After a few months of trying I was happy to announce to my husband that I was pregnant. I took my older children, Isabel then 5 and Emma then 3 to their dad's work with Cracker Jacks to share with his staff. (My husband had put my engagement ring in a box of cracker jacks, so all good news is told that way in our family).
My pregnancy progressed completely normally, and while I did notice that I had put on weight quickly, I didn't really think it was unusual. It was my 3rd pregnancy and my stomach muscles were out of shape, and frankly I was pretty lazy about exercise. Each visit to the midwife I heard the strong humming birds sounds of my baby's heart beat, and the only real sign that something was different this go around, was I had to drop out of an evening yoga class because I was so tired by 7 at night, I couldn't see straight.
At 20 weeks, my husband and I went in excitedly for the ultrasound. We have 2 lovely daughters and were really hoping for a son. The practical side of me, also needed to plan for a son. I had loads of girl stuff but had nothing for a boy. The ultrasound technician was very kind, and as she first started looking, she got a very funny look on her face, and she quietly asked "Are you getting any bigger?" I said yes, but then I grew very frightened. "Is something wrong with the baby?" I asked. She said "No, nothing is wrong; there's just two." Let's just say it was a good thing that I was laying down and my husband was sitting down.
We left the ultrasound, completely dumbfounded and shell shocked. I had big old raccoon eyes from crying, and my husband looked wrecked. No one would look at me because they all assumed I had miscarried the baby and they didn't know what to say.
We were having twins. Nothing in my world had prepared me for that news. The rest of the day was like the Brady Bunch episode where Marsha gets hit in the nose. But instead of "oh my nose" over and over- all I heard over and over was "there's just two . . . there's just two . . ." My husband called work to take the day off, I called my mom to ask for a few more hours of day care so we could just absorb the news that we have two babies coming. Our whole paradigm had shifted. We felt prepared for one baby, but we were not prepared for two.
We went home and told our girls the good news. We let them tell the rest of the family. I bought shirts for them and wrote on the front, "It's a girl" and on the back "and it's a boy!" The look on people's faces was so unbelievable. Much like Jim and I looked earlier in the morning.
My pregnancy continued beautifully. I carried the extra baby without too much trouble. All that no exercise was apparently paying off. After 39 weeks of pregnancy, I was pretty tired of carrying all that baby though, and I was begging my doctor to please induce me. By then I was dilated to 5 cm and was walking around waiting for the babies to just pop out. I seriously think my doctor just thought I would deliver any minute, but finally at 40 weeks she scheduled me for induction.
I was really clear about my wishes. I really wanted drugs the minute I walked in the hospital, but apparently they have some "rules" about making sure your contractions are regular and strong before you can have an epidural. They broke my water at 8 am, and by 10 am, nothing had happened. I was watching TV and my nurse came in and said, "your doctor thinks you look bored." She started the pitocin. Shortly after that I got my epidural, and I hunkered down ready for a long day of labor. My doctor checked me a last time and then she was going to head back to the clinic to see some of her patients. She said "see you tonight" as she left.
Minutes later, I felt an enormous pressure on my right side, and my nurse helped me roll over to my left (I was like a beached whale at that point). I kept telling her over and over, "something is not right, this isn't right." She decided to take a peek and make sure everything was okay. The look on her face was priceless as she came up. She said to me "don't push, don't move," and she called the doctor back in. The doctor hadn't even made it to her car before she needed to come back to me.
Now my room was flooded with people. My nurse, two nurses-one for each baby, my doctor, a couple of technicians, and a couple of student nurses that wanted to see a twin birth were all crowded in. My poor husband literally got pushed over into a corner in the room as everyone rushed in position to catch the baby that decided she was coming NOW. I kept giggling, and laughing with my husband, as we tried to cope with the circus in the room and the arrival of our babies. We were so excited but scared . . . what if something went wrong? We had been thoroughly educated on what could go wrong during the birth of twins.
As I laughed, my daughter, Lily, fell into the doctor's hands. I tell everyone she was laughed into this world. Her brother, Benjamin, followed 8 minutes later. He came out in the unbroken bag of water. As the doctor was teaching the student nurses I asked her if I was delivering a puppy or a son. She told me that in some cultures it is considered good luck. I certainly think so too.
Lillian was 6 and ½ pounds and 19 inches long. Benjamin was 7 pounds and 20 inches long. Both beautiful, and perfect. I was able to nurse them until they weaned themselves at 2 ½ and 3 years. A double blessing to be sure. Every day they make me laugh, and I have found my place in this world through my children.