Made of stars (a love note)

How is it that you sleep through thunderstorms with raindrops as heavy as tiny cannonballs, thunder as loud as a forest of ancient trees felled with one swift thwack? And yet the moment I creep in…you must feel a shift in the molecular structure of air, added weight in the darkness, a breath separate from your own.

Mama.

A whimper, as though you had been expecting me all along. Just as suddenly, you topple over onto your blanket and your eyes close. I slip out, restoring the molecular structure, subtracting my weight from the dark space, leaving you to the lull of a forest collapsing.

twin boys

Tell me the story of a girl who grew up to be a queen, a giant, a mother. Speak to me of flat-footed marches two-by-two down hallways, of snowflakes falling onto outstretched mittens in moonlight, of fingers that trace my ear as we slow dance to a bedtime lullaby, of palms streaked yellow from dandelions offered at my feet, of fingernails caked in the earth of summer, of I-love-you whispers traded under blankets, of pockets stuffed full of treasures and smiles laced with mischief.

twin boys

Tell me a love story.

mom and twin boys

Tell me how two boys with starfish eyes and pirate smiles appear at the queen’s door, and the moment their hands fall into hers, she becomes the star-filled night, bestowing her light on the path her boys will tread.

twin boys

Tell me how the star-filled night becomes the sun — a giant — capable of slaying dragons, foiling the huntsman, deceiving the witch. Tell me how the sun becomes a ray of light that touches the temples of her boys and warms their skin.

twin boys

Tell me how that light becomes a mother who shines the porch light to call her starfish-pirate boys home. And when her boys lean in for a kiss, she whispers “I love you” into their parted lips so the words might travel deep into their bellies and they’ll have food for years, even when the porch light grows dim, even when the star-filled night feels unimaginably far.

twin boys

Tell me how thunder shook the queen from sleep, so she tiptoed into the room of her slumbering boys to watch them dream. For never is it so clear that they are made of stars than in the half-light of the moon.

 

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Uh-oh, Help, Charge it

Early last month I spoke to our pediatrician about Wyatt’s speech, or lack thereof. I also expressed some concern that he didn’t really pay us any attention. He didn’t respond to his name. He was more independent, more in his own world than Luke. I told her that Luke loves animals and books and trucks, but where Wyatt was concerned everything was a bit more muddled. She suggested a hearing test.

We didn’t do the hearing test, deciding to wait a little longer. “They are twins,” I reminded myself. “Not clones.”

Here we are, six weeks later. He’s talking. He’s connecting. He loves books. He loves machines and things that move. He especially loves the Kindle.

Two! (x2) A belated birthday post

So I promised to blog more and then summer happened. Oh, summer. I love you but you exhaust me. School ended and overnight we lost our schedules, our routines — anything that served as a marker for our days — and life got hectic very quickly. Which is funny because all we do is play, swim, play, run through sprinklers, play, do errands, play, repeat. And it’s exhausting. Last summer the boys were barely mobile and easy to corral. This summer? Never underestimate the combined energy of two 2 year olds. Double trouble indeed.

twin boys

zen babies. don’t let them fool you. (am I allowed to still call them babies?)

Speaking of 2 year olds…

Here we are, two weeks past their birthdays and I’ve yet to write about it, but I’m happy that it took me this long to get to it because something has happened since TWO happened. It’s as though on their 2nd birthday they made a secret agreement. This agreement consists of wrestling constantly, rolling on the floor at all times, grabbing hands across cribs and highchairs, building block towers and knocking them down simultaneously, screaming one after the other and then collapsing in laughter. One second they’re biting and pushing, the next they’re laughing and high-fiving, trading sippy cups and toys and snacks and books, all the while conversing in a language that’s comprised of very few words. In short, my perspective of two has changed in the last two weeks. My observance of them now is different, more complex, than it was at the time of their birthdays.

I struggle sometimes (a lot) with being present and staying in the moment, but with the two of you — when it’s just us three and you’re not pushing and biting each other for my attention and affection*, well, those times are storybook magical. Dream worthy. In the same way that I love the intimacy of your sister’s sole company, I also love this little pack the three of us make.

*We’re working on realizing that I can love you both immeasurably and simultaneously, whether I’m holding one or the other. And by we I mean you. You, boys, are still working on this. Maybe you always will in some way?

So this is what I know of two so far:

Two is berries squished between fingers to watch the juice drip down your arm. Two is saying “No” when you mean yes, screaming because you don’t yet have the words, and clapping when you dump detergent into a basket of clean laundry. Two is climbing and throwing and stomping and dumping and scooting and pushing and jumping. Two is saying “nigh-nigh” when you’re sleepy and “eat!” when you’re hungry and the newest (and my favorite) “Wuv ooo” during particularly sweet moments. Two is crying when your sister leaves the room and yelling “Sissy!” in unison when she returns.

twin boys big sister

Two is knowing when you’re tired and grabbing your blanket and pointing to the stairs only to scream happily for thirty minutes before you succumb to sleep. Two is constantly asking “Outside?” and predictably pulling off diapers in the middle of the night. Two is discovering bugs and dirt and trucks and planes and crayons and play-doh and the sky and the moon and…ahem…you.

i apologize for quality of photo. it was taken on my iPod.

Two is a gift (both the age and the number of boys). A crazy, messy, stressful, exhausting, JOYOUS gift.

So onward, young warriors, for the path ahead is one of exploration and growth, paved with sticky fingers and wet kisses and fingernails caked with dirt and proclamations of No and Uh-oh and Mine and a hundred other words that sound like “wajkedhafindfujhobeundslokdinf”. I can’t wait to see what this year holds for you together and separately.

twin boys

I love being your mommy. xoxoinfinity

About a boy (or two)

depression in pregnancy

I’ve never tried to put this into words, this story my heart knows and my gut feels and my mind won’t let me smother every time I look at their faces. It will forever be the pin that punctures the yellow balloon of sunshine, slowly releasing the air that fills it.

depresison in pregnancy

There are so many entry points for this story. How we tried for a year and a half to get pregnant the second time around. How I took a pregnancy test at six o’clock in the morning because I had been tracking my cycles so I knew the exact day that a positive pregnancy test was a possibility. How Mia was the only one home at the time and the second she woke up I told her I had a baby in my tummy because I couldn’t hold it in. I had to tell someone. I had to speak the words out loud. How we went to a friend’s house that night and my stomach protruded a little more with each passing hour. I called the OB-GYN’s office on Monday to set up an appointment. They were skeptical seeing as how early it was, but I knew. I got sick within a few days — feverish chills and dizzying nausea and insomnia and exhaustion. Maybe it was all of these things combined but all along there was a low hum inside of me, a frequency that my soul felt even as my mind chased it away.

I was having twins.

depression in pregnancy

So I was not shocked during the ultrasound when two little beans showed up inside a space reserved for one. I was shocked, however, that my gut instinct about something so HUGE was spot on. And yet it didn’t feel real to me. Everything I felt when I was pregnant with Mia was intensified. I was more nauseous, more exhausted, more emotional, just more. Literally. I gained exactly double what I had gained with Mia. So logically all signs pointed to twins but I couldn’t absorb it. I knew all along but even in the face of evidence I chased it away.

The day I went in to find out the sex of the babies my mom and Mia came with me. I wanted Mia to see the babies on the screen, to connect with them and feel her big sisterness. I was not expecting what happened next.

The ultrasound tech navigated the wand over my belly until she found what she was looking for.

“Baby A is a boy,” she said. I looked over at Mia to see her reaction. At my baby girl who was not such a baby anymore. At that moment I felt something I hadn’t before.

Please, God, let baby B be a girl. I’m begging you.

For reasons I can’t explain, I felt this shift inside of me. I clung to the hope of another baby girl as though it were a life preserve. I wanted desperately to take back our decision to find out the sex of the babies. I wanted to be able to deny the second instinct I had about this pregnancy.

“Baby B is also a boy.”

I wanted to crumble. This all feels so silly now, two plus years after the fact, after they’re here and woven into our lives so intricately that I can’t imagine the fabric of our family without them. Now that they’re here and they’re THEM.

All that time, if I only knew it was YOU. Not some faceless, nameless boys, but YOU.

depression in pregnancy

But it wasn’t silly then. Far from it.

My mom and Mia went back out into the waiting room while I went into an examination room and waited for the doctor. I don’t remember what he talked about during the appointment. I don’t remember the drive home. I do remember setting Mia up with a movie and closing myself in the bathroom so I could finally cry. I was grieving for the little girl I suddenly wanted so desperately. At that time, Mia was three (soon to be four) and her babyhood was something oily slipping through my fingers. Keenly aware of the impossibility to hold on tight enough, I thought another baby girl would take away this feeling of “losing” my first baby girl. If only I could do it all over again.

depression in pregnancy

the day after we found out the babies would be boys

I think I’ve never tried to put this into words because as someone who has had two healthy pregnancies resulting in three healthy babies, I’m aware of how it might come off as trite but here it goes.

The following weeks were filled with desperation and paralysis. I went through the motions of my days, covering the basics as best I could, but I wasn’t really there. I felt as though I were walking through a glass tunnel. I could see everything, hear everyone, but I couldn’t touch anything. I could never get close enough to life outside to feel it. I hid what I could during the day but cried at night. I cried so much that blood clots formed in my nose and I watched the blood and tears mix as I bent over the toilet at midnight, 2am, 4am, 6am. I started resenting the babies that invaded my body and seemed to grow at warp speed. I may or may not have fantasized about falling down the stairs. I prayed that I would go on bed rest to just rest. I just needed to rest. Physically, emotionally, mentally. I wanted to sleep for a long, long time.

And then something happened. I went for an ultrasound and as the tech switched to 3D this appeared:

twin ultrasound

“But they have their own placentas. How are they touching?”

“The membrane that separates them is thinner than a string.”

Those are my babies looking peaceful and serene despite the torment I was going through. Despite the torment I was putting them through.

This is when I started saying that though I couldn’t give them all of me, I was able to give them each other. And in the weeks when I felt that I didn’t want them, when I prayed that God would take them from me and give them to someone who did want them, who could love them better than I could, I know they drew strength from each other.

Where I failed in nurturing them through projections of warm and cozy thoughts or the sound of my voice humming soft lullabies, they had each other.

And so this is what I began to tell myself to eradicate the guilt that consumed me:

Though my laughter was scarce, my heartbeat was strong and steady. Though I was wracked with nausea and exhaustion and depression, my womb was hushed and still. Though I stood at the top of my stairs and thought, What if…, my body endured and protected them from my mind.

During the ultrasound above it was discovered that Baby B had too much amniotic fluid and preterm labor became a possibility, but there was nothing I could do to prevent it. So we just kept on keeping on and they held on.

They held on because they knew what I didn’t — that I needed them in a way I couldn’t understand until I saw them for the first time. Until I held them in my arms and looked into their faces and thought, So all along it’s been you. Of course it’s been you.

depression in pregnancy

For more information on depression during pregnancy:

http://www.babycenter.com/0_depression-during-pregnancy_9179.bc

http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/depressionduringpregnancy.html

http://www.psyweb.com/articles/bipolar/antepartum-depression

11 Months + 1 Year

Twins 11 months

I took this picture on May 19th last year, the boys’ 11 month birthday (back when a turn of the calendar constituted a new milestone). As I recall, they were just beginning to take first steps and I spent my days watching them step and fall, get up and repeat.

Step, fall, get up, repeat.

They slipped, bumped heads, hits corners, and collided when momentum took on speed without brakes, but still they would get up and do it all again. Perhaps knowing that if they just kept trying, kept putting one foot in front of the other, something miraculous would happen.

Now they charge ahead without caution or boundaries, unaware of danger or perpetrators or objects moving at a speed capable of ripping apart our world in seconds.

I both love and fear this stage.

twin boys

I feel like I’ve spent the last 11 months + one year in survival mode, and on what is metaphorically the eve of their second birthday, I’m wondering when exactly my babies became little boys.

I’ve been wandering into their room late at night to watch them sleep. I put my hand close to their noses or gently rest it on their bellies to be sure of their breathing, just as I did when they were infants. Once upon a time, one crib held them both with room to spare but now they look like giants stretched across separate beds.

The thing about raising twins is that rituals and routines become more like assembly lines, which causes everything to happen lightning fast, and this has maybe been the most difficult part for me — the surrendering of a sense of authenticity, of an organic flow to our days, always having to choose who needs me more in that moment. There’s a kind of freedom, a sense of luxury, that comes with a singleton that I didn’t even notice until I had twins.

But then there’s something else too.

These boys speak their own language, something secret and exclusive (or maybe it’s Turkish). They converse mostly in gestures and laughs but every now and then I catch them chitchatting in their native Turkish and it catches my breath, knowing the moment is rare and fleeting. The other day our new neighbors came over with their two year old boy. As we were talking grown up talk, I turned around to see Wyatt and this little boy engaged in a back-and-forth conversation (turns out he speaks Turkish too). Pretty soon Luke wandered over and joined their conversation. And it really was a conversation. The little boy would say something and my boys would wait until he was finished before responding. And the more I watched, the more it became clear to me what my boys were saying: “Look, we like you and we’ll hang out with you, but mess with my brother and it’s over.”

I’ve always said that I might not be able to give them all of me but I gave them each other. To finally witness this bond take shape makes me realize that assembly lines or not, we’ve always had our own little luxuries.