Apparently when you are over 35 and ovulating, multiple eggs can be released each month as your body is literally flushing itself as if it has grown tired of waiting and is discarding eggs like those unmatched socks that have been sitting on the dryer for years. My eggs were tired of waiting, unmatched. Little did I know when I had all but sworn off men, dating, and relationships; and when I had surrendered the dream I had of being a wife and mother to God, that I would be standing three years later in a doctor’s office with my husband and twins, a boy and a girl. God does have a sense of humor.
At their two-month check-up I learned that this is when the nurse brings out a tray of syringes like some haunted house stunt that I had nightmares about as a child. We were going to vaccinate our children but saying that compared to the actual happening of it (like many events in life, I suppose), well, there wasn’t really anything that was going to prepare me for that. Just like there wasn’t anything that was going to prepare me to be a twin mom.
My husband was there, thankfully, so he held their little arms and legs as they each took their turn with the wretched nurse. How I loathed her in that instant. The babies cried and wailed like I had never heard, our son shedding real tears that dropped like heavy rain drops that slide down the windshield in a storm. No one told me that being a mother was going to be so hard; that sometimes in order for something good to happen (like being immunized against things that could do real harm), they would have to experience some pain.
Tears began to fall down my own face and I wiped them away, the nurse turning slightly and probably thinking under her breath that she is tired of making women cry. My husband was calm and collected, like he usually is under pressure, like a machine with one purpose and he is sticking to that purpose no matter what. Unfortunately on this particular day, under these particular sleep-deprived circumstances, these I-have-newborn-twins-am-breastfeeding-not sleeping-quit-my-job-to-be-a-mom-Lord-help-me-and-we-are-moving-to-a-new-state-to-follow-my-husband’s-career-in-a-week kind of day, what I needed from my husband was not the well-oiled daddy machine but my husband. My husband: the man I married, the one who saw me and saw my tears that day.
But ladies (and gents), this man who I married was also sleep-deprived and had his life turned upside down in a matter of weeks or better, 9 months plus 2. Times 2. Regardless, though, I could not see this at the time. I only became upset and bitter because he was not there for me when I needed him. I was one of the infants on that cold, metal table. I needed to be seen, to be held, and to be told it was all going to be ok. You might be sore in a couple hours, and it might last for a couple days, but you are going to be ok.
You are going to be ok.
My babes responded differently to the vaccines. It is so amazing how different they are, yet they are twins and shared space in my uterus at the same time (this still amazes me!). Our son got a slight fever and was extra fussy, while our daughter just slept and slept, ate and then slept some more. It was so hard to see them in any sort of distress, but like the learning parents that my husband and I are, we focused and took it one day – or better – one moment at a time. We also did what we knew we needed to, which was to reach out for help. I called and spoke to the nurse on-call at least three or four times and my husband spoke with his mother to be reassured that in fact, baby Tylenol is ok and he had made it thru the vaccines and medication with no lasting effects.
Looking back on this time and looking ahead to the next round of vaccines, I think about this picture and about how God speaks in stories. These tough life-moments I have encountered, and encounter today (and that my children will have to encounter) all have a purpose. Even if I’m not sure what that purpose is, I can be sure of this.