Saturday, September 30, 2006

Ultrastunned

Today is one of those dates on the calendar that just makes me grin. Not only is it the birthday of one of our favorite kiddos (yo, big Lou), it's also the anniversary of The Day We Found Out. As I recall, it went a little something like this:

It was Thursday morning. Trey took sweet 21-month-old Carter to mother's morning out, then came back to the house to carry me to my 24-week appointment with the midwife. So far, this pregnancy was noteworthy only because I'd been horribly queasy during my first trimester. Experienced moms nodded and said, "Every pregnancy is different," but secretly I thought, "Maybe it's a girl." Within an hour, we'd know one way or the other.

For years, my father-in-law had boasted an uncanny ability to accurately predict the gender of a woman's unborn child. And then my niece Olivia proved him wrong. Now he was resolutely, maddeningly unwilling to register a guess about this wee one. We were getting closer to the clinic, and I wondered if I could get him to throw me a bone before my ultrasound. I called him in Houston: no dice.

Up in the clinic, Trey and I met briefly with Susan before she escorted us to the ultrasound room. She warned us that Cynthia, the ultrasound technician, wasn't especially talkative. Naturally, Trey took this as a personal challenge. As I stretched out on the table, he chatted up Cynthia, gave her our blank videotape and said, "You know, we've been through this once before, so you can't really surprise us. We just want to know what color to paint the nursery."

Cynthia explained that she would begin the exam with some measurements and analysis; after she was done, she'd start recording and tell us what she was seeing.

She put the wand on my belly and the monitor just behind my ear began to fill the dark room with hazy blue lights. Immediately, she glanced at Trey and asked with a straight face, "How big's that nursery?"

I was thinking, what an odd... no, impertinent question! Why should she care about our teensy shoebox of a nursery? I looked at Trey and noticed a peculiar expression coming over his face. He was staring at the monitor. Without a word, Cynthia tilted the screen so it was in my view. All I could see were two big blobs floating before me.

"What's that?" I asked. No one answered. After a pause, Trey said, "It looks like... two heads." Silly Trey, I thought, but then I realized that Cynthia was NODDING HER HEAD. My heart was pouding as I studied the blobs, and my brain raced to catch up. Two heads. Two heads.

"How many bodies?" I gasped. "Two bodies!" Cynthia said, finally breaking into a smile. In a flash, Trey was at my head, giving me a kiss and boasting the biggest (if a wee bit wobbly) smile I'd ever seen. My own warm, happy tears were streaming down into my ears. Trey touched the pair of silver bean earrings he'd bought for me when we discovered we were pregnant again. "I'll need to get you another bean," he whispered.

Pure. Bliss.

Within minutes, Cynthia showed us that Twin A was a girl and Twin B was a boy. They looked healthy and active, both. I exhaled for the first time in 10 minutes. Trey and I kept grinning at each other with shiny eyes, shaking our heads, unable to believe our incredible good fortune. Twins: it had never, ever occurred to me, not even for an instant. I felt blessed, as if I'd been chosen somehow, although I couldn't imagine why. I still can't, but I'm ever grateful.

Finally, too soon, the exam was over. I wanted to keep watching those babies, and I couldn't wait to race home to run the video again and again. On wobbly legs and with eyes as big as saucers, we started to follow Cynthia down the hall, when Susan appeared in our path. "Well?" she asked. My voice cracked, so I held up two fingers, and suddenly everyone seemed to crowd around us, laughing and offering hugs and best wishes.

We had a brief pow-wow with Susan before leaving the clinic, again to a chorus of congratulations. And then, we were back out in the sun and into the car, with cell phones at the ready. I remembered the happy day we found out that Carter would, indeed, be Carter, and I knew I wanted to call Houston first.

Ellie answered the phone, and we waited for Carter Long to join us. "Carter," I said, "I really need to know. What do you think I'm having, a boy or a girl?" More hemming and hawing. "I'm going to make this so easy for you," I said, trying not to laugh. "Just guess. You can't guess wrong." He began to argue with me, so I said, "Carter. You can't guess wrong."

Silence. And finally, Ellie, in a wavering voice that I'll never forget, said, "Amy... ?"

Oh, it was great. We called my mom next. When the news sank in for her, I could hear two dozen second-graders erupt with excitement in the background. Sisters, friends, our grandmothers, my dad... it was like playing Santa Claus, calling and sharing our joyous news with the ones we loved. Trey steered the car to Cafe Express, and we sat out on the patio on a bright fall day, passing the phones back and forth and answering the same incredulous questions over and over again. Gazing at each other, laughing out loud, and turning it over in our heads: two more.

And that's when the Franklin Five really began, on The Day We Found Out.

3 Comments:

Blogger Sugar Photography said...

Absolutely precious.

Trey was right-I got a little teary.

And I laughed out loud too.

What an amazing, amazing family you guys have. The love for one another is so apparent and so wonderful to be around, and reading stories like these just reinforces how lucky your kids are to have you guys, and also how lucky I know you feel to have them.

Have a gorgeous weekend Franklins!

Jen (thanks again Trey!)

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Tracey Cobb said...

I'm simply going to have to stop reading your blog. Every time I open it, I either giggle repeatedly and tell Marshall, "She's just so...funny," for the umpteeth time (to which he merely replies, "I know."), or I beome I blubbering mess. Usually both.

Thanks, Amos!

Tracey

1:41 PM  
Blogger Sugar Photography said...

I'm reading this again and it still makes me laugh out loud, tear up, and wish like heck that I had known you guys back when.

4:47 PM  

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