It was decided: we did not under any circumstances want to know the sex of the baby. This was a routine ultrasound to check and make sure my humongous belly did not mean our baby was truly a monster, but that did not mean we needed to know if it was a boy or a girl. We still wanted that surprise at the birth. We had been hoping the first time we saw our baby would be as it was born, but a healthy baby we'd seen on a sonogram was better than an unhealthy baby we'd be seeing for he first time on its due date.
As the technician squirted the jelly onto my abdomen we made her promise not to tell us the sex. I knew I would be able to tell if I saw, so I glanced at the screen to get a quick peek before shielding my eyes for the rest of the exam.
That's when I saw it. Two perfect little ovals. Two.
"Uhhhhmmmm," the technician started.
"What?!! What is it?" my husband panicked.
"There's two!!!" I shouted.
"Yes," continued the tech. "Here's Baby A's head." Click. She took a picture to send to the radiologist. She moved the wand from near my pelvis to up near my ribs. Click. "And up here is Baby B's head!"
My husband's jaw might as well have been on the ground. "I'm sorry, what?!!!!" he shouted after a long pause.
"You are having two babies," the tech continued. Click. As if to help him better understand, she rephrased. "You're having twins!" Click.
Long pause. Click. Click. Click.
"I'm sorry, what??!!!!"
We both were in complete disbelief. There was no good explanation for why there were two. I didn't fit any of the typical descriptions of mamas of multiples. We were in complete awe. We laughed. We cried. We asked the poor technician if she was sure about a thousand times.
"Does this ever happen?" I asked her. "Do people often find out they are having twins at five some odd months pregnant?"
She shook her head, still looking at the screen. "No," she said plainly. Click. "This almost never happens." Click. "Most everyone these days gets an ultrasound as soon as they find out they are pregnant." Click. "This is very, very rare."
My husband was very quiet for a long time, staring at the screen, trying desperately to understand. Finally he squeezed my hand and kissed my cheek. "I guess we just love each other so much we made two."
This is why I love my husband.
At this point, life had already dealt us the biggest surprise we would likely ever get. "Still sure you don't want to know the sexes?" the technician asked. Without a beat, my husband answered. "Tell us everything!!!" The boys were not shy. Even a blind man could have seen that they were definitely boys. No mistakes here.
Oh boy, I thought. I'm freaking surrounded. My dad had been cursed/blessed to be constantly surrounded by women. He had four daughters and it seemed every pet we owned was female, too. Now it was my turn to be the minority. Two male cats, my husband, and now two little boys. I was in for it good.
The most surprising part of the whole story is how unsurprised everyone else seemed to be when we broke the news. Every single person reacted as if they had known the entire time. We called my husband's parents immediately after leaving the radiologist and their reaction? "I told you." All of my friends and coworkers who joked about me having twins? "We told you so." The customers? "I knew it." It was as if the universe had been playing a big cosmic joke and everybody was in on it except for us.
As if to seal the deal, one of our chickens laid their very first egg not long after the ultrasound. As we cracked it into our cast iron pan that August morning, I almost peed myself. The egg had two yolks. Two freaking yolks. The universe could not have been more clear.
A dear friend from New York had the best reaction of them all. When I told her I was eating for three, instead of the previously assumed two, she replied quite simply. "Too much fertility tea." Indeed.
From that moment on life was a blur. We were suddenly extremely conscious of the fact that we were no where near prepared for having these babies. We weren't even prepared for one baby. We had bought exactly five things. A pair of overalls from Finland, a stuffed rabbit from France, and three books. No crib. No clothes. No diapers, no bottles, no car seats, no strollers, no nothing. We had assumed that we still had all the time in the world. We still had nineteen weeks to go until our due date! But we quickly learned that being pregnant with two babies meant they could potentially come months in advance, cutting the time we had left in half.
We had our work cut out for us.