Halfway There (Gender Spoiler Alert!)

This week has been so full of happiness and good vibes. It just goes to show the truth in the quote my sister always reminds me of: “If you’re having a bad day…just wait. It’ll turn around. If you’re having a good day…just wait. It’ll turn around.”

After we had such a wonderful wedding on Friday, I had a relaxing weekend, followed by a flurry of creative writing with my partners, because we are almost finished with ten episodes of a series that is soon to be filmed and paid for…not by us, but by a company!

Then, Kai and I went for our 20-week ultrasound. It took so long for the doctors to thoroughly examine each twin that the goo they put on my belly started to dry. But it was worth it, because not only did we find out that both of them were good-sized and fully formed and healthy (and crazy…kicking each other in the heads and dancing the whole time), but also we found out their genders!

I am not super motivated to do some gender-reveal photo shoot…maybe because I’ve been sharing wedding photos and baby propaganda for a couple of weeks and I’m pretty sure people are tired of looking at me…so I will reveal it through these cute mice in a matchbox that a friend got for us.

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I took a poll and while a lot of people predicted the twins would be two girls, the majority, including my mom, Kai’s mom, my sister, and my best friends, predicted it would be a boy and a girl. Very few people guessed two boys.

And guess who won?

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Majority rules! I had also felt this whole time that I had a girl on my left and a boy on my right, (though I started to doubt myself a few weeks ago when I met an old Chinese healer man at a farmers market who predicted two girls). But my intuition, as usual, was right!

Kai and I watched the ultrasound screen together, wondering when the doctor would stop measuring bones and finally tell us, and when she did, we felt like we were living in a dream. How could I be here right now, married to the love of my life and four months away from being a mother to a son and a daughter, when four years ago I was at the rock-bottom dregs of despair, and a year ago I was blithely coasting, unsure of everything in my life? There are ups and downs always to remind me how to feel, but ultimately I sense the world showering me with abundance right now, and I’m excited for what else is to come.

Rainy Day Twin Fears

My disposition has been much sunnier since I found out we’re having twins. It explained all manner of my crazy behavior and made me feel a little less inhuman. But it’s been almost a month since I saw the two little fuzzy black-and-white pictures on the screen, and the further away I get from that concrete evidence, my mind has become increasingly unsettled.

Every morning I wake up and feel my belly to make sure it’s still as big as it was yesterday. In my sleep and in those foggy hours before waking I worry about losing one of the twins. I have no reason to believe that would happen, other than that it has happened to other people.

But what if I’m depleting the twins of nutrients by sleeping on my back like they tell me not to? I just can’t sleep on my side. How the hell do people sleep on their sides? Where do you put your arm? It goes to sleep, and the curve of my womanly hips makes the whole side of my body uncomfortable as one side rests and the other sticks into the air, my torso in an “L” shape. I’ve tried propping pillows every which way, but most nights I eventually say fuck it. In concession, I prop the pillows like a ramp and lie with my head above my heart like I’m in a Craftmatic Adjustable bed. Hoping not to kill a twin, and waking every few hours trying to intuit if they’re both okay.

Before I ingest anything, of course, I Google it to make sure it’s not poison to babies. The real problem with eating is that it is of no interest to me. Food is still, for the most part, gross. Sometimes by the day’s end, I realize I’ve eaten nothing of substance. I was too tired all day to cook anything, and every time I opened the fridge for something quick, it looked disgusting. So I’m at the end of the day begrudgingly eating a bowl of cereal and some pea protein and yogurt to account for my lost nutrients.

I’m almost 16 weeks, and I did enjoy about one week of second trimester energy. But then it faded away with the sunshine that coincided with that week. It could be that my energy is boycotting me because of the fact that it rains EVERY DAMN DAY here in L.A. now, which makes me want to stay indoors and cover up with blankets. And the lack of movement means lack of motivation, and the lack of motivation means fear, and the fear means no food looks good, and generally life is a wet, gray, dismal, boring wash. I can’t wait until I can just take a damn walk! Or wear a tank top instead of the same five layers of clothes that make me feel like a fat eskimo.

I do have an O.B. appointment tomorrow morning. I hope they do an ultrasound and make me feel better.

I’m heading now to buy a twin stroller from a woman on Craigslist who only used it once. Originally this thing is almost $700, and she’s selling it for $500, with an additional bassinet! It’s early, I know, but I need some concrete way to remind me that these babies will probably be okay, and my fears are just products of the gloom that will bring greener, brighter days.

 

Live Reactions to an Unplanned Pregnancy

I’m 15-and-a-half weeks pregnant now, and we’ve sent out little twin announcements to family and friends, though we haven’t told the world at large yet. (I’m planning on doing that this week, after my next ultrasound.)

My belly popped out a little this week. It’s only noticeable if I wear something tight, but I’m showing just enough to merit the “is she or isn’t she” stares, especially from people I haven’t seen in a while. So I’ve been telling the news to all the gawkers, partly because I’m excited, partly because I hate pity-looks from those who think I’ve “let myself go.” This means I’ve told all different kinds of people by word-of-mouth. And I’ve received all different kinds of reactions.

Here are the types of reactions I welcome:
-“Congratulations! You’re going to be such a great mom!” (Aw. Thank you. I am reading all the books.)
-“Do you know if they’re fraternal or identical? Do you know the genders?” (Not yet, but they’re in two separate sacs with separate placentas. Hopefully we will know the genders soon.)
-“Those are going to be some gorgeous babies.” (My fiancé is breathtakingly handsome. Thank you.)
-“When did you find out? When are you due?” (We found out about the pregnancy in December, the twins in February. We’re due in August.)
-“Is your family excited?” (So excited. My parents are going to go from having zero grandchildren to three!)
-“I’ve always wanted twins. Or to be a twin.” (I’ve never thought about that, but it does sound pretty cool.)

Here are the types of comments that are pretty irritating: 
-“Congratulations. I think. You’re keeping them, right?” (Dude, if I wasn’t keeping them, why would I be announcing this to you?)
-*Blank stare* (Well, you suck.)
-“Did you get in-vitro?” (Nope. The whole pregnancy was unplanned. But thanks for your concern about my possible infertility.)
-“Don’t even think about lifting that! Put that down!” (I’m pregnant; I’m not an invalid for God’s sake! If this thing I’m lifting was too heavy for me, trust me: I wouldn’t be lifting it.)
-“Kai must be one potent guy.” (Yes, he is. But I drop two eggs and you don’t give me any credit for potency?)
-“I thought that’s why you might have gotten engaged.” (Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence. You’re right: Kai would definitely never marry me unless he was forced to at shotgun.)
-“Get ready to never sleep again!” (Get ready for my fist in your face!)
-“Well, get ready for your stomach to be sliced open.” (Actually, 56 percent of twin moms deliver both twins vaginally.)
-“You’re going to gain so much weight!” (Yeah, and I’m going to lose it when I’m burning 1,000 calories a day breastfeeding TWINS.)

Magical, Life-Changing News

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.

For now, all my fear is gone. I can do this.

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A few months ago, every egg I cracked for a WEEK had double yolks. Do you think it was a coincidence?