Saturday, March 8, 2014

Chapter 2: Blissful Ignorance

When people find out I had no idea what was coming while I was pregnant, they will often inquire as to whether I wish I had known.  To which I always confidently respond no.  My six months between the positive test and their early arrival were my last six months of blissful simple optimism. They represent my last memory of my former self. There was excitement, happiness, giddiness as I grew and my dreams and plans grew.  I am grateful for these months, for my final days living in my house of ordinary. For the one normal part of my motherhood experience.  I would not change that for whatever preparing I could have been doing.

The secret did nearly expose itself once.  At 17 weeks pregnant, a test came back abnormal.  High AFP values.  Possible associated with spina bifida or a hole in the abdominal wall.  One baby could be born with health problems.  Maybe.  There were 9 days of fear, or googling until that sparked such a frenzy I had to stop.  9 days of panicking about a sick baby all while trying to convince myself I could handle it if it happened.  And then as suddenly as it emerged, the fear was dispelled when an in depth ultrasound revealed two healthy babies.  One boy! One girl!

The fear was long forgotten by the time we arrived home with names.  I named the little girl Addison, to be called Addie, for the simple reason that I loved the name.  And Al named the boy Max, a nickname his dad had called him growing up.  They now seemed so marvelously real and we could not wipe the smiles off our faces as we drove to Pottery Barn Kids to buy one pink and one blue of everything.   

There is a long list of things we will never know for sure.  Regarding most things on that list, I have my ideas which in absence of absolute truth, have become the accepted reality.  I believe the AFP value was high because their tiny kidneys were already leaking protein.  I believe that we were given a red flag,  We just did not realize it.  I am so thankful we missed it.  There would be many hard sad days ahead.  But not that day.  That day there was pure, simple joy! There would be many happy moments ahead but none would match that level of euphoria and untainted bliss.  A more accurate ultrasound, more revealing tests, a super discerning doctor all could have ruined that day.   It would have made what I will forever remember as a truly perfect evening instead a day for mourning and worrying.  So, for that mercy that God gave us I am grateful.  I am thankful for the gift of blissful ignorance.  

Fastfoward 10 blissful weeks and 30 more pounds and I am a caricature of a glowing pregnant lady as I shovel in the ice cream to keep them growing, stuff my swollen feet into Crocs and read every book Amazon stocks on twins.  Al and I take the parenting classes and solemnly swear to provide them with as much skin to skin contact and breast milk as possible.  We engage in passionate discussions over pacifiers and swaddling and like all soon to be first time parents, treat each small detail like out children’s future psychological well being hangs on it.

Every week my iphone tells me what fruit size my baby is and starting at 24 weeks, it tells me what the percent chance is that my child would survive if born today and what the percent chance is that they would have no lingering health problems if born today.  Now such facts seem ridiculous to me but at the time I took great comfort in these all knowing numbers and as they rose, so did my relief and confidence.  Even when I was put on and off bed rest following occasional contractions and some failed tests checking for pre term labor… even then I felt more put out by missing work and my own boredom than I ever was really worried.  I figured they would stay put and even if not, my iPhone told me everything would be okay.

Turns out there are a lot of things my iPhone does not know.

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