Friday, May 12, 2006

Musings on Motherhood

I've been thinking about this for a while. I thought I might post it on the girls' birthday. That came and went. Then I thought, maybe on the anniversary of their coming home from the hospital. Come and gone as well.

Well, now Mother's Day is encroaching, and with it, the 3rd anniversary of their due date. If ever there were a time for me to wax nostalgic and philosophical about my kids and becoming a mom, this is it. At least, for this year.

My DH and I began our foray into parenthood with all the planning of a college freshman, newly out on their own, having just finished reading Kerouac's On The Road, planning a "truly awesome roadtrip." Which is to say, we had no idea what we were doing. Let's have a baby. Okay. It all seemed so simple. Being 28 years old at the time and having read all these new studies about the sharp decline in fertility in women over the age of 26, I figured that this might take a while and so we might as well start trying. Little did I know. I knew I'd always wanted to have children, I just didn't know how all fired intent my body was on making that happen ASAP.

I did try to time the pregnancy around the school year. Being a teacher, I figured the closer to a June due date we could manage, the better. Then I wouldn't have to take leave (or much) and could still have a nice stretch of time home with the baby. Not long into our "experiment," the time came to pee on a stick (this was right after my first full week of teaching). I peed. Stick turned blue before my very eyes. The box said that I should do this first thing in the morning and that the result would appear in 2-5 minutes. I did it right before bed. I thought at first that maybe it might fade or something. But no, we were preggo. Went to get the test confirmed, and the nurse at the clinic remarked on how quickly the positive showed. (I shoulda known something was up!)

We were lucky enough to get a fantastic midwife (once the OB nurse and I explained to the DH that this didn't mean home birth), and, aside from some morning sickness and a little trouble gaining weight, things were going great. I was having a "perfect" pregnancy. I thought I was getting kind of big kind of fast, but the DH was convinced that it was psychosomatic. At any rate, I was doing well, the baby was doing well, and everyone was really excited, as this would be the first grandchild on either side of the family. We waited to get the one ultrasound our HMO would cover until there would be "something to see" for us to take home to Minnesota for the winter holidays. The only appointment we could get was right after school, and with only one car and the two of us working on opposite ends of town, I had to go by myself. I left a message on the DH's voicemail that he should try to get a ride and where I would be at the hospital. We had decided that we didn't want to know the sex of the child until the birth. I let the tech know that right away. There were some extra people in the room, which I later learned was because my triple-screen had just come back abnormal and they were worried about birth defects. The tech put the transponder on my belly and said, "You do know you're having two, don't you?" Just like that. No. No I didn't know that, holycrapwecan'taffordtwokidsatoncecanwe? I sobbed for about five minutes. I was in complete shock. The tech told me they were fraternal since they were in seperate sacs, and although she meant well, I later learned that there really was no way for her to know for sure, most people just assume that all identical twins are monoamnionic (one sac). For reasons I won't get into here, that is very rarely the case, which is good because that is a very high risk situation. Still in shock, with films in hand, I went to pick up the DH. He was in a foul mood as he had been stranded at work, not thinking to ask for a ride 'till everyone was gone for the day. So he was grumping at me over why it took so long for me to come get him, etc. When we got home, he noticed I hadn't said a word since he got in the car, except to say that I had called and left him a message to get a ride. He asked what was wrong. I told him, "There's two," and the tears started again. Anyone who's ever seriously contemplated motherhood knows just how daunting and terrifying the prospect of molding another being can be; suddenly being thrown the curveball of, "Oh, by the way, you'll be shaping two lives at the same time. That's not a problem for you, is it?" while soaking in a second trimester double doozy hormone bath can really knock a gal into next week. Impending motherhood teaches you things. Things like, everything you thought you knew about becoming a mom? Yeah, just go ahead and chuck that all out the window. Now, see if you can hang on for the rest of the ride!

See, I was all about natural childbirth. Well, I should clarify. I wanted the kid to come out the way nature intended, not be surgically removed, and I did not want an epidural AT ALL. This was not due to some belief that no one should have one, or a stoic need to endure a helluva lotta pain; just that the idea of someone inserting a needle into my spinal space scares the everlovin' piss out of me! So. I called to leave a message for my midwife with the news that we were having twins, and the receptionist, again, well-intentioned I'm sure, shoots back, "Oh, well you'll have to be switched over to an OB/GYN since you'll have to have a C-section." And again, into the pool of tears and hormones. It turns out, my new doctor agreed to co-manage our case with my midwife, so that was great. The babies were in position to have a vaginal birth, and they seemed to be staying put. I was doing well, despite a slight gestational diabetes scare that turned out to be nothing.

Then, in the wee hours of the morning on what was supposed to be my last day of work before maternity leave, my world, previously turned upside-down, was turned inside out. My uterus, at 32 weeks pregnancy, decided that it was indeed a single occupancy space and finally realized that there was an extra resident who hadn't signed the lease. "Everybody out!" it screamed, every five minutes like clockwork. I tried drinking water. No change. I tried changing positions. No change. Finally, we tried the hospital, where we were informed that my water had broken and they would try to delay delivery long enough to get two doses of steroids in to help the babies' lungs, but we were going to be parents. Now. As soon as it really hit that there was no stopping what was happening, I gave up the thought that it shouldn't be happening, I just let my body do what it needed to do, focusing on the moment and trusting that my babies and I would be in the best of hands.

In the end, I had my "natural" delivery with no epidural, and became Mama to two tiny, beautiful, remarkably healthy little girls. They were able to come home over a month before they were even due to arrive. I am truly blessed to have them; their lives have given me an embarrassment of riches already, and there's only more to come.

Happy Mother's Day.


Blogger Pyewacket said...

That was lovely. Happy Mothers Day. :-)

6:45 PM  
Blogger mamma said...

Thank you for sharing. Your girls are blessed to be born into your family.

4:21 AM  
Blogger knittinmom said...

Aw, you had me choking back tears there! How brave (and lucky) are you to have twins naturally? I thought we were totally ready when I got pregnant with Sydney, but I was so wrong. How can anyone be prepared for parenthood? I don't think it's possible. It's definitely the most frightening, frustrating and exhilirating experience of my life!

3:54 PM  
Blogger said...

Happy Belated Mom's Day! I loved the tellin' of the tale; and the tale itself. I have no doubt that you and the DH are remarkable, loving and awesome parents! Kudos!

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Dr Karen said...

This was my first visit to your site. What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing and I hope your mother's day was doubly special!

9:39 AM  

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