We have our share of worries (mostly financial / job / logistics related), but if we were to focus on the honest truth, it is this: we have everything we need and more. Maybe we don’t have it all figured out, but the amount of love here is astounding, and not just between me and Kai.
It’s coming at us from all directions. We are lucky to have families who want to help us out…but it’s not just those closest to us who have shown us kindness. A neighbor we barely know brought us a load of baby blankets and gear. An ex-neighbor dropped by with a card and new outfits for the twins. People from our hometowns have sent us money and furniture and so much more. An employer gave me some maternity clothes. My girlfriends who’ve had babies have sent clothes and useful items. The whole world is supporting us, it seems.
We’ve spent so much time reflecting, researching, soul-searching, trying to make more solid plans for what our lives will look like in a few months. Kai is trying to go back to school, I’m trying to find a work-from-home job, we’re educating ourselves as much as possible on child-rearing and twin-wrangling, looking to more spacious living arrangements in beach-radius. And, realizing it’s going to be very difficult at times, we are also determined to make this new existence a reality without losing sight of our goals: to raise conscious, thoughtful, proactive, loving kids who know how to love life, and to be conscious, thoughtful, proactive, loving adults who do the same.
And it seems, based on what I’ve seen lately, that the Universe would support that.
I’d been lying in bed like an invalid for months. Gone was my interest in writing and life beyond the couch, gone was my strength and my desire to see humans. Even though I hadn’t vomited or bled or had any extra pain, I worried that on a basic level, I must not be cut out for what other women could handle. Psychologically, I was wrecked. I felt I was not enough: I was weak; I was less than. A couple weeks ago it got so bad that I called the depression hotline and set up a psychiatric evaluation. Something didn’t feel right. Why was this baby taking such a toll on me? Yeah, they say the first trimester is hard, but nobody seemed to understand the level of negative emotion that had claimed me as its own. What didn’t seem normal was the complete lack of control I felt over my own mind and body. Even my therapist, who has given birth twice, commented that my level of exhaustion seemed profuse. She wondered if I might have had the flu.
But today, all that changed in an instant.
We were at our 12-week ultrasound. My new doctor put the gel on my belly and moved the wand around. We saw a little fetus on the screen. It was much bigger and clearer than it had been three weeks ago.
“Have you guys had an ultrasound before?” she asked.
“Yes, we had a vaginal one at nine weeks,” I said.
“Just to see the heartbeat?”
“Yeah. We saw the little embryo, but the picture wasn’t very clear.”
She slid the wand along my stomach and the picture changed. “Did you see both the babies?”
I looked at Kai, whose eyes were round as globes. “What?” we both said.
“You’re having twins! You didn’t know?”
We burst into loud, nervous laughter. “Are you serious?” he said. It felt like finding out we were pregnant all over again, but this time, more joyful. What were we going to do!? How did this happen? What was this world we were suddenly inhabiting?
“I’m terrified,” I said, but I was laughing. It seemed like a hilarious joke the Universe was playing.
“Here’s baby number two,” the doctor said. On the screen we saw two distinct sacs with two distinct babies. “These are not identical twins. They each have their own placenta. You had two eggs and they both got fertilized,” she said.
She lingered for a while on the front baby, who was doing flips, clearly visible. The doctor said she was 80% sure of its sex: most likely a girl. Then she moved to the baby in the back, who was lying in child’s pose with his butt above his head. She couldn’t tell the sex of that one. I think of him as a boy right now. We shall see. She played both heartbeats out loud, and they sounded so strong. She said they looked like two beautiful, healthy babies.
And I am a different person now. I’ll tell you why.
I had been flogging myself nonstop for months. But suddenly, I stopped. The depression, the lack of motivation, the exhaustion, the out-of-control way I behaved when I thought the world was ending…it wasn’t because I am weaker than everyone else! It wasn’t because I am less-than! I hadn’t lost myself! I WAS GROWING TWO BABIES AND TWO PLACENTAS! I was barraged with double the hormones, double the fatigue for good reason!
In fact, now that I know this, I can reclaim my true birthright as a superhuman! I may have been slow to work, joyless, and ill-feeling for a while, but even through those symptoms, I kept doing my yoga, kept walking, kept eating healthily, kept looking for solutions for my maladies. I felt like giving up a few times, even uttered “I want to die” a few times, but I never did.
And now that I know there are two babies in my belly, it feels right. I had felt so lonely, worrying what my stress would do to this one baby. Now I picture these two beautiful quarter-Japanese little humans bringing so much laughter and light into our home, being there for each other, really making us a family. I feel nothing but excitement.
Today marked the start of a new week and a new philosophy for me. It’s taken me two months, but I’ve decided I am done playing victim to your terrorism. You can try all you want to destroy me, but it ain’t gonna work anymore. Because I have armed myself with the tools to combat whatever you’ve got to throw at me.
You tried today. You hit me with the nausea first thing, but I ignored you and ate an egg and some toast. And no, I didn’t scramble the fucking egg like some overzealous American pregnancy books said to. I ate it RUNNY! You know why? ‘Cause I like it that way. And yeah, you tried to punish me, bringing the nausea back around on multiple occasions, before lunch, after lunch, in the evening. It’s so clever how you’ve never actually made me vomit, you passive-aggressive minx. You keep the nausea at such a low level that I swear sometimes it could be in my head, but something in my body feels so unsettled and nasty, like a fading hangover, that if I don’t eat some sort of carbohydrate every two hours, I fear death.
But it’s my mind that is strong. You can do me dirty all day, First Trimester, because the only bad things that can truly happen to me are my own thoughts. So starting this week, I choose to think something new. I choose to fill my days with productive plans. (Yeah, I even bought a new planner!) And these plans are going to be things I enjoy, things that enrich me, things that connect me to others. So far, I’ve scheduled some volunteering, lunch with a friend, some pregilates (that’s pregnant pilates), and a date with my man. I also found some new opportunities for work.
I dare you try to foil my plans like you did with that headache when I was seeing a movie with my friend this evening! Because I have H20 and I’m not afraid to drink it! And remember when you hit me so bad with fatigue midday that I couldn’t stand up straight? You had claimed victory when I skipped yoga to take a nap, but guess what? I did my own yoga session when I woke up. Not only that, but I also got to cuddle with my hot man, who took a nap with me!
I’ll admit, you went hard. You took control of my mind and body to an extent that PMS had never been able to achieve, and I know she’s and you are business rivals, so good on ya. I spent stretches of time so depressed that I hardly recognized myself. But I’ve had it with that. I am back from the dead like Michael Myers.
And guess what, First Trimester? You are about to be history. You have one more week before there’s a new sheriff in town, and I hear Second Trimester is much fairer and less dramatic. I sincerely hope it’s a few years before we meet again.