We always hoped for four kids.
I can’t remember when the dream started, way back while we were still dating. Sly small conversations trying to sort out where a Significant Other stood on the Big Questions: marriage, family, faith.
He was one of four. I was one of five (four after my brother died).
We always wanted something like the same. Enough family to make life lovingly complex and delightfully chaotic.
But then came infertility. Which scrubbed us bright-faced newlyweds raw of any expectations for what a family might look like.
Just one, I used to pray late at night.
All I want is one. Please.
. . .
After a few years, a baby finally came. The answer to prayers and pleas. He was wonderful and exhausting and world-upheaving, as babies always are.
One seemed more than enough.
As a worn and weary new mom, I wondered during his first year whether we should ever try for another. If we could even have another.
But I knew those early dreams were born on solid ground. A shared foundation of faith and family. What our life together might look like.
I kept telling myself our dreams were bigger than the frustrations of the present moment. Worth whatever hard work it took to get there.
We’ll take it one baby at a time, I used to say when we had those late-night conversations about Were We Ready For Another and What Should We Do Next.
One baby at a time.
. . .
A routine ultrasound.
He almost skipped it because work got busy that morning.
But it’s always so fun to see, he said on the drive over. It’s too important to miss.
And there it was. The fuzzy blur on the grainy black and white of the sonogram machine. A tiny flickering heartbeat. Measuring right on track.
I let out the breath I’d been holding for the first few, fragile weeks. The heartbeat. I knew what that meant.
But then something else caught my eye.
What’s that? I asked the ultrasound tech. Across from the baby?
He squinted at the screen and leaned closer. Oh…he trailed off as his eyes widened.
That’s another heartbeat!
. . .
This pregnancy was supposed to be our last hurrah. The final chapter of our story before that looming deadline of Advanced Maternal Age.
Four kids. It would have been a handful, we knew that well. But we know newborns. We know what it means to add another baby. And we could fit one more in the car. One more at the table. It made sense. Nice and even.
It was exactly the dream we hoped for.
Then with one zoom of the sonogram machine, everything changed.
Yup, the tech nodded confidently. He started to type BABY A and BABY B on the screen while I watched in utter shock.
You’re having twins.
. . .
Jim Gaffigan has a laughable line about having four kids. Imagine you’re drowning, and then someone hands you a baby.
Now it doesn’t seem so funny. Someone’s going to hand us two babies. Identical twins. I feel like my life just became a reality TV show.
Every plan we had is changing, and all of it is out of our control.
I never planned to share this news here so early. Everyone knows you’re supposed to keep pregnancy announcements neat and tidy. Wait till twelve weeks so you don’t have to turn around and share sad news if Something Happens.
But nothing about this is neat and tidy. We need heaps of help and prayers to get through whatever comes next. And worst-case scenario, if we end up grieving again, we cannot grieve alone.
Every single day, strangers ask me to pray for their pregnancies or miscarriages or hopes for conception. Every single day, I promise I will. And because of that connection – because of the power of prayer and community, because of you faithful friends and readers who have become part of my journey through motherhood – I’m sharing this news now. In the raw and fragile and uncertain beginning.
Because I need you to get through this.
Maybe we lose the babies before we ever meet them. Maybe we lose them at birth if they arrive too early. Maybe we all come through this healthy and happy, and everyone wants to say, See? It turned out perfectly. We told you not to worry!
But no one knows how this story ends.
There is nothing more frustrating to a writer than to be trapped within a story she cannot control. Or even flip forward a few pages to sneak a peek at the next chapter. I have to plod along word by word, hour by hour, like everyone else. I have to trust that the Author of Life is the only One in control.
That truth should be no surprise. But these twins are the biggest shock of my life.
I believe that joy can come from unexpected places. And I know that nothing is impossible with God. I’m just going to need plenty of reminders to trust.
Here begins one wild ride…