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Seeing Double

first ultrasound pic with m and gOn Thursday, July 30th, 2015, Robb and I found out some incredible (and truly life-altering) news: we are pregnant with TWINS.

Let that sink in for a minute.

TWINS. As in, TWO. TWO BABIES. In my tummy. Who will, God-willing, exit my tummy in 9 months and join big sister, Harper, to complete our (what will be) crazy family.

Let’s go back in time a little here. When I was a wee little girl, probably not much older than Harper (who will be 3 in October), I prayed and prayed that one day I would be the lucky mother to twins. They would be two girls, of course, and their names would be Ashleigh (NOT Ashley – AshLEIGH), and Alyssa. Just ask my mom. She can verify this information is true. Of course I had no idea then what carrying, birthing and raising babies entailed. I just knew how fun it was to play Momma to my always sweet, never crying, and certainly never wet or soiled baby dolls. Twins would be incredible. They would have each other as built-in playmates, and I’d get to play right alongside of them. Talk about heaven!

Fast forward some 30 years later, to when I gave birth to my sweet angel, Harper. As much as I have always loved my little girl, those newborn days were not the easiest (to put it mildly). She was nothing like the baby dolls I carried with me everywhere, who were always good-natured, quiet, and need-free. I learned it quickly: being a parent, while THE most rewarding and amazing thing I’ve ever done, is HARD. And I realized then that I was grateful twins didn’t run in either Robb’s and my families. Because, as I explained in this HuffPo article I wrote a while back, I am a one-at-a-time mother. I can only handle things–babies!–one at a time.

Until now.

I knew there was a chance I could be pregnant with twins. I had to take a fertility enhancing medication this time around to become pregnant, because, although it was a cinch with Harper, it was not so easy to conceive this time around. For whatever reason, after many, many months and one miscarriage, I conceded to taking Clomid to improve our chances of finally becoming pregnant with our second baby. After our first positive pregnancy test, I even told Robb I had a deep gut feeling it was twins. And as we learned our HCG levels that week–and were told how good (and high!) they were–this hunch became even stronger. I was certain I was carrying twins.

And then I went through all the feelings (so many feelings..) and fears that accompany the idea of having twins: how would we ever manage twins and a toddler? I struggled through the first year of Harper’s life, how would I ever survive the postpartum period with twins? Would carrying twins (in and out of my belly) wreck my body? Would Robb and I ever have a moment to be together, just us, again? What would happen to the private practice I just started? And so on, and so on…until Robb told me to just relax, because nothing had been confirmed yet. We just needed to wait for the ultrasound.

And so we did. And there, on that fateful morning in my OB’s office, the ultrasound tech pulled up the picture you see above, and said, “Oh look! Here’s one….and here’s the other!”

The other?!? We immediately went into shock! I am not sure either of us breathed for the duration of the appointment. But here’s what did happen: we learned the twins were measuring about 5 weeks 6 days. They both had healthy heartbeats (98 and 103, and at six weeks, heartbeats should be about 100). They are both in their own individual sacs, which, as far as twins go is a really good thing because they are not pulling nutrients and space from each other (thank goodness the fights over this won’t start in the womb!). And our due date is approximately March 26. We were told to bear in mind, however, that this could change, and twins tend to be born early. So essentially I’ll be on call from February on!

After our appointment, we couldn’t very well go back to work. Robb and I went for lunch, where I made him order a drink (he chose a tequila shot!) because a) he needed it, and b) I couldn’t have one. I cried. We laughed. We sat in shock. We forgot to breathe more than once. We talked about how hard it was going to be. We talked about how amazing it will one day be. And though I have had several freak-out, panic moments where I’ve thought “I can’t do this! I need to give one away!”, I am growing more and more excited every single day at the prospect of this amazing family we are growing. Robb said it best (thank goodness for husbands who are the calm voice of reason): Harper is incredible. She’s an amazing and fun little girl who we love so much and have so much fun with. Imagine that times three. And he’s right. The first few years will be a challenging blur. But the end result will be incredible. A beautiful family, with lots of joy and laughter (and tears and battles too, of course).

I never anticipated 3 kids. EVER. I like things orderly, neat and organized. I can be rigid and never start any day without a plan, or agenda. I remember once, in my mid-twenties, my dad saying to me, “Marissa, you need to learn to loosen up or you’re going to miss out on life. Your emotional strings are so tight, that when you strum them they make this ugly ‘ping’ sound. Loosen the strings, and when you strum, you’ll make beautiful music”. Of course at the time I was mad and defensive. But as the years have passed I have come to realize just how right he was. And now, in his (and the Universe’s) one final ploy to get me to loosen those strings and go with the flow, they’ve given me something I certainly didn’t plan for and have no agenda for how to handle: TWINS. Go figure. Thanks, Dad. I get it already, stop sending me lessons!

And so, this is the stuff of life. I will have to learn to loosen up. I will have to learn to let the little (and some of the big) stuff go. I will have to be a different type of parent to these kiddos than I was to Harper. And I will be OK. Harper will be OK. Robb will be OK. We will all be…OK.

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