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A Twin Story

(Enjoy "A Twin Story" from one of our Kidnnected readers…)

         My husband and I are both from families with lots of children (nine and six, respectively), and we intended and expected to have a large family ourselves.  Still, the possibility of having twins never seriously entered my mind, in spite of the jokes my husband and I had been making about how big this baby was and how active.  His family has a set of fraternal twins somewhere back in the great-great-greats, but there has never been a set in my family at all.  So it was with a huge shock that, at five months into my third pregnancy, I heard the sonographer say, “Um. . . is this your first sonogram?”  To which I replied, “Yes.  Is that two heads I see?”  

Her response: “Yes.  You're having twins.  Girls, by the looks of it.”  

On paper, it sounds so simple. . . in reality, I grasped my 4 year old son's hand for comfort and reassurance (kicking myself for having told my husband that, “I've done this before.  I'll be okay by myself.”)  I burst into tears and laughter at the same time.  The mixture of joy and fear warred with each other in my somewhat hysterical mind.  Girls!  Two of them!  Whoa, boy!  How had I not known?  In hindsight, it seems so obvious.  I had gotten big so much faster than with either of my sons, and the morning sickness and exhaustion had been worse than ever.  I had assumed I must be having a girl.  Man, was I ever!


I have to admit that although I immediately loved both my babies, my mind was beset with qualms and fears.  I feared for their safety and health.  I feared for mine.  I worried that I wouldn't be able to nurse them both or keep up with my housework and my two older very active children.  I worried that I'd have another super long labor or that I'd have to have a cesarean.  I feared that I wouldn't get enough protein or water or folic acid.  I was concerned that the babies would get tangled up with each other.  I was unsure whether I was exercising too much and then not enough.  Are you seeing a pattern here?  Yes, I am a worrier.  I worry even more when I'm pregnant, and being pregnant with twins definitely magnified that tendency.  I like to be informed, so I read all kinds of books on multiples pregnancies and rather than discouraging my anxieties, they encouraged it.  


Pregnancy is hard on the body as well as the mind.  Twin pregnancy is even harder. Two babies take up a lot of space, and there is no room for things like bladders and ribs and food.  I was required to eat 130 grams of protein a day.  This is very difficult to do when the stomach is squished to the size and shape of a pancake.  By the time I was six months along I had already reach the size I'd been at full term with my sons.  I was enormous by the end, and because I was the size of a small house, I had to limit my wardrobe to two items.  A very stretchy skirt and t-shirt.  Even my “pregnancy shoes” which are a size too big normally and most of my maternity clothes, were far too small.  I had to visit the chiropractor weekly to keep my overextended back out of paralyzing pain.  A woman full term (and by that I mean anywhere in the last two months of pregnancy) is not a pretty sight.  Although my darling husband, assures me that I did amazingly well.


Despite a fairly smooth twin pregnancy, some of my fears were actually realized.  We had a couple of legitimate scares that ended up with visits to a neonatal specialist on one occasion and a day at the hospital for observation that ended in bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy.  Thank heaven for my sister-in-law and husband who jumped in and lent hands as needed.  When the day of delivery finally came, we were confronted with yet another issue.  Baby A and Baby B (we waited until we met them to give them names) were vying for the exit.  Literally.  One baby was trying to get her little behind out, while the other was blocking the door with her foot.  This was not a good situation, and our OB put it quite succinctly.  “It has to be a c-section, and it has to be now!”  Now, this was one of my very greatest fears.  For some unknown reason I have always been afraid of dying during a cesarean, and I had stressed over the likely possibility of needing one.  However, when the doctor made this statement, instead of freaking out I reminded myself that surgery was the only safe way for my babies to be born, accepted it, and at once was overcome with a great sense of peace.  Our little daughters were born within a minute of each other, and we got to officially meet them a little while later.  


I have always believed that I get a pretty good idea of my children’s' personalities  before they are even born, and this time was no different.  It was funny to meet “the feisty one” and “the laid back one”.  I have always thought of them as two decidedly different people – before they were born and even before we knew they were identical.  And even though they were once one egg, they have always had very distinct traits.  They have reached milestones at different rates.  One tends to achieve motor milestones quicker than her sister, while the other tends to reach physical (as in weight, teeth, etc.) and mental milestones first.  Although they really like to be together and are excited to be reunited when apart, they do not seem to suffer from separation anxiety as some twins do.  I think this is partly their personalities, but also partly due to our treatment of them as individuals rather than a single entity (as some people seem to treat twins.  It has only been recently that I even refer to them as “the twins.”


I certainly cannot say that having twins has been easy.  It has been (particularly in the first few months) difficult, exhausting, and sometimes overwhelming.  But our girls have brought so much joy and humor and excitement to our lives.  They have given me a new perspective on the world and life.  Even though I am busier than ever, their advent has helped me learn to take one day at a time, to relax and enjoy my children more, and to realize that I cannot do it all and be okay with that.  In the last two years they have tested my patience, my resolve, my limits of exhaustion, and my eardrums; but they have also reminded me that the human heart has an enormous capacity for love, that little girl giggles and kisses are sweeter than honey (and sometimes stickier), and that my life would be decidedly empty without them.  Times two!


-Courtney Croy