After our first son was born we were content to watch him grow. He was about three and a half before we started trying for our next child.
(I posted part one of the growing of my family yesterday, and you’re welcome to visit that post before reading this one, but again…that post as well as this one are text heavy and deal with “women’s issues”…some of you fellas might want to pass this series up. So with your own discretion in dealing with the logistics of reproduction…here we go.)
Up until then, my crazy notion of the children we would have was…I already said it…crazy. Of course there was that 50/50 shot the first baby would be a boy so nothing had been proven. Having two sets of boy/girl twins following that still seemed…unlikely .
It was a very long road. We had NO luck conceiving. You would think such a thing would band a couple together. It’s an amazingly complex roller coaster, though.
There were times that being together felt monotonous. There were times we built walls out of self-defense. And rightly so, because as often as we blamed ourselves we blamed each other.
I got to the point that I just didn’t want to try anymore. I don’t mean I wanted to carry on with an intimate relationship without worrying about conceiving (although that time did come). I mean that the act left me shattered. Inadequate. If we weren’t doing anything to become pregnant then there was no chance we could be. That was easier than it just not happening.
But there were tides. As often as those waves came that drug us apart in the current, they would rush back in and we found comfort with each other. I would get a bit emotional, and I remember very clearly one night my husband responded with such understanding. He told me that it was going to be o.k. We had a perfect child already, and this time it was just going to take awhile. This time we had to make two perfect babies.
It was our truth. My truth before I ever knew him. I didn’t know exactly where it came from, but I couldn’t believe that he actually went along with it. He held on to this abstract, irrational idea because he knew I believed it.
After a year of trying I went for my regular yearly check-up and had conversation with my doctor, who happens to be the go-to dude for infertility treatment. Maybe we would need to look into treatment. I scheduled the appointment for three months later. Just a bit more time to try, but at least now there was a plan.
A few weeks before the appointment I canceled. I rescheduled for a month later. I wasn’t sure I’d go then, either. I did not want to be told that something was wrong. I was scared.
It came time for the next appointment and once again, I cancelled. This time it was a conversation with my husband. We decided if we didn’t have any more children it would be fine. I would go back to work full time when our son started kindergarten that fall.
I need to tell you that all this time my cycle had been down to the second. I ovulated like clockwork, showed my cycle to the day, first thing in the morning. Then the day came the very next month after we decided to stop “trying” that I should have shown my cycle. But I didn’t.
I knew we had said that it didn’t matter, but you can say you don’t care all day long, that does not stop you from caring! I was a wreck all day. I was at work and I remember pacing back and forth all morning with excitement. I couldn’t wait to get that test and get home!
Then, the last break of the day, there it was. I lowered my head and cried. I remember looking around me at the bathroom and I don’t know how to describe it or why it matters, but it’s literally a closet of a room. Just tiny. I felt trapped. Like physically, emotionally, in every way that exists I was going to be in this tiny place forever. The longer I was in there the smaller it was getting. Just closing in and killing me.
Then I prayed. I hadn’t prayed since I was a child. In the most unlikely of places I talked to God. I poured out my heart. I told him to do as he wanted with me but please help me conceive. I couldn’t make myself not want it. I couldn’t accomplish it on my own.
The next month when my cycle was late I just figured it was my new norm. But then it still didn’t come. I tested and finally after a year and a half of trying, there was my plus sign. We decided not to tell my son, anyone for that matter, until I was a bit further along.
But…We had a baby bunny that’s mother had gotten killed when my husband was bush hogging. There were several to start, but this was the only one that made it. We had bottle fed and tended it for weeks and that same day we found out we were expecting, before my son got home, that bunny died. Standing there at the grave with my sobbing son it just slipped out. “You’re going to be a big brother.” It worked at least.
We walked back to the house and he asked a million questions (he was a few months shy of five) and then my husband asked him, “Do you want a brother or a sister?” My son thought for a second, then as serious as could be he answered, “both.”
I started the pregnancy exactly as I had the first. As fast as I found out I was pregnant, even the weeks leading up to that moment, I looked like I was pregnant. My gut filled right out and firmed up. My husband and I joked that it was twins. He actually bet me two baby beds that it was twins (a silly thing since he was going to have to buy two baby beds, anyway, in that event.)
It felt like a dangerous game. Could it actually be possible that I was right about that? Even if it was, could I be excited before the second trimester when I had lost my oldest’s twin? I didn’t want to be disappointed in case it wasn’t so I just played like maybe…we’ll see. But in my heart I knew my truth.
The crap of it all looking back now…I didn’t know God when I received that truth. I didn’t know God when I begged him to intervene. And at that point it was like the old saying, “there’s no athiest in a fox hole”. Now that I was out of that hole, I wasn’t acknowledging God at all. It would be years before I did.
The ultra-sound was amazing. The doctor I had switched to during my first pregnancy did an eight week scan. The tech was casually spreading the glob with the wand, but she wasn’t really saying anything. Finally she spoke up. I’m not sure what she said exactly, but it was something along the lines of, “Did you take (I don’t remember what she said, but I’m assuming now she said Clomid).”
“I don’t know what that is so, no. I guess?” I responded. Was it deformed? What was she seeing? Finally I asked, “Why? What is it?” My heart nearly stopped when she answered, “I can only see two babies for sure, but there are four sacs. We’ll have to wait until they’re a bit bigger to know how many for sure.”
Two? Four? What is happening? My husband and I already knew. There were two. Can you imagine if we’d went ahead with fertility treatments?
So when the tech moved to a different viewing method (ladies you probably understand how that can be obtained), my son and my husband headed to the car. But I had the keys. I wish I could have been in two places at once. My husband said they were both leaning back on the car and my son, arms folded, leg crossed over like a cowboy very casually, with his overly country (for no reason) accent said, “so there’s only two, huh?” My cat had kittens a few weeks before that, and she never has had a large litter. My mother-in-law had commented, “There’s only three?” I don’t know how many he thought I might have, but considering I’m not a cat with eight teets…two was plenty!
I never saw anything of the two that were lost. I never really felt like they were lost. More like they were never really there to begin with. I did worry until we crossed into the second trimester. It was the same sort of fear I had felt the first time. The peace was bigger than the fear. My soul knew it was fine. My head and emotions weren’t so easy to convince.
We had two healthy babies. A boy and a girl. We didn’t have a long hospital stay. Everything went well. Full term, not huge but healthy.
Seeing them grow together has been wonderful. We never did buy two beds. We figured out pretty quickly (like the first night home) that they only slept well together. They are five now, and that’s still the case!
It wasn’t until they were toddlers that I really ever felt sad about that first miscarriage. It sounds harsh, but not even so much about losing a baby. It’s more that I wish my oldest could’ve had that other half to himself the way the twins seem to fit with each other.
The reason I decided to write this tonight is kinda silly, but I’ll tell you anyway. I think I cried over that baby for the first time last night. Like I had tucked it away. Avoided the pain of it by just never acknowledging it as the death of a child. After all, from my point of view it never was. I had the baby I expected. It’s not been more than a fleeting thought of what might have been…not real pain. It was just an experience concerning doctors who only believe in blood work and medicine and discount intuition. Writing that first post (+ the hormones of this current pregnancy) felt like ripping off a band-aid. It might have left me a bit more emotional than I need to be, but here I am tonight, looking back and forward to the difference between twins and a single baby.
Tonight is the last night of winter break and we all bedded down on the couches and turned on a movie. The boys, as usual, fell asleep quickly but my daughter, as usual, did everything in her power to keep from it. She moved seats forty time. Made a pallet, remade a pallet. Sixty eight other things until she finally settled in on the couch between her “little” brother (by 6 minutes) and me. A bit later I heard her chuckling, “Look Mom. When I hold his hand he holds mine.” She released his hand and made sure I was watching. Sure enough, she would put her hand in his and he would squeeze. It reminded me so much of when they were babies and their big brother would get so tickled that they held on to his finger. She played awhile, releasing and he would release. Holding and he would hold until finally he didn’t let go. She smiled up at me again quickly and then looking back at him with the sweetest touch of resignation she said, “I guess I’ll have to hold his hand forever.”