The personal website of Philip Thomas

Words

Fatherhood: 20 weeks

"Is it a boy or a girl?" 

Or in our case, "Is it a boy and a girl, a girl and a girl, or a boy and a boy?" These were the questions that were most asked and most debated in our household since the kind hospital tech had rocked our world at the 10 week mark with her announcement of "two heartbeats." We desperately wanted one of each, satisfying both our curiosities at once. But one of each would be challenging. How do you host a birthday party for a girl and a boy at the same time? What if they play different sports, requiring myself and my wife to chauffeur the kids to their separate activities? What if they don't like each other and fight all the time? (this was more of a fear than a realistic scenario). Two boys would be great; one team, one practice, one parent. Two girls, likewise. But to be honest, we kept hoping for one of each. We "felt" that it might be that way too. We didn't know for sure but for some strange reason, two adults with no kids and no experience whatsoever "felt" that they knew the gender of their two babies. 

The 20 week mark in a pregnancy is the time when a doctor and his super-advanced technology can provide an answer to these questions. And we were on-board with finding out the answers to these questions as soon as we could. There are some people who like to wait and find these answers out at birth but finding out we were having two babies instead of one was more than enough of a surprise for us. And so with high hopes and great expectations, we arrived (earlier than normal) to our doctors appointment. As is typically the case, they give you a time to show up and approximately 30 to 45 minutes later, they finally call your name. And such was the case on this day, when an earlier summons would've been most appreciated. But instead, we were left in the waiting room, half reading one of the many pointless magazine subscriptions while secretly trying to answer these questions for ourselves and preparing to be right or wrong. 

Our names were called and we speed walked in the direction of the nurse. The obligatory "weigh-in" was first, then some questions about recent health developments, pain levels, etc. And then, we had a question for the nurse. "Do we get to find out the gender today?" "We'll certainly try, she replied." The first attempts at locating the specific body parts were challenging. Our kids were wiggle worms in the womb. Twin A would kick or punch on one side, and Twin B on the other. Sometimes, a punch or a kick could be felt in the middle and this of course, was their way of trying to get us to figure out who was responsible. Today was no different; movement, and lots of it. But fairly quickly, it was announced to us that Twin A had maneuvered into a position to show the onlookers in the room that he was a boy and as the nurse announced it, she mentioned that there was no mistake about that revelation. 

Twin B was still playing hard to get. Contorted in a position that covered up any opportunity to see the gender, we were left wondering if it was a girl or a boy. 1 out of 2 was not a scenario we had planned for. Twin A was a boy and twin B was a mystery. The fact that twin B was literally sitting on Twin A's head in the womb led the nurse and the doctor to believe the gender was female. And of course we laughed, hoping that was indeed the case. But at this point, we were tired of hoping and we wanted to KNOW. 

We had planned a Spring Break trip to our favorite furniture store, IKEA. Our sole purpose for the trip was to purchase lots of fun kids things that we had been eying since before we were ever pregnant. And now, we had an excuse to stock up. The only problem was that we wanted to know both genders so that we could purchase accordingly. This trip, coupled with our impatience, led us to make an appointment at a local business that specialized in extra long ultrasounds and focused on determining the gender of kids in the womb. We felt certain that a trip to this establishment would be in our best interest, given our travel plans and our aching desire to just know already. 

Unlike the doctor's office, when this place gave an appointment time, they made sure to keep it. We walked in the front, shook hands with the technician and waltzed right into the dimly lit room. An extra large television screen on the wall was the perfect way to instill confidence that no detail would go unnoticed and that today, the mystery would be solved. The technician got right to work. Right away, she determined that Twin A was a boy, a mystery we thought to already be solved but we were glad to get confirmation of the fact. And then, it was onto Twin B, who was again proving to be fidgety and shy. But at long last, a certain maneuver solved the mystery for the technician who announced happily that Twin B was, indeed a girl. She checked and double checked to make sure, mostly at our request. But it remained a fact and we left the establishment with tears of joy, a few outbursts of uncontrollable laughter and smiles that ran from one ear to the other. We were going to be the proud parents of a twin boy and girl.