Unbelievable news: It’s gonna be twins!

Published 7:58 am Sunday, January 15, 2012

Column: Pass the Hot Dish, by Alexandra Kloster

I gripped my St. Gerard medal with my right hand and held the arm of my husband, Graham, with my left. Then I turned my head as far away from the ultrasound machine as I could. Strike a pose for bad news. I’d been doing it for years. I prepared myself to say, “Yes, yes, fine, I understand. Thank you.” Then we would go home and focus on one thing, getting to tomorrow.

The bad news never came. Slowly I turned toward the nurse. I’d been through so much with her she seemed more like an old war buddy. She was smiling and there were tears in her eyes.

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“I see a second sac,” she said.

“OK,” I said.

It didn’t register. I waited for the other shoe to drop and kick me in the head.

Graham and I peered at the ultrasound image. Time waited for us to catch up.

“What did you say?” Graham asked.

“Twins,” she said.

While Graham’s face got closer and closer to the monitor where two hearts flickered, I dug around for something to say. The only words in my head were an expression used in Upper Michigan for really cold lakes, winning lottery tickets, fierce blizzards and 20-point bucks.

“Holy Wha!” I said. That covered the whole situation.

Somehow we survived the drive home on a mixture of “Can you believe it?” and “Watch the road!”

We wandered around the house trying to wrap our brains around this unexpected turn of events. For six years we’d tried to have one baby. Two seemed like an impossible embarrassment of riches.

Graham stared out the window, his face all shock and disbelief, like he saw “Jaws” swimming menacingly in our front yard, threatening to rise up and take a bite out of the balcony. “We’re gonna need a bigger house,” he said.

I was staring into the mirror. “Buddy, you’re going to need a bigger wife.”

Friends, I’ve mentioned before that I’m not exactly statuesque. I’m more like a monument to small. At that moment, the basic logistics of my situation were far from clear. Why couldn’t I be a lofty 5 foot 4 like my sister, Susie?

We decided to tell the dogs right away. “Sidney,” said Graham looking down at the six pounds of sinewy terrier that rules our home, “you have no idea how your life is about to change.”

I took a more gentle tack with Gizmo. “Giz, your life won’t change at all, except eventually you have to act like a pet instead of a furry infant. I’d start practicing now.” With that he whipped off his diaper, spit out his pacifier and barked like the “sort of” Pomeranian he is. Something tells me the dogs will adjust faster than Graham and I.

That was 14 weeks ago. We’ve started telling people now. Their response is always, “Twins?” like they didn’t hear us right.

I assure them I really did say two, and then I like to use the old coach Woody Hayes line on them, “Because we couldn’t go for three!” Or I tell them, “Yeah, we got two because we faked the extra point.” Some people don’t know what I’m talking about, but it makes me laugh, so I keep doing it.

I won’t lie to you. I’m scared. Every day is a combination of fear and joy. Even now, after the first trimester when the doctors assure me everything is going well, I’m in a white-hot panic at least once a day. After so many losses and so many years of bad luck it’s hard to remember that most pregnancies usually turn out fine.

Years ago, Graham and I were in the middle of a long flight across the ocean. Seeing nothing but blue in every direction was making me visibly nervous. Graham leaned over and said, “Don’t worry, Kloster. Planes don’t just fall out of the sky.”

I say that to myself every day now. I know there are still things that can go wrong, but most of the time planes don’t just fall out of the sky.

So we keep flying, and we keep hoping that we’ll stay in the air and that this good wind that finally blew our way will sustain us until we are reach our destination, until we are a family.


Woodbury resident Alexandra Kloster appears each Sunday. She may be reached at alikloster@yahoo.com, and her blog is Radishes at Dawn at alexandrakloster.com.