Double or Nothing
The past 3 months have among the strangest of my adult life, so you’ll have to excuse my lengthy absence here. I’ve also been the recipient of a bizarre and profound circadian rhythm shift which now has me waking most mornings in the 5’oclock range and exercising for an hour before anyone else is up. I guess I have sobriety to thank for this? Or the desperate pursuit of solitude in the life of a mother of many children who are now around all the time. So far, everyone more or less respects my sacrosanct pre dawn territory and mostly stays in their rooms until closer to 7. It’s glorious, confusing, and very, very dark.
The falling back of this weekend should have the lovely double effect of solving the darkness while simultaneously ensuring that Benny awakens to take his morning bathroom constitutional at 5 am instead of 6, so something to look forward to for all.
What else? Well, I will say that homeschooling does not leave much in the way of margin for other intellectual pursuits, at least not along the curve I’m learning on, so in the spare moments where little is demanded of me, I offer to the universe very, very little in return. A little light scrolling of the tiktoks to watch other people organize their refrigerators. Reading on my Kindle. That’s about the extent of my brainpower capacity most days, and so writing has been cast utterly to the wayside.
There’s also the small matter of my being 18 weeks pregnant. I suspect that has something to do with my dwindling post prandial energy reserves and early, early bedtimes these days. Oh, and did I mention there are two?
Cast your memory back to my last post if you will and cackle a bit with me as we reminisce about how I tossed aaaaaaall my baby gear and almost immediately felt a little off. Cackle with me or at me, but you can’t say I don’t deliver entertaining content even after all these years.
So, yeah, babies number 7(!) and 8(!) incoming late March/early April. I’ve moved from intense exhaustion and by far the worst nausea I’ve ever felt to ravenous hunger and alarming weight gain, so things are clipping along just as one might expect.
We’re so blessed, so overwhelmed, so tired, and so grateful. I’ve never been so intimately aware of the body of Christ as a real, physical, spiritual presence in my life as I have these past 4 months. We’ve had meals dropped off, prayers sent up, kids driven here and there, and just an absolute tsunami of support from our family and friends. Do the neighbors think we’re insane? Most assuredly. Do I care at this point? That’s a no from me, dog.
Let me back up about 9 weeks and tell you a little bit about how we found out. I was already having a rather intense first trimester and had made a few comments about feeling so bad that something had to be different. “You’re almost 40,” people helpfully pointed out, which, I can tell you, does not feel the same as 28. It just does not.
I was also feeling just a little bit overwhelmed by our still very new homeschooling experiment, now layered over with a solid 3 to 4 hours every afternoon of me lying facedown on the floor trying not to vomit up coconut water, the only palatable foodstuff of the moment.
And then I started bleeding.
It was not an insignificant amount of blood, and, having experienced nothing more than the very lightest of spotting with my last 5 pregnancies, it was scary. I called my sister, Dave, and finally a dear friend who has had several miscarriages of her own, and I asked her to coach me through what was coming. To her immense and everlasting credit, she dropped what she was doing and came straight to my house, hugged me and prayed with me, gave me some practical directives for what the next few days and weeks might hold, and bought all my kids dinner.
My doctors’ office told me to come in the next day around lunchtime for an ultrasound to confirm what was happening. I continued to bleed a little bit for the rest of the night, but by the next morning it had stopped. I’d talked to enough friends at this point to know that miscarriages can take days or even weeks, so I assumed I was just in the earliest stages of that and would find out more from the ultrasound.
We waited nervously for about a half hour in the waiting room before being taken back. I remember leaning over and saying to Dave at one point, “the baby is either fine, already dead, or twins.”
We both stared at each other and I immediately was like WHAT I DON’T KNOW WHY I SAID THAT and he was like yeah, I don’t know why you said that either. But foreshadowing, dear reader. Foreshadowing.
The ultrasound tech told us she would be starting with my anatomy first and getting “a nice look at my cervix” before moving on to the pregnancy. But I swear the minute she flipped that thing on, I saw something weird on her monitor. Two black open spaces where there should be one. She spent just a minute or two making measurements of me and then moved the wand.
“There’s baby,” she said, pointing to a small and seemingly unmoving little shape on the screen.
“Um, does baby have a heartbeat?” I asked pointedly, wondering if we were all on the same page as to why I was in the exam room.
“Oh yes, 155, looking good.”
Dave and I exhaled in huge relief which lasted approximately 4 seconds.
“And there’s your other little nugget right there,” she smiled, moving the wand and waving her hand as the second little image blurred into focus.
We stared at the screen and then at each other, jaws dropping.
“Oh…my God…” I stammered out, assuring Dave and the highly entertained ultrasound tech that I was not calling upon Him in this moment in vain. “OH MY GOD. WHAT. WHAT? TWO? TWINS?”
The next several minutes were a blur of suspected but entirely unintended blasphemy on my part and eventual scrolling of the phone on Dave’s part.
“Are you texting someone?” I demanded, causing Dave to sheepishly raise his screen for me to see.
“No, I’m on Redfin.”
I laughed because dear reader, my second and third thoughts after oh my dear sweet Jesus are you sure were definitely “how old will I be when they graduate high school?!” and “We have to call R (our old school’s principal) and see if there’s room to send the kids back.”
So to recap, the baby was fine, the baby was doubly fine, in fact, and mom and dad commenced immediately freaking out about extremely shallow and practical matters asap.
In the last 2 months as the news has sunk in and the belly has popped out, we’ve realized that a move is neither practical, feasible, or honestly all that necessary at this stage in the game. And as for the school question? Still TBD. We’ve mostly loved homeschooling, but I’m not naive enough to think being 40 and postpartum, likely surgically, with 2 newborns and 6 other kids to take care of is a recipe for domestic bliss or academic competence. We shall see.
Oh, and all that bleeding? “Oh, yeah, probably nothing. Maybe a subchorionic hematoma that cleared up on its own. Just one of those things that happens with twins sometimes.” <— the first of many such statements to have come into my life during this bizarre and wonderful turn of events.
And so my new mantra in life, gentle reader, has truly become “I control nothing.”
It’s been a trip, and we’re not even to the halfway point. Please pray for us, for our little nuggets, and for a boring and uneventful rest of the ride.
O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything!
P.s. If you’ve ever considered becoming a patron, before, well, I can pretty much guarantee all proceeds will be transformed directly into diapers. Click away.