The fact of being pregnant with twins keeps hitting me roughly every 90 minutes, which is about when my stomach acid bubbles up like some sort of asshole Old Faithful. “Gaaaargh,” I say, feeling as if I’m about to start breathing fire, and then, “Why do I feel like this?” and then I remember that oh yeah, I’m pregnant with twins. This sends me into a mild panic spiral because I still don’t know how to process this fact, that there are two fetuses in me, that both are healthy, and that come probably somewhere between mid-March and early April, I will be responsible for the lives of not one but two potato humans.
(I call them potato humans because let’s be real: newborns don’t do much besides lie around and be fleshy potatoes. I mean, they also eat and poop and puke and cry, but most of my potatoes do that too, so)
I can’t really figure out a way to come to terms with this because it’s never happened to me or anyone I’m really close with before. With one baby, I could look at the roughly six gajillion friends I have who’ve had exactly one baby, or I could plumb the depths of my babysitting experience, or I could even look back on when my mother had my sister and brother and say, “Hey, I know something about that.” With two, though? Honestly, I think the only example I can think of off the top of my head is Full House, and much though I’d love to have John Stamos come help me with twin care, I don’t think that’s going to happen.
(but, I mean, John Stamos, if you read this and you’re like “hey, I want to go help that chick out with her twin care,” I will not complain, like. At all)
So I imagine it’ll be a lot of flying by the seat of our pants and a lot of swearing (newborns have the benefit of not understanding swear words yet and not being able to repeat swear words yet, so you don’t have to worry about embarrassing Target trips where they remark, “I have a mosquito bite. What the fuck?” and you realize that maybe you should start censoring yourself a little bit), and I don’t imagine I’ll feel very sane for at least another three years after they’re born. Once they’re born, I imagine all attempts at planning anything will go straight out the window, and we’ll just be improvising a lot. We’ll survive, and we’ll be stronger and better for it, but it’s going to be chaotic getting there.
That said, to my absolute delight, I can start planning for some things, and that’s heavenly. I haven’t been able to plan for things since we started this process, so being able to say, “Alright, in Februaryish we’ll do a maternity shoot and we’ll need to get a minivan by late February at the very latest, and we’ll learn the genders sometime in November, and I’ll have energy for the holiday season” and things like that is awesome. I can say with absolute confidence that I’m not making any plans between March 1 and April 25 but that other days and times are theoretically open, particularly before the first of the year.
And I’m making lists of things we need two of, like two car seats, a double stroller, two bouncer things, two new sets of bottles, two million white onesies…
So all of that planning is keeping me from panicking too much about other scary aspects of this, specifically the health aspects.
My pregnancy with Sam was probably objectively an easy one for at least the first ~8 months. I didn’t have nausea so much as I had fullness (read: I could only eat one taco at a time 😦 ). My emotions were chaotic, and towards the end, I got REALLY tired of hauling around all that baby; but for the most part, I was pretty healthy. I didn’t gain too much weight until the last month, I maintained my usual levels of activity, I got enough sleep, and much though I hate pregnancy (and I do; I’d like to skip the next 30 some odd weeks and just get them here), it wasn’t a bad time.
At least until the last month. The last month, my body just got fed up with housing my adorable squatter. I ballooned right up, gaining a good 50 lbs over the course of a month. I never had swelling above the waist, the general ticket to ride a train to Ohshitsville, but my feet and legs were so swollen that we could draw smiley faces in them with our fingers (by “we” I mean me and Kat and Kyle). My liver enzymes were pretty elevated, and my blood pressure kept skyrocketing briefly before going back down to pregnancy lows again.
It was miserable.
(this is funny because no, I could not even move like this for half a second)
And that was just with one baby! I’m looking at a pregnancy with two babies and feeling pretty concerned because twins make basically everything more likely to happen. On the one hand, you have things that are fairly common anyway like gestational diabetes and early delivery; on the other, you have panic-inducing conditions like preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome and oh, just about every other bad juju pregnancy thing you can think of. Scientifically, pregnancy is already an extremely risky prospect for anyone; but when you add double babies to the mix, things get dicey real fast.
Even assuming everything goes really well throughout pregnancy, there’s also the realization that 60% of twins are delivered via C-section. Now, I’m not a natural birth junky by any stretch of the imagination. I loved my epidural (I wanted to take it home with me), and I’m very glad that medical interventions exist. I’m absolutely fine, on an emotional level, with doing whatever it takes to bring my babies into the world safely and without incident.
That doesn’t change the fact that a C-section is major abdominal surgery.
I’m not really wigged out at the surgery aspect of it; the only thing that’s been an issue for me in previous surgeries is the general anesthesia, which makes me nauseous. I think surgery’s kind of cool, honestly, and wish that I could simultaneously be on the operating table and watching my operation take place.
(if only to avoid the possibility of being operated on by Weird Al)
It’s really more the recovery that’s got me skittish.
Because recovery is the hard part of any surgery. During surgery, you’re blissfully pain-free (in theory; I’ve read horror stories) and often times in dreamland. Afterwards, things get dicey. I know I take a while to recover from surgeries; when I got my gallbladder out, I didn’t really feel even close to myself again until a week later, and that’s comparatively minor surgery. What’s going to happen when they have to slice me up like a Christmas ham to get the babies out? How miserable am I going to be, and how much shit is going to end up on Kyle’s shoulders because I’m just not capable of doing things?
I kind of long for the days of families all living together in communes and being able to really rely on each other wholly when things got rough like this. I feel shitty putting a lot of the baby and house care on someone else when I’m recuperating; people have their own lives and shouldn’t have to spend their time helping me with mine.
Maybe I could hire someone?
And of course, there’s Sam. Transitioning into life as a big brother was already going to be hard on him (we spoil him quite a lot, which I think happens even more when you’re infertile; you don’t know if this one is the only one you’ll get, and you’re so thankful that he’s here that you’re like, “Sure, absolutely, take all of my time and have a brownie and why not, you can totally have that four-foot-tall Darth Vader”), but even if I manage to deliver the twins vaginally, he’s going to be competing for attention with two newborns, not just one, and he may find himself wholly at the mercy of his mother’s C-section recovery.
I know that once we’re out of those first wild and crazy weeks of newborn-ness and into the baby life, it’ll be a little easier to make sure that he has time with us, just with us, but I still hate the idea of him feeling left out or neglected. And I shouldn’t be so concerned about it because I survived it just fine and Kyle survived it just fine and every oldest sibling on the planet survived it just fine, but you know. I want to make sure that he knows that he’s always our baby, even though we’re bringing more babies into the house.
ANYWAY. There are all my anxieties. These are not going to go away and will be hovering like a cloud of gnats basically for the rest of my life. And that’s not even touching on financial worries (I’m leaving my job, because daycare for one toddler plus two infants would be about twice what I take home in a month; also we need a minivan; also how are we going to pay for diapers and formula–because lol I’m not even bothering with breastfeeding this go-around–and also diapers and clothes and diapers and wipes and diapers for two infants?) and emotional worries (I AM FAT AND JIGGLY AND MY LIFE IS CHANGING) and more meta worries (I am bringing two new humans into a world with a Doomsday Clock two minutes to midnight and recurrent giant hurricanes because of global warming).
I think the only reason I sleep at night lately is because I’m on Effexor and am so tired from growing two humans that my brain starts to be like, “Let’s go over your anxieties!” and the rest of me responds, “Yeah, no, we’re sleeping now, bye.”