Large, expressive eyes smiled playfully when I met her last November. A soldier living on base, Ayen was strong, lean and beautiful-- and very, very pregnant. Her belly was unusually large for her dates; Could she have twins? She had delivered twins once before, would she be up for a second round? Beaming, a toothy, yet tender smile, she explained: “One baby is a blessing, twins are a double blessing!” Her enthusiasm was infectious.
Unable to pin-point whether she had twins or not, she agreed to come back regularly. With time, we figured it would become clear, but it didn’t.
One month, the heart beat would be low, near the pelvis; The next month, it would be high, tucked up under her ribs. It was a quandary. And regardless of positioning, the fundal height kept soaring. I suspected twins because of all the tiny parts I could palpate, but... but... I wasn’t sure. The heartbeat was the same, meaning it could be just one baby. With no ultrasound, we had no way to confirm our suspicions. We’d have to wait.
Fast forward 3 months and several prenatal checks to this afternoon.
When she arrived, busting at the seams, my Twin-Alarm sounded in my head. Her fundal height was 40 cm (not outrageous for North American women but very uncommon here. In fact, the only other 40+ cm fundal height was on my twin delivery last year.), so I called for back-up. Margaret was happy to oblige.
Well on her way to fully, Ayen labored like a champ. She groaned and bit her lower lip in pain, twisting her mouth in a question mark with each contraction. It was child-like and sweet and so unexpected; I couldn’t help but smile in response.
When it came time to push, she did it with gusto. In fact, a few pushes into it all and Niagra Falls exploded on the opposite wall and gushed down the bed legs, pooling on the floor. Startled, we jumped at the force of it all. The last birth with this much fluid was my twin birth. But then a normal sized head appeared, followed by a sea of more amniotic fluid.
That enormous belly sank to next to nothing once her boy emerged. Twins he was not. Instead, we got one healthy bambino surrounded by 3-babies-worth of amniotic fluid! Laughing at my miscalculation, I must confess I was a bit disappointed. I think she was too. Despite all the extra work twins can be, I think she really wanted her ‘double blessing’. Oh well.
... there you have it. The story of my almost-twins.
Rejoice with me! His birth is the 9th baby in 9 days. I like this season of baby-ness. It’s fun.