‘Man plans and God laughs’ continued…
How bad can it be?!?
Okay, so where was I? Hmm… Oh yeah… I’m at the part where I have to tell my husband that we are about to be a family of eight. Yes, eight. I walk up the stairs to our three bedroom apartment that seemed spacious till about a half hour ago. I have these images of Ian turning into the Hulk, yelling words that the girls shouldn’t be hearing. I’m preparing to cry myself to sleep because Ian being upset would just take me over the edge. Truth is, a couple of our children were surprises and he always took the news well, so why on earth did I think he’d lose his mind this time? I mean, double the pleasure, double the fun? I say to myself ‘grow a pair, just walk in, he’ll be fine’.
Put down the fish please
By the time I arrive the girls are running around and Ian was in the kitchen scaling a salmon for dinner. He was very focused on his task. ‘Hi babe, how’d it go?’. I didn’t answer. He repeats the question. Again, I didn’t answer. I felt like my mouth was glued shut. He finally looks up ‘Honey, are you okay?! You’re as white as a ghost! Is everything OK? Your scaring me’. I finally mutter ‘you’re not going to believe this’. ‘Oh, babe.. How bad could it be? Are you further along then we thought?’. At this point he’s staring at me, hands covered in slimy scales. So I say, ‘THINK BIGGER’. Ian giggles, ‘what’s bigger, I mean it’s not like it’s twins or anything!’ I stare at him blankly. He starts laughing nervously… ‘RIGHT?’. I look right at him and nod. He scrunched his eyes and makes a confused face like he doesn’t understand. Mind you, it’s not a face I’m familiar seeing on him. Ian’s a brilliant man who rarely ‘doesn’t understand things’. So I shrug and say ‘yes, twins, and I’m freaking the f*!# out”. To my surprise, he starts cracking up! ‘Ruth, that’s insane, I can’t believe it!’. He washes his hands finally and gives me a hug; I relax automatically.
We sit on the porch processing and staring at the sonogram. He then abruptly picks up the phone and starts to call all of our immediate family members to tell them the news. Everyone in our family took the news with shock, laughter and kindness. Both sides of our family have always been supportive of a growing family so at least I knew that part wouldn’t be hard.
The next couple of months tested my strength. Mentally and physically. I had anxiety attacks about how the hell we’d manage twins, and wondered if my body could take it in my advanced maternal age😏. I obsessed about whether or not I could carry to term. I’ve never felt more sick in a pregnancy before. I was tired at a level that was indescribable. Throwing up became trendy for me, which was not the norm for me during pregnancy. Surprisingly, I didn’t gain any weight for quite a while even though my tummy was growing at the speed of light. I read the books, questioned my friend who had twins like I was a first time Mom. I annoyed my husband with all the facts regarding statistics and fraternal vs identical blah, blah, blah. I thought if I prepared myself enough I’d be able to rock parenting twins like I did with the girls. And again, I was so wrong.
Make some space Girlies
I’m going to rewind a little bit. I was about four months pregnant when we decided to break it to the girls who were obviously suspicious. Especially my oldest, who should work for the Mossad one day because her spy skills are top notch. We were laying in bed when Ian said ‘let’s tell the girls’. I decided I was ready to tell the ‘big girls’ and then, the younger two. So we called Isabella (my oldest daughter) in. ‘Isabella, we have something to tell you’. She sits on the bed smiling and curious. ‘Sooo… Mommy is pregnant’. Issy smiles ‘I knew it!!’. Then Ian says ‘yeah… Andddd it’s twins’. Issy twitches, ‘whhhaaatt?! Really?!’. Ian replies ‘yup’. ‘You wanna call Pearl in?’ I say. ‘Yeah, yeah!’ she answer quickly. ‘Pearl! Come here babe’. She enters. We say, ‘go ahead Issy, tell her’. Before we could even take the next breath Issy blurts out – ‘Mommy is pregnant and it’s twins!!’. Poor Pearl barely has a moment to process and she quietly responds almost in a whisper ‘yay, I was hoping you were… I’m so happy’. It was so cute and sweet. Mia and Camille were in disbelief but then accepted the news with excitement. And that was that. They were adorable, handing me water and constantly telling me to lay down and rest. They were empathetic and kind.
I worked till I was thirty two weeks pregnant, I was contracting constantly and thought it was time to stay home. I was huge, every step I heard a “fee,fy, fo, fum!” in my head. Picking something off the floor was a daunting task…the “fallen object” always looked soooo far away. If I had to get down on the floor to get something, I accepted there may have been a chance that I would not be getting up again till Ian came home because he was the only one who could lift me up. I knew the time was getting closer, there were many nights when Ian and I would time contractions because they were so intense and often. I was ‘nesting’ like a lunatic. Reorganizing like Martha Stewart and a social worker were due to arrive for an unscheduled visit. We wanted to stay for another year in our apartment since we are co-sleepers anyway for the first year. But I needed to make space for the wombmates arrival.
I recruited Ian to help, he wasn’t gonna get away that easy. FYI, Ian is a man of all trades. He works in high tech, he’s a programmer, a trained EMT, a volunteer police officer here in Israel, a plumber, electrician, a welder, and a wood worker. I often put him to work to build me stuff (one of the many reasons I married him 😉 ). He got to work on the babies co-sleeper and the time was approaching that the nuggets would arrive.
I woke up in the morning feeling a bit achy. The kids were at school and I figured I should just take it easy. I lay in bed like a beached whale… One contraction… Then another twenty minutes later. I had a scheduled appointment with the high risk specialist that afternoon so I just went on with my day. But the contractions continued like clock work every twenty minutes. Ian works in Tel Aviv, a fifty minute train ride away so I call and warn him – ‘don’t come home yet, but just so you are aware I’ve been having contractions every twenty minutes for a couple of hours’. ‘Okay, babe, keep me informed, I have meetings all day, but let me know if you need me and I’ll head out right away’. By four p.m. my contractions were about ten minutes apart. I let Ian know and headed to my appointment. When I arrived the nurse on staff (a cute Russian lady) hooks me up to the monitor to test for contractions. ‘How do you feel honey? you having contractions?’. ‘Oh yeah’ I reply, ‘But I’m pretty early, hope it’s not time yet’. She answers, ‘oh no, 36.4 forrr tvins, verrry okie, no vorry, ve check you’. As I sat in the chair my contractions start coming every five minutes. So I start messaging Ian who I knew was in an important seminar:
The next couple of hours went by in a blur. I called my Mom so she could come be with the girls who were waiting at home. I met Ian and my Mom at home, and got ready to go to the hospital. Kissed my girls and my Mom and off we went. I was nervous, excited and teary eyed.
On May 16th after a long and difficult attempt at birthing naturally as I had my other four, it was decided that the babies would come via c section. The babies continued to switch positions and Baby A was a full pound smaller then Baby B who was higher up. The doctors advised me that Baby A’s position was not safe for a natural delivery and Ian and I gave the go ahead. I was not happy about the decision, but whatever was best for the babies is what mattered . So, off I was wheeled into the delivery room, to welcome the last two to the family. They arrived safely thank Gd, and thanks to a skilled team, the babies completed my SIX-PACK of children.
We love you both Aliyah and Mateo, we wouldn’t be us without you.