Part 1: The Two For One
I am not sure how this happened. Ok, not the anatomy of it all, but the ‘so many kids in so little time’ thing. When I was young, I knew I wanted to have kids and probably more than one, but I never imagined THIS. The three kids in diapers, the three cribs in one room, the sheer volume of discipline, tackling, lifting, holding and rocking that I do is at the brink of—and sometimes over—what any one person can do on their own. So, you may be wondering, as many friends, family members and strangers have wondered, why we did this to ourselves. Well, let me tell you a little portion of our story.
After we had been married for about four years, we took a 'proper' honeymoon to France for two weeks—our first honeymoon was kind of a flop so this was making up for it. I don't know if it was the wine or the fields of sunflowers foreshadowing our sons' obsession with Daniel Tiger, but it was on this trip that we decided to start 'trying'. We were living in England at the time and felt that we had held the 'young married-no kids' status long enough. It was the perfect time to think about introducing a new little adventure into our lives. In-laws were starting to ask those “When am I going to be a grandparent?” sort of questions and we were running out of excuses. My first pregnancy, I miscarried, then found out I had a molar pregnancy. After dealing with that medical issue, which took well over a year to conclude, we tried for three more years with no success.
When finally, I got pregnant, we were cautiously optimistic, but then I miscarried. Again. By this time, I was fed up with the whole ‘getting pregnant’ thing. How could we be trying all this time to come up again with loss and disappointment? The doctors said that there was nothing wrong with me, I was doing the work, being diligent in my diet and exercise and planning, so... why wasn’t this happening for us? It was one of those times in life when you feel like you can relate with the psalmist who is in a pit, under a rock, covered in crap, with of all his enemies surrounding him and he sits there in agony and wonders, WHERE ARE YOU GOD?!?! This is where I was.
The advice from the medical community surrounding miscarriage is not all that comforting. They say it is common. They say one in four pregnancies miscarry. They say that you have to wait three months to start trying again. They say it is no big deal, blah, blah, blah… HELLO! IT IS A BIG DEAL TO ME!! It just came to that point where I felt that no one knew what they were talking about. I demanded to have a blood test just to be sure that I had miscarried, even though in my heart I already knew. I wept with the nurse whilst getting my blood drawn and left the lab feeling so broken, so useless, like a light bulb that went out and then got stepped on. I was bitterly 'over it'. And to be quite frank with you, we did not follow the "wait three months" advice for that very reason. I felt I couldn’t conceive so what was the point of being careful?
Then a month later, at four in the morning, while fighting with an intense 'punch you in the sinuses' cold, I took a pregnancy test—out of habit—to make sure I could safely consume as much Sudafed, Nyquil, ibuprofen or whatever, as possible to help me sleep. Aaaaaand the test...was...positive. No medicine for me and definitely no sleep after that.
For this one, we were not in the least optimistic. We were not thinking that this one would take, but we found ourselves nine weeks down the line in a dark room with a funny, curt, sort of man doing our ultrasound. All we could do was pray for a heartbeat—please God let there be a heartbeat—and instead of one heartbeat, there were two! The tech simply said, “Here’s your baby and over here is the other one.” We were like “Uh...OTHER one?...What does that mean?!?!” I’m pretty sure we didn’t say anything the rest of the ultrasound. We wandered around in a haze for the rest of the day. Or maybe weeks. Or Months. Maybe we are still in it...
We were still cautious but the pregnancy turned out to be fairly uneventful as I grew the pair of boys in my belly. I was induced at 35 weeks because little Eli was not growing anymore and they said he would do better out than in. So to make a long, gorey story short (more on this later), they came out and we were parents. Tired, bewildered, hazey, hard-working parents. It takes a while to feel like parents but the fact remained that these boys were officially ours because they sent us home from the hospital with them. Eli was 4 lbs 1 oz and Reuben was 5 lbs 12 oz. Those are some tiny humans, people!
They were—and are—so amazing. We thought they were so cool and even though we were terribly sleep deprived and did not know which end was up, we decided that we wanted more of these little Appels around. Having our history, we were not certain how long it would take or if it was even possible for me to get pregnant again. We didn’t know if it would take another four years and so we didn’t want to waste any time. We just decided to trust God and let Him have the control (which He has anyways) and see what happens.
So there is the story of the two for one pregnancy. You’ll get the story of ‘my bonus’ in part two of this series. But until then, bear in mind that God is good. We had two miscarriages and A LOT of waiting met with two amazing little boys who decided to save me the extra time and pregnancy and be born at the same time. God redeems. God knows what we are going through and he has a plan for our good going on, even if we feel stuck in the mire.