Currently, there are 3 people in the world who know the genders of our babies and Chad and I are not among them! Today we had our 19 week ultrasound with Maternal Fetal Medicine and got to see our babies after a long 6 weeks. We were completely spoiled by our experience at Reach in which we got to see them every two weeks. Guys, they are the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Yes, they bear a strong resemblance to ET and Voldemort but they are mine and I cannot see them on a screen without just weeping. I see them and the nausea fades a bit and the pain gets a little less intense and I do glimpse that it is all so very worth it. So there’s that! Our families and closest friends will gather via FaceTime and in person to find out the genders of these long-anticipated and much wanted babes. We will of course post the results!!
Because I have more hormones than anyone ever in existence, I am reflecting back on what our journey has been to get here. To finally know what these beautiful babes are and give them names of significance and identity. So many people have asked me what it was like to hear that we were having twins and I’m afraid my answer has been pretty lame. The only word that has ever come to mind was SHOCK. I had written at length about how we were warned that multiples were a strong possibility but I still don’t think anything prepares you for that. Honestly, I was just relieved to have the pregnancy 100% confirmed by a doctor after so many negatives so I couldn’t even emotionally prepare for a second baby. Our nurse told us that the doctor would take a minute to study the ultrasound screen first and then let us look. I promise you, for this anxious woman, the pregnant pause of her looking at the screen with a great poker face was without a doubt, the longest 90 seconds of my life. The Sound of Music was shorter! Eventually, Dr. Johnson turns the screen around and I see this microscopic 6 week old baby sitting in my belly. Cue the gulping sobs. All she says is here is your baby. And then she moves the wand a bit and says “and over here is Baby B”. If I was sobbing before, I think I began to blubber in a completely incoherent language that could only be understood by dogs. And wouldn’t it have been great had the story just faded to black there? But that’s not how it goes and that wasn’t how it went for the Beach babies.
Any woman or family trying to conceive knows the agony of the two week wait. There have been many, many two week waits in my life. My graduate school had a comprehensive test at the end of the program that you had to pass in order to graduate and the results took two weeks to get. That was a long two weeks. Working the two weeks notice at a job where I was completely burned out seemed to last two months. And then infertility introduced months and months of waiting the dreaded two week wait to take a pregnancy test. However, I can confidently say that the longest two weeks of my life, two of the hardest weeks of my life was after our 6 week ultrasound. Baby A was on full display, heart beating away and sitting front and center. Baby B was our little Waldo. He was hard for the doctor to get with the ultrasound wand and when she looked in depth, his (Reach always calls babies a boy until we know differently) heartbeat seemed to be much slower and much less pronounced. He looked to be measuring the same as Baby A but with his hard position in my uterus, Dr. Johnson felt that this was a pregnancy we were going to have to “monitor closely”. I had heard from several people about the concept of a “vanishing twin” and I found myself so elated and so terrified at the same time. Once I saw that tiny little “grain of rice” as Reach called him, I wanted him with everything in me. I didn’t want this life to vanish. I would absolutely feel his absence in my life even though I had just found out about his existence. Our doctors final diagnosis was that Baby A was great, she felt excellent about him but she was “cautiously optimistic” about Baby B and he had a decidedly lower heart rate.
So often in life, we get wonderful, joyous news and then hardship in the same breath. I find and marry the man I have prayed for my whole life and his father’s cancer finally takes him home to the Lord. We close on our first house and I receive news that affects my career in some of the most painful ways. And I find out that God has doubly blessed us with two babies and I am launched into a spiral of fear for my sweet little “BOGO” baby. I have never prayed so hard. For one of the first times in my life, I forced myself to fight my natural pessimism and just cling to that cautious optimism and trust that God was in control and my baby would be fine. Both my babies were fine and growing in my womb. God was still knitting them together and I had to rest in trust. Can all my anxious girls raise their hands if they’ve felt this and it sounds like climbing Everest with no training or oxygen.
Chad bought us chalkboard letters in the shape of A and B and I would write my prayers on their letters. “Beat strong” and “Grow” and “I love you” were written and re-written. I looked at them everyday. I encouraged A to help their sibling and teach their heart how to beat stronger. And at our 8 week ultrasound, with very little pomp and circumstance, Dr. Johnson turned the screen around and both my babies were growing and strong. God had done it again! My little baby B became my little baby that could. Despite not great odds, his/her little heart was racing and mine was soaring. Like true twins, both A and B had the exact same heart rate of 167.66 at that ultrasound. Today, at our 19 week ultrasound, Baby B was actually measuring bigger than A. It might not be a sea parting or water turning to wine but for me, this is a miracle.
Our babies have continued to grow and show us awesome glimpses of their God-given personalities. A has always been a rascal to get a good photo of, he/she bounces in the womb, does somersaults, waves at us, and spent most of the ultrasound today on his head. The tech called him a shrimp! B is always laying on their back, calm and resting. We get the best profile shots of baby B and at 10 weeks, he/she shook their booty at us and we fell further in love. Even at 19 weeks, and despite still being in the midst of a hard pregnancy, I am enamored and completely smitten with both my babies. Equally. And yet I feel certain that there will be many days in my life when I will look at Baby B and think of how far we have come and how much God wanted him/her to be in our family. I know that just as they do now, my eyes will fill with tears and I will thank God for that little baby with a decidedly slower heart rate who changed my life forever.