Can You Repeat That, Please? I Must Have Misheard You.
There has never been a doubt in my mind that motherhood was going to be a part of my journey. I am an INFJ, a 2w3 on the Enneagram. My true color is blue. I am to my very core nurturing, empathetic, and caring. Motherhood has been written all over me, forever.
But it has been a crazy adventure. We started trying in 2013. I had what is referred to as a chemical pregnancy in the fall – missed periods, positive pregnancy tests, but no baby. Even though the time span from positive test to getting my period was only a few days, the jolt of excitement followed by crashing disappointment was heartbreaking. I have a deep and profound love for women who have gone through true miscarriages. I have felt an inkling of that pain, and I weep alongside you.
We kept trying, and we got pregnant in early 2014 (okay, she’s a New Year’s baby). We decided early on to not find out the sex of our baby. There are so few real surprises in life, and this felt like the BEST surprise. I carried my sweet first baby for 41 weeks and some change and was finally induced on September 29, 2014 at 8 am. I pushed for three hours and at 12:35 am on September 30, our perfect 9lb 10oz baby girl, Olivia Marie, was born. When the nurse laid her on my chest, she lifted her sweet head and looked me in the eyes. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined a love so perfect and instant.
Olivia was an easy baby. She nursed well, slept a lot, and loved being the center of attention (still does). In her first nine months of life, my mom’s side of the family went through two tragic losses – first my grandma and then my uncle. Olivia was the only grandchild on that side and provided a light to all of us as we navigated our new normal. She loved to snuggle (still does), and I know she was sent by God to help us heal.
I loved being a mom, and I knew that I wanted to have more children someday. Daycare is expensive, y’all! But God had different plans for me, and I got pregnant again in November of 2015. I felt such immense guilt at getting pregnant so quickly. Olivia was barely a year old. I had no idea how this would affect her, and I hated that our relationship would change. I struggled accepting and being joyous about this pregnancy, but little did I know, the pregnancy would take a wild turn.
I had my first ultrasound around 24-25 weeks. It was the routine ultrasound, and I was not expecting anything different. My appointments had been going well, and the baby’s heartbeat was strong. I was measuring big, but the doctors thought it was because I was not so far removed from my first pregnancy. My initial plan was to attend the ultrasound by myself (because #independentwoman), but at the last minute, I rescheduled it for a later time so that my mom and aunt could go with me. And thank God I did!
I will never forget what happened next.
The tech placed the wand on my belly and peering back at me were two heads. The tech very casually said, “So there are the two babies,” and I looked at her and asked, in a not-so-ladylike way, what in the world she was talking about. It was then that she realized I had no idea there were two babies in there and excused herself to go consult with the doctor in office. At that point, my soul left my body, and I went into legit shock. I sobbed hysterically for 15 solid minutes. My mom and aunt tried to talk me off the ledge, but there was nothing either of them could have said that would subdue the absolute panic I was feeling.
Two babies. How in the freaking world was I going to handle two babies when I already had one still at home?
Two babies. Twice as many diapers, clothes, bottles, feeding, cribs, car seats. How in the freaking world?
I spent the rest of the appointment with my eyes glued to the monitor. The tech measured each of the babies, their sacs, fluid levels, etc. They were fraternal twin boys, in separate sacs, and they were both very healthy. I was grateful, but I was in total shock.
And here’s the kicker – there are no twins on any side of my family, anywhere, ever. I am the first and only.
The next three months were a total blur. I researched the heck out of twins and tried my best to prepare Olivia for this enormous change. I went to the doctor every week for ultrasounds, and it became clear that a C-Section was in my future. One of the twins was breech, literally sitting on the way out, and he never moved. So I started researching C-Sections (#yikes). I tried my best to prepare myself because it was the best way for me to wrap my mind around what was happening.
My c-section was challenging, but Landon Scott and Benjamin John were born at 9:00 and 9:01. Ben had difficulty breathing and was sent to the NICU right away. It was a full 36 hours before I got to hold him. We spent four days in the hospital and the next six weeks in my recliner. My recovery was difficult, and I couldn’t do anything normal with Olivia. Because of my weight lifting limit, we had someone with us every day, all day, for six weeks straight. That first year was the hardest year of my life. Every day felt like I was running back-to-back marathons. To be honest, most days still do.
But, here’s what I do not want to forget:
Life moves quickly, and it won’t stop to let me catch my breath. My life as a mother is wildly challenging, but it is also perfect, exactly as it is meant to be. I force myself every day to let go of my desire to be the perfect Pinterest mom and embrace who I really am. I love sweatpants and coffee. Sometimes we watch too much TV. I feed my kids chicken nuggets. But when all is said and done, they prefer my lap over everyone else’s. They want to tell me their stories and worries. It is my hugs, kisses, and snuggles that make their world better, safer, easier.
No matter how hectic the day has been, or how many tantrums have been thrown, these three perfect humans are pieces of my heart, complicated and intelligent and brave. And for that reason, I do not want to forget that my biggest responsibility as their mom is to simply sit down and love them.
They are mine. They grew in my womb, and their heartbeat resonates with mine.
Emily Karas is an Assistant Director for the Ball State University Career Center. She is a graduate of Butler University and Ball State University. Prior to working in the Career Center, Emily spent ten years as a secondary English teacher.
Emily is the proud mama of Olivia, Landon, and Benjamin and wife to Nick. Her favorite past-times include visiting her family’s lake cottage, reading, and being with family.