October 18, 2013 § 22 Comments
I’ve been thinking about gender lately.
Namely, because we are still on the fence about deciding whether or not we want to “FIND OUT.” That is the big question everyone is asking these days. I think if you asked me today if I was ready to know, I would say no and cover my ears and hide my eyes. I don’t really care about being surprised on delivery day. It’s not that. With a twin birth experience, I think there will probably be enough surprises to keep me occupied. The sex of my children does not have to be one of them.
It’s just that is such a BIG thing! And with all big things, I have a tendency to avoid. Avoid avoid. Plus, I can’t unlearn it! And it feels kind of special not knowing.
I don’t care about the whole buying stuff thing. I consider just about every color to be gender neutral. And I think I will probably not buy my children clothing with dump trucks or tiaras on them until (and if) that is something they pick out for themselves.
A friend joked that I should find out the sex of one of the babies and wait for the other until delivery. At first, I was all like haha but then I thought hold up. Maybe? Because, well, HILARIOUS. And because you seriously can’t go wrong. If we find out one is a girl, well, it could be a girl and a girl! Or a boy and a girl!
That being said, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the possible combinations of sexes I could have inside of me. The possibilities are all incredible and unique, especially when you think about the sex of each baby in relation to the other. I honestly think I will be thrilled with any of the three possibilities and will equally mourn the other two.
One thing you all don’t know about me is that my master’s research was focused on social inequality – specifically, privilege and, its flip side, disadvantage. If you haven’t thought about this topic ever (or if you have, and want to read something that will surely impact you), read this right quick. It is a breath stopper for me. Every time. Anyway, during the course of my undergrad and master’s work, I spent a lot of time reading and thinking about women’s studies and gender.
I would consider myself a feminist. My definition of feminist? A proponent of equal rights for men and women. Easy, right? Perhaps we’re all feminists after all, eh?
Yet, when I think about the possibility of parenting girls, I think about added stressors that come with it.
And, no, I don’t mean all of the dangerous penises out there (at least not yet) or the worry about pubescent teenagers, which are the things people around me bring up when they muse over the idea of us having two girls.
I worry about the things this young woman so elegantly states with brief but eloquent and empathic words:
Do I want girls, though? You bet. And boys? Absolutely. One of each? Bring it on.
October 17, 2013 § 17 Comments
As I sit here with my dissertation proposal powerpoint slides in front of me, fretting over my preparedness for my 4pm meeting with my committee, I moseyed on over to one of the twin forums I sometimes peek at when I am in desperate need for a distraction.
This was the first thing I saw:
I thought oh, nice! a feel good find! fully expecting to be hit with positivity and love and reassurance.
Out of 22 responses, only THREE twin moms said they would choose to have twins if they had a choice.
Of course, they all say that they love their children and they wouldn’t change their situation now, but had they known what they were getting into and had they had an option, they would not have picked the box with two balloons.
Um. Not exactly the positive, mindless web-surfing I was hoping for. Google strikes again. Ouch.
October 15, 2013 § 32 Comments
I’ve been gathering words in my head for you for weeks.
I won’t get to all of it now. I tried, actually. I wrote about twice as much, and it read as manic and tangential, so I had to cut the rest for a future post.
But, before I focus, one other thing. I have exactly 1000 comments on my blog exactly right now. That is incredible. I am humbled beyond belief. Thank you eachofyou for caring about me. Such community there is in this community. Such love. And also, I feel like I should take a picture of it. It’s like how you feel when you happen to look at the clock and it’s 11:11 or 12:34.
Ok, let’s get to it, eh?
October is my favorite month of the year. It holds some of my favorite time-limited sensory experiences – the briskness of cool wind combined with warm sun on my skin, the smells of woodstoves and decaying leaves (gifts from the Earth to our senses), the taste of roasted and salted pumpkin seeds, the weight of heavy blankets and sweaters and wool beanies on your body, the knowledge of the year turning on its heels to leave us. And, holy hell, the colors. Oh, the colors.
Since beginning graduate school in 2008, October always seems to turn out to be the busiest month of the year. I typically cozy up during the weekends and work, rarely taking the opportunity to experience the gift of the season.
I’m trying to do it differently this time. However.
October 2013 is the month of madness, and late September was a preparation for October. And this, my friends, is why I seem to have disappeared a bit. I’m still reading and cheering you on, but I realize my comments have been scattered and my own posts sparse. I apologize.
Here’s the thing, though. In the month of October, I will be proposing my dissertation, applying for internships (a much larger undertaking than it sounds), and turning 30. And, if we decide to find out the sexes of these two sweet babes, we may be squeezing that in as well. It is a BIGBIG month. My dissertation proposal is on Thursday (wish me luck, friends), and I have one of the fathers of my field on my committee. I am shaking in my boots even thinking about it. Last night I dreamed that I was eating a bowl of saucy pasta during my presentation, and I kept pausing to slurp up huge bites which then left me unable to answer any of the questions posed to me. And these internship applications? Let me just say that this is the part of my program that is given the highest rank for its ability to induce anxiety. Most people choose not to propose their dissertation and apply for internship in the same month, but I’m a bit of a procrastinator. So here I am. If you know me, you know that I do not get things done quickly, but I get them done very very well.
Anyway. As a result of this monster of a month, I’m going to shoot some pregnancy related bullet points at you. Once things get back to normal, I will return to proper paragraphs and structural soundness. Deal?
1) All of the sudden, I have a belly. Two weekends ago, the Artsy Engineer and one of our closest friends, Fritz, who was visiting from Philadelphia for a wedding, kept teasing me by telling me that I had Who-body. You know, from Whoville? The kind Horton hears?
I get it. Skinny arms and legs and this little tummy pouch. But I personally think that at the time I actually looked more like another Dr. Suess’ most famous characters. This lovable guy.
But that was two weeks ago. Now, all of the sudden, I no longer look like I’m packing beer gut. I look pregnant. Andandand, my belly button is already nearly flat. Sunday, one of my yoga instructors became the first to ask me if I was pregnant. After class, he pointed at my belly and said (a little uncertainly, because, you know, what if you’re wrong!), “Is that a baby in there?” It melted me. First, I splurge on a membership to a really nice yoga studio, where I fall in love with every single one of my teachers. Everysingleone. Most are women, but this happens to be a man. A young one. He’s probably in his early to mid-20s. His voice during practice is like a calming blanket. And I melt under his hands whenever he makes adjustments to my poses. Second, it was just, well, incredibly special to realize that I am noticeably pregnant. I’ve been diligently taking bump photos every week or two and I’ll eventually be starting an official bump page, but for now, here’s a little unofficial taste taken this past weekend at around 16 weeks.
All of the sudden, I am becoming one of those pregnant ladies in the grocery store that I used to smile/scowl at. As warm of a feeling this is, it comes with these little stabs of guilt. I pass couples who aren’t carting kids around and I wonder. Am I making her hurt?
2) Remember how I decided not to buy a doppler? Well, I panicked one night (less than a week after that post was written) and, without hesitation or much additional thought, bought a doppler. Hunted one down on craigslist and hounded the poor woman until she agreed to let me drive over at 8 o’clock at night and pick it up from her house. I don’t use it very often. Maybe once a week, give or take. It was really easy to find both heart beats at first, because my uterus was low and they were small and I knew exactly where to look. Now it’s a bit harder to find both. And, I know that, so I look for them less often, try to rely on that faith in nature and in my body, and when I do look for them and have trouble finding them, I don’t love it, but I also don’t freak out. I put the doppler away and I try again a few hours later. Easy. (LIES)
3) I had my NT scan. I can’t believe it was three weeks ago. I’m ashamed that it was three weeks ago and I haven’t reported on it. Is it even news? Do you even care anymore? Probably not, but I’ll proceed anyway. First of all, I was terrified (as usual), but not as terrified as I would have been if I had not had my first OB appointment a week before. My OB is of the lovely variety who gives a quickie ultrasound for twins to listen for heart beats, because he wants to be absolutely positive that he is listening to both and not just to one reflected off of a wall or something. Thank my stars for him. But one week later, I’m at the NT scan. It lasted an hour and a half. An hour and a half of laying in a dimly lit room with a big, beautiful flatscreen TV positioned high on the wall in front of me.
And you guys. When the live image popped up on the screen, it was all of Baby B. And Baby B had the hiccups. And then Baby B stretched its little legs out like it was straight chilling. Exactly like I do on road trips when I stretch my legs out on the dash like this. My mom used to get annoyed with me because I would leave toe prints on the inside of the windshield, but now Artsy Engineer just cleans them off without a word. Yup. He loves me. Anyway, when we switched over to Baby A, it had its little arm bent and its five fingers extended. It looked like it was trying to work its tiny little thumb up to its mouth.
And because I’m all about images this week, here are a two of each of the babes. They caught both babies doing the adorable things described above in pictures for me, and I will include them on the Inmates’ page. But for now, here are the babes and their best profile shots.
Looking at their faces right now, I want to hold them in my hands. I want to kiss their lips and noses. I want to run my finger lightly over their faces to help them relax like my dad did with me when I was a child. I’ve looked at these pictures at least 25 times in the last three weeks, but typing this right now is the first time they – these two, my Inmates – have brought tears of love to my eyes. I’ll be honest with you guys. I have had a difficult time really connecting with these guys. Yes, I’m 16 and a half weeks and I talk about wanting to meet them and we purchased our first item for the nursery and my body is changing, but up to now, the protective armor has seemed still solidly snapped into place. There are babies in there and their skulls are the size of apricots right now (incredible) and I love those ideas, but have I developed an attachment to these particular children? I don’t know. I think these present tears indicate that I’m getting closer. I cried when I first heard their heart beats, but was that love or was that relief?
And, on that note, I cannot end today’s post without recognizing that today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and I need to acknowledge the pregnancy that I lost and the ones that many of you have lost. I am so sorry. So so sorry. No one should have to experience this. And especially sorry for those who have lost more than one. Because my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, I have spent this new pregnancy in fear that I will be a sufferer of repeat pregnancy loss. Why? Because every one of these women started with one. Despite evidence to the contrary, I still fear this. And I also fear the increased risks of preterm labor and infant mortality that come with multiple gestation. Desperately at times and at times blunt and mildly.
But as I sit here and think of these babies inside of me, I have to keep repeating the words borrowed by a sisterfriend in the blog world: This is its own pregnancy.