My mind was preoccupied with two main questions. Could it be a baby boy? Or could it be a baby girl. I started imagining the kind of a Dad I would become. In one instance, I pictured myself playing with a baby girl, going round the mall shopping for appropriate clothings and toys. In another instance, I saw a baby boy running towards me while shouting “Daddy! Daddy! Teach me how to play football. I could smile once in a while and burst in laughter as these thoughts kept criss-crossing my mind interchangeably.
I knew that soon, these mixed thoughts would come to an end. That they would be aligned in one direction like they were seamless. Only then would I be able to stabilise and get my thoughts together. I had read and heard stories on parenting of both boys and girls. The common fact was that raising either child was not the same. Like I had insinuated earlier, I felt ready, in fact, more than ready. The first scan was going to be a defining moment, it had future implications, it would shape my plan going forward.
I looked back and thought, were my parents this anxious those days? If they did it, then I can do it, I mean, anybody can do it. We were fatigued, my wife was facing it even rough since she had to deal with both the physical and the mental bit. On my end, the joy that comes with such a wonderful expectations, somehow overshadowed my mental fatigue. Little did I know that I was just moments away from getting my mind almost blown away.
To avoid the hassle of traveling a long distance, we simply went to the nearest healthcare facility. After all it was just a scan and there was no cause for alarm. To this juncture, all had been well save the normal ‘sicknesses’ any healthy woman would have when gestating.
It was a weekend, around midmorning. We were already seated at the waiting bay, patiently waiting for the radiologist to arrive. We were actually the first patients on the line. It was just a matter of time before we could know and have an accurate imagination of what parenting would look like for us.
The receptionists informed us that we had to wait a little longer. Reason being that the specialist had not yet arrived but she was on her way. I decided to take a shot leave to ease up tension. I strolled to nowhere but I was still within town. I just could not sit and wait. I wanted to busy myself with nothingness, away from a hospital environment.
A few minutes passed. I didn’t notice how fast time moved because I was absent in mind. I finally received the highly anticipated call. Earlier on, I had left my contact at the reception for them to alert me as soon as the doc had arrived. I immediately made an about-turn. I had lost track of where exactly I was. All I remember is that I was in some street, a couple of buildings from the hospital. I walked back while running and before long I was back at the front seat.
Then appoached an ever-smiling lady who acted and appeared so motherly and familiar. She was tall, a bit light in complexion and had a neatly kept shot hair. When I say she looked motherly I actually meant it. To say she reminded me of my mother would be an understatement. I kept asking myself, could she be my relative? Her resemblance to my mother was out of question. There was no better time to meet ‘mother’ after such a long time and the icing on the cake was that she was the specialist we had been waiting for. We were in safe hands, so I thought.
‘Our’ name was called out and we quickly got into the US room. We made all the preps in readiness for the scan. The room was quiet and just perfect for the moment that was. A fluid which appeared to be oily and clear in colour was applied on my wife’s belly. I didn’t know the purpose it was meant to serve but I kept cool. Of course the doc was incharge and even though I didn’t understand a thing she was doing, I trusted her anyway. Shortly after, she moved a scanner gently around the belly and this was the time I began seeing a blurred image on the screen above. There appeared to be some discomfort and pain if the facial expression of my other half was anything to go by.
I tried to understand and get a clue of what was going on, but I kept waiting. I was waiting to see a clearer image, like that of a 3D screen to clear all the mixed thoughts I had in mind. But no, it was only for experts to click. Even before I could figure out what was appearing on the screen, the doctor asked (my wife) politely, Are there twins in your family? She was like, “Eeeh? What did you say? Then she asked the same question again, and the answer was a definite NO. Then it was my turn to be asked the same question and the answer was still a NO.
The answers we gave were all from our mouths and not our minds. Meaning, they were not accurate at all. Actually, a YES was the true answer. Why would a doctor ask such a question? Is it protocol for all scans? or is it just an eyes-breaking joke to gauge how strong our composure was? Wait, again… my guess was wrong. The doc is an expert. She must have seen something that we didn’t, and yes it was a the SHOCK of a lifetime.
“I can see two heartbeats, one on the left and the other on the right”, she said. “This means that you are expecting twins and you are so blessed I must say, ” she added.
All this time, I was functioning fairly well until I heard the word ‘twins’. The ideal feeling in response was to jump and celebrate but that was simply in theory and not in reality. I thought I was ready, I thought I had everything right where it was supposed to be, I thought I had a good plan. I was very wrong. I got tensed and immediately, it dawned on me that I was a victim of my own plans and choices. I had to shelve everything and begin a new. Was it too late? We had just completed six months of planning, thinking, doing and re-doing. All this was now supposed to go down the drain as if we had done nothing. Save for the doc who remained professional and had to go in details explaining all the risks involved and what we should expect going forward, the scene was visibly chaotic and that’s a story for another day since it didn’t come from my mind.
Despite the shock. I was still focused on the objective of the day. I asked the doc whether it was possible to determine the sex of the babies. She gladly said yes. She showed 2 images which to me were unclear, one had an organ that resembled a ‘rungu’ (club) between the legs while the other hadn’t, so she said while pointing to help me see clearly. As obvious as you think it was, this left me even more confused coming from the breaking news. She was kind enough to explain in layman’s language. It was a boy and a girl. This marked the beggining of a the beggining of my fatherhood story. It was showdown after showdown in my mind. Yes, blessings may come in dramatic ways, and drama may just turn out to be a blessing.
But again, it is the wearer of the shoe that how and where it hurts.