If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you probably know a few key things about me. I love to discuss bodily fluids. I am a die-hard shopping cart returner. I am nitpicky about grammar and spelling but always manage to insert typos into my Facebook statuses. I love Harry Potter and The X-Files. My musical taste hasn’t changed since 1996. I am the mother of two children, and a two-child family has always been my plan. (See “Finding out the Sex of my Last Baby” and “What I Really Think About Your Big Family.”)
So I would not be surprised if you were surprised to find out that a while ago, my husband and I decided we wanted one more child. I never once mentioned it on my blog or social media because I didn’t know if it would happen and because I felt like keeping this one little personal detail to myself since really, I have committed 99% of my life to virtual paper.
A couple of weeks ago when I found out I was pregnant, I was eager to find a cute way to share the news with you all, and I was prepared for many readers to wonder if this pregnancy was a surprise, given my past commitment to two children only. Then I started barfing all the time and didn’t have the energy for more than the bare minimum in terms of blog and social media maintenance. Plus, I started getting nervous. Was I crazy to want to add a third child to our already perfect little unit? How was I going to get through the puking and the exhaustion and still look after my current children? On top of the excruciating feeling of being constantly hungry but also wanting to puke, I was getting really anxious. As the Diclectin kicked in and I felt better able to focus, I started to get excited about the pregnancy.
At 8 weeks, Papa Wolf, Cub and I went in for our dating ultrasound. Cub’s super-curious about pregnancy, and I was happy to bring him along while his sister went to daycare alone. We read a book the previous night about conception, gestation and birth, so he was totally primed. My husband and I felt pretty ho-hum about the affair: after all, this ain’t our first rodeo.
The cold gel spread out on my very slight bump, unidentifiable shapes appeared on the screen in front of us. Without someone pointing specifically to what I’m looking at, an ultrasound image is pretty unreadable to me, but something looked weird … as my husband would later tell it, we saw two cavities with two little beans in them.
“So that’s one heartbeat, and that’s the second heartbeat.”
Oh to have been a fly on the wall to capture the expressions on our faces.
Let’s flashback to how nervous I had been feeling about adding a third child to our family. Let’s flashback to the entire blog post I dedicated to extolling the virtues of large families and how I knew I would never be equipped to mother a large brood. Flashback to how we’d figured out how to safely fit three seats in the back seat of our Elantra Touring so we could have longer to save for a minivan. Flashback to how I always thought twins happened to other people … not to me!
There was a lot of laughter from my husband and me, and Cub was not quite sure what to make of it. When I explained to the technician that we also had a toddler, she understood why we seemed so panicked about a double-whammy pregnancy! Four kids under 5 is … a lot of kids. So many kids that I initially typed “three kids under 5” and then had to check my math. (For the record, Cub will be over 5 once the twins arrive, but four kids under 5 sounds more dramatic.)
So, this was a planned pregnancy with a surprise twist. We are now the family I used to chuckle at—that naïve family that wanted just one more kid and wound up with twins. (Thank goodness it’s not triplets!)
Now I realize that it is amazing to be having twins. It’s wonderful. I know lots of families who dream of having twins. (Well, I do now because many people tell me so once I announce my news.) But I am not going to sugar-coat this. We were done at two, and then we were definitely planning to be done at three. Four kids is going to be a logistical nightmare, which we admittedly feel ill-equipped to face. We have fears about the finances: we need double everything. Daycare is expensive. Food is expensive. Disneyland is not likely to happen. In fact, flying anywhere is not likely to happen … I get overwhelmed at times by the emotional and physical demands of mothering two. I can’t imagine four.
My biggest fear of all is my own well-being. I know my kids will be fine: they’re resilient. During each of my pregnancies, I’ve worried that I’ll suffer extreme post-partum depression or anxiety. I continued taking anti-depressants throughout my pregnancies without issue, and my anxiety flare-ups since having kids have been negligible at best. But my biggest fear is fear itself: the fear of being anxious when I have not two, not three but four little people depending on me.
Objectively, I know we’re going to be okay. And I am also conscious of the fact that if I found out tomorrow that the ultrasound was wrong, that there was only one baby in there, part of me would be disappointed.
I have always revered mothers with more kids than they have hands, and it’s really hard to believe that by next spring I will be one of them. It’s going to be an adventure. This is uncharted territory. Hopefully I’ll be ready for whatever turns are in the road ahead.