Today I had my first official midwife appointment, complete with physical and ultrasound. During my pregnancy with Blaise, Bryan didn't come to any of my prenatal appointments. But this time around I've had a weird sense of... well, not exactly foreboding, but for some reason I was nervous about this appointment. I wanted him along for support in case anything was weird or wrong.
I haven't been too worried because my symptoms have been increasing apace (hello, daily puking!) but even so, my heart skipped a little when the midwife (Elaine, who delivered Blaise) was prepping the ultrasound equipment. She'd asked if we wanted the ultrasound and we said we absolutely did. I love seeing that little heartbeat and besides, I joked, we wanted to make sure it wasn't twins.
(A lot of people say that, apparently. She laughed, and not in a shocked way, when I said it.)
But then Elaine got the ultrasound going, and zoomed in, and stopped. And made a little choking noise. Then my heart REALLY jumped, because even though I'm good at reading ultrasounds after two pregnancies, it did look like something weird was happening on the screen. It looked kinda like... the baby had broken in half? Could that be right?
Uh, no. The baby is just fine, except that there is two of him.
Or her. Or him and her.
TWINS, you guys.
I am... honestly, in complete shock. I think it's going to take me a while to process this. Of course I'm thrilled about both my babies, and I love them already, and am praying hard for their safety. But I've never been a person who wanted twins. In fact, my sister and I have always had a semi-joke (and it wasn't really a joke) that we prayed God would send us all of our babies one at a time. I'm not a newborn person. During those first months caring for ONE baby feels like a huge task to me. I have no idea how we're going to care for TWO.
I'm trying to think long-term. As I said to Bryan when I was still in a semi-hysterical state, in five years we'll look back and say, "Remember when we found out about the twins? And now they're four and a half!" It's calming to know that day will come, but there's a LOT to get through before then.
It was funny - this morning, when my physical was over but before the midwife did the ultrasound, she asked if I had any questions about the pregnancy. I was all, "Oh, I've got this covered. Been there, done that." But once we'd discovered the twins, while I was trying to get my shaking body to hold still so she could take measurements (babies were at 7w5d and 7w6d), questions kept popping into my head. Once I got to sit up again, I fired them at her so fast she looked kind of stunned.
(Well, I mean, I was asking about VBACs. You know, with my fourth pregnancy if I have to have a c-section with this third one. I can't help it - I think ahead!)
For me, the biggest downside of a twin pregnancy is that it's automatically considered high-risk and I can't be under the care of a midwife. (Crunchy birth people - do you know if this is standard, or is it practice-specific?) I have to switch to one of the doctors in the practice. I am big-time opposed to unnecessarily medicalized pregnancy and birth, which is why I go to midwives in the first place. I'm worried about having to push back harder with a doctor.
On the other hand, I don't know much about twin pregnancies, and I'm guessing there are real inherent risks that might make more intervention necessary. I'm also concerned about pre-term labor, because I was having tons of contractions with Blaise by about 31 or 32 weeks, enough that I had to put myself on modified bed rest to meet the midwife-specified requirement of no more than four contractions an hour. I'm pretty sure I have an irritable uterus - that surely cannot be an advantage when one is pregnant with twins, huh?
We're gonna be praying really hard that the babies stay in until full-term and that they position themselves so that I can deliver them naturally if at all possible. I'll also be watching closely for signs of pre-term labor and working hard to embrace the (true) fact that a necessary c-section would not be the end of the world.
There are lots of other crazy things to think about, like how I'm gonna have to work harder than ever to eat enough to gain weight this pregnancy (last time's 16lb-gain is not gonna cut it with twins), and how we are gonna have to buy lots of things like a double stroller and for sure a van, and how caring for two newborns is gonna be OUT OF CONTROL (can you tell I'm obsessing about that, a little?) and how for once I am actually grateful for my crazy milk oversupply because I think there's good reason to hope that nursing twins should be manageable for me.
And on and on and on. But first, I need a nap.
TWO babies. Crazy.