Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm Sorry....How Many Did You Say There Are?

Over the next weeks, I mentioned the impending baby, the pregnancy and talked about things quite a bit. Glenn listened and always replied in a very non-committal way. After several days, it did begin to hurt my feelings, but I tried to understand from his point of view. Women get all ooey-gooey about babies and men start thinking of all their responsibilities. Our finiancial situation, while not bad, always worried him. He wanted more in savings, less debt. He wanted to be out of our neighborhood and move to a better part of town. He stayed up with insomnia quite a bit normally, and I noted that he seemed to have even more than usual lately. He was very stressed out at work and I knew that this news probably only added to that. He seemed disappointed we had to wait so long to go to the doctor too, but he didn’t say much.

But I didn’t realize how bothered he really was until the morning of that first doctor’s appointment. As we were getting ready I told him I was going to be so relieved that we would get reassurance that everything was fine. That weekend I had experienced a touch of morning sickness, but nothing severe at all. In a perverse way, it felt good to have more outward signs of a healthy pregnancy. I told him I was excited to go to this appointment and he stunned me when he said “I am terrified.” I asked him what he was terrified of and he started talking about what if there were problems, what if the baby wasn’t right? I answered him calmly that everything would be fine. I reminded him that we had talked about what would happen at this appointment. I had done more research and was reasonably sure that we would have a dating ultrasound as well as a pap smear. I had also read (thank goodness) that the ultrasound was NOT done with the familiar belly jelly and sensor rubbed on your belly, but with a wand affectionately referred to online as a “dildo-cam.” That produced a more accurate picture and it was what was used this early in a pregnancy. I was very thankful I had read this and a week earlier had prepared Glenn for what was to come. He had made a very ugly face and said nothing more. I mentioned the pap-smear and was telling him what that would entail when he interrupted with “Can I just leave the room and come in when they squirt that jelly on your stomach and start looking at the baby?” I looked at him incredulous. “No honey, remember, we talked about this.” I reminded him about the vaginal transducer and explained again what it would be like. It wasn’t until the words dildo-cam came out of my mouth that he seemed to understand. He began loudly complaining and I said “Remember, I told you about this last week.” He turned away from me and said “No, I must have blocked that out.” Now, I don’t doubt that he can conveniently forget things he heard and reacted to at one point. He has proven this over and over. It is just exasperating sometimes when I feel like I am talking to an Alzheimer’s patient, repeating the same thing over and over, getting a reasonable response to my statement that makes me think he heard and understood me. And then, later having the same conversation over again. I just looked at him.

Then he teasingly said words that would come to haunt us both. “So, when they’re doing this ultrasound, what if they see twins.” Now I knew he was just pushing my buttons, and I responded quietly and calmly, words that I will never live down. “Honey, stop worrying. There is only going to be one baby, and it will be right where it is supposed to be and have all the parts it is supposed to have and it will be fine.” To which he replied, “But what would you do if they said it was twins?” I sighed and responded flippantly “Fall off the table.”

At the doctor, everything went fine. I peed in the cup, they took my weight and vitals. The ultrasound machine was in the room and while we were waiting on the doctor, I took the time to point out the offending transducer to Glenn. He grimaced and looked away quickly. The doctor came in and asked all the questions. When was my last period? Yes, that would put me at May 21 as the due date. He did the pap-smear and the breast exam and Glenn sat dutifully in the chair and didn’t run for the waiting room. And then, when satisfied that all seemed fine, he said “Let’s take a look.” And pulled the ultrasound machine closer. He told Glenn to get up and stand on my left side by my head. Luckily the transducer part happened under a sheet and then immediately there was a staticky picture to distract us. Immediately the doctor said “Well, that’s interesting.” I held my breath. Was that good or bad? “Do you see what I see?” he said in a sing-song type of voice. I squinted at the machine, but honestly, it was one big mess and I couldn’t see a thing. I wanted to say, “I don’t see squat but static, what do you see?”

“I see two little flutters.” he continued, in the sing-song voice. It took me a second to figure out what he meant. Flutters? “Are you joking?” I asked. But right then, I could see the mouse pointer aimed at a little rhythmic beating on the screen. The doctor said “No, see, two little hearts.” and moved the mouse pointer to a second little rhythmic pulsating.

I immediately looked up at Glenn. His mouth was agape. I am not sure if he cottoned onto the doctor’s meaning later than me, or if it just took him a second longer to respond. Glenn very eloquently said “What?” and the doctor obligingly said “It’s twins!” I stared at Glenn. My first thought was “HOW did he KNOW?” His words from that morning echoed in my head. What on earth was happening? And I promptly burst into tears. Part of it was the immense relief of seeing a live baby on the screen. I had worried about ectopic pregnancies and false positives and miscarriages for the last three weeks, despite my brave face to Glenn. But another part of me was entirely overwhelmed. The thought of twins hadn’t even occurred to me and it was almost too much to take in. Glenn said something about “Don’t fall off the table.” And the doctor asked if I was ok. I nodded and tried to pay attention to what we were seeing on the screen.

You can see on the right that there is a baby with little arms and legs sprouting. The other, you can only really see the top of the head (or butt).
I could see that one blob did look like the pictures and illustrations I had seen of a fetus at this age. But the other, just looked like a round blob with no arms or legs. I worried and finally asked. We were told that the second wasn’t facing the same way. We were either seeing the top of its head, or its butt. He clicked away and measured the hearts and eventually said that the dating looked right on and everything was good. During all of this, Glenn wonderingly said to me, “Well, at least we didn’t use all the onsies in that three-pack.” Yes, thank God for small favors.

Then, the doctor put the wand away, sat me up and proceeded to tell us that this changed things. First, twins would be expected a little earlier. He said 3 weeks early, which put us at roughly May 1. Then he said that he thought they were monochorionic twins. I confess, that meant nothing to me, but he wrote the word a slip of paper with the words “one placenta” and then said that he wasn’t sure, but thought that they might be sharing one bag of water. He wrote monoamniotic with the words “one bag of water” on the paper. He went on to say that having one bag of water meant that their cords could get tangled and that would be very bad, but he reiterated that they were very small and there might actually be a dividing membrane between them. “You know, those membranes are like saran wrap thin at this age. We will be able to see a lot better in a couple of weeks when we do the 12 week ultrasound. So for now, just assume there is one and don’t worry too much.” He was very nonchalant and reassuring about everything and we left with a bag of prenatal vitamin samples and a piece of paper with two words I don’t think I had ever seen before.

Glenn and I were shell-shocked and walked quietly out to our cars. We drove the block to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast and I remember us sitting and staring at each other for a long time. We looked at the ultrasound pictures, only one of which showed two babies together. One of us would look at the other and say “twins” and then we would just both laugh. We talked some about what this would mean, but I don’t remember much of the conversation at all. I did ask Glenn what made him mention twins that morning and had he actually known. He insists to this day that he was just joking and trying to get a rise out of me and had no premonition. But, I have to tell you, it freaked me out a little that he had called it only minutes before the ultrasound.

I remember that the chicken sandwich didn’t taste too good to me at the time and I let Glenn finish it. We got up walked out to our cars and hugged. Then we both drove to work, where I don’t think either of us did one lick of work the whole day.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations. I wrote down memories like this with paper and pencil, I am using funky envelopes to include them in the scrap book. This has got to be a very bumpy road so far! I love that you are willing to share your experiences. My hubby's cousin and her husband are both next in line in their families to have twins. or more...