Almost four years ago now, and I remember it like it was yesterday.
The room was darkened, I lay back, and the warm goo squirted all over my belly. I grimaced. I *hate* that feeling. SO gross. I leaned in and asked in a conspiratorial tone, “Do you maybe have any of that stuff not all warmed up?”
“What? Oh, I don’t think so, most people like it warm rather than cold.”
“Blech, I do NOT. It feels like, you-know-what.”
“What? OH! Wow, no one has ever said that before.”
“Yeah, I get that a lot.”
“Okay, shall we get started?
“Yeah, go for it.”
My abdomen is then completely molested by a plastic wand, sending sound waves (or something) through me, and capturing the image of the waves that bounce back. Measurements are taken, thoughtful “hmms” are expressed.
“What? Hmmm, what?” I ask, really out of curiosity more than any kind of feeling that something was wrong.
“Is this your first sonogram?”
“No, I had like four with my first kid.” I say, still blissfully ignorant of her tone.
“No, um, I mean, is this your first one with this, uh, pregnancy? I mean, do you know anything yet?”
“Oh, yeah, first one. Nope, we don’t know anything. I mean, we know I’m pregnant, right? ha ha” – could I have been any more dense? She was trying to tell me something here.
“Right. Um, okay, so, what do you see here?”
“Oh, there’s the baby! That’s the head, the arm, the legs.” I say as I gesture toward the monitor, my husband standing just off my left shoulder, trying to squint and see all the little body parts.
“Okay” says the sonogram technician as she moves the wand to the other side of my belly. “And what do you see now?”
“Um, the baby turned over?” I guess, since the right-facing profile was now a left-facing profile.
[big pause, huge, BIG pause, dare I say pregnant pause?]
“WHAT?” I shout as I fly upright, wide-eyed, staring the poor woman down.
“I’m just the messenger” she says as she flinches a little and holds her hands up in a defensive position.
“WHAT?” I repeat, because clearly the message has not sunk in yet.
“WHAT?” cause you just can’t over use that question. “HOW? WHAT?”
“Well, let’s see…” as she gently pushes me back to the 3/4 laying down position, and she proceeds to point out all number of things that should explain the situation to me – two umbilical cords, two placentas, two amniotic sacks, and then there, clear as day – four arms, four legs, and two heads.
Shock turns my body cold. Fear grips my mind. The thoughts start spinning like a Tilt-A-Whirl. We only wanted to give our daughter a sibling. A sibling. NOT TWO! I never wanted three kids! Three is an odd number. We’ll never fit at a table for four. There will always be one left out. I grew up with two sisters and teams were never even. FIVE? My family will be FIVE? “Party of Five” was a terrible show! Okay so I watched it but I was a teenager and the parents died in the show. Our house only has 3 bedrooms! Our house is TOO SMALL FOR TWINS! Twins. OMG I’M GOING TO HAVE TO FEED TWO SCREAMING BABIES AT THE SAME TIME! I could barely handle ONE baby last time – I thought I could handle it this time – I knew what I was getting in to with ONE baby! HOW could there be TWO?
She explains how the twins are definitely fraternal, as the crazy train continues to barrel through my mind.
“Two eggs” she says.
“Two eggs.” I repeat. “So this is my fault.”
“What?” she says, her turn now. “There is no fault here. Just, two babies.”
“Yeah, I heard that part. But how? There are no twins in my family, there are no twins in his family.” I say as I gesture wildly to my eerily silent husband still behind my left shoulder.
She looks at the screen, “Let’s see, it says you are 35. Oh, probably because the older you get, the more your body will push out the viable eggs.”
“Like rats off a sinking ship?”
“Um, yeah, you could say that.”
“Great” I mutter, and lay back slowly.
Somehow I make it through the rest of the exam where they measure all the pertinent parts for the tests they do on women over 35 who have babies.
I numbly walk out, call my sister, and say, still sort of in shock, “You are NEVER gonna believe what just happened.”
Four years later, and I can still barely believe it myself.