When I found out I was pregnant this time and started looking for an OB, I found myself dealing with a lot of the same junk I dealt with in early pregnancy with Aliza Joy - the emotional junk, the sadness about Cesarean births and knowing what could have been. Regrets and if-onlys.
And it really caught me off guard this time, you know? AJ is almost five. FIVE. I have had five years to work through all the birth stuff, and until I got pregnant, I really hadn't given it a second thought in a long time. But here was the sadness and wistfulness again, and though I had little hope that a VBA2C could be possible in Oklahoma, I decided to give it a valiant effort.
The green light from the midwife was incredibly encouraging to me. I was to meet with the OB on staff who was open to VBA2C and weigh my options at which point I could continue with her or switch to the midwife practice. Tuesday afternoon, I finally got to have a consultation with Dr. Gibson. I liked her right away with her big blond hair and big personality. She listened to my Cesarean birth stories and was very candid about what all would be involved in a successful VBA2C birth.
She was so encouraging and supportive and yet, as I was sitting there on the exam table, listening to her and asking questions and really trying to engage my mind in the possibility of this actually getting to happen, it hit me. I'm not going to have a VBAC. All of the sudden, I just knew. I knew it as sure as a fact. And then I immediately started feeling confused and ashamed. I couldn't understand what was going on because this was what I had dreamed of - both an OB and a midwife who would support me through the process, and yet I was absolutely sure it wasn't going to happen.
I didn't tell Dr. Gibson any of this, of course. So we proceeded with all the first appointment exam business, and then she wheeled in the ultrasound machine. I was super surprised to get to have an ultrasound at 8 weeks. At my OB practice in Texas, they waited until 10 - 12 weeks for the first ultrasound, and they always did the transvaginal kind. In fact, Kyle didn't even go with me to the appointment because I was under the impression I would only be consulting with Dr. Gibson about the VBAC option.
So yes, I was surprised to get an ultrasound and a "tummy" ultrasound at that! She squirted that blue gel on my abdomen and the nurse turned out the lights. Now y'all, I've had two children and I STILL have no idea what to look for on that screen. As carefully as I could, I was watching Dr. Gibson's face, studying her carefully for any indication of whether or not things looked okay in there.
At first, she and the nurse were quiet and I started praying, "God, your plan is perfect. Whatever your will is for this baby, I accept your plan because it is perfect and good. Jesus, give me peace." Then her nurse let out a little whoop and I saw that Dr. Gibson was smiling so big. She told me if I look right here on the screen, I could see both of them.
Both of them.
I will never, as long as I live, forget that moment. It's always magical and mysterious and wonderful to see life growing in that way, and of course I remember seeing each of my girls on the ultrasound screen the first time, too. But the shock. The absolute, inconceivable shock of two.
Commence out-of-body experience.
I cried a lot. Mascara-smearing, hands-shaking crying. Not exactly happy tears, either. Absolutely terrified tears. Absolutely cannot believe this is happening tears.
Dr. Gibson said, "So we may want to go back to that VBAC conversation," and that's when I told her, "No. It's off the table. Clearly." And in that moment, that was the only thing that made sense. In that moment, I had complete peace about another Cesarean birth. The sadness and regret were gone, instantly. And I have to believe that was God, going ahead of me, working in my heart to prepare me for that one thing.
And the cool thing is that since I'm going to be a patient of Dr. Gibson's, I'll deliver (if all goes as planned) at Oklahoma Children's, a hospital with one of the best NICUs in the state. I know nothing happens by chance, and I just have to believe that the idea to reach out to the OU Midwives was God's way of putting me into the care that I would need - long before I knew why I would need to be there.
So Dr. Gibson and her nurse helped me calm down. I got a hold of myself, somehow, miraculously. We talked about how the babies are in separate sacs. I asked if that meant they are for sure fraternal, and she said maybe, but they could be identical twins who split early. Time will tell on that one.
They gave me a box of Kleenex and told me to take all the time I needed and left the room. I got dressed and texted Kyle: I have big news. He called immediately and I sobbed into the phone: We're having twins. <--- edited version
After I got dressed, I sat on a chair in the exam room and clutched the print-out of the ultrasound picture. Then I lapsed into what my dad calls The Thousand Mile Stare. I just ... I was just reeling.
When we announced this pregnancy to friends, I was surprised when several friends said they were jealous, that they had always wanted twins. It was a completely foreign concept to me - wanting twins. I had actually just never given it much thought at all. And again, no twins at all in my family. Of course, I have had friends through the years who were twins, and I have plenty of friends who have twins, but there has just never been anything in me that wanted to have twins.
I have to tell you, though, that the immediate excitement and enthusiasm and joy from others has helped a lot. I have tons of questions and I've kind of spent the last few days staring off into space, trying to imagine what this will look like. But I'm getting there. I'm wrapping my mind around it.
So many kind friends have asked how I'm feeling. Mostly, honestly, I'm still feeling very sick and very tired. Emotionally, I'm doing better. I am. My neighbor across the street has twin boys and she invited me over to talk about it all, and her honesty mixed with happiness was good for my soul.
I'm getting there. Kyle is elated. Family members are giddy. The girls are excited. And I'm grateful for life and overwhelmed by the future and still just shaking my head over the wonder of it all.