The day I stopped breathing

Neala and Lincoln,

You may have read the title and thought to your self, “My mom is so dramatic.” But after you read this letter you will understand.

At the beginning of every year I pick a word. I spend a few days thinking and praying about what my word should be.  Once I’ve chosen my word, I make an intentional effort to act on my word.  I even ask God to help me grow in that particular area throughout the year. This year I felt my word should be “trust”.

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I chose my word the first week of January.  Turns out, that week was just about the only week I would willingly choose anything.  By now you’ve read my previous letters explaining my father’s death, our home not selling before Lincoln was born, bedrest, etc.

Nothing about this year has made much sense to me. I made plans.  Then God laughed at them and said, “Not quite what I had in mind dear.”

So you’d think this wouldn’t surprise me. But it did.

People would often ask me if I was done having children. Without hesitation my answer was yes. Always yes.

Definitely yes.

A few close friends knew I sometimes had far away dreams of adoption.  But adding a child to our family through adoption anytime soon was not up for discussion. Partly because adopting is expensive. But mainly because you two are still quite small.

I’m sure by now you’ve figured out what I’m about to say….

Mommy made plans. God laughed.

Mommy was done having children. God said, “Not quite what I had in mind.”

Yep, mommy is pregnant.

I’ve told you repeatedly honesty is the best policy. If I can’t be honest with you about my struggles and share my raw emotions, then I shouldn’t write you these letters. It will be a huge disservice to you if I only share the good stuff. Because I’m responsible for helping you learn about life, I feel it is necessary to also share the cruddy stuff.

So here’s how I felt when I found out I was pregnant…

Shocked

Sad

Confused

Worried

Overwhelmed

I took the pregnancy test on a Thursday night. Your father and I spent the weekend trying to process the news. He hugged me as I cried and worried out loud. We prayed and asked God for peace.

By Sunday night we weren’t quite so overwhelmed. We made a plan on how to fit everyone in a bedroom and my nonstop crying actually stopped.

I went to the doctor Monday afternoon. I didn’t have your dad come with me because I figured it would be a quick appointment.

I can’t count how many ultrasounds I’ve had in the past three years. Lincoln, you tried to come six weeks early, so I had to have an ultrasound every week until you were born. Not to mention I am “advanced maternal age” which adds even more ultrasounds to the mix.

So when the technician turned on the screen and began the ultrasound I knew what to expect. A small black circle (the sack)  with an even tinier speck inside.

That is not what I saw.

And I stopped breathing. 

I saw two black circles with tiny specks inside.  Two embryos.

In case you didn’t pay attention in Health class, two embryos grow into two babies.

I stared at the screen in shock. When my lungs started shouting at me to breathe, my body tried to play catch up and I began breathing really quickly. Too quickly.

I started to feel dizzy. Tears ran down my face. I asked the technician if I was being “punked”.   Was Ashton Kutcher coming out with a video camera to tell me this was all a prank? I really asked  her those questions.

I kept saying, “What?” “Two?” “What?”

The technician kept reminding me to breathe because apparently I kept forgetting.

Here’s how I felt when I found out I was pregnant with twins…

Shocked

Sad

Worried

Angry

Overwhelmed

It’s embarrassing to admit those emotions to you because none are happy emotions.

But it is how I felt in that moment.

I had just accepted the fact I was pregnant. But this. This was too much.

My mind raced a million miles a minute. The tech called my Dr. and her nurse to come in.  Here’s how the conversation went:

My OB: “Oh Mistie, God has a plan.”

Me: “I think God’s plan is wrong.” (sobbing)

My nurse: “God chooses the special moms to have twins. You must be a very special mother. ”

Me: “No. I’m not special. In fact, I’m very average.”

Me: “I cannot believe this is happening. I cannot believe this is my real life.” (more sobbing)

Then I cried the quiet cry. You know, when the alligator tears are streaming and your shoulders are shaking, but no sound comes out of your mouth.  The nurse rubbed my arm while the tech went to get more tissues.

As if this rush of emotion weren’t enough. Then the Dr. said something that once again took my breath away.  I needed to come back in three weeks for an ultrasound. One of the sacks (Baby B) looked irregular and she wanted to make sure both embryos were “viable”.

Viable: Capable of surviving or living successfully.

In five seconds I went from,”I don’t want to be pregnant. I don’t want twins.” to “Something might be wrong? One might not make it? Am I going to lose a baby?”

My feelings were already in a blender. Now they were in chop mode on full speed.

I walked out of the office in shock. I had never experienced shock until then. It’s a very odd feeling.

The next three weeks were a blur.  Some days I felt peace. Other days I felt anxiety.  Every day I felt nauseous.  Very, very nauseous.
My Dr. warned me twins meant double the hormones, double the hunger, double the everything.  She was totally right. Any symptoms I felt when I was pregnant with you two looked like paper cuts compared to this.

Three weeks later, I walked into the doctor’s office mentally prepared for bad news. Your dad held my hand as they started the ultrasound. Two sacks popped up right away.  I know this is going to sound strange, but I felt relieved, overwhelmed and numb all at the same time.

We had to wait in the lobby for about 20 minutes after the ultrasound before we met with the doctor.  I started crying and couldn’t stop.  A few women stared. Normally the stares would bother me. But they didn’t that day.

When the nurse took us back I was still crying. The tears continued to flow when the doctor came in and said both babies looked great and were measuring the same size. She wasn’t worried about “Baby B” anymore. She said she was more worried about me than the babies.  ha!

It is the end of November. I am at the end of my first trimester. The nausea and vomiting are still very much present. But the anxiety and anger are not. I’m happy to report I no longer cry every day. This is major progress.  There are still days I feel overwhelmed thinking about the future. I am sad when I think how much our family will change next year.  But God is truly helping me grow in peace and acceptance.

We “went public” with our news last week. So many people have expressed well wishes and congratulations. They hug me and tell me how excited they are. I smile and tell them I’m just not there yet.  There’s no sense in lying to folks. I’ll get there when I get there.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to grow in my word for the year.
Trust.

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2 thoughts on “The day I stopped breathing

  1. Thank you for this. You answered every question I had. You went from no babies to adoption, to 1 then 2, and now 4!4 babies in 3 years is enough to shock any mommy! Trust is a great word!

    Like

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