August 22, 2017, the day our lives would change forever, was a Tuesday.
We knew Michelle was pregnant and we were anxious and eager for our first appointment—the official start of this journey.
I arrived at the hospital and met Michelle. As we sat in the waiting room, I fidgeted and bit my nails, nerves washing over me, wave after wave. Our first appointment that day was supposed to be with our doctor, but as these things go, she was in a delivery and was unable to meet with us.
Still, we met with the nurse to complete a lot of those first appointment items that were all new to me. One of those items was the attempt to hear heart tones on the fetal Doppler. Our nurse had trouble finding anything … as she moved the implement, we just heard static. She left, and my nervousness grew.
Shortly, she returned with another nurse who she said was better at finding heart tones at this stage. That nurse located a heart tone rather quickly and the second I heard it, my eyes welled up and I looked at Michelle and saw tears in her eyes.
Hearing this heart tone grounded the experience in reality for me. This was the sound of my baby’s heart—an incredible, unbelievable thing to hear after spending 10 weeks thinking about this in a more abstract fashion.
Since our doc wasn’t there to do an ultrasound, they told us they could schedule one for us in the afternoon.
We had a quick lunch and then returned to the hospital to see our baby. In the moment, I thought the day had been awesome and somewhat overwhelming.
The ultrasound room seemed just like all the ones I’d seen in movies and on television. Except now, I was going to see my baby and I felt like I was in some kind of strange out-of-body experience, there, but not totally—residing also in the land of unreality. Michelle, for her part, seemed to be taking everything in stride.
Our ultrasound tech rubbed the weird gel onto the wand and began to do something so familiar to her and so foreign to us. Soon, white images began to appear on the black screen and I had absolutely no idea what I was looking at.
After three or four minutes of her moving the wand around and taking photos, she stopped.
“So, what do you think?” she said.
“I can’t tell what I’m looking at,” I replied.
She moved the cursor to point at a white mass.
“This right here is a baby,” she said.
Yes, I thought to myself, now I see it.
“And this right here…” she continued as she moved the cursor.
Is the placenta or some other baby-related thing I don’t know about, I thought to myself as I finished her sentence in my head.
“…is a baby,” she said.
My mouth dropped open. I stared at the screen and kept staring.
To my right, instantly, Michelle started laughing hysterically. Perhaps she was thinking back 20 minutes as we sat, waiting to be called into the ultrasound, and I made a throwaway joke about twins. (Not remembering that she has twins on each side of her family.)
Or perhaps, she was thinking the same thing I was… that our lives were going to be changed more significantly than we anticipated. That this was thrilling and shocking and scary and amazing, all at once. Fraternal twins.
After what seemed like forever, but was probably about 30 seconds, I was able to pick my jaw off the floor and I said: “Tell me there aren’t anymore in there…” She said there wasn’t.
We left the appointment with a disc of pictures and a deep feeling of shock and excitement. We both called our parents and asked if we could stop over that evening, that we wanted to share the ultrasound photo with them.
We went to my Dad and Stepmom, then my Mom and Stepdad and then Michelle’s Mom and Dad’s. I loaded the photo onto my iPad and when we pulled it up for each of them—their reaction mirrored ours, they weren’t sure what they were seeing and it took a while for it to dawn on them.
I had to tell my Mom to read the words—she did, “Twin A” and “Twin B.” Our parents screamed our shouted with surprise and joy.
Telling them and seeing their excitement helped—and their pledges that they would support us certainly eased some of our worries. We weren’t on this adventure alone. Our parents were with us too, and the rest of our family and friends, whom we’d tell over the next few days.
As the shock slowly wore off, it was replaced by a deep feeling that we have been blessed. I’ve heard people say that when your family grows, your heart expands and your capacity to love grows.
We were ready to have our baby—we knew the time was right. After we found out Michelle was pregnant, I’d daydream about returning to all the places we loved to go with our baby. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but also that Michelle and I valued experiences and the places we have them and the people we have them with. It was stunning to find out we were getting two, and to think how that might impact our best-laid plans.
I lived approximately 12,793 days before August 22, 2017. That Tuesday was the most shocked I’ve ever been. It was the day that our lives changed forever. And it was the day I felt a deep sense of awe and appreciation as my heart expanded to accommodate two.
In less than a month, they’ll be here. I can’t wait to meet them and be their Dad.