When I was pregnant with my twins I was excited, scared and at times, disbelief. I couldn’t believe I was going to have two children at once!! We had been trying to have a baby for many years so it was almost as if it had been decided that we needed to catch up in one pregnancy. Once the initial shock wore off my focus turned to anything and everything I could learn about keeping these two inside me for as long as possible. Everyone seemed to come out of the woodwork with stories of their auntie, cousin, neighbor from twenty years ago, that had twins born weighing 2 pounds, or how their babies had to be hospitalized for months due to complications. FYI, that’s not exactly what a newly pregnant woman with twins wants or needs to hear…
Even my doctor gave me the talk about how it was very common in twin pregnancies for one of the twins to not make it, and that many people don’t even know they were pregnant with twins because by the time they test for pregnancy the second one is gone. Well, when you do IVF you are tested as soon as it is humanly possible to know you are pregnant, which is nice, but on the other hand, I had that knowledge with me while I waited to see my regular obgyn at 8 weeks. Those were some looooong weeks. I tried in my head to make myself believe it was ok if one didn’t make it, sort of like preparing myself for the worst. Yes I know that is an awful thing, but in reality, I just didn’t want to have the major breakdown I knew I would have if I did get that news. Thankfully, I did not.
As my pregnancy progressed I had every test known to man done to ensure they were healthy babies. We were “flagged” for a few conditions due to their size, which I still to this day think is a system that needs to be adjusted. My two babies were being scaled in comparison to one baby, and to me that doesn’t make sense. In the end, all the tests came back indicating two very healthy babies, sigh of relief.
Bed rest came at almost 28 weeks. First in the hospital, then, after much discussion, released to finish at home. Every other day I trekked to the hospital for ultrasounds, non stress tests and blood work. Finally it was time to pick their birth day, we were at 37 weeks!!! The first day up was my birthday, I wanted them to have their own birthday so that was a no. Next day my doctor was post call and wouldn’t be available, and I wanted her to be there so that was a no. So the next day it was, and that’s how their birthday was decided.
The day of their birth I was quite calm. My hubs thought I would have a meltdown of some sort, but no, no meltdown. When the time came I walked myself to the operating room, hopped up on the bed and waited for everything to happen. Not even all the horror stories of everyone’s C-sections gone bad could unnerve me. Of course it helped that I knew everyone there, my friend was my anesthesiologist and I was more than ready for these two to vacate the premises.
Thing 1 was the first to be born, all four and a half pounds of him. He was so tiny but so perfect. Thing 2 was a little more stubborn and not making it easy for them to get her out, but when she finally did I stared into the eyes of my mini me and was instantly in love. They checked them both over and the only thing they noted was that Thing 2 looked to have been bruised on her hand during delivery. I really didn’t give it much thought, I mean there was a lot of tugging and pulling so it didn’t surprise me.
We were out of the hospital in record time, comfortably at home where I really wanted to be. During the few days after their birth I kept an eye on her “bruise”, within a few days it had gone from what truly did look like a bruise to a full on angry, swelled and shocking hemangioma. I was mortified, what in the heck happened? My baby girl was no longer perfect, was all I could think. How could this happen? Why her?
We ended up at Children’s Hospital where we were given all the information (like I hadn’t already done my own research, desperately searching every resource available to reassure myself that this was fixable) and what our options were. After that first visit to the hospital my mindset sure changed. I had a quick and very strong slap back to reality. My daughter’s little hemangioma was NOTHING compared to what these other kids were facing, in fact, their parents probably would have given everything to be sitting in my shoes dealing with this little issue. Their children were dealing with life altering, sometimes life ending REAL problems. I felt ashamed of myself for even thinking that my beautiful baby girl wasn’t perfect simply because she had this swelled up purple mass on her little hand. Shame on me.
For the first three years of Thing 2’s life she was on a mediation originally intended for children with heart ailments, but found to have amazing results on hemangiomas. The swelling went down within weeks and her angry purple and red hand toned down in color. After much discussion with the best doctor ever, we all agreed to wait until Thing 2 was a little older to deal with the cosmetic side of her little hand. Dr. BoatHouse said we would know, that she would start noticing it a lot more and making comments about it. He said it would probably come after she gets around more kids, like in a preschool setting, that it would become a topic of conversation for curious little 3 y/o’s. And he was correct. My baby girl started asking more about her “sparkles” and why other kids didn’t have them. Then came the words… she wanted them gone. Right then and there the decision was made, time to take care of her sparkles.
She was a rock star the first laser treatment. It’s a very quick procedure, but one that needs for her little self to be anesthetized to keep her still. That in itself can be a little traumatic, my little girl was in a new environment and things were happening to her that had never before. I had explained everything that would happen to her using 3 y/o language so she would understand as best as possible. This time, she was an old pro. She knew exactly what was going to happen, had her dinosaur for protection (she sternly told everyone that nobody was to laser her dinosaur’s stripe down his back), and made sure to show Dr. BoatHouse where he missed last time. His face was priceless during his schooling… My girl never shed a tear this time. We huddled around her while they administered the strawberry scented “dinosaur air” and as soon as her eyes rolled to the back of her head we gave her kisses to her head and told her we would see her in a few.
The only difference this time was she was angry as all get out when she woke up. She wanted to go home NOW!!! So we got our girl dressed and promptly left.
Over the next few weeks we will see the true results of this treatment. Of course we are hoping that this will be the last one, but if it’s not, we will repeat.
I am very thankful that we are able to provide these treatments to Thing 2. I know kids can be cruel when they find any difference in a peer, if I can prevent this, I will. Even with that said, to me my baby girl is 100 percent perfect. I know it seems almost hypocritical to say that she is perfect to me, yet I sign her up for these treatments to remove the sign of her “imperfection” but after careful consideration it’s what is best for her. Had this been on her back or somewhere that really wouldn’t be seen we would probably have gone the other direction and just let nature take care of it. But it was on her hand, the entire back of her hand encroaching on her wrist, seen everyday.
Almost four years later I still think about those early days of being so distraught over my “imperfect” baby. Of thinking how I could hide her hand in pictures or dress her in a manner that hid that angry intruder on her tiny hand. I’m so grateful that I got over that, I didn’t hide it, in pictures or in everyday life. That hemangioma was part of my girl, and I loved every part of her. I’m not sad to see her sparkles go, I’m happy that she wants to see them go. I’m happy that I can help her feel comfortable in her own skin. So you can take all my contradictions with these feelings and do what you will, honestly I don’t care. What I care about is sitting about 5 feet from me happily munching on some broccoli next to her broccoli hating older, by two minutes, brother.