And Babies Make 9 and 10...
Five years ago, there was no one on this earth who could have convinced me that I would have 8 children and be living the life I have only dreamed with the man of my dreams. When my handsome and I met, we were amazed at how similar our lives were. We were both going through emotionally draining divorces, had experienced the same turmoil in our previous marriages and both had 4 children - both of our two eldest were singleton boys and both of our two youngest were fraternal twins (his g/g, mine b/g).
We have persevered through much heartache together in trying to do the best for our children. Even kept our relationship "secret" for the first year and a half from them to allow them their time of grieving of the previous marriage breakdowns and to ensure that we were solid before introducing them to "us". This was primarily because over the first couple of years we had to sit back and watch (and deal with) their confusion and upsets with multiple partners that were being introduced by our exes.
4 years later, and almost just as much time spent discussing whether or not to have one of our own, handsome and I finally decided to go for it. Given my age (almost 38), a huge concern for me has always been the complications that are associated with being an older mom and I was also prepared for the likelihood of it taking up to, or better than a year for us to conceive. I couldn't have been more wrong! The first month after quitting birth control the test came back positive - we were on cloud nine.
I was extremely tired, felt very "bruised" and achy and was suffering mild nausea. It was difficult to compare to my previous twins as I had never experienced morning sickness in any of my pregnancies and the tired could have been attributed to almost anything going on in our everyday lives. The aching was a concern for me as over the years I had been through 2 previous miscarriages so our doctor appointment was set at 7 weeks.
To my surprise, our doctor wanted to set us up for an ultrasound within the next day or two but not to confirm twins (as I had requested given our history) but to confirm the pregnancy even existed. She felt that because the pregnancy happened so quickly after ending birth control that it was much more likely that it was a blighted ovum. I was admittedly taken back. Due to a shortest of ultrasound techs in our area though (and because this wasn't considered an emergency)it would be 10 days before we would be able to confirm. Blood tests did however come back the next day showing normal hcg levels for a singleton, and our doctor then informed us that with the levels we had it ruled out the possibility of a blighted ovum as she originally thought...we were very relieved.
Four days later handsome ended up having to take me into emergency due to heavy bleeding (but no cramping). Our minds were everywhere. I was falling apart and inconsolable thinking that we were having a miscarriage and that amazing man did everything he could think possible to make things ok...I can giggle about it now...we were seen by a wonderful doctor and rather than going through the typical internal (which I despise with a passion)he wheeled an old ultrasound machine that he admitted he didn't really know how to use but he knew enough to be able see if we had indeed miscarried or if instead we could possibly find a heartbeat. It took a few minutes, but we were able to see some flutters and I couldn't stop crying again but this time out of relief. A diagnostic ultrasound was scheduled for the next morning.
At this point, we still hadn't told any of the children, or anyone else for that matter, that we were expecting. As karma would have it though, the day we went to emergency one of his twins (the only one out of all 8 who can't keep a secret)was home from school for a couple of days and was pulled into the middle of everything. The poor thing woke up one morning to a "typical day", only to be whisked off with us to a hospital and be told that she may or may not be having younger sibling...she was a trooper who also had to give up her cell phone to ensure that she didn't start spreading some news.
Our diagnostic ultrasound began, I was unable to see the screen but was told we had a heartbeat of about 167. By this time the bleeding had subsided substantially and I had pretty much calmed down. He spent about 15 minutes taking measurements and didn't say much of anything the entire time. At the end, he explained that he just needed to step out to confirm a few things and would return in a moment. Handsome had been with me the entire time, he didn't say much during the exam but had a little grin which I took to mean that he could see that things were okay. The tech returned, moved the screen around so I could finally see something, placed the wand on my belly and "see the heartbeat?", I said I could, he took another couple measurements, said that he was unable to find where a bleed may have been located but because it had virtually stopped it wasn't a concern. I asked if he had an idea what may have caused it, and he shifted the wand a little and said that it could have quite likely occurred from something as simple as the placenta's shifting, which sometimes happens with twins....the only words I had were "you're sh**g me". The tech laughed and said no, there are two of them there. I didn't know if I should laugh or cry. I had convinced myself that because my hcg's came back "normal" (they were through the roof with my previous twins) and because I had only seen one the day before, granted on a very old machine with an inexperienced operator, that we were only having one...but both of us are beyond thrilled to be having two!
We left with our little picture, grabbed my step daughter in the waiting room and sat down with her in a coffee shop. We put the picture on the table, pointed at the most clear sac (if there is such a thing at 8 weeks) and told her that the heart rate is about 165ish. She was visibly relieved and began to let herself get excited too, then I pointed at the other less clear sac and said "but we aren't sure what the heart rate of this one is..." her eyes grew huge and immediately yelled "it's twins?!". She is very excited and has all kinds of input on names, clothes and decorations. I think she had things all figured out within the first two days.
Her reaction has been very encouraging for us however, at 11 weeks now (and further ultrasounds to monitor things of which the mysterious heart rate seems to be at about 180)we still haven't revealed the new twins to the remaining children. This has not been easy as my waist has expanded by 10 inches so far. We are very worried about how two of them are going to react, that they are going to feel replaced or that they will retreat back into their shells that we have been trying so hard to get them out of. These two are still very emotionally fragile and unfortunately do not reside with us. I think that we have finally decided that we will be sitting down with each of them individually, so they feel free to speak their mind without others judging them, and do our best to make sure they understand that these two are an addition to the family and not replacements. I would welcome any help/advice anyone else had to share on this!
Handsome and I are so excited for these two to be coming. We have always jokingly wished for a time machine that would take us back so we could do things right together from the beginning. Yet, at the same time, neither one of us would likely take that opportunity as it would likely mean that we wouldn't have the children we have now and neither one of us would give them up for anything. These two are our opportunity for us to completely be what we were always meant to be.