The first time I saw Noah, I was at my OB-Gyn’s office, having an ultrasound. I could see very clearly, a small spot pulsing on the machine. Dr. Matoian was making a strange face. “Hmm…How do I say this?” she sighed. Then she pointed to the screen. “You see that blinking spot there?”
“That’s the first heartbeat.” My brain wasn’t registering the word, “first.” Not until she said, “And that blip there, that’s the second one.”
The room stood still for a small eternity. Two. Two heartbeats. Two…babies?
“Two babies?” I looked at the doctor wondering if this was a practical joke she played on new mothers. Surely there couldn’t be two babies in there.
But she nodded smiling and reassured me that it was real. I started crying feeling completely overwhelmed, overjoyed, but mostly scared. I felt so inadequate and unprepared. She handed me about twenty-five tissues to wipe my eyes and nose as the news washed over me again and again. Why hadn’t I insisted Scott come with me to that appointment? I was completely alone absorbing the news that we- no, I– was going to be having twins.
As I drove back to work that gray February day, with the ultrasound pictures in my purse, I kept pulling them out trying to get my brain around how this was even possible. Scott and I had been trying for nine months to get pregnant. We’d had a miscarriage the previous July. We had been trying for one baby, not two. But there they were. Big blip and little blip. I called him about halfway back to work when I thought I could tell him without bursting into tears again.
He didn’t believe me at first but eventually, he understood it was true. I drove to his office instead of mine to show him the pictures. He hugged me and we freaked out together in his small office with the door closed. One baby was significantly larger than the other, but the doctor had said that was fairly common. We named the big one “Bubba” and the little one “Tiny.”
We went to several appointments early on. Dr. Matoian was treating it like a high-risk pregnancy because of my previous miscarriage and the fact that it was twins. For about four weeks, Scott and I started talking about names. We planned where the babies would sleep. Would we put them together or in separate rooms? We were terrified but also felt so special to be having two babies at once. I battled some nasty morning sickness early on but was relieved to have it. After all, it meant I was still pregnant. I was always worried about losing them since the miscarriage. I just couldn’t get used to the idea that I’d get to keep them.
I went to my twelve week check up alone. I was excited to see the babies again. Dr. Matoian’s face grew serious as she held the wand in place, moving it this way and that. It seemed she was looking for something. She finally glanced at me. “Um…I don’t want to upset you, but the second baby’s heart-beat has stopped.” She stretched a dotted-line cursor over the second bean shaped hole in my uterus. I felt like someone had knocked the wind out of me. “Based on this measurement, it happened at about nine weeks. But the good news is, the other baby looks just fine. Still has a nice strong heartbeat.”
I cried again. She handed me about thirty-five tissues. I’d lost Tiny. One baby. There would only be one baby. Bubba.
So I drove to Scott’s office again and told him that Bubba would be our only baby. We both cried. But we resolved to be thankful that at least we got to keep one. We’d still get to keep one, or so I hoped. I worried the entire pregnancy that I was going to lose him.
Then in spite of my fears, Bubba, or Baby T, was officially called “Noah James” on October 21, 2008. He was an emergency c-section delivery after many hours of labor. He wasn’t progressing because he was stuck in a position which could have crushed his windpipe. So instead of meeting him in labor and delivery, we met him in the operating room. I was scared out of my mind. Was today going to be the day I would lose my baby? But No. Noah came charging into the world. He had a good strong cry. I fell in love with his old man face instantly. I knew when I held him, he was going to be like me; stubborn and moody, but when he was quiet and stared at me, I could see his depth. He was, and still is, full of life and tenderness.
All of this is so fresh in my mind and my heart. It doesn’t seem possible that today, I spoke to his kindergarten teacher about the upcoming school year. How could that little mesh-capped, swaddled baby boy possibly have his first wiggly tooth? How is that baby already swimming without a life jacket and riding a bike without training wheels? I remember when he was still all curled up and his feet wouldn’t even stay in his footed pajamas. That can’t be the same kid, can it? But then I know it must be because he has the same laugh; the laugh that makes everyone else laugh. He has the same crooked toes. He has the same long, curly eyelashes. He’s just far less vulnerable.
I am getting better at realizing how resilient Noah is. Scott and I were just remembering how we’ve tried to child-proof the world for him. We were not so good at just letting him fall and pick himself up. We covered corners of furniture. We cut his food so small (he did have a tendency to choke). I worried incessantly before he started preschool two years ago that he wouldn’t find the bathroom in time or would not make friends…
But finally, I’m starting to learn, we should be getting the world ready for Noah.
He has such a strong spirit. His capacity for empathy is so deep. He is a natural leader. He is honest- he tattles on himself constantly! He is brave. I am so proud of my Noah.
So, I hope the world is ready for my son. Because he is ready and here to stay!