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07/28/2004

Twin piques

It only makes sense that infertile women want twins. Continuing treatment is painful and costly, heartbreaking and draining — my God, who wouldn't appreciate two for the price of one, the chance to build your family in a single stroke?

When we first heard my hCG levels, which were highish for a singleton and within range of twins, Paul and I entertained a brief few days of fantasizing about having, well, doubletons. Since I am so very, very excellent at this reproduction business, I was pretty sure I would attain the Holy Grail of ART, a boy and a girl, and decorated my fantasy accordingly. They would not have rhyming names — they wouldn't even have names beginning with the same letter — but their clothing would be interchangeable, adorably unisex.

That was some good crack right there, my friends.

I wanted twins. I could see them. I could see myself with them. (Okay, what I saw was me holding one down for a diaper change while the other was tethered to the radiator, but still.) I could see them with each other as I looked on benevolently, happy to watch their unique and exclusive relationship unfold.

And yet as soon as I saw a single sac on the ultrasound screen, I was flooded, absolutely inundated, with relief. Thank God, thank God, I thought (and I do not bother God with the picayune shit). A singleton pregnancy is lower risk. It's difficult enough to be needed by a single demanding newborn. We can build our family at leisure, in the fullness of time, when we're ready for another.

That change of direction happened so fast I nearly got the bends.

(Fuck tha metaphor police.)

So then I spent a few weeks comfortably nestled in complacency, happy with a single growing embryo. Practically smug, actually, as I reminded myself that a singleton pregnancy is lower risk. I'll be working hard enough simply meeting the needs of one helpless infant. And, sure, twins eventually entertain each other, but they also bug the monkey-fucking shit out of each other. I even found myself getting indignant to the point of rage when people would imply — more frequently than you would expect, incidentally — that I should be disappointed to "only" have one.

Neat trick, huh?

We can all rationalize whatever we need to, and that is my proof. I think our minds miraculously adapt to embrace the situation at hand. I think we infertiles have spent so much time being beggars that we know we can't generally be choosers. That we will love a boy just as ferociously as the girl we were sure we'd prefer. That there's room in our hearts for two, even if one's more convenient. That we're lucky, whatever we get, if we get a child at all.

Karen's post struck a chord because I recognized a truth in it. I know she sincerely wants twins. But I also know this: should she conceive even a singleton (even a paltry singleton!), her happiness will be so brilliant, so encompassing, that there will be no room for disappointment.

It's all good. In fact, it's all great. May Karen and all my friends have the priceless chance to adapt and be grateful.

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