“After bringing my partner into the room, she repeated her apologies. And I still love his response: ‘Sorry!? Why are you sorry? This is amazing!’”
Three years ago I found out I was pregnant. My periods were always regular—almost to the minute regular, so I knew something was off when I was two days late. Just after four weeks, we took our first home pregnancy test. It's an understatement to say that we were shocked.
Through the next hours, days and week, we went through the whole range of emotions. But I knew, and felt, that we would be making this work. While we'd known each other all of all of five (gasp!) months, somehow we just knew that we had some sort of strong love that would get us through.
So at five weeks, we scheduled our appointment with my nurse practitioner and everything looked great. I got all my blood work done and she scheduled us for an ultrasound at six weeks. Why so early, when most initial ultrasounds are scheduled around 12 weeks? We didn't even think about it—we were still reeling through the emotional ups and downs about how we were going to face this new life with a baby. In hindsight, I assume it was because of high HCG levels (this is the hormone that is measured to detect if a person is pregnant).
On April 9, 2014, we went in for our first ultrasound. Up until about five weeks, I was free from any symptoms, save for the missed period. I remember thinking I would somehow escape morning sickness. And of course I got hit by it soon after. Or, rather, to say hit is an understatement. It came into my life and took over my body, to a point that I could barely move from bed to the bathroom. So after my usual morning puke(s), I somehow scrapped myself out of bed and began downing the required early ultrasound water on our walk to the clinic.
I had never had an ultrasound before and had no idea what to expect. I was excited to "see" my baby, but also extremely uncomfortable and feeling downright awful, from the nausea and water filling my body. The process began with an abdominal ultrasound, but because we were so early on in our pregnancy, the technician moved on to a trans-vaginal ultrasound. (Okay, so anyone new to this world, let me explain: A trans-vaginal ultrasound is basically a wand that they put a condom on, plus lube and then insert inside of you. It's intimate, to put it simply.)
About two minutes in, the technicians phone rang. "Oh, sorry, I need to answer this. It's my son." To my complete confusion, she then proceeded to chat with her son for five minutes, while still holding the wand—umm, awkward anyone?
If this wasn't weird enough, after she hung up, she started prying into my life. Here's how the conversation unfolded:
Technician: How did you get pregnant?
Me: I'm sorry, what do you mean? Umm, I'm not sure what you want me to say...
Technician: Was this a natural pregnancy?
Me: Yes... What do you mean by "natural"?
Technician: No fertility treatments?
At this point, I'm starting to feel the urge to grab my pants and run out of the room. Really, does she not know how babies are made? Does she want me to tell her the romantic tale in full detail? My mind was whirling and I was shaking from the nerves and confusion.
Technician: Have you been feeling sick?
Me: Yes, really sick actually.
Technician: I need to go talk to the doctor.
And this was when my stomach dropped.
Anyone who's had an ultrasound will know how impersonal and often, nerve-wracking it is. The technicians are not authorized to give you very much information—it all gets sent to your OB or midwife, who will then relay it to you. But they will give you a bit of insight into what is going on, after talking to the radiologist. Those few minutes when I was left alone were tense and terrifying. My mind was racing...
Finally, the technician returned with her news.
"I'm so sorry," she started, causing my jaw to drop and buckets of tears to well. "You're having twins."
My jaw shut closed and I started laughing.
After bringing my partner into the room, she repeated her apologies. And I still love his response: "Sorry!? Why are you sorry? This is amazing!"
You can imagine how our family and friends reacted. We'd already deeply surprised them with the news of one baby and now we'd launched them into a reality TV show, with the news of twins. The best part of the story, is that everyone thought we were joking. Being so close to April Fool’s Day, EVERY SINGLE PERSON we told laughed and thought we were just continuing the joke-riddled day, over one week later.
But we weren't. And I'm so deeply grateful that it wasn't a joke, because my life is fuller than it's ever been.
There are many variations of what a family looks like. And, I suppose, on the surface ours looks quite “conventional.” But our story isn't and I LOVE that it has this depth to it. We made it though this April Fool’s non-joke, weaved through PLENTY of judgement and have built a family that is a safe and warm space for all four of us.