The whole twins thing
September 8, 2013 § 31 Comments
I’ve been promising a post dedicated to my response to the fact that I am pregnant with two babies for awhile now.
First, though. Thanks for all of your reassurance about the babies being okay while I was in Stage III. And, more importantly, the decision to buy the minivan. I’ve been driving it for a couple of days now. And, let me tell you. That thing is P.I.M.P. I have not regretted that decision for a minute. I am going to be so baller.
And the babies. The Artsy Engineer really wanted to bake the cookies, so we did. He also picked out a thank you card and wrote a really clever and appreciative note to the staff. (He is a clever man.) We did, however, cover our asses and left everything outside of the clinic hiding behind some plants in case something went wrong and we had to keep our naive optimism hidden. But it was unnecessary. The babies are continuing to do well. They’re on track. Beat beat beating away. Heart rates are still within normal limits. Baby A’s was 180 and Baby B’s was 168. (When we were leaving, one of the administrative assistants insisted that it must be a girl and a boy because of this. Whatever. Just give them to me healthy and happy.) Baby B was kicking its little legs around and waving its arms. Nobody wanted to hold still for measurements or photos. I added the photos to the Inmates’ page anyway. Note: If you look at the picture, tell me that my uterus (or whatever the name is for that visible lighter layer that surrounds each amniotic sac.. if you know I’d be interested) does not look like a swan’s neck encircling the babies. Anyway, I think they pick up on all of the stress hormone coursing through my veins and see it as a cue to go nuts. (SO GLAD my job means that I am aware of the fact that in utero cortisol exposure is associated with right amygdala volume, susceptibility to affective problems in childhood, glucocorticoid secretion in adulthood, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Among other things. So awesome that I will be doing the bulk of my dissertation and going on internship interviews during the course of this pregnancy. Good luck, babies!!!) The nurses actually gave us a little gift, as well. A pair of monkey stuffed animals. Incredibly sweet and pretty surreal. Real objects of comfort for my real live babies who will (please please) be here in March.
But the twin thing. I promised to talk about the twin thing. And K over at the cork & stork blog made a direct request, so I figure it’s time to get on it.
Let me start by saying that I have never been one of those people who wanted twins. Never thought they’d be especially cute. I actually always kind of felt a little bad for twins and their families. So much work for the parents! You don’t get your own birthday! Etc, etc. In fact, when we were discussing options for paying for IVF, the biggest reason we were wary of the shared risk program was that it necessitated the transfer of two embryos (if there were two). I know that there are benefits to twins, too. There is always a playmate around. A teammate. A confidante. And I get two babies! That part is nothing but perfect.
But, when I found out it was two, my reaction was not all tinsel and snowflakes. I cried with love when I heard each of their hearts beat in turn, yes. I was enamored with each of them instantly. But the whole TWINS thing? Gahhh.
Truthfully, I don’t even like the term, which is why you haven’t really seen my use it in this space. The Artsy Engineer and I substituted the term the babies from the beginning. The word twins implies an entity. And the word for one member of this pair, a twin, always made me think that the person was not whole or complete or individual by him or herself. So, we have twins, yes. But I prefer to think of it as we are having two babies. At once.
Put my lexical quirkiness aside, and there are other concerns that linger.
1) Health. Mine and the babies. Straight talk. There is more risk for them. And more risk for me. And I don’t like this at all.
2) Money. Money will not always be a thing for us. I get that. I will not make bank, by any means, when I finally get myself a real grown up job, but I will make our living more comfortable. For now, though, we get by on a single income brought in by a state employee in addition to help from my parents for big purchases (like minivans and the down payment on the house). We are going to be soooo broke next year. We have some idealistic remedies for this that may or may not pan out, like cloth diapers and breastfeeding. But there will still need to be either daycare OR my husband taking a year off of work and doing the stay-at-home-dad thing while I make a whopping 20 grand while on internship and supplement with student loans.
3) The individual bond with the babies and their own individuality from one another. This sounds silly, but I have a hard time picturing how I will have as strong of a bond with each of these children as I would if I were to only have one child. I won’t be able to spend nearly as much one on one time with Baby A and Baby B. Will that affect my bond with them? Perhaps this concern is unfounded. I don’t know. I’ve never had children. Maybe it would even be a good thing in that it’s nearly impossible to be a helicopter parent of twins. I just can’t divide my attention and devote it fully to two children at once. Maybe they will grow up being a little less spoiled and a little less certain of their place in the center of the universe. Which has got to be a good thing. Also, I will not dress these children alike. When they are old enough to know the difference, they will have their own things.
4) My sanity. This is probably naive, too. But I always thought I’d be one of those parents who maintain her own individuality while also becoming a mom. I am passionate about many things. I don’t want to lose myself in my children and talk or think of nothing else. Do I want to be a mom? Yes. And the family is the most important of my values. But I don’t want to lose my Self. I don’t want to lose my relationship with husband. I don’t want to lose my spark and brightness. And when it comes down to it, it’s simply going to be more work with two than it would be with one. I know this. Can we handle it? Definitely. Will it always be with grace? Nope. But my husband is a hands-on kind of dude. I have no doubt that he will parent as much as I parent. This will surely help.
5) My stomach. Here’s the thing. I’ve always been thin. Not unhealthily thin. But on the very low end of normal,healthy weight kind of thin. When you’ve always been thin, certain things happen. You hear about it from others. A lot. In middle school I was lovingly teased for my knees being the thickest part of my legs. During puberty, this morphed into backhanded ‘compliments’ from friends and acquaintances in the locker room during gym class. Things like, “ugh, i hate you” or “ugh, i wish i was skinny so could pull off those [insert clothing item here].” They were always said with a tone of disdain and a bit of an exaggerated glare that was meant to be cute but actually made me feel kind of bad on the inside. And I never knew how to respond to that sort of thing. I still don’t. I thought this would end with the end of college, maybe. But it turns out that it’s not just teenagers who do this. Adults do it, too. And let me tell you what happens when people around you place so much attention on the object that is your body. You start paying more attention to the object that is your body. Thinness becomes part of your identity. Just like blonde hair might. And, I wont lie. I’m a little more vain than I’d care to admit. I like my thinness. I like my flat stomach. Do I think curves are beautiful? And bellies on women? ABSOLUTELY. But they aren’t my body. This is hard for me to say out loud. It’s really embarrassing, actually. I love bodies, in general. And they don’t have to be perfect bodies for me to see beauty in them. But do I love the fact that I will develop what they apparently refer to as “twin skin”? I don’t have to answer that question because Google it. Do I love the fact that I probably won’t wear a bikini again? Effno.
Do I wish my two babies were one? Absolutely not. I love them each. I would be devastated if we lost either of them. I want both of these babies in our lives. And, while I don’t do the whole religion thing, I feel so blessed by the universe. So very grateful.
As an aside, I cannot wait to see my dad’s face light up when he meets them for the first time. His response was positively glowing when I told him about the two. I believe he just said, “perfect, Lentil.” My dad is a pediatric ICU doctor. Children love him and he loves them back. He’s the kind of doctor who brings water guns into the hospital to make kids laugh. Unfortunately, most of the kids he treats are so sick, they can’t play back. But he does it nonetheless, because he knows even a weak smile can make a difference. He also has this thing with the mother/child bond. He actually knows a ton of research on this subject. And he collects art depicting it as well, especially Native American depictions. So, yeah. Artsy Engineer and I cannot wait to make him a grandparent and to have him around our babes as long as nature allows it.
This may be the wordiest post I’ve ever written, so you’re welcome. Also, please kick my ass in comments if this sounds unappreciative or insensitive to my infertile sisters still in the trenches. I mean. I wrote a whole paragraph about what the babies may do to my stomach, for godsake. I am so very hypersensitive to all of that. In fact, sometimes I don’t post because of it. So I avoid, which is definitely not the way to do it either. I don’t know. There is no published etiquette for this sort of thing. If there were, I would have hunted it down and devoured it already.