My girls turned three a few weeks ago, and I’ve been thinking lately about what I went through back then. I remember at the end of the pregnancy I was tired of being stared at, so I decided to stop leaving the house. A few weeks before my section, Lynn said, “Aren’t you even going to take a walk or anything?”
“No,” I said. “People say things. I’ve had enough.”
“They do not,” Lynn said. “That’s a lie.”
I wasn’t lying, though. A few days prior, a man stopped his car as I was walking to the corner store, rolled down his window, and shouted, “That’s got to be triplets, right?”
A black guy shook his head and grinned at me in Hudson once. “Delivery day,” he said.
I’d been telling people that I was due “soon” as far back as October, when I was only six months along.
“Any day now,” I’d tell the ladies at the YMCA pool, as I stepped out of the water in November, even though my due date was mid February.
“Prove it,” Lynn said. “They don’t really say those things. They don’t really stare.”
We went to the supermarket. I didn’t even have to wait to win the argument. As soon as I stepped out of the car and started walking toward the grocery entrance, three men heading in our direction literally stopped in their tracks. One pointed and said something, and the others laughed. Lynn frowned.
“Jesus,” she said. “Let’s get out of here.”
Thing was, I couldn’t blame people for staring. I’m only five feet three inches, and I carried my twins to term. I couldn’t wash the dishes without turning sideways, couldn’t drive the car, couldn’t lie on my back without asphyxiating. I looked and felt insane. There was nowhere for these babies to grow but outward, lest they restructure my ribcage.
They each weighed seven pounds twelve ounces at birth. Nursing staff came from all over the floor to take a look at the full-term twins. They weren’t large by newborn standards, but for twins they were giants. I carried to 39 weeks and 3 days. I’d have kept going but one was breech and the other transverse. They weren’t budging.
As I round the corner on my book about how Lynn and I sculpted a family out of reproductive endocrinologists and estrogen pills, medical claims and cryopreservationists, I’m starting to wonder how we got as far as we did without losing our minds. Although it’s actually much harder now, to be honest. Ella refuses to potty train and Lucy can’t understand why she won’t have a penis when she grows up. They both draw on the walls and wreck Ray’s Lego spaceships and fight about who gets to sit in the front of the grocery cart. But they say funny things, too, and they’re cute.
Here’s a video of my abdomen, back in the day.