Sunday, July 13, 2014

Double Trouble? Or Double the Fun? Definitely Doubly-Blessed!

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa! It’s been an unconscionable amount of time since I have written. I blame the main early pregnancy symptom that seems to have hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks – extreme and utter exhaustion. I feel like all I do is sleep, and I’m still tired when I get up. That fatigue, coupled with a general feeling of malaise (the up and down levels of nausea, etc.) have left me completely unproductive. It’s no excuse, really, more of an explanation as to why I haven’t shared any news lately. Case in point, I started writing this entry five days ago and then never got around to posting it. Bleh!

Oh, but there is news! In the last post, oh so long ago, I mentioned that we transferred two embryos, and that there was a chance of twins. Well, that chance is a reality now – I am definitely expecting twins! I guess because I was prepared for the possibility, and I had valid reasons for wanting twins in some respects (see earlier entry), it wasn’t much of a shock when they first said there were two gestational sacs at the five-week ultrasound. We had to wait another week to confirm twins because they only saw one yolk sac at the time. But, at the six-week ultrasound, not only did they see two yolk sacs, but they saw – and heard – two tiny heartbeats. That was a rather surreal moment. I consider myself pretty even-keeled, but seeing and hearing the heartbeats of my babies was pretty damn cool.

I had two more visits to RMA and both twins have looked good – growing properly, with strong heartbeats. On July 1, Dr. K. discharged me, and last Wednesday (7/9) I went to my regular OBGYN, Dr. W. to begin ongoing pre-natal care. Of course, I’m still obsessing, as usual – worried that something has gone wrong, and there will be bad news. Especially since Dr. W. didn’t do an ultrasound this time. I’m forced to just assume that both babies are still in there. I even took yet another pregnancy test when I got up to Friends Lake Friday – I keep worrying that I’ll suddenly stop being pregnant. Of course, that has been how I’ve felt going into every visit, and so far everything has been fine, but I can’t seem to help myself. I’m so worried that I will lose this pregnancy that I can’t let the reassurances convince me. Like with the spotting – the doctors keep telling me that spotting is normal, especially with multiples, and not a sign of miscarriage. Yet, that doesn’t stop me from worrying every time I get spotting. Same goes for every little pull and pain I feel in the abdomen – is it normal? Or is something wrong?

But, never mind all that – there’s plenty of time to write about my obsessing, especially as I don’t think I’ll be finding my Zen anytime soon. Instead, let’s focus on that whole twin thing, in general. Like I said, in some ways, I wanted twins. Dad was a twin, so it’s a cool thought to have twins. And I wanted more than one all along, so this gets it done in one shot. And it allows me to split the cost of the last year of treatments between two – two for the price of one! Regarding wanting more than one, I may be venturing into controversial and touchy territory here, but I feel like kids need siblings.  Growing up without siblings robs kids of some important aspects of childhood. The bond between siblings can be incredibly strong – you are each other’s first friends, and your shared history is something you just don’t have with other friends. I know that not everyone is close with their siblings, and I think that’s a shame. I would never trade my relationship with my brother for anything.

There’s another aspect of having a sibling that I think is important. Now, I should say that there are some people I know who are only children who are great people. But, I believe that when one grows up an only child, it is more challenging to fully develop one’s sense of empathy, and the skills to understand things from another’s perspective. Growing up in an environment in which sharing space, parental attention and possessions is not necessarily an issue, can make only children unintentionally self-centered. Despite the best intentions of their parents, only children tend to grow up with the sense that they are the most important person in their orbit, because they have the full attention of their parents, and are encouraged to develop that strong sense of self, without having to worry about sharing the spotlight.

Again, I want to reiterate that I am not saying – at all – that only children are bad people, or anything remotely like that. Any potential egocentrism resulting from being an only child is, I believe, unintentional and subconscious. But, if unchecked, it can lead to problems in interpersonal relationships. And, as I stated before, I know plenty of terrific only children, whose parents made the effort to teach them that empathy as they grew up, deliberately focusing lessons on how their child might feel if in another’s position. And it works. Parents who are conscious of the potential issues can make sure they provide their children what they need. The problem is that most people don’t realize it’s missing, until it’s too late. It’s always been important to me to raise children who have a strong sense of empathy and care for others, and I feel that having siblings is one step in that direction.

I am no child psychologist, and I am less than a rookie in the parenting game, so I hope no one interprets any of what I have just said as an attack or as an arrogant assumption that I know what other parents deal with on a daily basis, or that I think I know better than anyone else. These are merely my musings based on my completely unscientific observations of the people I have known over the last forty years, and part of the reason that, for me, having siblings for my children is important.

Let’s move on to a different aspect of the twin game (I choose to currently not address the How the F*** am I going to handle twins?!?!?! aspect of things right now). So, what aspect do I mean? Well, these twins will be fraternal, so we have three possible outcomes: Girl/Girl, Girl/Boy, Boy/Boy. Now I can be all PC and say that all I want is two healthy babies, and that is true. Whatever I have will be a blessing. But, it would be hypocritical for me to pretend that I don’t have preferences. My first choice would be Girl/Boy. One of each. Family complete. Just like Keith and me, or Dad and his twin sister, Kathleen. Second choice would be Girl/Girl, and last choice would be Boy/Boy.

Why this order of preference? Because the relationship that I had with my mother was special and unique, and I want a daughter so that I can try to develop a similar relationship. It could never be quite the same, because I’m not Mom, but I learned how to be a mother from the best, and I think I can emulate much of what she did right. Having one of each means that I have one daughter with whom to develop that relationship, and I can develop a distinct (but hopefully close) relationship with my son as well. Two girls might lead to competition in terms of the mother/daughter relationship, although I would do my best to avoid that. Finally, two boys. First, let me say that if I had two boys, I would love them dearly. I already do love these babies, and they’re little more than tadpoles at this point. But I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t be a little disappointed to not have a daughter. I’d get over it, of course, but it would still make me a little sad. If the twins do turn out to both be boys, then I have considered adopting a girl a little ways down the road.

But we’re not at that point in the road yet. I have about another month or so before I found out the sex of the babies. I do intend to find out – there are so few things under my control in this experience that I feel like I need to know as much as possible. I mean, I need to know if the nursery is going to be English country rose garden, Seashore cottage, or Yankee Stadium! I don’t want to be stuck with all the gender-neutral stuff either. I know some people still want that surprise, but not me. I hate not knowing things! In the meantime, since I don’t want to constantly refer to the babies as “it” or “they,” I have given them nicknames that reflect my love of all things bling. So, they are now known as Bedazzler and Sparkle. But, don’t worry, those won’t be their real names!

So much to discuss, but I’m exhausted again, so I’m signing off. Got to put the fur kids, the fetuses and myself to bed! ‘Night!