I’ve always oscillated between control freak and laid-back hippie, like I need my life in order so then I can just chill out. I thought of course that this would carry over into parenting: proof positive that a high GPA doesn’t mean you truly know anything.
My first indication that parenting was going to severely test my control freak tendencies came when my husband and I decided to get pregnant. Decided, as if it would be just that easy: I wanted it, so it would happen. Only, it didn’t happen. For months and months, it didn’t happen. In my need to control this situation I read everything out there on how to get pregnant, since apparently the old fashioned way wasn’t quite cutting it, I remember spitting on glass to see if my saliva dried into a fern pattern and peeing on more sticks than I could ever imagine, but still there was never a positive pregnancy test.
Finally, we discovered the problem and were able to move past it and in May of the next year I found out I was pregnant and was due in January. Only, I wasn’t supposed to be due in January. I’m a teacher, we have two months off in the summer, I was supposed to have a baby in late May, early June then I could spend the rest of the summer doting on my tiny bundle. But I couldn’t complain, not when I was so happy to be pregnant and certainly not when there wasn’t a thing I could do about it.
At our first ultrasound we were thrown for another loop. As I lie on the table and the technician did her magic with the wand, she pointed out the strong heartbeat of our little one, then she said “and there’s the second heartbeat.” My husband and I nodded, neither of us all that interested in my heartbeat. “No,” she told us, “the second baby’s heart beat. You’re having twins.”
Don’t get me wrong I was ecstatic, I had always thought that having twins would be really cool, but still I had not planned on it, so all my dreams and visions had only involved one tiny bundle.
My pregnancy was relatively normal, we went to a ton of ultrasounds since twins are considered high risk. The babies were healthy and strong, everything was going as planned. And then on December 5, a Friday afternoon, I left work early and went to the doctor for my weekly appointment. “Are you having any discomfort?” the doctor asked. I looked at him like he was crazy. I was 33 weeks pregnant and measuring 52. You know what kinds of animals make it to 52 weeks? Horses, whales, elephants. I couldn’t sit in booths in restaurants and I couldn’t comfortably reach necessary parts after going to the bathroom, I hadn’t seen my feet in months, and I couldn’t get up if I lied down - I just kind of rolled side to side like a turtle on its back: some discomfort was a bit of an understatement.
|If I had actually sat back in this chair, we would probably have had to hire a crane to get me up :)|
“What I mean,” he clarified, “is, do you feel any tightening in your abdomen? You’re in labor.” Uh uh, nope I was not in labor. No, I was only 33 weeks, I had not packed a hospital bag, I had not finished getting ready for my little people’s arrival. I was once again not in control, but I was definitely in labor. Off to the hospital I went and I stayed for two days while I was pumped full of fluids and steroid shots and something to help keep those babies cooking. That first night the nurse offered me a sleeping pill, sure that I was never going to sleep with all the beeping from monitors and tubes going into me, I accepted. The thing about sleeping pills I didn't understand though is if you don’t actually go to sleep you turn into a drunken college student version of yourself. I was crying and apologizing for crying, blaming myself for not doing something to keep the babies from coming too soon before finally, blessedly falling asleep. I was officially neither in control nor laid back, and these kids hadn't even arrived yet.
I managed to make it through the weekend without delivering and I was sent home on bed rest, where I was forced to sit and do nothing, something I wish I would have taken more advantage of at the time.
Wednesday morning, less than 72 hours after being discharged from the hospital, my water broke and we were back. This time there was no stopping my now 34 week babies and at 8:03 that morning I delivered my son, followed seven minutes later by my daughter. I remember being exhausted but also feeling like there was nothing I couldn’t do. I had created people, I had grown humans and by some miracle they were here in the flesh. But my delivery was also not what I had imagined. There was no quiet birthing room with music playing with just my husband and I and the doctor, I delivered naturally but in an operating room filled with a complete audience.
Because my twins were preemies there were NICU doctors and nurses, because it was a shift change there were two doctors there for the delivery, there was an anesthesiologist that I never even used, I’m pretty sure at some point a marching band came through. I never imagined so many people would see my hoo ha!
I remember vividly the doctor saying “oh shit” as she delivered my daughter. I later learned that my daughter, who was born breech, had had her arm around her neck and when the doctor moved it to deliver her it snapped her humerus. But she healed, rather quickly and I learned my most valuable lesson as a mother.
|Irie and her very tiny arm splint.|
I am not in control.
Oh I may pretend to be,
I may hope to be, but I am not.
Things are going to happen in my home, in my world, to me and to my children that I cannot predict or stop. I have to let that go, I have to impact what I can and ride the rest out. When people hear that my daughter’s arm was broken they are shocked, appalled, saddened: any number of things, but in a way, I am thankful. I was terrified of these little people and how I was going to change the world to work for me and them, and I can’t do that. There will be times when I figuratively have to move an arm out of the way and it will no doubt get broken, but it will heal.
My children may not like everything that I do, there may be times I disappoint them or upset them, but they will heal. There may be times they disappoint or upset me, but I will heal There are a lot of things that we can do wrong when raising children, but there is very little that they can’t bounce back from. They’re resilient little creatures, and I’m thankful to learn that so am I.
|These two sweet angels were worth every bit of control I lost!|