Twenty-One Weeks

IMG_6038
Today at the Farmer's Market a woman asked if I was expecting a girl or a boy. When I told her "two girls" the Hummus stand erupted with cheering and the man behind the counter literally started hurling free food at me. Apparently in Tunisia (where he's from) pregnant women are showered with gifts all day long so it was in his best interest to chuck cactus chips and various flavored hummus(es) at me, free of charge. Two of the fruit stands soon followed suit and my bread guy even gave me an extra loaf on the house. Suddenly the prospect of walking a mile home with a stroller full of sleeping child + 60 lbs of fruit + two human people in my body wasn't so bad.

I keep bumping into things, most notably strangers who I cannot stop slamming my giant self into all day long. I imagine this is only going to get worse and eventually I'll just sit in a chair all day and send Archer out for groceries.
IMG_6040
Yikes.

Babies are the size of large carrots this week (10 1/2 inches long) and my heart burn/reflux is much better. (Thank you all for your recommendations! You rock!) I've been in and out of sick all week but only because of a nasty cold, nothing pregnancy related.

Last week I called Fable one of the twins' names by mistake. Not that I don't repeatedly call her Archer or Hal or my dogs' names, but suddenly I was calling her a name that belonged to her unborn sister, whose name I'd yet to call her out loud. It was weird, man. Trip. Out.

At the perinatologist I sat next to a nice woman who after years of trying to get pregnant was finally expecting her first. It was one of the many times this pregnancy I felt an embarrassment of riches upon mentioning that, actually, this is my third pregnancy and, uh... there are two in there. As a "high-risk" patient, most of those I've met in various waiting rooms are women who have undergone various fertility treatment(s) or have dealt with multiple miscarriages. It seems wildly unfair that one woman can get pregnant so easily while for another, it's tremendously difficult. If only there was a reproductive switch in all of us that we could flip on and off without heartache.

The babies look amazing - they're measuring the same size with lots of movement on the high-tech ultrasound. The membrane that separates the babies has my perinatologist thinking the girls are identical (they appear to be from the same egg, split) but it will be impossible to know for sure until they're born (and even then, unless you get placentas tested for DNA, some parents never know).
IMG_5880
I edited ten minutes of ultrasound footage down to three for those curious to see twins in utero. It's a pretty incredible thing, regardless of how poor the quality is, here. (I had to re-film the screen footage with my camera. Music by: Sufjan Stevens.) The most fascinating part to me is watching their round heads appear side by side with what looks like a single string separating them. I asked the doctor if they can feel each other in there and he smiled. "No one knows, but from the looks of it, they must, don't you think?"

Yes. I think.


You can see their little heads together and at one point I'm pretty sure they high-five. Fable and Archer sat with me and watched the footage, which was thrilling - watching them watch their sisters with as much awe and love as I feel. How amazing to have two older siblings to adore AND a sister partner-in-crime. I can't even imagine.

Every day they seem to become more active - lots of kicks and jabs and what feels like stretching. Hal can feel them kick, now, and so can Archer. It's fun to have an older child experience this - he's old enough not only to understand what's going on but to produce commentary on why being pregnant with twins is so cool. Every picture he has brought home from school in the last few months has been of "the twins" -- most notably a picture of a giant peach our family of six was growing together, Hal and me on one side, Archer, Fable and the babies on the other.

"This is our whole family growing the biggest peach in the entire world!"
IMG_6042
Kind of, yeah.

GGC

***

75 comments:

Mariel | 6:46 PM

From one woman who is there right now, I want to say thank you! for acknowledging the pain we go through, as we wonder if we will ever have the riches that those more fertile than we are have.

Shelley Senai | 6:58 PM

Thank you SO MUCH for your comment on the randomness and oft unfairness of fertility. As much of a joy as it's been for me to watch your pregnancy develop, as much as I truly can't wait to see what you name your precious twin babes and experience what you share of the rest of your pregnancy, and their birth and young lives, as a person who has now, this month, this day in fact, reached the one year mark in trying to conceive, it can sometimes be hard to hear of anyone being so blessed as to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.

And I'm not the type to begrudge another woman or feel jealous of her pregnancy because I don't want HER pregnancy, I want MY pregnancy, and the many pregnancies I always imagined I'd have. I want them to start NOW. It's very much like being on the outside looking in. And along the way, it is so nice when someone on the inside acknowledges those of us waiting outside. I love that you said that, I almost needed you to, in a weird way. So, thanks.

Chelsea | 7:00 PM

such a beautiful belly!!!

NodToStyle | 7:40 PM

oh my goodness, what a lovely video. how surreal that must be.
when i was an infant my brother referred to me as his little peach, i think it is just too sweet that archer speaks of growing a peach! (annnndddd, i just rhymed)

avb | 8:08 PM

Bec! That video is GORGEOUS! So beautiful. This whole post got me teary-eyed. Virtual hugs and kisses xo

Elliesee | 8:09 PM

Thank you for that look of your babies, it is fascinating. I did get to see my twin girls touching each other in utero. Now one at 22 months is um, physical with the other one but still caresses her sister's back if she is crying or looks sick. So sweet!

CP | 8:28 PM

You look beautiful! just found out i'm prego and i am almost hoping it's twins looking at you :)

caitlin | 8:55 PM

I'm pretty sure I saw my boys socking each other in there when I was pregnant. They were my first pregnancy though, and I guess I didn't really appreciate how cool it was since I had nothing to compare it to. I will say that I am enjoying how easy and comfortable my current singleton pregnancy is though!
Twins rock, congratulations on your amazing good fortune!

Erica | 9:00 PM

Pregnancy suits you well. I only hope I can look half as great as you when it's my turn for children.

Also, where did you get your shoes?! Love them.

kwerk | 9:03 PM

Such a beautiful description, what a wonderful time for you & your family. So lovely, & I love Archer's enthusiasm for his sisters that are on the way.

You make me hope for twins some day with your thoughts on the process!

Love.

kwerk | 9:07 PM

Also, can I just say "Word" to Shelley? I have been told by a few doctors that my road to conception might turn out to be a tough one because of some medical issues, despite being surrounded by incredibly fertile women in my family. It's a tough diagnoses for someone that has never wanted anything more than to be a mother (or Snow White, same diff).

It doesn't matter what your journey to pregnancy & giving birth when you recognize the beauty & holiness of it. No matter if it's very easy or takes more work, it's such a sacred thing we can all respect & be rejoice in for one another when it happens as sisters & mothers. :)

lonek8 | 9:11 PM

These posts are practically the highlight of my week - love the belly photos!

I completely understand what you mean about feeling and embarrassment of riches for getting pregnant so easily. I too conceived my children with no problems - accident on the first, and then first try for the next two, and sometimes I feel so guilty for desperately wanting a fourth baby when there are people out there dying for just one.

The post was beautiful and so was the video.

Molly | 9:11 PM

I went to summer camp in 1991 with Sufjan. He and I alternated practice time on one of the few pianos in camp all week (he was far, far more talented than I could ever be). He is one of the few people who was as lovely and talented and self-possessed at 15 as he is now. I love the video.

writtenbliss | 9:18 PM

Ditto to what Shelley said. I rejoice daily for the blessings with you have and pray that I'll be blessed in the same way soon. <3

Nothing But Bonfires | 9:21 PM

Oh my god, this is incredible! I've never seen an ultrasound video. And they totally, totally do high-five. I think they even blow it up at the end.

agirlandaboy | 9:35 PM

As much as I typically bond with Internet babies (in a completely non-creeper way, of course), having so many ultrasound updates and photos and now this video make me feel like I'm getting to know your girls even better, even earlier. Obviously, this must have everything to do with how you're writing about the pregnancy, and how much you're sharing/showing, but I wonder if you feel it too--that you know these ladies in a different way than you knew Archer and Fable because you've already seen so much of them?

Anonymous | 9:35 PM

OMG - It was soo amazing to watch them move!!! It did look like their little hands touch eachother. One of my friends is having twins on Tuesday and a lot of her twin groups are on Facebook so they are now all posting pics of their newborn pics. It's amazing to see the identical twins sleeping in the EXACT SAME POSITIONS!! I'm not kidding, even the way they held their little arms and hands were the same. So amazing!! Will you get a 3/4 d ultra sound done? Some of those pictures are truly amazing!!! Oohh, I thought of a new name I like for a girl....Brawnte. I can't find it in any sites for the meanings but I like it...it's different. Take Care & get your rest! Jenn

agirlandaboy | 9:35 PM

p.s. I totally had a dream about the twins last night (non-creeper!) and you named them Lark and Wren. ADORABLE, methinks.

Jaelithe | 9:42 PM

Thank you so much for sharing that video of the ultrasound. That was totally awesome. I've never seen an ultrasound video of twins before.

Making it Lovely | 9:44 PM

Babies are amazing, and twins even moreso. I loved the video.

Rosstwinmom | 10:21 PM

Could Archer be any more perfect as an older brother? Man, those girls are so lucky!!!!

Jessica | 10:51 PM

That was super cool! We just had our 20 week ultra sound and we are having our 2nd son! It's amazing watching them in there! What beautiful little humans they are!

cara | 12:18 AM

Well I just can't watch that or I'll cry. Having two people inside you is so very incredible, no?

And I would like to echo everyone else's thanks for acknowledging the pain of infertility, my twins were the result of IVF after 4 years of waiting, there isn't a day when I don't feel extremely lucky and blessed and that my heart doesn't ache for the people who are still waiting.

Michelle | 3:10 AM

It always amazes me when seeing a pregnant woman to realise that she has a person growing in her belly. How magical a womans body is!

Anonymous | 3:10 AM

As someone who's never been able to have children (I wanted seven boys!)as a result of cancer leaving me unable to conceive, I feel blessed to witness this miracle!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing this. Without the heart and generosity of spirit of women such as yourself, women like me would never get to see this kind of awesomeness.

Thank you, and bless you all,

Barbara

Martha | 4:58 AM

Man, I get all weepy and excited for you - I can't imagine what incredible emotion you must be feeling. Thanks for sharing...

Jen | 6:03 AM

I don't always get to comment on your posts (read em at work, and the stupid blocking software won't let me!!). However, I am loving each time we get to watch your family grow. What a pair of lucky ladies these two are, to be so loved by so many before they've even made their debut!

Pretzel Thief | 7:12 AM

Freakin' wonderful!

And love the Tunisian guy, heh heh...yay for gift showering, wheeee!

Liesel | 7:32 AM

Rebecca,

That video made me cry. Maybe it's the horomones but I think it is more likely that I understand now, more than I ever have, what I gift pregnancy is. My husband and I are just beginning our first round of IVF. Being told that it won't come easy (or cheap!), really drives home the miracle of being able to conceive at all.

I echo Shelley's comment, thank you for acknowledging those of us that are struggling to create our own little families. That gesture alone is incredibly touching. But please, please, don't you (or any of you) feel guilty for being blessed with fertility. It is a gift. The fact that I cannot make it happen so easily should not cheapen your experience. Your journey is separate from mine. As women, we should embrace and celebrate each others' journeys. Whatever they may be.

Thank you for sharing yours.

Katherine | 7:36 AM

Beautiful post, breath-taking video. You are indeed blessed and what's so moving is that you acknowledge and appreciate it. Nobody could ever be jealous of all that you have because you own it with such grace.

Molly | 7:44 AM

Favorite things about this post: 1) that was totally a high-five. 2) You were pelted with food by a Tunisian. Awesome.

Erin | 7:47 AM

Awesome video- I remember being so torn. Loving watching my baby on the screen and loving knowing they were tucked safe and sound within me but part of me was always dying with anticipation. Enjoy!!

Tracy | 8:02 AM

Really understanding how Shelly and Kwerk feel. In the last 3 years of struggling to conceive and watching Facebook friends post ultrasounds and other friends have baby after baby it makes you a little heavy hearted after a while. I LOVE watching your progress and I'm so happy for your family.

The Curtii | 8:02 AM

so sweet. i bought your book when i was pregnant and enjoyed reading your family story even though it was so very different from mine. we had been trying for four years, and i remember going through fertility treatments and talking with people who were almost embarassed about their "accidental" or easy pregnancies and not being upset about them. most of the mommies out there who appreciate and cherish their pregnancies no matter how they come about are easy to smile with. it's the stories of mistreatment and abuse that get to you. as a mom of one very awesome little boy after seven pregnancies, i am so happy to read all of the words you posted in this last update. i love to celebrate babies anyway and appreciate your thinking of all the tough times out there had by some of us. it's also so much fun to keep getting baby updates from you and the posts are lovely. thank you for sharing.

lorieloo | 8:04 AM

watching that gave me chills. and made me cry. such a miraculously beautiful thing.

Momma | 8:37 AM

no more yikes! you look beautiful and that belly is amazing.

Cynthia | 9:43 AM

amazing. i just teared up watching that video.

oh, jenny mae | 10:31 AM

my girls totally kicked each other all the time on u/s video. thank goodness they love each other to bits, now.

i, too, feel embarrassed by my riches some days, but i know it's not my fault.

Chantal | 11:23 AM

Thank you for sharing this. My husband and I watched the video in amazement. We are planning/hoping for a second baby and this was a great argument for more babies in the house. (In fact, he said, "Maybe we can have twins!" ?!)
Also, love love love your shoes! Who makes those/ where are they from?

Christen | 11:55 AM

I can't wait to hear the names! Your baby posts always make me teary.

Glenda | 12:20 PM

OMG!!! How freaking adorable! thanks for sharing. The girls look like they are chasing each other lol and definitely I saw the "high five". And...you look amazing!!! Keep Rocking that belly! x2 ;)

Elizabeth @claritychaos | 12:21 PM

I rarely comment, but these stories today - the farmers market and the thoughts on the twins feeling each other in there together... I was really moved to smiles and delight and awe. Maybe I'm PMSing, but girl, you did me in with this one.

Michelle | 12:32 PM

I just have to say I love being pregnant at the same time as you! What a thrill to have little lives growing inside. This is my second but I love the idea of four. My hubby says one at a time : )

flyrish | 12:51 PM

That ultrasound video was such fun to watch. Thank you for sharing something so intimate with us. The girls totally looks they're playing with each other -- so freakin' sweet!

And I love that Archer is so excited for his baby sisters. What an awesome big brother he is!

Amy | 1:04 PM

As a twin I can tell you that the bond that my sister and i share goes much deeper than an earthly bond. I know we were aware of one another in the womb...you are a lucky woman...and they are so truly lucky to have a partner through life.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 1:25 PM

Sending love and light (and fertile thoughts!) to all of you amazing women struggling with fertility. You're my heroes. Truly. Hugging you all from afar.

And thanks to everyone for your comments about the video! I almost didn't post it because I thought maybe it was one of those things that was very cool to ME but wouldn't translate! So glad you guys thought it was as awesome as I did.

You're all amazing. I love that I get to share all this stuff with you guys. I'm so incredibly lucky to have this incredible circle of women supporting me and my babes. Blessings to all of you and thanks again for your love, support and kind words.

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 1:25 PM

Oh!

And: agirlandaboy - I'm almost tempted to change out the girls' middle names for Lark and Wren. LOVE.

Amy - your comment totally made me tear up. I saw three pairs of twins at the park today (whoa!) and couldn't stop staring at them. I love the idea that my babes are becoming each other's partners AS WELL as themselves. Mindblowing stuff. xo

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 1:41 PM

(Oh and my shoes are canvas TOMS that I drew all over at a recent TOMS event. I'm glad you like them!)

Erin | 2:58 PM

You look just fabulous. And your words as always resonate with me.

Adrianne | 7:07 PM

I have to say I'm a little jealous of all of the ultrasounds you're getting! I've only seen our girl a couple of times and I'm dying to see her again! But the only way is to pay extra for a 3/4d ultrasound. Not that I'd wish for a "high risk" pregnancy as they are calling yours, but the ultrasounds are definitely a perk to that! ;)

Ashley | 7:11 PM

Please tell me where you were able to find such amazing maternity jeans! All of the jeans I have tried on lately are horrible. Surely great maternity jeans do exist!

I'm currently in my 13th week of pregnancy after 3 years of trying. My good friend just had twins via IVF that had all but convinced me to go that route too, when we unexpectedly conceived naturally. Miracles do happen!

Andi | 7:20 PM

My sister wants a baby so badly and sadly, cannot make it come true. I, too, felt guilty while I was pregnant - here I was, accidentally with child when my sister was doing anything possible to become pregnant.

I found, like another commenter, that as long as I am grateful and never complaining about my blessings, people rarely say or do anything unkind to me.

It is clear you are grateful, and I know other women would love to smile with you. :)

Lara | 8:05 PM

That was simply amazing. Thank you for sharing.

Jen | 8:10 PM

I came across your blog recently through Heather writing about what it's like to be a twin... I have an identical (probably- you're right, we don't know for sure w/o a dna test) twin sister - you will have so much fun w/ your girls- my sister is so much beyond my best friend.

I related to this post in so many ways-- I am pregnant w/ twin boys right now (27 weeks along)... ironically I struggled w/ infertility for 3 years before conceiving my son (he will be 19 months old when the twins are born)... and these 2 were a surprise- so I've been on both sides of it-- the biggest support to me from my "fertile" friends was just the acknowledgement that they didn't take it for granted- and I try not to forget that as I'm now on the other side! Continue feeling well...

GIRL'S GONE CHILD | 9:21 PM

Once again, I love you guys.

And Jen - WOW! I've never heard of a twin with twins! How spectacular that you get to witness the same relationship you hold so dear to your own heart. Breathtaking, that.

Jennifer Brandt | 9:33 PM

beautiful post Rebecca. I cried watching the ultrasound video. xoxo

Vanessa | 9:47 PM

So deeply happy for you. The video brought tears to my eyes. How lucky we are as women to house new life.

chrystal | 10:31 PM

That was utterly amazing!! Thank you for sharing that :)

Anonymous | 10:31 PM

I find myself thinking of your family often, so happy for your happiness. And ditto to the well wishes for those trying to have babes of their own. If only all children were so wanted!

xoxo

Janice | 10:42 PM

We had an ultrasound where my daughter was kicking my son in the face. I told her to be nice but...
Love the US. I have many twin tips on MommaWords.com.
Love that you mentioned all those with infertility issues as well. I often felt it was unfair that I was an uberovulator and friends of mine had so much trouble getting one egg to drop.
Best of luck,
Janice

BOSSY | 5:49 AM

Such sweetness.

Jen | 6:19 AM

GCG- I'm so interested to hear you side of raising twin girls.... (if I ever have time to read again :)
I am very close with my mom, but she describes that she always felt a little 'removed' from my sister and I b/c we had our own world that she was not a part of-- she loved it when we came home from college separately - then we had to talk to her! My dad recently told me she felt this even as we were very young- not in a negative, left out sort of way- she just knew our relationship would be different.

She's curious for me to experience this too- though it may be different w/ boys!

Allison the Meep | 7:18 AM

Wow. That totally made me cry and they aren't even my babies. I always really tripped out over how in an ultrasound, you can see through the skin to the bones and organs. Dude, you can see through their tiny skulls and into their brains. Is that not some crazy shit!?

Although I haven't experienced any infertility struggles, I feel really grateful that you mentioned that on here. I think that just being a parent makes one so much more aware of how very precious a gift it is and how unfair the struggle is to good people who desperately want a child.

So, so happy for you. You look fantastico.

Chicago Mom (Heather) | 7:53 AM

YOU ARE SO BLESSED!! How amazing they might be identical too. Wow. Looking great!

A Short, Sweet Season | 7:59 AM

Beautiful and precious post. I have a sweet 1 year old and we easily conceived earlier this year, but we lost our unborn girl, Violet, two weeks ago today. I am so happy that YOU are so happy!

Anonymous | 8:34 AM

Dude, you are not allowed to make me cry like that. I started the video and then read the rest of the post and oh man, you got me in the heart. I wish I could feel life like you feel it.

Adi | 8:45 AM

Beautiful post. I think that all of us here on the interwebs are rooting for you, your pregnancy, your family and those gorgeous girls growing inside you!

As others have noted, the nod to those struggling with infertility is appreciated. So many women seeking to have children suffer from infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. As someone whose infant died rather unexpectedly of SIDS, and who is now early in the second trimester of my second pregnancy, I can only say that it's absolutely terrible, so your sensitivity to those who have not been as fortunate in this realm--in light of your four gorgeous blessings--is respected.

Dana | 10:36 AM

I had five miscarriages and now I have four children. Every single day, every single f---ing day, I am aware of and insanely thankful for my own embarrassment of riches.

Ray | 12:52 PM

YAY week 21!

Love, love, LOVE this entry. And I love your family and how excited everyone is about these twins. You are beyond blessed, Rebecca! Glad to read that everything in the pregnancy is going smoothly. =o) Hope that cold goes away!

"This is our whole family growing the biggest peach in the entire world! Kind of, yeah."

^^AWESOME! =D

tolmema | 2:14 PM

I have a tattoo on my right side in a similar area to yours, but it snakes all the way up my side and around my ribcage to my shoulder blade. I can't help but feel a bit jealous that your tat looks like it hasn't seen the angry wrath of stretch marks. :)

Samantha | 10:02 PM

I agree with your comments about the fertility switch. Like you, I have had no trouble. I had twins just after my older daughter turned two. (just sent you a short e-mail about my uneventful pregnancy) During the twin pregnancy and still today I feel constantly like I wish I could just give some of my fertility to my friends who struggle. I don't ever know what to say to them, and I hate that - I feel totally inadequate as a friend. At the same time, I don't allow their pain to diminish my delight in my own good fortune.

Sydney | 11:04 AM

Jennifer Connelly and Matthew Bettany just named their daughter Agnes Lark - maybe they read your post!

Chelsea | 4:57 PM

saw this and thought of your twins!

http://www.one-little-minute.com/2011/06/twin-onesies.html

CONGRATS AGAIN!

YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL!

Whitney W | 4:00 PM

I love the video of your ultrasound! We are currently 29 weeks and 4 days along with twin boys on the way and one of my favorite things is going to the ultrasounds. I sometimes get caught up in feeling big, pregnant and uncomfortable and as soon as I see the ultrasound and watch my boys "playing" together, wiggling around and showing off their precious faces I am reminded what a huge miracle being pregnant with twins really is. I treasure every kick, hiccup and ultrasound we get to enjoy! Congratulations on your two precious girls!

Kate | 7:58 AM

Thank you so much for recognizing the unfairness of infertility. Pregnant with twins from IVF after a heart breaking year of trying while other friends got pregnant left and right (many on their first try), I find that many people are SO NAIVE about what infertility means or the challenges it presents couples every single day. Even a family member suggested to my mom that we "get busy in the backseat of a car and get it over with". Even at 21 weeks, I still find myself holding back on face book trying to not mention it too often, knowing I have other friends who have been trying for years without success and wanting to protect their feelings (I essentially quit facebook during our time of infertility). I even forced myself to stop talking to a very close friend who got pregnant with her second child on her first shot (the 2nd time in a row). She was fortunately understanding of the situation and we have since picked up right where we left off, talking about our pregnancies as she is 10 weeks ahead of me.

After talking to a counselor to help me deal with the emotional issues that came along with infertility, I realized that my resentment for the uber fertile was really an extension of my fears that I wouldn't get pregnant (or stay pregnant once we did IVF). I occasionally harbor that resentment when looking at my creditcard statements left over from in vitro, but also know how lucky we are that IVF worked on the first shot, and that we're going to be the parents to two sweet boys.

I've been very open with face to face friends about the challenges we went through, but am holding back on blogging a long entry about it until after our babies are born (maybe as an intro to our birth story) as my husband still has a lot of sensitivities revolving around the male factor infertility.

This is long winded, but thank you again, for addressing the issue, as far too many people don't understand how prevalent infertility is amongst couples and just assume that the couple isn't "doing it right" to get what we are so hard wired to desire. xoxo