THE NEW MIRACLE
These past few months have been such a wild ride. Chris and I are having twins?! TWINS?! We are completely blown away… and entirely overjoyed. The fact that we have two babies growing and getting ready to join our family soon is nothing short of a miracle. A Joe miracle.
I found out I was expecting on April 2, 2017, the day before Opening Day. Chris and I held on to this information for a little while and then slowly began sharing with our families. I was feeling steady morning sickness within a week of finding out, which I had hoped and prayed and willed not to happen. As the nausea grew more and more intense, I reluctantly surrendered to the inevitability that I would just be ridiculously sick every time I was pregnant. I was also feeling bittersweet about carrying a new baby. We knew we were ready to start trying, but there was no avoiding the feeling of longing for Joe in addition to the anticipation of a brand new life. I decided from the first day that I would stay grateful for each and every day that this new baby was with me, and have tried to stay in that space ever since. It hasn't always been easy. The next baby after Joe… it was like everything that happened and everything I felt was a one-to-one comparison of this one to that one. With this pregnancy I felt everything sooner, I was intensely sick again, I was exhausted all the time, and more than anything I was anxious about whether this baby was healthy. It was a torture I couldn't escape. Gratitude was really the only thing that kept me calm and smiling.
My first appointment with my glorious OB, Dr. Patridge, had to wait until I was about 12 weeks along. Her office is located in Georgetown, OH, an hour away, so making it there during office hours while I was still working was not possible. I saw her as soon as school was out and could not wait to hear the baby's heartbeat and have our first ultrasound images of him or her. Dr. P and I have such an amazing relationship; we trust each other. I am so excited for her to deliver Joe’s siblings because I know that she will take the utmost care of all of us. She is invested beyond what is typical and that is not something you can just create out of thin air. I truly cherish her for her care, love, and wisdom.
Before I continue with the story of how we found out about our twins, I have to pause and say that the entire time I have been pregnant, there have been insinuations about me having twins. My friends have joked, “Maybe it’s two heads in there!” And there are kids in my class who were convinced that I was having twins from the moment they found out I was pregnant. It has been a hypothetical thought on our hypothetical radar for quite some time! Even in this first doctor’s appointment, Patridge made a joke that there “could be two in there!” Despite feeling more pregnant this time around (which I figured was normal for a second pregnancy), never did we realistically consider that we produced twins out of nowhere. So for eight weeks, as we would tell people we were pregnant, there would be this dual reaction, like, “Congratulations, you’re having a baby! It could be two!! It’s probably one... but wait, what if it's two?!” It was really bizarre.
Once in the doctor’s office, right away Dr. P found a quick little heartbeat. Chris and I were totally shocked that she simply placed the doppler on my stomach and without even moving it there was a baby’s heartbeat! She listened and let us get a recording of it. Before we transitioned to a different room in the office to do an ultrasound, Chris confirmed that we had in fact only heard ONE heartbeat, to which the doctor replied that she could “make it look like there were two” in the other room. We really still had no reason to suspect there were actual twins in there and I was admittedly feeling confident it was only one after we heard the heartbeat. I laid back on the table for the ultrasound and glued my eyes to the screen. As soon as she placed the transducer on my stomach, I saw what looked like two plant cells - two separate compartments with a clear wall around them, each with a round object in the middle. “There are two!!” I said, pointing at the screen, completely stunned. Dr. P lifted the wand off my body and gasped, “There are two!!” Chris was not in a position to see the screen very well, and really didn't understand what he was looking at anyway, so his first word was,”What?” followed by, “Show me what I'm looking at?!” We both stared at the screen while Patridge slowly scanned over each of our TWO babies. My processing of this new reality felt completely fake, like it was a dream or a crazy alternate universe I had accidentally leapt into. I thought, “Shit,” and “How did this happen?” and “Can I even handle two babies at once?” and “Is Chris ever going to let me spend money again?” and “Is he ok?” and “What the fuck?” and "We need two of everything!" and "They are going to be best friends!" We both just uttered random phrases of shock as we let the hypothetical idea of twins slowly sink into our minds as the very real presence of twins. Twins in our family. Twins in my belly. Whoa…. Whoa, whoa, whoa.
It’s been over two weeks now since we learned this wonderful and extremely wild news. We are still basically in shock, but as we continue sharing with our friends and family it gets more and more concrete. The questions people ask us the most are if twins run in either of our families, and if we used fertility treatments. The fact is, no. We were not using fertility treatments of any kind, and I've learned that twins do not actually “run” in families. For Chris and I to have an increased chance of conceiving twins, I would have to have fraternal twins on my side of the family (which would mean I might have a higher probability of releasing more than one egg at a time), which I do not. These babies happened by absolute chance, or rather, absolute miracle.
It's no secret that Chris and I believe in miracles. Joe has shown us too many incredible things to allow any doubt that he is working all kinds of magic from wherever he is. As his parents, we tend to assume that it’s our love for him that is driving us forward on this journey, but time and time again we are blown away by the truth that it’s his love for us that makes it all so damn magical. The fact that the first time we got pregnant after his birth we spontaneously conceived fraternal twins is no coincidence; it’s pure magic.
We are so incredibly blessed to have so many caring and supportive people in our lives. I shared our news on Instagram and Facebook yesterday, June 18, which was also Father's Day, and so many people reached out to share their joy and excitement for us. When people hear we are having two babies, some reactions have been something like, “You’re making up for lost time!” Which isn’t bad or wrong in any way. It has made me stop and think a bit, though. Of course our situation is unique and made even more special by the obvious fact that we lost a baby, and now that we are having two, it’s like we are “making up” for the one we lost. And I certainly know the intent behind this thought - it’s the most understandable thought in the world to have. I just like to share what I think about it because I’m on the inside looking out, and it’s so deeply a part of my soul that it’s really quite simple to me. Chris and I have Joe. He is one-of-a-kind. The truth I feel in my heart is that Joe’s love for the two of us is strong. So strong that he is working all the time to keep us safe and united as a team. What better way to keep us working together and leaning on each other than having to take care of two infants at once!? It makes so much sense to me. Double babies means double magic and double love. We could certainly use both of those things. The true gifts of our twins are only just beginning to unfold. We are in for some pretty spectacular Joe Moments as we navigate being their parents.
The day we found out the baby I was growing was actually two babies, all the pressure and bittersweet and anxiety about comparing to Joe vanished. These two are their own separate miracle story that flows naturally from Joe's miracle story. There is no way to compare this to Joe, we can only celebrate him and thank him for loving us so much, and for bringing us such an incredible gift. We will welcome our new little ones in November or December and will have two enthusiastic helpers as we carry on finding Joe in everything we do. Just looking at them will be enough for me. We are part of something so much bigger than we can even imagine, and I am so grateful for every second of this wild, amazing, miraculous life.