My twins were my fourth and fifth children. I did not officially find out that I was having twins until I was 29 weeks pregnant, but I had really known since I was 10 weeks along. Because I am a midwife, I had a Doppler, and found two heart beats at 10 weeks. Of course, no one believed me. My husband didn’t believe me, and my doctor didn’t believe me.
During one prenatal visit, I commented to my doctor that I was getting big so much faster than I had before. He said, “Well, it’s your fourth baby. That’s what happens.” Humph. At my next prenatal visit, I told him that when the baby was moving, I could see movement in all four quadrants of my belly at the same time. The single baby would have had to be huge, with way two many limbs for the kind of action that I was seeing. I asked him to please listen for two heart beats. He did. He listened for roughly 20 seconds and told me that there was only one baby in there.
My husband was a surgeon, so one day while in his office waiting for him, I was messing around with his vascular Doppler and found two heart beats again–one on the right upper quadrant of my enormous belly, and one in the lower, left hand quadrant. I told my husband that I wanted an ultrasound, and I wanted it now. Thirty minutes later, I was lying on a table having an ultrasound.
The tech scanned down the right side of my belly first, and right off I noted the unmistakable oval shape of a head. When she got down to my pubic bone, she began to scan up the left side, and there was another oval. “Was that just a second head?” I asked. She nodded. I cried and called for my husband. I was going to have twins, and finally someone believed me!
I was a bit scared, of course. One of my closest friends has identical twin boys. They were born very prematurely, and now, at age three, they were like identical Tazmanian devils, constantly in motion, and generally headed in different directions. My friend was forever having to hop on her bike and go find one of them, because when she put them out in the fenced back yard, they would climb the fence and take off. The radiologist told me twice that both of my babies were boys, too. Scare, no, I was terrified.
I kept hearing comments like, “Well, when you go on bed rest…” I had no intention of going on bed rest, or having a c-section, or having any of the other complications that people kept bringing up that can come along with twins. I didn’t have to go on bed rest, and my blood pressure was fine, and they were both head down. All was going well. I was quite pleased with everything right up until the end. That’s when the ridicule began.
The Octomom hadn’t come down the turnpike yet, so my little twin pregnancy was quite a source of amusement to many. The husband of the family who lived across the street told me that he had a neighborhood betting pool going to see how long I was going to continue to be able to hoist myself up into my Suburban. I chuckled. The bigger I got, the worse it got. I was browsing in a shop owned by an acquaintance, and she cautioned another customer in the store to move a bit, saying, “If she tips over, she might crush you.” Again, I chuckled, though it wasn’t very funny anymore.
I got bigger and bigger, and by the end, I had one dress that fit. It was a vivid green, and with my increased blood volume, I was a florid red. I looked like a giant walking Christmas tree in July. People would tell me that they had spotted me coming from blocks away. This was not a compliment. I was at the county fair one day, arranging my prize winning roses in vases for judging, when an elderly gentleman walked up to me and said, “Little Missy, you best be getting yourself on home now.” He wasn’t kidding. If I hadn’t left on my own accord, I think he would have tossed me in his truck and forcibly dragged me home, or someplace less visible, anyway. The jokes hurt almost as much as the skin on by belly, which was stretched so tight it shined like a bald man’s head.
Ah, but it was all worth it! The mocking, the stares, and the rude jokes were all worth it, as were the nosy questions, unwanted advise, and predictions of some form of doom. Every moment was worth when my twins were born. Twin A was born without a penis, so we named her Rachael after a day of thinking. We had chosen two boys names. Twin B did have his penis when he was born, so we named him Jacob. They were born fat and healthy and ready to go home. They were not from Tazmania. It could not have turned out better if I had planned it, and I’d do it again, too. In the era of the Octomom, nobody would probably notice.