The plot thickens

November 27, 2006

Visited our doctor today, the mother-and-baby whisperer, sweet and intuitive and refreshingly sensible. She’s taken care of me since after Evan's birth, but not for his pregnancy and delivery. "So how did it go?" she asked, filling out the newly-pregnant forms and bloodwork orders. "Tell me about your first labour."

"Uhh, well …" (where to begin?) "I had back labour."

Her jaw dropped. "Really? Oh my, that’s tough," she said. She was looking at me, listening to me. Not scribbling or nodding indiscriminately. Just listening.

"…and an induction and the epidural and the episiotomy and the forceps and the stuff that makes you puke and the third-degree tears and the operating room and the strapped-down and the I.V. and the catheter and the internal monitor and the fetal distress and the fifteen-masked-faces-between-my-legs."

She gaped.

"It was alright," I rushed to add. "It was only scary for the last hour or so."

I’m strangely protective of it, still. I’m not sure why. I’ve fully recovered. I have a healthy child. It was FINE.

"It won’t be that way," she replied. "No matter what happens, and no matter what you and the baby need, it won’t be that way. I’ll make sure of it."

Sometimes, you don’t realize how starving you are until a heaping plate is put in front of you.

December 1, 2006

Every day brings the most unbearable hangover ever recorded in the history of mankind. The only thing that keeps me going is contemplating increasingly accurate ways to describe the misery.

I never leave the house without a barfing contingency plan: I could duck behind that bush <one block later> …or that dumpster <one block later> …or that garage <continue as per nauseum>. I wake up from a three-hour nap wanting a three-hour nap. I’m STARVING! I’m going to pass out any second if I don’t… ugh… food. Blecch. Never mind.

December 8, 2006

Oh god. Oh god.

The doctor just called with the results of my bloodwork. Red flag: they don’t call with normal results. "Your hormones are great," she said. "Too great, actually. You’re either a couple of weeks farther along than we thought, or…"

Wait. Stop right there. Please, let me enjoy just one more minute of obliviousness. But then she said it:"…there may be more than one baby."

Know how all the world’s clocks follow Greenwich? Greenwich follows me. I can't be as far off as a week or two. Which leaves us to consider one heck of a gnarlier rabbithole than we’d anticipated. T-t-t-twins.

I’m beyond flabbergasted. Three is above our capacity. Three is parental outnumberment. The Plan was two – neat, manageable, even. I’m not serene, nor energetic, nor wealthy enough to have three kids: especially two newborns. At the SAME TIME. Summer 2007 would bring the second Halifax Explosion. Which would be followed by a tidal wave and the blizzard of the century. The hospital would empty in waves of screaming masses a la The Blob. Or better put: The Blobs. Within a couple of weeks, the end to speculation will come by way of an ultrasound. Until then, I stew.

December 9, 2006

It creeps into my head, panic: we would have to buy a MINIVAN.

December 10, 2006

I am haunted by repercussions. I am terrified.

If it turns out to be anything else other than twins, I’ll have to start going to church.

Later tonight. Just got off the phone with the ever-sensible Daphne, my friend and voice of reason. She has enough common sense for the both of us. "Pshaw," she said. "Ever wonder why the rhythm method doesn’t work? You can get pregnant any time of the month. They’ll just have to adjust your due date. Don’t worry! My cousin’s friend had the exact same thing happen…"

A glimmer of hope, to which I am grasping with the desperation of a soon-to-be drowning woman.

December 20, 2006

The radiologist had hardly touched the ultrasound wand to my skin before casually saying, “Yep—there’s one. There’s two. Probably identical, from how they’re set up.” And there they were. Tiny, grey-static pears dwarfed (for now) by the expanse of their shared home. Curled up in chosen corners, linked to nourishment by pulsing cords but not yet identifiable as human. Two hummingbird hearts, flashing frantic but steady.

She leaves the room for several minutes. I stare at the ceiling, fixate on the dots of the drop-panels, the bulbs behind the plastic, the broken curtain track. Work up enough nerve to turn to the monitor, a capture of the last frame, of the two of them frozen from just a moment before. Panic and awe. Mostly panic.

I wait for that inner sense of this is how it’s supposed to go, and it’s going to be alright, but it doesn’t come. I’m still waiting. Getting used to the idea of living with two babies: that’s one thing. First, I have to get used to the idea of being pregnant with two babies.

They’ll have to roll me around in an industrial-strength wheelbarrow. They’ll have to drape my enormous girth in a shower curtain with a drawstring. They’ll have to put a flashing sign on my rear end that says WIDE LOAD! KEEP 200 FEET BACK. A loud beep will alert everyone within the immediate vicinity that I’m backing up.

We’ve been on the phone now, the evening after the ultrasound, for about four hours straight trying to sound excited to family. My mouth is dry and my head is pounding. For everyone else, it’s a fabulous spectacle. But for me… we’re so overwhelmed with logistics that we can’t see straight.

December 27, 2006

Shock has not yet worn off. But despite new angles of worry striking us almost daily, flashes of faith and pride have begun to kick holes in the murk.

The radiologist said they’re each two centimeters long, an ‘excellent growth’ so far. Two centimeters long. Use your thumb and your pointer: try that on for size. They terrify me but I already feel fiercely for them, urging them to pull what they need from me to grow, to be strong.

My job is to get them as big as I possibly can, keep them in the cooker for as long as we can all stand it. Every ounce they gain makes them better able to cope and thrive upon arrival. A sister-in-law and seasoned twin-mother advises: if you wake up at 2 AM and you’re hungry, don’t make yourself a chicken sandwich. Make three. I am to be the queen bee, the all-you-can-eat umbilical buffet, goriously* swollen with the work of gestation (*a random mistype left out the ‘L’ but then the new word fits, don’t you think?)

They’ll teach me how to be their mother. Evan did.

* Limited-time sentiment valid for either the next fifteen minutes or until the next violent mood swing, whichever comes first.

January 1, 2007

Much of the time, I’m packed solid with hormones and a sense of impending doom. Here’s what NOT to say when you see me knuckling my temples, slumped over with my head between my legs or staring slack-jawed into space with a hand down my pants:

At least it’s not quintuplets!
Your grandmother did it, and she didn't have disposable diapers. Compared to her, what are you worried about?
My grandmother did it, and she had nine other kids and lived in the Yukon and didn’t have running water and had to fight off hungry polar bears with triplets strapped to her back. Compared to her, what are you worried about?
It’s going to be <fantastic/amazing/incredible>. You’ll be <great/alright/fine> (at which point the declarer is absolved: There. I said what I’m supposed to say. Thank god it’s not me).

Just give me space, sweet space. Silence. No pep talks. I need to process this on my own. Words are unlikely to help—unless they’re here you go! as you hand me a voucher for six months of weekly cleaning services starting July 2007.

If I need a bucket, I’ll ask. Or a shoulder, or advice. But in the meantime, just let me feel like shit. Leave me to bask in my overwhelm. Don’t worry: I’m sure Everything Will Be Fine. But until I truly buy it, I haven’t got the energy to pretend.