Two has never been my favorite number. In fact, if anything, it’s been one of my “least favorite” – if there were such a thing. I can't really explain why I don't care for the number 2...perhaps it has something to do with the way it looks or is written. Or maybe two rather than just one, seems to simply add complication. Whereas “three” seems to make a nice grouping, have a purpose, round things out.
But nonetheless, many of my favorite things in life seem to come in pairs: my husband and I make two, I am blessed to have two siblings, and two ever present four-legged companions (our dogs) live under our roof.
And then back in late 2009, the number two took on a whole new level of importance for me: My husband and I had wed not much longer than a year prior. Our offer on our first home – a 1920’s colonial, covered in wallpaper from top to bottom which cried out for updating and renovation – had just been accepted. Thinking we’d wait a year or two to start a family, we began talking about plans and priorities for what we would tackle once we moved in. Then one December night prior to closing (two years to the day since my husband had purposed), while sitting on our living room couch, I had a strange feeling that something was “different”. Five pregnancy tests later over the course of the weekend and I was finally feeling convinced that perhaps we would be needing the larger residence, wallpaper still intact or not, to house not only us, but also a little one. My first visit to the doctor the day before Christmas Eve that year revealed not one, but two miracles from God. We would soon be parents not only for the first, but also for the second time.
Shocked. Surprised. Speechless.
None of the above truly describes what my husband and I felt in that moment. Beside myself with an incredible range of emotions comes closer. My husband, always up for adventure and one for having an incredible knack for making any moment lighter could barely keep his feet on the ground. In previous discussions, we both had agreed that three children would make a good number, if the Lord saw fit. So in this moment, he said to me, “Well, look at it this way: now you only have to be pregnant twice – and then we’ll probably get four!” Haha. I had chuckled at the time, thinking what were the chances of that (or this, for that matter) considering twins do not appear in any close family lines on either side.
Life continued. We survived – with the help of God through many dear family and friends -- and so have our beautiful twin girls who just celebrated their third birthday this summer. Some from my past have often remarked how ironic it is that I would be the mother of twins when in high school I was sometimes referred to as “the baby hater” – not that I actually hated babies, of course, but found them much more cute and adorable in the arms of their own mother, halfway across the room where I didn’t have to smell or otherwise really interact with them at all. However, these first three years of my girls’ lives has taught me a great many things, including the absolutely amazing, unwavering, unconditional love that comes pouring out of you as a mother.
Not wanting our children to be too far apart in age, my husband and I – with God’s guidance -- began to entertain the idea that perhaps it would be time to start trying for that magic “number three” at the end of last year. This time, the positive pregnancy tests (I think I managed to limit it to three or four this time around) came in early February. Of course, the doctor didn’t want to see me until I was a bit further along and I scheduled my first appointment for mid-March. Those six weeks were agony – I felt more exhausted than I ever remembered the first time around and I barely had an appetite due to my constant feeling of motion sickness. Anyone who has ever “been there” – feeling such strong effects of a pregnancy but yet not having the official confirmation of a doctor – knows just the agony I am referring to.
As the appointment date grew closer, my husband and I decided that he would not be attending – he’s currently in a plumbing apprenticeship which offers no vacation or sick time and rewards those with a strong dedication to dependability consistent placement on jobs, even when they are hard to come by. While obviously disappointed that he wouldn’t be there, I completely understood and didn’t really think it was necessary considering we had already been through this once before. So that Monday afternoon, accompanied by my sister and a prayer that all would be found in a healthy state, I headed into my doctor’s office. Greeted by the wonderful team of receptionists, nurses, and my doctor whom I had all gotten to know so well during my first pregnancy (when carrying twins you are seen a LOT), I heard the same comments over and over: How many are we going to find in there today? Ready for another set, hey? The jokes got old and I soon told them all so. After all, I was looking forward to knowing what carrying one child would be like, to take just one baby to the grocery store, to hold my baby and not feel as though I had chosen “against” the other.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think the number two would come into play yet again. But it did.
At first, the ultrasound appeared to show a relatively standard – yet still amazing – pregnancy. One baby with a single, strong heartbeat. However, soon a second head and heartbeat could be seen. The room was silent. I spent the rest of that day somewhere between reality and a state of oblivion. I vaguely remember calling my husband, heading home and finding a spot on the couch where I laid for what seemed like hours trying to wrap my head around the knowledge I had just received. All the while, my husband calling what seemed like everyone he knew to deliver the great news.
That all-too-familiar struggle of emotions was back in full force: How was I ever going to manage four kids under the age of four? Yet how could I be anything but ecstatic at the fact that the Lord was seeing fit to bless us with four of His children to love and raise? How was my body physically going to ever be able to handle another twin pregnancy? Why did I feel so almost “disappointed” that I wouldn’t get to experience the “one-baby-at-a-time” thing? How would we ever afford it?
Fast forward seven (sometimes long) months. I sit here now, just ten days from my scheduled c-section date. The day in which we will, Lord-willing, meet number 3 and number 4, our two newest blessings from God.
My back feels ready to snap in half. I sleep an average of 3 hours a night. I’m continually hungry but can barely eat a full meal due to the lack of space in my stomach which is currently measuring that of a 43-week pregnancy (I still do not understand why they don’t just develop a different scale of measure for a pregnancy of multiples). Normal everyday tasks have become nearly impossible due to my large belly size and lack of balance, such as clipping my own toenails or shaving my legs. I dread heading out in public since I am guaranteed to be asked the question, “Are you going to go into labor right here?” at least once. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit terrified of what life will look like once our family of four becomes a family of six. But I honestly am more excited than afraid. For one reason or another, God has decided to entrust us with four of His children, and to do so two at a time. Knowing what I do now about the incredible love one can feel for these precious children, how could I not eagerly anticipate finally meeting them face-to-face?
People ask me all of the time – strangers, friends, and family members alike – How do you do it? Or they marvel at the fact that I appear so calm in our current situation. But for them I always have the same answer: What other choice do I have? They are my children, God’s children, true blessings from above and part of His Almighty plan. Who am I to say that He has chosen the wrong people for the job? And unfortunately, I know far too many that would give anything for the opportunity to become a mother (or become a mother again) and for one reason or another cannot. It is true that sometimes the greatest blessings come with the greatest challenges. But it is often in these challenges in which we grow in our faith the most. Are there days when I feel sorry for myself and sit down and cry, despite just how blessed I am? Most definitely. And I am sure there will be more of those days to come. But I still wouldn’t have it any other way.
So perhaps the number two isn’t so bad after all. And in case you are curious, my favorite number actually is seven – could God possibly have that “single pregnancy” I so wanted to experience yet in our future to allow our family to reach that count? Only time will tell :)
May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. ~Hebrews 13:20-21
Side note: If you happen to think of me next Friday, would you mind saying an extra prayer for all of us – my husband, the new babies, our girls, the medical staff, and me? For we all know that nothing in this life is to be taken for granted and I would greatly appreciate the extra support. Also, I will be taking a brief hiatus of sorts from writing while I adjust to life with the new babies. Until then, please continue reading and supporting these great women in their posts as well!