Of all the phrases I ever expected to hear a doctor utter, "It's twins" ranks somewhere below "Gee, I've never seen a case of jake leg that far advanced" and "If the aliens probe you again, I'll order some X rays."
So you may imagine my reaction a few weeks ago when we saw two sacs on the ultrasound, and two little heartbeats. The room suddenly got very, very quiet as everyone absorbed this news. It's a big readjustment to go from expecting one to two. Suddenly you're speaking in plurals. Suddenly you're trying to imagine the logistics of nursing and bathing and changing and comforting two newborns at once. Suddenly the expenses you'd carefully budgeted for balloon: double strollers, double outfits, double day care, double $$. The two-bedroom place and the Honda Civic start to look cramped and inadequate. Then there's all the risks associated with carrying multiples - preterm labor, NICU, placenta previa, higher risk of pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes, the probable need for a Caesarian, etc.
On the other hand, twins are pretty darn cute and exciting, and they can
mercilessly bug entertain each other when they get older. (Already, in the womb, there appear to be territorial issues. Baby B's sac is curving around to encroach on Baby A's turf. I'm thinking about putting a dividing line of masking tape down the middle so everyone stays on their side. If I hear any more bickering, we're turning this uterus right around and going home.)
Twins are also double the morning sickness, which is the reason I haven't updated DC since March. As Robert Frost might have said, had he written poetry during the first trimester, "I have been one acquainted with the toilet". In between, I've been horizontal on the couch and avoiding the kitchen like the plague. One develops a complicated relationship with food. For a few weeks, I wasn't able to keep anything down but those nutrition shakes from the drugstore, the kind they give to cancer patients and people recuperating from surgery. At my 12-week checkup, I had lost 7 pounds.
Things are starting to improve a little bit. I still have "yuck" periods, and weird cravings, but the sickness is no longer 24/7. I always thought pickle cravings were a pregnancy cliche, but it turns out there's some truth to it. For some reason, you seek out things that are cold and sour. Pickles are straingely alluring and delicious right now. And normally I hate pickles. They squick me out, with their green bumpy frog skin and their strutting, egotistical way of taking over a sandwich, crowding out the more retiring lettuce and mayonnaise flavors. Now I furtively steal dill spears from leftover catered lunches at work, like a desparate cigarette junkie swiping butts from the sidewalk. Can't get enough of that vinegar putsch!
The bloodhound sense of smell is a little weird, too. Recently I was able to smell a pile of mulch 25 yards away in the parking lot, from inside a sealed office building. I can tell if someone chewing grape bubble gum has walked past in the last few minutes. Coffee is like a sledgehammer assault to the senses. I can smell fear, success, a rat, napalm in the morning. I smell satellites passing overhead. Did the upstairs closet always smell like bacon?
It's still a little early to tell the sexes, but I am eager to find out. There are all sorts of old wives' tales and methods for predicting your baby's sex, from peeing in Drano to dangling a wedding ring over your belly and watching which direction it swings in. The most accurate method, and the one I've heard works the best, involves placing a "transponder" on the "belly" and scanning the "ultrasound picture" for "genitals". This is assuming they cooperate, of course. Baby A was feeling mischievous at the last screening and wouldn't hold still for the nuchal fold measurement. It was flipping, rolling, waving, squirming, and wriggling to beat the band. Just my luck, I had an impatient Teutonic technician that wouldn't stand for such nonsense. She kept barking orders at them..."NO! Hold still! Don't roll over. STOP THAT. Behave! GET BACK HERE," plunging the wand up and down on my belly to try to chivvy Baby A back into position. In between "Oooofs", I asked if Baby B was sucking its thumb (it had its hand up to its mouth). The technician barked severely "NO! It is NOT sucking its thumb. It's WAVING AT YOU. Can't you see?"
As I stopped at the desk on my way out, the receptionist beamed: "Good news! We were able to book all your remaining appointments with the same ultrasound technician!"
I smiled wanly and murmured "Isn't that lucky!"
Off topic...or rather on topic, since this is supposed to be (nominally) a blog that occasionally discusses That Which Is David...the other day at work, one of the systems engineers came over to talk to me about some work-related thing, and the subject gradually swung around to 300. I'm not exactly sure what the sequence of topics was, but I swear he brought it up, not me. He commented something about the Spartans marching off to battle wearing shin guards and helmets, like that was going to provide much protection against spears and arrows. I said "Don't forget the leather speedos, that provides at least 5% more coverage". Instantly twenty heads prairie-dogged up from twenty neighboring cubicles and started contributing their two cents on Spartan armor (or lack thereof). What was up with the bathing suits? And the abdominal makeup? Were those real muscles or CGI? (At the risk of appearing to be a 300 know-it-all, I firmly set them straight on that score...it's only fair the actors should get full credit for all the tractor tires, chin ups, wind sprints, and cottage cheese). Before you could say "Spin me a yarn, Dilios," a lively discussion was under way.
Or it was until one of the QA analysts came over to ask if the direct marketing environment could be upgraded to the latest web services build. All jocular talk of leather bathing suits and Spartan training methods ceased, we crashed back to earth, and work was reluctantly resumed. "Thanks, Debbie Downer," said the systems engineer to the analyst.
Our Transaction Services group takes ancient Greek costuming very, very seriously.