Everyone has a when I first found out story. I’m not talking about the gender-reveal party kind, which by the way was started by Jenna Myers Karvunidis in 2008 to drum up excitement for her first baby. That the idea has spread like wildfire, quite literally, was established when a gender-reveal stunt by an off duty border patrol agent started an Arizona wildfire that ended up burning 47,000 acres of forest.
My story of when I first found out wasn’t at a party. It was at the hospital in the ultrasound examination room, with three people present – two doctors and me. The occasion was the first scan.
As the doctor stood looking at the ultrasound monitor, I lay there, letting the transducer probe over the skin of my well gelled belly. Though brimming with nervous excitement (pun intended), my attention was solely on my almost ready to burst bladder.
Just then, the doctor called out, “I see a heartbeat”. As I tried to crane my neck to look at the spot he was pointing at, the second doctor announced, “I see a heartbeat.”
Ok so, now the only person in the room who hadn’t seen anything was the owner of the belly sending out those blips. I thought I would apprise the others of this tiny detail but the sight of both the doctors exchanging notes in quiet voices got me worried. So, I asked them if everything was ok.
“There’s nothing to worry about, Ma’am”, the doctor said reassuringly, “ We were just discussing that a thorough examination needs to be done since it’s your first scan.”
That was a good thing, I thought to myself – this wanting to be thorough. But as the probe continued its forays across my stomach, the mandatory full bladder before a scan began to get pushed to its limits. It was a relief then that the doctors decided to make some small talk, thereby distracting me from visuals of washrooms.
“So, ma’am, do you come from a large family? What about your parents?”, one of them enquired. I told him we were two siblings, and my parents were seven and nine siblings respectively. I waited in smug anticipation, knowing from past experience that these statistics always got a reaction. But, all I got was a mild, “That’s interesting.”
It was odd, I thought, but in their line of work, probably not such an unusual thing, I reckoned. By now, I was starting to get a little irritated. I was tired and hungry, and I was hallucinating about washrooms – this scan really needed to get over soon.
The next question came, “Any twins?” I did a quick count of the combined family tree and said, “There’s an aunt and a cousin on my side, his mom and a cousin on his side.”
Instantly, the probe came to a still and the doctor looked at me. He was grinning as he said, “Well, ma’am, then it should come as no surprise that you are going to have twins.”
What? Did he just say twins? I must have heard it wrong! As these thoughts raced through my mind, I asked him if he was sure.
“Yes, we are absolutely certain. We saw the two heartbeats almost immediately, but we wanted to do a thorough scan to confirm”, the doctor replied calmly.
Though, having twins has a strong genetic link and we sure had that in ample amount, it hadn’t even crossed our minds because of the old adage – twins skip a generation. With cousins on both sides having had our generation’s quota of twins, we hadn’t thought it was even a possibility. I recalled a quote by Josh Billings, “There are two things in life for which we are never fully prepared: twins.” Well, I sure was proof of that!
My dazed look made it evident that whatever the statistics of the family tree, the announcement had come like a bolt out of the blue for me. So, the doctors asked me to look at the monitor while they pointed at the exact spots where I could see the heartbeats for myself. I looked at the two tiny blips on the screen, and I remember saying, “Oh, wow!” And then nothing. Clearly, I was still processing things.
“We are having twins, we are having twins,” I said over and over, willing for it to sink in as I stepped out of the examination room. Just then, the other half of the “we” rushed towards me. In all of this, I had totally forgotten about him. He took one look at my expression and asked if I was alright.
Aha! I thought, now’s the time to see him react. So, I said, “Get ready for this – we are having twins.”
“What? Are you sure? Are they sure?“, he asked, clearly hit by the same bolt. Then as it started to sink in, he started laughing and said, “This is great news. It’s going to be fun.”
As we hugged each other and went to thank the doctors for being the bearers of such joyous tidings, we were over the moon – we had made a wish and two had come true.
Photo by the Birmingham Museums Trust