“You think you see two?” I sputtered, baffled. “Two what?”
The wand, bathed in the warmed gel, glided across my massive, otherworldly belly, searching, probing. I had been here so often before, this was now starting to seem like some awful, karmic playbook. How many more times could this possibly go wrong? Had I truly been that bad to have been selected to keep reliving the same punishment, over and over? Tough crowd. Forgive me, father. Panic surged throughout my body. I started with the deep breathing exercises meant for more cheerful circumstances, but that, as I had come to learn, also came in very handy in heavier moments.
I dared not speak.
“Two what,” I bleated.
Silence, broken only by the rhythmic beeping of the blue-glowing monitor.
It’s ok. It’s fine. The angel Gabriel is the greatest gift, and he will light my path. Or is it Christopher who illuminates one’s travel? No matter. Gabriel is enough, he is my strength. He completes me. Why risk ruining perfection? Why be greedy? Losing the others had been devastating. Nothing from nothing is heartbreak, but nothing from one is still my one and only—the source of all existence. Let’s get this over with. It’s not the end of the world.
“Two hearts, I think I see two hearts. But I need to confirm this. We need to get you over to the perinatal unit, stat.”
And so commenced the saga of being pregnant with twins. Spoiler alert—the ending is happy. The previous miscarriages, an advanced age, and living at an altitude of 8,000 ft. would have made any pregnancy high-risk. Throwing a multiple pregnancy into the mix was an additional complication that my obstetrician was not happy about. “This type of pregnancy is not normal; it isn’t supposed to happen. The body isn’t built for this. There is just too much that can go wrong”, he warned me with every appointment, illustrating madly on a piece of paper all the unfortunate outcomes that I had best prepare myself for.
That the medical community considered my pregnancy a freak of nature didn’t dampen my spirits too much. The hazardous double amniocentesis, more neonatal testing with scary-looking needles for monochorionic twins (identical, in the same placenta but each in their own amniotic cocoon), the gender mix-up (my husband was just a teensy bit disappointed to give up making mischief by naming his sons “The Ramones”), the international move, the hospitalization in the eighth month after falling on ice, not to mention the extra monitoring and standard risks that plague all twin pregnancies—none of it fazed me. I wrapped myself in the mantra of “expect the worst, expect the worst, expect the worst”.
When I spun out in my minivan at 37 weeks, having lost track of the road driving in a snowstorm and sliding sideways into a Dangerous Curve Ahead sign, I thought my luck had finally run out. So did the man in the red truck who came by five minutes later, kindly stopping to investigate the crash. He found me sitting sideways in the driver seat, facing out with the car door open, putting my deep breathing exercises to good use. “Jesus, yur not gonna have that thing here, are ya?” was his reaction to my enormousness. When I assured him that I wasn’t, with surprising confidence and clarity, he used a grappling hook to pull my car back onto the road and sent me on my way. By then, a brilliant sun had come out, glittering off every snow crystal, and shining on my last few hours as mother to one and on Gabriel’s last few hours as a single child.
Maybe it was the adrenaline rush of the accident that hurried things along. Perhaps fate was irritated at having been tested one too many times. Either way. Two naked girls came into the world. Two identical drops of gold sourced from a solitary zygote that, bombarded with a particle of mystical energy, split itself into a nuclear duo who fell to the earth. Moon and sun, earth and sky, sunrise and sunset.
And so began the chapter of the Holy Trinity, which is certainly the heftiest and the sweetest of my life’s storybook. Three persons joined to create one essence. My troika. A perfect Shamrock of pure love, the tumult of childhood and consciousness, the mystery of life itself. O fortuna!