The Biggest Shock Of My Life

The Biggest Shock Of My Life

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You grow up having a certain image of what your life will be like as a “grown up.” Some people are very specific and prescribed, like where they will live and work, when they will get married and have kids, and the order in which said children will be born. Others allow room for interpretation, like it would be nice to get married and have kids one day. I thought I leaned more toward the “let life just happen” camp, until I received the biggest shock of my life on Oct. 8, 2013. Let’s travel back in time for a moment.

Michelle on October 9, 2013 – I can look at a toilet and will myself to puke. This is not a special power – this is my new reality. This pregnancy has been so different from my first; at least I have an explanation why now.

At the doctor/midwives’ office yesterday I was looking forward to getting my first ultrasound at 12 weeks. I wanted visual confirmation of the little nugget who has set up shop in my womb. I’ve been feeling so ill and exhausted; I like the idea of seeing a baby is really in there.
The ultrasound tech squirted the hot gel (not cold or warm, but quite hot – ouch!) onto my lower belly and placed the ultrasound wand (actually called a transducer, I learned) over my stomach. The image of the little dumpling causing all my queasiness popped up immediately. Hooray! I am not making this up! Then the tech kept saying, “Do you see that? Do you see that?” I thought, “Uhh, yeah. There’s a baby. Don’t you see the baby?” She just kept repeating this inane question until my husband caught on a few seconds later and said, “There’s two of them, it’s twins.” You have got to be kidding me.

I instantaneously and simultaneously burst into tears and laughed as I tried to wrap my brain around the idea of a 2-for-1. It was like the earth stopped moving and my mind was flooded with more thoughts than I could process. Here is a small sampling of the flurry of thoughts flying through my head. There’s a stowaway! I didn’t ask for two at once. Yes I want a large family, but I ordered a single baby. We have a toddler at home who will have a hard enough time adjusting to sharing her parents with one baby, now she’s up against two? Are they sure there are two?! This is a cruel joke to pull on a pregnant woman. Could something happen to one? To both? Will they survive the pregnancy? Is this really happening?!

I cut my new mama teeth on a single baby, now biology and the universe has upped the stakes – yeah I did OK with one kid, but how are you going to handle two at once with a toddler who wants your attention all of the time? Suddenly, I feel completely inept. Everything I knew and read now seems inconsequential. Who cares if you can get one baby to sleep soundly, how do you get two babies to sleep at the same time? I have visions of one baby crying and waking the other. Then the first baby falls asleep and the other baby begins crying. How do you successfully nurse two babies at once?!

Calm down. I have to go back to the basics. Babies are pretty basic creatures. They eat, sleep, pee and poop. There isn’t much more to them. Sure you want to stimulate them and get some tummy time in, but they are mostly really lazy and hungry roommates you must clean up after. They don’t pay rent, I cannot evict them, but they are cute. Even so, this is not a world I am prepared to enter, nor did I ever think I would be a part of…moms with twins? I guess I need to get used to the idea; there is two of them.

Following this epically life-changing ultrasound appointment, Josh and I sat outside the doctor’s office for at least an hour stunned and continually repeating, “There’s two of them” while feeling completely stunned.

Fast forward to April 2015 and I am still getting used to the idea of twins. My girls are about to turn one year old and I am astounded with how my life has gone down a different path I never expected. Living in Ohio with three little girls and my husband is nothing I ever imagined as a little girl myself, but it’s the path I have always meant to be on. Everything works out the way it should.

I am happy to say I nursed both babies exclusively and they started sleeping through the night in side-by-side cribs at 3 months. I have three amazing little girls who teach me more about myself and the world every day. Hopefully, I can impart some of these lessons to help others live their best, happiest life too.

About the author

Michelle Dickstein is a Midwest transplant from the East Coast with her husband. Michelle has her Masters of Public Health and works full-time outside of the home. Michelle writes about her adventures in life as the mother of three adorable and curly-headed young daughters, two of which are identical twins. In addition she writes for Northeast Ohio Parent magazine, blogs (Emailing with My Girlfriends and Kveller) and has made appearances on CBS 19 and Fox 8 news as a lifestyle and parenting "expert" (whatever that means)! Michelle is co-authoring a book (and looking for a literary agent and publisher)!

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