My husband and I staggered out of my 20-week ultrasound after the surprise revelation that we were having twin boys. We drove off in our separate cars, me heading to Dunkin' Donuts, and him probably skipping work and hitting a bar. What was especially jarring to me, combined with my terror of multi-tasking, was that we were in the process of building a house. These twin penises were probably going to pop out early, and it dawned on me while I was still at Dunkin Donuts caking my face with white, powdery goodness, that they were going to be born either just before or during our move. Panic set in. Actual heart-attack-simulation panic. But that didn't stop me from grabbing a sixer of Munchkins before I ran out the door clutching my chest.
The problem -- besides the fact that moving sucks on its own -- is that I have a life-threatening Change Allergy. After a childhood of moving almost annually until I was 16 years old, you would think I would have developed a happy-go-lucky, adaptive attitude towards changing my environment. But no, I have actually developed the tendency to unleash an eye-gouging, foaming-at-the-mouth, profanity-laden tirade on anyone who makes me move. And if you make me uproot my 3-year-old kid, even though he doesn't have the gypsy childhood I did, it opens up a Pandora's Box of Mommy Guilt filled with freakish mood swings; long, moaning periods on the floor in child's pose; lifeless moments curled in the fetal position; and any other psychiatric ward standard that feels mildly comforting. On top of all the bloodcurdling change being inflicted upon myself and my child, if you make me simultaneously deliver twin boys smack dab in the midst of all this, well, then, grab the buttered popcorn and a plastic poncho, because you are in for a sh*t show.
With this cluster of anxiety still swirling in my head, I showed up for my OB appointment a few days after the Twin Reveal. While he was checking out the heartbeats, I asked my doctor why this was happening to me. Was it because my husband and I both had identical twin cousins in our family?
"No, I'm afraid not," he answered. "Identical twins are formed from the splitting of one egg, and that isn't a tendency that's hereditary. Regardless, you are having fraternal twins, which consist of two different eggs being fertilized. Typically when a woman of your age conceives fraternal twins naturally, it's because the body is producing and eliminating more eggs to prepare for menopause."
I can't be sure, but I think that's about the time I started cackling like a disturbed bag lady, while the little Beavis and Butthead soundtrack in my head went: Uhhhh, your ovaries, hahaha, have taken, hahaha, a massive EGG DUMP, hahaha. After what felt like 10 minutes, I found my doctor looking at me strangely and inching backwards to reach for the Crazy-Pregnant-Lady-Emergency-Rescue-Button.
"I'm OK, really," I said sweetly. "Please go on, doctor."
"Umm, yes, so as I was saying, our office has a strict policy of putting our twin moms on bed rest at 28 weeks. We believe this is non-negotiable for promoting full-term twins with higher birth weights."
That's when the voices in my head stopped laughing and I started wailing in a way, they tell me, closely resembled an ambulance siren. It's also when the good doctor decided to go ahead and give that button a push.
Two months later, my mother-in-law swooped in just as my prison sentence started and got right to work cleaning my (apparently not clean enough) house; doing all our laundry; cooking meals; taking my son out to play in the glorious spring sunshine (while deflecting my jealous death glares); and a million other minor details like packing up our whole house with the help of my father-in-law and husband. I, meanwhile, enjoyed a sloth-like existence, a total lack of control and a terrifying body overhaul, including tree trunk legs, size 38D knockers, and a belly the size of an industrial microwave. (On a positive note, all of this Elephantitis-ness helped to normalize the size of my already oversized a**).
One morning, 10 days before we were scheduled to move, I carefully sidestepped the packing boxes to get my wide load out the door to an OB appointment. Two hours later, my cervix was five centimeters wider. I was suddenly in an operating room, a la Grey's Anatomy, where doctors and nurses were playing Counting Crows on the radio, effing around with my innards and talking about their freakin' weekends as if my whole WORLD weren't about to change FOREVER!
"Wooo-wee," whistled a doctor I didn't know. "Those babies are seven pounds each -- I don't see many twins that big!"
Suddenly feeling like a 14-pound weight was on my chest, I blacked out. It was post-delivery pre-eclampsia, and I was in a magnesium-sulfate-haze for the next 24 hours. It was probably for the best. I wasn't ready for my new reality yet.
My new reality involved bringing newborn twins home to a townhouse that was already inhabited by four adults, one preschooler, two dogs and 97 moving boxes. It involved eating crappy take-out meals, sometimes with our bare hands, cave-man-style, because our eating utensils were packed away. It involved sleep-deprivation for all of us, endless nighttime feedings for the twins and my own recovery from a C-section that hurt like a MoFo.
Six days after delivery, the movers came to hoist out our townhome's furniture. I looked around our first house and saw the ghosts of all our newlywed memories (laundry fights, hosting our first Thanksgiving, movie nights on the couch); and our first-time parent memories (colic, projectile-vomit, first smiles, an angel sleeping in my arms). I took a deep, shaky breath. Just a week before, I'd been a mother of one child, and I was leaving this townhouse a mother of three. The list of new things to do was boundless, and I wasn't sure my multi-task dysfunctional self could learn how to navigate all of this change at one time. Yet, if there was one thing I'd learned in my 34 years, it was that I couldn't fight change. I had faced it all my life, and though I hadn't emerged unscathed, I managed to turn out OK. My new family would too.
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