“There’s Two Heartbeats!” Finding Out It Was Twins

One question I get a lot from new people is “How did you react when you found out you were having twins?” It was the absolute last thing I expected. I tell this story all the time, so I thought it would be fun to set the scene and tell it on here. It’s a day I’ll certainly never forget and a story I’m sure I’ll tell for the rest of my life.

I found out I was pregnant at five weeks. James and I had been trying to conceive, so I hadn’t missed my period yet or felt any symptoms, but I had been testing regularly. I got a positive home test and went to the doctor the next day to get it confirmed, and we told our family that night. We were all over the moon. I made two appointments with my OB-GYN. First was the “pregnancy orientation,” where they gather a group of newly pregnant women in one room and go over all the Pregnancy 101 basics with us. Two weeks later would be my first ultrasound.

I hadn’t even considered the possibility that there could be multiples. We don’t have many twins in my family, and it just seemed like something that happened to other people. I was most concerned about checking for the heartbeat. I had a lot of anxiety about the possibility of miscarriage well into my pregnancy, and I was a nervous wreck. We’d been trying to conceive for five months and I just wanted to know the baby was okay. I went in for my ultrasound, James by my side, praying to see a healthy heartbeat. Lying on the table, the ultrasound tech rubbed the cold gel on my belly while my heart beat a mile a minute. I held my breath, until…

“We’ve got a heartbeat!”

We looked up at the screen and saw it. A little kidney bean with a tiny dot flashing in the middle. “There it is!” said the nurse. She took a screenshot and I heard it come out of the printer. We heard the faint “thump thump thump” on the monitor. James and I looked at each other and beamed. It was real; we were really going to be parents! Our baby was okay. And then…

The “thump thump thumps” seemed to double in number. She paused for a second, then announced, “Looks like you’ve got two heartbeats in there!”

It took a moment for us to process her words. Was I growing a double-hearted baby?! “Um, what?” I asked. I looked up at the screen, still holding my breath, and there it was. Two kidney beans. Two tiny flashing dots. “You got twins,” she said.

I looked over at James. His smiling eyes remained transfixed on the screen, his mouth agape in shock. It doesn’t happen often, but James was speechless. When I finally grasped what was on the monitor before me, I burst into tears. Big gasping sobs, unable to speak.

“Are these happy tears or sad tears?” asked the nurse. “I don’t know,” I choked. “Both.”

And I was serious. They were both. James and I were living decently on our salaries as a public school teacher and a college instructor. We’d done a budget before deciding to have a baby and decided we could afford one. ONE. Not two. I’d mapped out everything our baby needed, from a car seat, to a crib, to diapers, to daycare, down to the dollar. And that total number that we’d okayed had just doubled.

And how would we make it ourselves? We had no children. We never even babysat. We had already accepted that we’d be on a learning curve, floundering to keep this tiny person alive, and now we found out that there would be a second little human relying on us for literally every one of their wants and needs. There’s no way we were going to make it.

Still, some of the tears were joyful. We had been hoping and praying for this baby and now our cup runneth over. Not one healthy little child-to-be, but two! How fortunate were we to be chosen for this gift of abundance? I wanted to be a mother so badly, and it was happening. Whether one baby or five, I was still excited.

She turned to the keyboard and labeled one “BABY A” and one “BABY B,” explaining to us that she could see that I had one placenta and one amniotic sac. “That means they’re identical,” she said. “So they’ll be the same gender. Either two boys or two girls, no boy/girl.” I didn’t mind that. I had no gender preference. My gut told me in that instant that they’d both be boys anyway. She printed out another picture, this time with both of them on it.

The rest of the appointment was a blur. We left, and sat in the parking lot in silence, the strip of ultrasound photos in my lap. Neither of us could muster the words to begin to address this life-altering, earth-shattering news we’d just received. Every now and then, one of us would utter, “Twins,” to which the other would respond in affirmation, “Twins.”

Finally, eventually, we gathered ourselves enough to pull off, and headed to the most natural next destination – Waffle House. We sat in a corner booth, our ultrasound pictures on the table, and discussed how we’d deliver the news. We decided to tell only family at first, and each choose one close friend to tell, leaving it to be a surprise for everyone else. The next day, I called my best friend Heather to tell her, and she laughed out loud. “That’s what you get for being so impatient about getting pregnant!” She’d had to listen to all of my griping each month that passed trying to conceive with no baby and let me know that I’d talked up being double-pregnant by whining so much about being not-pregnant. James told his friend Jerad. When he asked James how the ultrasound had gone, he showed him an ultrasound picture on his phone with two tiny babies clearly labeled. When my sister-in-law asked me if the baby was okay, I just sent back a thumbs up emoji – a dead giveaway that this was no ordinary appointment, she later told me. I also told my co-workers, just to let them know that not only was I pregnant and going to be taking things a little easier, I was EXTRA SUPER pregnant and pretty much a human Fabergé egg.

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We made our big twin announcement at 12 weeks. I’d gone in for one of any ultrasounds to check on them, and the doctor confirmed that they looked healthy and like they’d be fine. Most of our good friends and family already knew we were expecting, but next to no one knew there were twins. When they asked for an ultrasound picture, I’d send the very first one: the one with just Alex on it, before we found Nathan hiding. Our pregnancy announcement was a picture of a Scrabble board with “EUBANKS TWINS ARRIVE APRIL” spelled out in Scrabble tiles. Along the tile holder was the word “TWINS.” It was a big shock to those who thought they were “in the know,” so nobody could drop one of those “Finally I can tell!” comments. It was such a fun surprise to drop on everyone, and I still scroll through those Facebook comments from time to time.

Life changed forever with one appointment, and though there are many ups and downs, I wouldn’t trade being a twin mom for anything.