If you’re a twin mom, you know what I mean. THE DAY. You will be asked about this day forever by anyone and everyone. If you are currently pregnant, take notes. You might want to embellish it later; add a little flair so it’s more entertaining at Costco. You won’t ever be able to forget it, but even if your brain allowed it – strangers would not. As a twin mom, you are approached by strangers. It’s not variable; it’s a given. You ARE approached by strangers. Everywhere. All the time. They will ask you a series of questions. A casual conversation will go something like this:
Stranger: “OH! Are they twins?”
Me: Yep! (Nope, my husband and I met at the hospital and bonded over our oddly similar newborns.)
Stranger: “Boys? Girls? One of each?”
Me: They’re boys! (But I could tell you anything and you probably wouldn’t care!)
Stranger: “Are they identical?”
Me: Yep! (Again; doesn’t matter what I say here.)
Stranger: I can tell! (or, sometimes, “But they look different!) SO…. do twins run in your family?
Me: Yep! (Even though identical twinning is not an inherited trait, I don’t think you want a genetics lesson so I’ll just keep nodding!)
Stranger: Did you know?
Me: No! It was quite a shock! Awkward chuckle! (Yes, actually, I felt my egg split. It was other-worldly.)
and then the inevitable –
Stranger: So, how did you feel when you found out?
Me: Surprised! Delighted! It’s such a blessing. (BYE NOW; ice cream melting.)
That is my daily conversation. I have contemplated having it screen-printed, but I’m not very tall and it would make a long shirt. And snark aside, I really don’t mind the questions. I love talking about my children. I wish I could educate everyone on the details of twinning. I might start carrying around a flash drive with a PowerPoint. In any case, I don’t often tell the entire story of THE DAY because it’s long and emotional and personal. But for you, dear reader, here it is.
As a child, I dreamed of having twins. I still think this is normal – the only thing cooler than one is two, right? I set up my dolls in pairs, wrote elaborate stories of long-lost sisters, read every Sweet Valley High book I could get my hands on, watched The Parent Trap (the original, thankyouverymuch) over and over again. I was CERTAIN I was destined to have twins. But I was also certain I was destined to be rich, and famous, and thin, and tall, and well… yeah.
My husband and I decided that we wanted children right away. Our courtship was quick (a story for another day) and we were both ready to move into the next phase of life. As someone who has struggled with PCOS, I was concerned that it could take a while for us to conceive. I did my research and prepared for a long wait. We had a gorgeous wedding followed by an amazing wine-soaked Italian honeymoon. The only downside was that I came back incredibly jet-lagged. Like, could not get out of bed jet-lagged. As someone who had never traveled internationally, I was thinking “This sh*t is for the birds!” I was cranky. And bloated. And miserable. And whiny. And everything hurt, and my stupid period was due any day… wait… no it was due last week maybe? Ohhhhhhhhhh. OH. Not jet lag. Two bright pink lines confirmed that.
Finding out you are pregnant is a roller-coaster of emotions, and I imagine that it feels surreal to everyone. A piece of plastic tells you that your life will change. My husband and I were dumbfounded. It had been too easy. I called and made my appointment for the first ultrasound, thinking that once we saw the tiny little life we had created, it would become real. I made the appointment for when I would be eight weeks exactly. My husband and I went back and forth over whether he should take the day off work -I said “not necessary;” he said “DEFINITELY necessary.” He was right.
When the day came, we were taken back into the office where the nurse went over the laundry-list of things I would need to do. Watch what I ate, pick an OB or a midwife, take prenatals, stop drinking, relax, start printing money, etc. And then we got ready for the best part – the coup de grace. We could.not.wait to see this miracle for real. She started up the ultrasound machine, got the wand in place, turned the screen towards me, and said…
Just like that. No warning, no nothing. The most anti-climactic moment possible. LOOK. TWO. WOW. And all of a sudden instead of the pregnancy becoming cemented as real, my entire life became surreal. She printed out “individual shots” and a “group photo” for me to show off, gave me the name of the best twin doctor around, and sent me on my merry way. With two embryos. Like it was normal. Welcome to the rest of your life, kid. Here’s a sucker for your troubles. In fact, take two. They’re small.
The nurse left; I looked deep into my husband’s eyes. I saw tears. And dollar signs. But mostly tears. This was it – our little family, ready or not.
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