G & R turned 9 months the other day. They have no officially been "out" longer than they were in utero for. It hit me that they are growing up, changing, becoming less like my little babies and more like little girls. I know; I see them every day and I should realize this. But somedays it just hits me how fast time is going. I look at them every day and still sometimes have to pinch myself to make sure that I am not dreaming and that they are mine.
You see, their Daddy and I waited a long time for their arrival. And it was not a wait without speedbumps. We bought a house in 2004, threw out birth control and I thought "viola" we'll be pregnant. You might not know me well yet, but I am a reformed type A personality who likes control, order and to be in charge of both of those things. The weeks turned into months, and then years. No baby. Each month felt like a failure. There were times when I could rationalize it, "we're not ready", "we need to wait until X happens or we save X amount", "I just changed jobs" and there were other times when my heart broke. When it was so hard to go to the grocery store and see a baby, to look at baby photos from family and friends or to have the question asked "When are you starting a family?" "We're trying dammit" is what I wanted to scream but I never did. Those closest to us knew our heartache and our struggles.
Then we got pregnant. It was July. I remember the smell of the ocean and the sunshine that day. We did it. It happened. FINALLY. Then a few weeks in, while at work, I started getting signals. My body was failing me. Words went through my head- loss, miscarriage, no baby. No baby. I rationalized some more. At least we got pregnant, so it would happen again. And it did. Many months later we learned again we were pregnant. This time we made it to 11 weeks. During this time, we were being followed by the Infertility Clinic at the IWK Hospital. We were UEI- unexplained infertility. We had gotten pregnant, now how to figure out how to keep a pregnancy. We tried 4 rounds of fertility meds complete with hot flashes, hormone surges, moodiness and the hope that they would work. They didn't. At our insistence, the clinic agreed to follow us while we thought about things. Finances made it tough to try in vitro and we also were not sure of how we personally felt about it as a choice for us. Adoption came up many times in our conversations. Then the H1N1 flu pandemic hit. As a public health employee, my days were long and work provided an escape from dealing with where we were at. Hubby was in school, starting a new program to learn how to become a Chef. Our days were busy but not fulfilled. I skipped baby showers (7 to be exact) and yet still bought baby items for when we'd have a baby.
As the pandemic wound down, I began searching for a puppy. I needed something else breathing in the house with us. If it couldn't be a baby, it would be a dog. It wasn't the first time I had broached the conversation with hubby- who never had a pet in his life, and wasn't all that fond of dogs. I think I had asked a zillion times. One Sunday, he agreed. It was a day in December and I phoned the lady to meet her to see her puppies. A trip to Costco for a bed, some toys and food and we were off. Two hours later, standing in a parking lot, I couldn't believe it was happening. There were 3 of them and I let hubby pick out what one. A little black and white furball came back to the car with us. On the way down we had made a list of names- 30 names. Now we had to narrow it down and we landed on Phineas. He was and still is an amazing addition. We took him everywhere that Christmas- shopping, visiting friends, family, New Year's Eve party- he was part of our family. We started off 2010 training Phineas and training ourselves to be dog owners. We were busy, we were occupied and we were in love with our furball.
It was a Saturday afternoon and I wanted to have a beer, actually more than one beer. It had been a long week at work, a long week of cleaning up poo in the house and winter weather was in full force. Something made me reach into the box (when you are trying to get pregnant, you buy pregnancy tests in bulk) and take a test. I peed on the stick and took Phineas for a walk. When we returned, I nearly fell over. Eight tests later, eight tests lined up on the bathroom counter, I was in disbelief. Hubby was at work and this was not news to share via a text. I took a photo of one of the tests, threw 7 of them out and saved one (which I still have). I took off Phineas' collar and put a charm on it that said "Baby Gillis" on one side and "September 2010" on the other, returning the collar to Phineas. Hubby arrived home and couldn't figure out why the dog collar was so loud (the charm kept hitting the floor) and then read it. We both were in disbelief. Could it be? Really? Would the third time be a charm? I arrived at the doctor on Monday (without an appointment) to have it confirmed. I needed it confirmed and needed to figure out how to keep things going.
Things moved quickly- an early ultrasound was ordered, I was referred to a specialist for high risk pregnancies and the nausea and vomiting began. Add in fatigue like nothing else and there was no denying it- we were pregnant. The ultrasound confirmed it. We both remember asking the technician to make sure there was only one baby. I could hear my grandmother's voice telling me that I would be having twins someday. Nope- one baby was confirmed.
The days moved along. We celebrated the news with family, friends and colleagues. We began buying and preparing for our baby, which I thought was a boy. I was sick, I was tired but I was pregnant. When laying on the floor after a rough session with my unhappy GI tract or from throwing up 6 times in a one hour period, I would remind myself that this was a good sign. My hormone levels were working and this pregnancy would work. It was an uneventful and happy time.
We opted to have our maternal serum tests completed to rule out the likelihood that we were carrying a baby with Down’s syndrome, trisomy 18, or open neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. MSS measures hormones made by your baby or placenta that can be found in your blood. We received a call on a Monday to come into the 7th floor of the IWK on Wednesday, and oh could we have some more blood work done. My heart sunk - something was wrong. And we had to wait to find out what it was. Somehow we kept moving during those two days. The day of the appt we spent the morning shopping, going out for lunch- all the time pretending that things were normal. The appt began and with it came my tears. I heard "spina bifida" and began renovating our house in my mind, adding ramps, thinking of how we could move things around. We made it through the counselling appt and then onto the ultrasound. To say I was a mess would be an understatement. All I wanted was for the ultrasound to be turned on, finished and let me know what was wrong with my baby so I could plan for him. The test started and the doctor giggled. Yes, giggled. Hubby's hand in mine got tighter and then the words "Two babies!" What? I was having two babies with spina bifida? Oh my! Then it was explained...since we had two babies, the maternal serum tests were invalid. Apparently the previous 3 ultrasounds only saw one baby. And we were having twins. Girls. Baby A and Baby B.
That's how we came to learn we were going to be the parents of twins. It was the best of days- the first day we met G & R.