We weren’t trying for children, first of all.
Sincerely. We really weren’t even being careless. The story you hear from a lot of parents: “well, we weren’t trying, you know, per se, but we decided to ditch birth control and let God/nature/The Triple Hecate decide.” Not to be overly cynical or snotty, but come on. That’s more or less code for “we were trying.” If you’re regularly getting busy without a raincoat or The Pill, you’re not exactly leaving nature a lot of options.
But I’m telling you: my wife and I really weren’t trying. 5 years of dating, 10-1/2 years of marriage and, no lie, we indulged in exactly one unprotected moment in all that time. “What are the odds?” we reassured each other. “Seriously, what are the chances that our one careless Saturday afternoon fling would turn us into a 7th grade health class cautionary tale? It’s fine! It’s fine!”
My wife, as I’ve hinted at previously, has Lupus. It’s an auto-immune disorder and it sucks. She stays ahead of it with diet and overall healthy living, but there are certain activities that she really needs to think twice about before indulging.
Top of the list: getting pregnant.
A couple of weeks ago, we went in for her 7 week ultrasound, still thinking we only had one embryo. We hadn’t told anyone yet because, well, Lupus pregnancies are always considered High Risk and we’d committed ourselves to waiting through the first trimester. If 13 weeks passed and we still had a healthy fetus, we’d go ahead with telling friends and family. Anyhow, her 7th week checkup was “heartbeat” day. My work keeps me from attending as many OB appointments as I’d like, but there was no way I was going to miss seeing our child’s first heartbeat.
Listen, I don’t know from ultrasounds. It all looks like fuzzy Matrix code to me, so when Dr. Chao’s eyes started bulging, I assumed the worst: miscarriage. The wife and I were trying to get a better look at the screen, but I knew something was off. The room had a vibe. I said to Chao, “what is it? Something’s wrong.”
And she said, “any twins in your family?”
It’s strange in moments like those. In 5 seconds, you watch your life begin to twirl out of orbit and you can’t quite decide whether or not you’re happy about it. I mean, twins? That’s a mistake. It’s probably a mistake. She said “twins” but she really meant, I dont’ know, “shins”. Ha ha, of course, Chao! We have plenty of shins in our family! Ha ha ha! Phew!
And she continued to navigate the ultrasound around my wife’s ladyhood and she said, “oh, now I’m seeing three.”
On the plus side, we suddenly weren’t conflicted about how to feel about it anymore. It was clear: THIS IS THE WORST THING EVER.
By the way, I do want to pause here for a moment, because I realize these are sensitive issues. If you’re reading this, there’s a very real chance you have multiples of your own and if you have multiples of your own, there’s a very real chance you’ve dealt with infertility. And, sincerely, I don’t want to diminish the pain of couples who want nothing more than to conceive and the last thing they want to hear is a story from some jackass like me who somehow hit the fertility jackpot and doesn’t know what to do about it.
On the other hand, if you have multiples of your own, you probably also know what I’m talking about. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of trying to wrap your brain around a single child and getting the news that we just got.
So we bawled. Right there in Chao’s ultrasound room, we cried like soap opera stars. This wasn’t happening to a friend of ours. It wasn’t something on TV. It was really us and really real and we felt really screwed.
It’s been a couple of weeks and I wish I could tell you our arms are around it and we’re excited and optimistic and whatnot, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. We’re excited to be parents. Honest. And ready or not, this $#!% is happening.
If it’s not already obvious, “Tips On Triplets” is my little joke. Nobody knows less about this than me and my wife, but here we go.
By the way, we could use all the help and advice we can get, particularly if you’re a parent.
And if you’re a parent of multiples? Er, would you mind dropping us a note and letting us know everything you’ve learned about everything ever? It would be a huge help.