I was having a psychotic break just after being told I was going to be on mandatory Twin Bed Rest for two months. My husband and I were also in the process of building a house 45 minutes away and planning to move with our almost-3-year-old son. So in my last weeks of freedom, I waddled around hurriedly trying to tie up loose ends. I made lists, did errands, frequently picked up my son and squeezed him till his eyeballs popped out (soon I wouldn’t have that luxury), and took him on long excursions to our favorite parks and play-spots.
My mother-in-law arrived just as my prison sentence started, and she got right to work cleaning my (apparently not clean enough) house; doing all our laundry (actually folding and putting away all of the clean clothes instead of removing them piecemeal from the dryer on an as-needed basis); cooking meals (involving more than two ingredients); taking my son out to play in the glorious spring sunshine (while deflecting my jealous death glares); and a million other minor details like packing up our WHOLE house with the help of my father-in-law and husband. I, meanwhile, enjoyed a sloth-like existence, a total lack of control, and a terrifying body overhaul, including tree trunk legs and cankles, size 38D knockers (up from 36A), and a belly the size of an industrial microwave. (On a positive note, all of this Elephantitis-ness helped to normalize the size of my ass).
One morning, 10 days before we were scheduled to move, I carefully sidestepped the packing boxes to get my wide-load out the door to a doctor’s appointment. Two hours later, my cervix was 5 centimeters wider. I was suddenly in an operating room, a la Grey’s Anatomy, where doctors and nurses were playing the Counting Crows on the radio, effing around with my innards, and talking about their freakin’ weekends as if my whole WORLD wasn’t about to change FOREVER!
“Wooo-wee,” whistled a doctor I didn’t know. “Those are some big babies. About 7 pounds each – I don’t see many twins that big.”
Suddenly feeling like a 14-pound weight was on my chest, I started squeezing the poop out of my husband’s hand, gasping and crying through my oxygen mask, and begging my OB to put those 7-pound babies back in for another 2 weeks! The doctors and nurses were communicating to each other with their eyes since their mouths were wearing surgical masks, and I was just about to tell them I didn’t appreciate their eyes talking SHIT about me, when I suddenly blacked out. It was post-delivery pre-eclampsia and I was put on silly juice (magnesium sulfate) to ward off seizures for the next 24 hours. It was probably for the best. I wasn’t ready for my new reality yet.
My new reality, in a nutshell, involved bringing newborn twins home to a townhouse that was already inhabited by 4 adults, 1 preschooler, 2 dogs (belonging to my inlaws), and 97 moving boxes. It included obvious sleep-deprivation for all of us, since we all took shifts getting up to feed and change two mouths and butts (God bless my workhorse inlaws). It involved eating crappy take-out meals with plastic utensils or sometimes just with our bare hands, cave-man-style, because all of our silverware, pots, and pans were packed away. It also involved recovering from a C-section that hurt like a MoFo, so even though my bedrest prison sentence was over and I wanted to hop around helping everyone, all I could manage was a painful shuffle. My son’s planned third birthday party fell exactly 48 hours from my hospital release, and because two babies were already usurping his throne as Only Child, I wasn’t about to take away the kid’s birthday too! We hosted 12 children and their parents at my sister’s house, me lying pathetically on the couch watching the festivities from afar and trying not to suffocate myself with a pillow, and my mom and mother-in-law posted as sentries around the new babies, making sure that none of the germy kids breathed on them.
Six days later, the movers came, hoisting out our townhome’s furniture, revealing all sorts of dust bunnies and dirt that my mother-in-law quickly swooped in to remove. I looked around our empty first house, struggling with the watery eyes and sniffles from my Change Allergy, but trying to stay positive. I could see the ghosts of all our newlywed memories (laundry fights, hosting our first Thanksgiving, movie nights cuddled on the couch), our first-time parent memories (colic, projectile-vomit, diaper blow-outs, sweet first smiles, an angel sleeping in my arms), and I took a deep, shaky breath. We were headed for the Unknown: a new house, a new town, a new neighborhood, a new family. Just a week before, I’d been a mother of one child, and I was leaving this townhouse a mother of three. There would be a house to unpack, a three-year-old son to acclimate and reassure, two new infants to learn how to care for simultaneously, new pediatrician’s office, grocery store, and pre-school to find. The list of new things to do was boundless, and I wasn’t sure my Multi-Task Dysfunctional self could learn how to navigate all of this change at one time. Yet, if there was one thing I’d learned in my 34 years, it was that I couldn’t fight change. I had faced it all my life, and though I’d emerged with my bumps, scrapes, and bruises, I managed to turn out okay. My new family would too.
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