To understand this story, I need you to take a second to put yourself in my shoes. Imagine you are 38 years-old and your wife is 36. Together, you have 5 kids. The oldest is 10 and the rest are 4 and under. You’re a stay at home parent and your spouse travels for work. The travel is a bit of a sacrifice at times, but you’ve grown to learn how to make quality time happen. You’re not rich by any means, but you can take pretty good care of your growing family. Life is going great and you have decided you really want to have just ONE more baby.
Fall of 2016, my wife decided that she wanted to experience pregnancy at least one more time. I was game. I love kids, and our daughter had always wanted a little sister to go with her 4 stinky brothers. We’re not too bad at the parenting gig, we are still young and healthy, and we couldn’t think of a reason not to go for it. We decided our September trip to Rome for the canonization of Mother Teresa was the perfect time to start trying. Wouldn’t you know it, we conceived.
Joy, hugs, emotions, and big high-fives!!! Time to go to the doctor to make it official.
This is where the story gets fun.
Abby’s dad is a twin. My adoptive dad is a twin. But for some reason, it never ever entered into our minds that we could possibly make twins.
It started off as a normal day with a normal ol’ visit to the OBGYN. We walk into the office and Abby checked in. Our oldest daughter, Grace was in school that day, so she wasn’t with us. We took our oldest son, Alex(4) to the appointment and left our other three boys with a sitter. We figured it would be fun for Alex to be part of the experience and we planned to take a picture of him holding the ultrasound and text it to our parents. Our parents didn’t know we were pregnant yet, so that’s how we wanted to break the news.
We settled into the ultrasound room and the tech/(RDMS) walked in. She introduced herself and proceeded to squirt that light blue gooey stuff all over Abby’s stomach. Our conversation was the normal chit chat and all smiles as she prepared to put the probe on Abby’s belly. We were both looking up at the screen with anticipation to see our new baby. As soon as the picture came on the screen, Abby made a horrified gasping sound. The tech immediately removed the probe.
Tech: “Did you see that?”
Abby: “I’m not sure.” I could sense a little trepidation in her voice.
Me: “See what?” …they ignored me.
Tech: “Are you ready to see it again?” It was a trick question.
Abby: “I don’t think so.”
Me: “See what!? What is it?” …still ignoring me.
Tech: “Let’s just take a look”
Me: “Is something wrong?” Am I talking to a wall? Bueller? Bueller?
Tech: “There’s one, and there’s two.”
Abby: “Oh my gosh.” Now she is speaking in a low whisper with her hands over her mouth. The tears are starting to well up.
Me: “Two what?” I really am an idiot when it comes to ultrasounds.
Tech: “It’s twins!!”
I could tell Abby was nervous and scared. I started rubbing her arm and back. Abby could not see my face, because I was positioned just slightly behind her. The instant we heard the word TWINS, Abby started crying. I started grinning like an idiot. “What?!?! I can’t believe it. How cool is this?!?!”-were the thoughts in my head that I didn’t dare to say out loud.
Abby: “But I only wanted one. I don’t do two at a time. Just the one, please.” Pretty sure Abby was in shock at this point.
Tech: “Well, it’s two this time. I can’t take the other one back.” She was smiling, probably because I was smiling.
Abby: “How am I supposed to do this? I can’t do this? It’s too much!!”
Now, before I tell you the ridiculously stupid thing I said next, just know I had the best intentions. I was going for laughter and distraction. Abby was caught up in the shock of having twins.
Me: “Why are you so upset. After they’re born and you start traveling again, I’m the one that has to stay home with them and all the other kids.” WRONG THING TO SAY!!!!
This is the first time Abby turns to look at me.
Abby: ” Right!! Now I’m the crappy wife that is leaving you at home with newborn twins and their crazy brothers. That’s not fair. I can’t do that to you.”
Me: “I was just kidding, Babe. We can find help. Our parents and friends are awesome. Everything is going to be fine. We ‘make it work’, remember.” Now I am hugging her, still grinning like an idiot.
At this point, the technician steps out to alert the doctor of the news.
I don’t remember how long it took for the doctor to arrive. It wasn’t long enough for Abby to get over the shock. He walks in, tilts his head to the side, and says, “Twins, huh? Wow. Well, let’s take a look.”
This is the point when Abby has a full break down. She had been teary eyed before, but now she is sobbing.
Abby: “I can’t do this. I don’t want to have twins.”
The doctor, who we consider a friend, stops what he’s doing. He takes Abby’s hand. “Hey, this is happening. We can’t change this, and you’re going to do great. You guys are awesome.”
Apparently, that was all Abby needed to hear to at least calm her down. The doctor put the probe back on Abby’s belly and counted the babies. “Yup. We have twins. That’s awesome. Congrats guys!!”
After confirming that there were two babies in two separate yolk sacks, the doctor started to tell us how he generally handles twins. He explained that a C-section is rarely required and he usually delivers them a bit early. He listened to all of our questions and patiently answered them one by one. I think discussing the delivery actually made Abby feel better. She was still nervous and taking a lot of deep breaths, but the crying had ceased. Me? I was still giddy.
Once we had an idea of what to expect, we got ready to leave. The RDMS printed out the pictures of our babies as Abby cleaned the goo off her belly. The funny part is that Alex, our son, had been playing games on Abby’s phone the whole time and was completely oblivious to all the drama.
Something to know about our OBGYN’s practice is that it is part of a Catholic ministry. He shares his office space with a pregnancy center. Because Abby is a huge part of the pro-life movement, she knows everyone who works in that office. We bumped into a couple of the gals from the pregnancy center in the hallway who stopped to congratulate us on the new baby. That’s when Abby informed them that it was actually babies and started crying again. Those women were so sweet. They hugged Abby and told her all the right things. Thank goodness they knew what to say, because I was failing in that department. Either way, Abby needed all the love and support she could get.
When we were walking out the door we saw a couple in the lobby with a couple kids. The wife was obviously pregnant and her husband was reading a book to their son. As I was walking by, I stopped and said, “Hey man. My wife is having twins. I need a high-five.” He laughed and stuck out his hand. We high-fived as everyone else chuckled. Even Abby seemed to be over her shock as she laughed at her goofy husband hi-fiving a stranger.
When we got to the truck, I asked Abby if she was okay. She said, “Yes. This is going to be hard, but we’re going to be fine. This feels pretty special. Now let’s make a video of Alex telling our parents about the twins.”