As the ultrasound tech quickly scanned through I caught glimpse of two small bubbles and asked her to stop. “Is that two?” I asked, as she measured, snapped, and moved on. “The doctor will be in to talk to you in a second.”
We’d been trying for months and I could hardly grasp the two pink lines, much less the thought of this baby being babies.
… “No seriously, IS THAT TWO?”
She stopped scanning and looked at me with a ‘not-saying-yes-not-saying-no’ look and said “Everything looks fine. I’m going to get Dr. Yeomans now, just sit tight.”
I knew Dr. Yeomans, he was an incredible MFM physician who also happened to be my mentor. As a third year med student, I also knew a (tiny) bit about ultrasound. I looked at my husband – “I think there might be two. I think I saw two in there. YOU DID THIS! Did you see two? YOU PRAYED FOR THIS! Do you think it’s TWO? What if it’s three?! YOU THOUGHT TWINS WOULD BE COOL AND NOW IT’S HAPPENING – WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?! Oh my gosh what are we going to do? I’m going to have to drop out of medical school!”
If you’ve been following for more than half a minute you know it was, indeed, twins…and I did not, in fact, drop out of anything. I would leave that ultrasound appointment and give a collaborative presentation to 150 people for my Family Medicine rotation. Shaking, nauseated, and in a full-on cold sweat, I would get up in front of 150 people who thought I was a terrible public speaker and discuss hypertension, while silently (but not covertly) panicking about the state of affairs in my uterus.
Those two blips on the screen are now smart, sassy, beautiful 5yo girls. Someday I’ll tell them of the months it took me to go from terrified and overwhelmed to excited about the fact that there were two of them (and how I simultaneously could not imagine it any other way after that first moment). The incredible chaos they bring to our lives is exactly what we need every single day.
Finding out about their little brother was similarly shocking, but in a totally different way. Getting pregnant with the twins had been this whole ordeal involving infertility, doctors, ultrasounds, prayers, medicine, and third year rotations with ovulation prediction kits in hospital bathrooms. With Milo, however, it happened so fast that I was completely unprepared and, nearly embarrassingly, blindsided.
That positive test, however, was followed by a threatened miscarriage in the midst of a busy and mentally-challenging night float rotation. That was followed by un ultrasound with no heart beat and so little hope (from me) that he would actually stick that I just had my residency BFF scan me alone, because I so desperately did not want my husband to witness what I knew would break his heart.
As rain pattered on the clinic window, my co-resident and best friend turned the screen to me and laughed – “look, it’s fine. See right there – a little grain of rice with a heartbeat.” My tears swiftly joined the downpour outside, “I would’ve told a patient to stop stressing and wait for the second scan…I am never, ever saying that to someone again…”
In the next few days I’ll share the rest of this story and answer one of the most frequatly asked questions on MamaDoctorJones – what was it like having kids in medical school and residency?