The Kids Are Alright (And I Am, Too.)

Oh, heeeeeey there, y’all!  So nice to see you again!  Have you done something different with your hair?  Looks terrific!

So, yeah, I’ve taken a nice big break from the blogosphere and with a very good reason.  When I started The Truth About Babies, I was an absolutely soggy, water-logged, bedraggled, near-drowning mess.  I had been completely swept away by the tsunami of new motherhood and was tumbling ass-over-tea-kettle in an abyss I hadn’t seen coming.  This blog, and the words I forced upon the undulating inundation of my feelings saved me were the tools I used to save myself.  I found my voice, I shared my truth, I kicked for the surface, and I rode my self expression to the (relative) safety of the shore.  To be less metaphoric about it, things got better.  And better.  And better.  I could take a break from what felt like a mandatory exercise of writing in order to stay even-keeled, and bob along the surface of calmer seas, finally able to be within the experience instead of anchored outside of it, taking notes.  (Okay, I guess I can’t manage less metaphoric yet…I’m rusty and barnacled…  Damn it.  I’ll get there!)

So why am I back now?  Well, for two very teeny tiny reasons:  the two teeny tiny babies with whom I am pregnant.

That’s right, folks, late this September or early October, Team Us is expecting TWINS! (Identical twin girls to be specific, but more on that later.)

If you suppose that the very first words to come tumbling out of my mouth when I learned this news was a series of fucks and holy shits and OMGs and then brilliant combinations of OMGholyfuckingshits, well, then it seems you know me quite well!  (I made the doctor laugh and physician’s assistant blush, I’ll tell you that.) Daddyo reacted in much the same way when I told him.  I was about 8 weeks pregnant and according to the literature, the fetus was the size of a raspberry.  Hoping for a girl, we had been referring to our little raspberry as “she,” so when Daddyo came home from work and asked about my confirmation ultrasound, he asked, “Soooo?  Is she the size of a raspberry?”  To which I replied, “Welllllll….. THEY are the size raspberrIES.” I lost count of the “Shut the fuck ups” at around 15, but it was a stellar reaction and a happy reminder of how well suited my husband and I are for each other.

The haze of shock lifted to reveal a rather stone cold terror.  Twins, really?  REALLY?  How in the wide, wide world of sports are we going to handle twins?  Let’s just don’t even crack open the financial nut yet…let’s just focus on the mental challenge of twins: I had nearly lost my mind in the Dark Days with my darling Boyo, what if the same thing happened this time around, only double the darkness?  How would I ever manage?

It was during this time of chilly, inky black fear (and the early days of what would be twelve solid weeks of the sickest pregnancy induced gastro-intestinal pyrotechnics the world has ever known) that I noticed a sizeable smear of blood on the toilet paper.  My first thought was, “Oh, I’ve gotten my period.”  It wasn’t until the body slam of remembering that I wasn’t supposed to have my period that I realized that something might be wrong.  I wound up in the ER and among the whirlwind of thoughts that blew through my addled brain, one was clearest:  “Maybe this is the universe’s way of knowing that I can’t handle this.  Maybe it would be okay if I lost one or both.  Maybe this is my body is taking care of my mind.”  Of course this line of thinking was not without its guilty emotional counterpart, but the messy truth is that while I was praying, it wasn’t, “Please keep these babies safe.”  The prayer I prayed was, “Please let the right thing happen.”  In the end, the babies were fine.  The bleeding, while diagnosed as “threatened miscarriage,” was normal…just one of those things.  The universe had spoken, at least for now; I had better get used to the idea of having twins.

Two weeks later I was at the park with Boyo.  He had just set foot on the play structure  when I felt a gush of fluid.  I surreptiously pressed a finger to the crotch of my white jean shorts and when I brought my bloody finger into focus, I froze.  I raced to the bathroom, an outraged and whining Boyo in tow.  I tried to keep my voice calm as I explained that I had to go to the bathroom, but with every step I took, both the gush of fluid between my legs and the panic behind my eyes got stronger.  When I finally got us both squeezed into the stall of the public restroom, I pulled down my pants and stared, frozen with horror, at the crimson crotch of my once-white panties and shorts.  There was  so much blood.  And, if you’ll pardon my candor, big gelatinous clumps of tissue that I was sickeningly sure were my two tiny babies.  The race of my pulse thudded out: Stay calm, don’t scare your boy, stay calm, don’t scare your boy, stay calm, don’t scare your boy. Call for help.  It’s time to call for help.  Does this need 9-1-1?  No, this needs Mama. So I called my mother.  And speaking with the kind of cool that only comes when lit from within with panic, like a ice over a flame, I said, “Mama, I am bleeding and it is bad.  I need you come to the park, park at the lot all the way to the right, come into the bathroom and get me, drop me off at the hospital, and then take the baby home.”  Frozen fire chilled in my ear as Mama calmly said, “I will find you. I’ll be right there.”  The lady in the stall next to me tried to hand me some hand sanitizer “for the bleeding” and I croaked, “It’s not that kind of bleeding, but thank you.”  Someone else had begun to dry their hands with the automatic blower, a sound that terrifies Boyo, and so he began to scream like to bring down the walls of Jericho.  Another woman tried to ask me questions, if I was okay, if she could do anything, but I had no answers to those questions and so was unable to respond. There I sat, sweating and bleeding, panicking and staying calm, softly humming to and rocking my hysterical son, barely but stubbornly withstanding the swirling, cacauphonous frenzy of sights and sounds, while I waited for the cavalry.  A single thought bloomed in the chaos, tiny at first, but growing bigger and more powerful with every guh-GUH of my pounding heart.  It wasn’t a prayer.  It was a declaration.

“I want these babies.”

Nine minutes later Mama was there.  Ten minutes after that, I was in the ER.  Twenty minutes passed and my husband came running through the sliding glass doors.  I stood up to receive his big, strong “I’m here now” hug and whispered the thought that had been crashing through my skull, “I want these babies.”  He whispered back, “I know.  I do too.” Mercifully the wait to be taken to Ultrasound was quick, and it wasn’t long after that we learned that babies, once again, were just fine.  More importantly, my cervix was thick and tight, meaning my little chicks were in no danger of slipping out of their nest.  Despite the terrifying amount of blood I had bled and was still bleeding, the kids were alright.  And, armed as I was with a newfound certainty that I could handle anything else that came my way, so long as my twin babies were safe, so was I.

I know the path ahead is an arduous one.  But more importantly, I also know that it’s a beautiful one.  And most importantly, I know that I can walk it.  I will stumble, I will fall, I will dash my foot upon the stones and I will cuss like nobody’s goddamn business.  But, I will lean upon my family, my friends, myself, and (having dusted off the ol’ blog) I will lean on the power of my own expression.  I will tell the truth…the messy, complicated, ugly, whole truth, and having done so, I will pour myself a cocktail and know, deep down in my bones, that everything will be alright.