The Story of Getting the News
In November of 2010 Jenn, my wife, had her first ultrasound planned. It was at about ten weeks in to her pregnancy, which is earlier than normal, but we were going to a clinic that we’d never been to and they wanted to date the fetus. Because Jenn would be getting another ultrasound done at 20 weeks, and since it was a tricky day for me to get off work, we agreed that Jenn would go alone to the first ultrasound and I’d join her for the 20 week ultrasound.
After I was finished at work, I went to pick Jenn up from her work. When she got in the car, I saw the large manila envelope in her hand. I remember asking “Are those the ultrasound pictures?” and commenting about how exciting it was to have the pictures. The first thing out of Jenn’s mouth was “Oh, you don’t know the half of it”. -Pause- click, click, click. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Is it twins?” Jenn tries to distract me, I ask two more times, and again she tries to distract me. The Third time finally Jenn says “Yes, we are having twins.”
Before I go on, let me set the stage a little. It was getting dark, and it was raining, I had been at work all day and was fairly tired and just found out that my wife and I were having twins. My first thought when I got the news was “I really should not be driving right now”. I found a place to pull over and park, and my memory is a little fuzzy on the details at this point. I don’t remember when I first looked at the ultrasound pictures, but it was either in the car or in the restaurant that we decided to eat at.
My mind was racing with thoughts, but paralyzed by the magnitude of the news. The pregnancy was planned, but twins were obviously not. This presented a lot of questions that now needed to be addressed. How are we going to afford the added expense? What will happen with childcare? How can both of us maintain our career path with twins coming? The questions went on, but there was also the realization that we were going to have two kids that would almost always be around for each other while they are growing up. They had a built in teammate in life and that was a pretty special thing. Jenn and I had planned on having two children eventually, so this was quite an efficient way of getting things done, but the news still added a fair bit of stress to the situation.
People had told me that so much happens once your child is born and you are so short on sleep that you don’t really remember a lot about the experience. The point to be taken from this was to enjoy and remember as much as you can of the early stage of your kids lives. I took this to heart, but thought that I had an ace up my sleeve because I knew that we were always planning on having two kids, so by the second time around I’d have a better understanding of what to expect, so I might be able to get more out of the experience.
Twins didn’t afford me the opportunity to have my second crack at the whole experience of watching my newborn come into the world. At the time this felt like an opportunity lost, but I’m two years along the fatherhood path and now I feel like I have a few thoughts on the topic. 1) I found out that infants really didn’t interest me in the way that they seem to interest others, so honestly I think I would have been worried about having to go through that phase again rather than relishing the idea of getting to do it again. 2) This point ties in with the first point, but l really enjoy my sleep, and generally speaking my kids sleep pretty well now, and I am happy not having to give that up. 3) Even if I did have one child at a time, by the time the second one came along I think the added difficulty of having a toddler running around at the same time would have prevented me from getting any more out of the infant experience than I did the first time around.
The upshot of all this is that I worried about this too much. People were right, the first 3 to 6 months were a haze, but I do remember some great moments with my little ones. Roll with it, you will remember what you remember. Over thinking it may just ruin some of the experience.
Happy Father’s Day!