were going to buy. I found the top three daycare centers in our city. I was ready for a little baby. It took longer than we expected, but as soon as I got confirmation that I was pregnant I made our first appointment with the midwife.

The birth center was so relaxed and personal. I loved the idea of giving birth in a house without sterile medical equipment or hospital noises and smells. It was so natural. However, the planner in me was anxious about not having an ultrasound until 20 weeks. I had to see that there was actually something inside me. When I was offered the chance to have an NT scan at 11 weeks, I jumped at it. Not only did it give me an opportunity to prepare if anything was wrong, but it also let me see proof that something was really in there. The joke was on me, the planner.

The sonographer placed the ultrasound wand on my stomach and immediately asked, “You are aware there are two?” Um, no, we were not aware. Of course I was thrilled that I was pregnant. I was overjoyed that the babies seemed healthy. It’s just that hearing that there were two was shocking. Shocking is an understatement. For ten minutes all I could do was cry and laugh and swear. It certainly wasn’t the romantic image of the first ultrasound I had always pictured. And, when I stopped swearing, all I could say between laughter and tears was: “We need a new car.”

So, all my carefully made baby plans went out the window. I found a progressive OB and a great hospital. I read the twin bible, When You’re Expecting Twins, by Dr. Luke. I crammed nearly 3500 calories in my mouth every day. I rested whenever I needed a break. We bought a double stroller. We hired a nanny. I started getting really excited about having twins. And, I had a great pregnancy. I was really lucky. My girls were born at 36 weeks 6 days after my blood pressure skyrocketed. I labored in the bright lights of the operating room with what seemed like hundreds of medical personnel surrounding me. Rowan and Gracen were big and healthy and spent no time in the NICU. They were absolutely perfect. I couldn’t have planned it any better.

My daughters have taught me to relax and have more fun. I know what tasks need to get done, but the girls set the pace. There are no more plans on paper. Now it’s about them and the amazing things they do. Smiling and laughing at strange noises and silly songs. Rolling around. Sitting up. Reaching out for each other. It is exhausting to be the parent of twins. Going to work is my vacation, and coming home to them is my reward. I’m absolutely in love with my girls.

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