One of the libraries nearby has a bookstore on the ground level. They cull out old books and sell them for about $.50 in order to make room for new books in the library. Pretty much every book I have wanted recently has ended up there. Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking? Check. The Ninth Life of Louis Drax? Check. Of course, this is where I picked up Children of Men for the current book tour.
They have an enormous children's section. I buy the kids books there because used books don't elicit the same guilty feelings that occur when they accidentally tear a page in a new book. These books have already been well-loved. They can withstand the effects of the twins' intense loving without looking much different.
So let's unpack yesterday's purchase.
As I scanned the shelves, I grabbed a picture book called Triplets. My gut reaction when I examined my final pile of books to separate into the "buy-these" and the "reshelve-those" is that the triplet book--while extremely cute--was a bit over their heads languagewise. Yet I threw it into the buy-these pile. I felt uneasy about it, but I justified this $.50 decision by telling myself that someone in my multiples group would love it. I'd bring it to the next meeting and give it to a triplet mother.
I have to get this off my chest--I WAS FREAKIN' LYING! It won't be going to a triplet mom. It will be sitting on our bookshelf for the next few months. And every time Josh passes it, he will say, "didn't you mean to give that to a triplet mother at the next meeting?"
Because this is my dirty little secret. I know a lot of people are freaked out by the idea of carrying and caring for multiples. We talk about it all the time. It's the fear of many a woman undergoing hyperstimulation of their ovaries. How many embryos to transfer? What if we end up with twins? What if we end up with triplets?
I'm not one of those women. I felt like multiples were the only silver-lining to infertility. When I was little, I always wanted twin babies. I imagined myself with identical twin girls. So when we saw the ultrasound screen and saw the multiple sacs (three--though only two had fetal poles. The third was a blighted ovum), I didn't freak out. It felt like an ultimate moment of peace--my reward for all the shit. I felt like I deserved twins--like it was a prize rather than a detriment.
In my twin group, so many women talk about the fact that while they would like to return to the clinic and try for a third, they won't because they're freaked out about the possibility of having another set of multiples and they wouldn't want to transfer only one embryo. And that's my other dirty secret--the one that probably gives my mother a minor heart attack. Not only am I not scared of having another set of multiples, but I would welcome them happily. I would feel like I had somehow gone from being the unluckiest (and most unfeminine) woman in the world to the jackpot winner.
I think the triplet book is like hanging a swimsuit over the scale to remind you to keep focused on the task-at-hand: losing the weight so you can fit into the suit. Maybe the triplet book is a tangible daily reminder that all the shit is worth it for the end result. Do you have something like that? Something you look at that motivates you--existing children perhaps if you're going through secondary infertility or an empty room in the house or a onesie you bought when you first started trying?
Financially, triplets would be the end of us. But what a great story of how the ship went down.