And (w)here's the other one

I love you too. Now, go jump on your dad.

the first real scare (or attack of mommy paranoia )

With all the changes that my body is going through: the aches, the nausea (no matter how subtle), the inability to stay awake much longer than what constitutes a full work day, etc… one of the most unexpected things this pregnancy has given me is a case of very intense sneezing fits. I am sneezing all the time, and ironically they tend to show up in pairs. I don’t know, but it’s weird. I am fully aware of the fact that this is probably in no way related to the babies, but it seemed to start right along with the growing of their placentas.  Late last week, I was in the car, having one of my attacks, when Drew looked at me with a combination of utter fear and overwhelming concern.

Me: What’s wrong?

Drew: (concern still plastered across his face) Do you clench when you do that?

Me: When I do what? Sneeze? (confusion very obviously my primary emotion, but concern beginning to grow on my face because he was no longer watching the road)

Me: Would that make you feel better?

Drew: Yes! What if you let out a really big sneeze and one of them were to just fall out? (eyes wide)

Me: It does feel a little weird down there sometime (I shamefully admitted with a chuckle).

Drew: I think you should start clenching (he stated so matter-of-factly)

Me: You mean like Kegels for sneezing?

Drew: Yeah, I guess.

Me: I don’t think sneezing will cause me to shoot them out like BBs? There is a mucus plug and all kinds of stuff keeping them up in there.

Drew: I’m just saying, mucus plugs can fail, and better safe than sorry.

Now, before I go on any further, I need to clarify one thing: Andrew is a very intelligent man, and despite all the anecdotal evidence that would work to prove otherwise,  he isn’t a complete dunce. In fact, he manages to keep me flirting with my own sanity even in those moments when my entire ability to rationalize seems to have gone by the wayside. He uses his big words and comforting intellect to sooth me back to my senses when I begin to avoid things like pooping out of fear that his clenching, failed mucus plug theory may actually hold some water. He is also very good at helping me through those more real moments of discontent, like when the fear of a miscarriage becomes overwhelming, even if improbable.

We had just gotten to Drew’s parents’ house after going to the store with his mom and brother to look at cribs and other baby essentials that we priced for two. It was fun, and the whole idea of twins began to mesh well with the small amount of confidence we had begun to feel about actually be able to survive affording them. I came into the house, grabbed something to drink, and plopped down on the couch for about ten minutes before my bladder beckoned me to the restroom. It was at this time that my mood changed dramatically.

From the beginning, I have been aware of the fact that a small amount of spotting is a normal thing, especially in the first trimester, but what I was faced with was much more than I had experience in the past or ever anticipated. In retrospect, it wasn’t that much, but being a first time mom, having the knowledge that carrying twins runs a higher risk of complications, and my mother having miscarried two sets of twins in the past, it felt that I face to face with a worst case scenario. My mother-in-law told me just to lay down and put my feet up and that I would be fine. I did what she instructed, but my mind still raced, full of all those “what-ifs.” Yes, the amount of spotting was heavier and warranted some additional precautions, along with a call to my ob/gyn, but even then I felt I was overreacting, but was unable to calm myself free from tears. Drew, and his incredible ability to understand that I understand when I am acting irrational, but that at times I’m still incapable of doing anything about it, talked me out of my funk, sat next to me running his fingers through my hair, and just let me cry until I started making inappropriate jokes and began laughing.

Once we got home, and I read everything I could find on the internet (by far the absolute worst thing I could have done), and it seemed as if little to no progress had been made in the spotting department, my nerves again took hold of me and I began to worry some more. Drew was ready to throw me over his shoulder (if that’s what it took) and take me to the emergency room in order to get me the answers that I felt I needed. He then remembered I have insurance, and there is a 24 hour phone number for people to call as a way of avoiding unnecessary ER visits. Usually I would have made him call (in fact I tried to pawn it off on him), but I was the one that had to suck it up and dial.

When I got the voice on the other end, I started talking about everything I was experiencing, explaining color and consistency and duration and about all my concerns. He then informed me that he was the operator and would transfer me to the appropriate extension. I was was horrified that I just divulged so many intimate details to someone who could have been the 4th floor custodian for all I know, and I began to cry even more. Drew just laughed and hugged me.

Drew: You crying ’cause you’re a little embarrassed?

Me: (incomprehensible noun sounds) Yeah…

Ultimately, I spoke to a doctor and all my fears were alleviated. She made me feel like less of a insane mess and more like a worried momma. I felt like a mental mess of a woman, because according to what she was saying would constitute a miscarriage, I wasn’t experiencing anything at all. We talked about blood type and about the polyp I have on my uterus and she assured me that, so long as it didn’t continue, I would be fine. She also told me not to read things on the internet because that will only make me think the worst. I laughed and agreed to steer clear.

Though I look back on the whole ordeal and can’t help but think that I acted like a complete wreck, I understand the importance of having acted like, well an idiot. Better to be paranoid about a little blood then to act with complete avoidance that there was anything wrong at all. Ultimately, it was good. I allowed me the freak out that I needed and it gave Drew the opportunity to do what he does best: make me feel safe.

He is definitely going to be a great dad.

Expectantly,

Jeni

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The name game

From a very early stage in mine and Drew’s relationship, our future children were given names; but, not just names: they were give personality. This perhaps oddly premature characterization of our “fictitious” children was always done in jest (even if that jest was spawn in hope). It started off as a way to make our parents uncomfortable about one day being grandparents, and from there it just continued to grow. We would joke about how we would classically condition each child into the person we hoped they would be based on the name that we had given them. Everyone in the market for a family does this: “My baby is going to be… INSERT DESIRED QUALITY HERE.” We just did it in gross detail.

This joking was never something done in private: our friends and family were all well aware of the fact that we had at least named our future children, if not entirely aware of the fact that we had basically written their whole life stories prior to conception. But, now that the idea of us actually having kids is no longer simply an idea, but rather a reality, no one seems to have the slightest recollection of this happening. While on the phone with my mother the other day, she asked me if we had picked out any names yet. It seems that this is the only question being asked lately, and it’s the last question we thought people would have for us. However, I again attempted to go down the short list of names Andrew and I have decided upon:

Me: Well, for a girl, our first name is Cayden

My mother: Cave in…?

Me. No. Cayden.

My mother: Cave in… that’s interesting… (hints of WTF making its way through the tone in her voice).

Me: No Mom. Cayden. With a “D” like Dan. C-A-Y-D-E-N. Cayden.

My mother: CAVEN. Yeah, that’s what I said.

Me: Yeah, but that’s not what I said. There is no “V” in the name. It’s Cayden. Like Cady (Katie: thank you Mean Girls) CAYDEN

My mother: Catherine. That’s pretty.

No: (sigh) No…

This went on for some time, with Drew laughing hysterically in the background, until I found myself absolutely exhausted. We got through just the one name before I was forced to fabricate some reason to hang up the phone. I couldn’t possibly survive trying to remind her of Temperance.

No one seems to remember these names at all, despite us having mentioned them hundreds of time over the last three or so years. And now, every friend and relative has asked if we are going to be naming either baby after them. If they had their way, Baby #1 would be named Lori Elizabeth Michelle Lynn Kirby. Not so bad. Actually could work: especially in  comparison to Baby #2, which would be named Cody Sergio Jason Reis Cole Andrew Henry Michael Kirby. We even received the request for Wasabi. Thanks Boots.

You know how hard it is to tell people, “No, we won’t be naming our child after you,” regardless of how ridiculous the name would be. Could you imagine? Wasabi Kirby. It’s as if just because we are having twins, people think they can lay claim to naming privileges: like coming up with two names at one time is beyond or mental capabilities. I know that all this “name-it-after-me” business is done in fun, but sometimes I’m not so sure. I heard the disappointment in my mom’s voice when I told her, “No.” (Well, ok. I never actually said the word “no.” It wouldn’t form between my lips. It felt like saying that word would parallel a slap in the face to the woman who raised me. I just him-hawed around the subject, but she got the point anyway, and that still sucked).

Though we have gotten some mixed reviews (however, mostly positive) regarding our selections, we are as attached to the name as ever. Luckily the characteristics we have attached to them have begun to mean very little. I had always feared that we were setting the bar a little high anyway. Ultimately, we don’t care about any of that right now. Yeah it would be nice to be the mother of a future president, but let’s face it: I’m pretty sure I have already managed to ruin any chances that my children could possibly have a successful career in politics. Momma was no saint 🙂

With all the name planning and such, Andrew and I never really considered that talking to our children as they grew inside of me would pose any problems (with regards to names that is): but, Drew brought up a good – even if totally insane and neurotic – point. It’s not just one baby anymore. There are two individuals growing and living inside of me right now, and how are they going to know who’s who?

Drew: What if we have boy/girl twins? Maybe the boy is going to think his name is Cayden. That could really mess with him later in life. And what if the girl likes the name Bennett better?

Me: I don’t think that is going to be an issue, Honey.

Drew: I know there is pretty much no possible way that this could ever happen, but what if they get attach to the other name? Then they may be disappointed when they realize they have been a different person the whole time and have to start life with a name they don’t identify with.

Me. (smiling as if to say “I can’t believe how much I love you because you’re so ridiculous.”) We don’t have to call them by their names if you don’t want.

Drew: I don’t know.

This whole name crisis aside, not knowing the sex of the babies has actually presented me with a different kind of problem. As of right now, we just refer to them as “Babies”: one entity, which is something I never really wanted to do. I want them to have a real since of individual identity. They are (or will be) two different people, and I can’t wait to know if they’re boys or girls or a combo set, so that they can have a real name of their own and start to become those people, regardless of Andrew’s insanely cute fear that they could end up being forever confused about who they are.

We could just settle on Thing One and Thing Two for the time being. And who knows, maybe it will stick.

Expectantly,

Jeni

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And here’s the other one

I found out a few weeks ago that I was going to be having my first child. At the age of twenty eight, and having for some time now been feeling the adverse effects of those infamous ticks of my biological clock, I was pretty excited: even if it was a little unexpected. Dad (Andrew), however, was taking a little longer to come around to the idea. He was the quintessential man of the situation, looking at our little bundle of joy more like a new big bundle of bills and responsibilities that he wasn’t quite ready for. He wore a look of utter shock for about a week, but  ultimately though, he began to make since of the situation, and his excitement grew with each passing day. From the beginning, he waited on me hand and foot, never allowing me to do anything beyond getting up to go to the bathroom (which I did a lot. Mostly just to be able to leave the room). It was a little irritating due to the fact that I estimated I was no further along than about six weeks and, at this rate, would probably be treated like an invalid for months to come. But, he was at least taking to his new role actively and in good spirits. It was adorable. The idea that he would be an amazing father never failed my expectations. I know that he is a worrier and that he will more than likely be a bundle of nerves, not only as the pregnancy progresses, but forevermore: especially if it were a little girl.

After taking the first of two home pregnancy test (with the result having come back like a whisper-the little pink line may have been completely missed by someone less willing to see it), I was thoroughly convinced; however, Andrew was still on the fence about the entire thing. “We don’t know for sure,” he would say, but I knew. I had felt it for some time at that point, and the test was merely a confirmation to what I was already feeling happening inside of me. After reading the outside of the box a couple hundred times, I told him that even a faint line meant positive and that false positives were virtually myths, but he wasn’t convinced – at least not 100%. So, we took a second test the next day, with a result that was undeniable: “Yes.” He was still considering the possibility that it was all fluke. Andrew: the eternal optimist.

I made an appointment with my nurse practitioner, bought (or borrowed) a bunch of books (thank you Amazon Prime), read incessantly (something I became really good at having been a literature major at Fresno State), changed my eating and drinking habits with incredible ease – I never really drank alcohol (anymore :-)), but a caffeine junky I was – and all of this, oddly enough lead to one major change in my life: I stopped sleeping. I would wake up, always at exactly at 1:00am, thinking about things like possibly having and incompetent uterus, or if I had too much salt in my diet, or how much longer it would be before I needed to buy me some of those stretchy pregnant jeans? I feared the upcoming appointment would go something like this:

Me: So, I’m pregnant (smile)

NP: Ok, let’s take some blood to confirm. (blood test comes back within seconds) Are you an idiot? You’re not pregnant.

I felt like there was strong possibility that I was stupid and didn’t know how to accurately interpret the result of the pee stick. Maybe the two pink lines, the resounding “Yes”, and little smiley face meant, “congratulations! You’re not burdened with a child. Have a drink!”  I thought maybe I bought the test from the wrong section of pregnancy tests, like they were split up between tests for hopefuls and tests for the “let’s-hope-nots.” When I finally went to the appointment, my NP and I talked a bit. She asked if I had taken a home test. I told her I had taken two-both positive- and her response was: “Well, in that case, congratulations.” I then was alleviated for about 5 seconds.

After making a subsequent appointment with who would be my new ob/gyn, she sent me for some blood work to check hcg levels. Andrew and I then told he world of our impending family expansion. After the crying and the mom shrieks, my eleven year old brother wondering if the baby had already been born, and his brother finally believing that we weren’t lying, we both began to feel ready. The support from both families has been amazing, and we knew this baby – the first grandchild on both side and the the first great grandchild on three of the four – would be brought into a world ripe with unconditional love. And toys. And clothes. And learning tools. And anything and everything else the grandmas and aunties and godparents could get their hands on.

I continued to read and educate myself on what to expect from my first ob/gyn appointment, and three days later Andrew and I found ourselves in an exam room waiting for the first ultra sound to be performed. As Andrew sat in the corner holding my purse, obviously uncomfortable, I was laying on my back with my feet in those awkward stirrups thingies with a very gentle man moving a wand around inside of me looking to capture a picture of our developing baby. He then pulled back the curtain, telling Dad to come round and stand next to me so as to be able to see the monitor. He began pointing to a little black ball with a squiggly white blob inside of it. “This is your baby,” he said about the white blob. He then pointed to a fluttering blackish spot, stating “and this is the heart.” He them moved his hand pointing to another blob and said, “and here’s the other one.”

My initial reaction was one of hope. I thought maybe he was saying that my baby simply had two hearts. I though this could be good: we would have an extra in case of emergency. We could sale it for college money, donate it to a friend in need, or just have a spare in the event that our child’s heart inevitably gets broken. Then, a millisecond later, I came to my senses and realized there were two future babies growing inside of me. “What?” I eloquently asked, with no real reaction from the doctor as the nurse buzzed about in giddy splendor. The doctor began talking about how they were in separate sacks and about how they are around two days apart with a due date of about April 10th and the genetic benefits to having fraternal twins rather than identical and all I really got from everything he said at the time was the word “twins.” I’m having twins…

After the shock wore down – never off – I began to joke about how we were going to have to decide which one was cuter and keep that one. The nurse found that reluctantly funny. I told her that we could afford one, but not two, so we were going to have to “home school” them starting at the age of about 12 so that they could go out and get a job to support themselves. Luckily she knew I was joking and didn’t report me to the authorities.  Drew stood strong and silent, the look of sheer terror on his face mirrored that of the fear I felt inside but was managing to mask with inappropriate humor.

This was less than tree days ago, and I’m still in a little bit of shock. Drew too, but he has taken to the news of two much easier than the initial news of just one. Our biggest issue right now is where we are gong to put everything: like cribs. Can we get bunk cribs? Is there such a thing? Drew confided in me saying that if both babies need changing at the same time, he won’t know who to change first, because he wouldn’t want one to feel less loved  than the other. I smiled, laughed a little, and just hugged him. We have plenty of time for things like that to be worked out, but with everything to come, this is definitely going to be a journey.

There are two…

Expectantly,

Jeni

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