The year my kids were born, a Dutch couple also had IVF twins. But something was going on that rocked their world. And I felt some of those vibrations. Their twins were two boys, and it became apparent quite soon after birth that one of the twins was beige and one was brown. But their
parents were both beige. With investigation, they learned that a pipette had been reused for the insemination for the beige couple, and the previous patients had been brown, thus allowing the sperm from the two different fathers to mix with the eggs.
This caught my attention and shook me up because I was already suspicious of the whole IVF thing. I was worried about what went on with our Petri dishes and pipettes when I wasn’t there to make sure everything was copacetic and ethical. Most women get to know their children are safely nestled deeply inside them for those first crucial days and weeks. It was unnerving to leave my embryos in a building over on Fillmore and Union for two days, unable to keep them safe, to protect them from being dropped or to make sure they were really our embryos and not confused with someone else’s embryos. The story of the Dutch mix-up only fueled my concerns. Okay, honestly? It freaked me out!
And then when it was time to deliver our kids, the doctor draped me so I couldn’t see the surgical field (my huge pregnant belly) and he started the Caesarian without telling me while I was talking to the anesthesiologist, unaware until Spencer was crying that I had just become a mother. That miffed me a bit in hindsight. And threw me a curve. He should have told me. It made the whole experience very surreal. All numbed up like I was, not feeling anything, and not seeing anything, only being told that the surgeon had taken those babies out of me (and Jason reassuring me they were indeed ours and they were the right ones because he’d witnessed it all) I really had some crazy mental stuff going on trying to get my brain around the idea that those were MY babies. Once the kids got older and grew out of their tiny little underdeveloped came-out-too-early I-look-like-a-frog stage, I began to see signs that they were actually from our gene pool. When Pierce’s feet started to look like Jason’s and when Molly’s eyes mirrored mine, when things like that started to become apparent with each one, I took deep private sighs of relief that they were really ours.
Now there is no doubt. It is fun how much similarity there is. Although their resemblance was a problem when they were nine months old. One of my “Quad Squad” volunteer couples were Frank and Rene (REE-nee) Royal. Frank turned 80 while they helped take care of our kids. (He turned 101 this month. Happy Birthday, Frank!) I was in the bedroom changing some diapers while Frank and Rene were with a couple of babies in the living room. Spencer suddenly started crying in the living room, a sharp painful cry like he was hurt. I dashed in there and Rene was comforting Spencer. “What happened?” I asked, taking him to administer some momma love. Frank said, “I thought you said Charlie could walk. I put him down and he just fell over.” “That is Spencer, I said. "He can’t even sit up yet.”
Last year Spencer and Charles both worked for Colorado State University. Their offices were in the same building. One day, some woman bound past Spencer’s desk to rush into his boss’s office, apparently late for a lunch date. But as she zoomed by, she screeched to a halt, spun to do a double take and got all weird. Without saying anything but eyeing him suspiciously, she hurried into the boss’s office. Spencer shrugged it off and went back to work, but after a short time, his boss yelled out, “Spencer! Come in here! Tell her who you are.” She was freaking out because she’d just spent an hour in a meeting on the other side of the building with Charles. Then she beat-feet it over to meet Spencer’s boss for her late lunch appointment and found “Charles” sitting there as calm as pudding, casually looking up as she flashed by in a sweat and out of breath, as if his Superman maneuver was nothing. He should have just gone with it. Pulled his glasses down on his nose and whispered, “I’m Superman.” But in the end, with pressure from the boss I’m sure, he admitted there were two of them.
Two Novembers ago, Pierce and Spencer both did the No-Shave November, staging a “beard off” against each other. They committed to not shave until the new year. Easy peasy for Pierce. He didn’t mind his face covered in fur and usually kept it that way to ward off the wicked cold of Wyoming winters. Spencer’s preferences run more toward the clean-shaven variety. He couldn’t wait to get the hairy thing off his face. But I was fascinated to see how much they looked alike with beards. They have identical whisker patterns. And with all that hair on, you can see how similar their other features are. This summer they are both working at a youth camp, Eagle Lake. Pierce is a supervisor for the camp counselors and Spencer is the camp videographer. Pierce has several years’ worth of hair growth, both facial and head. He wears a man bun, and when his hair is down, he has thick tight ringlets to his shoulders. His hair is iconic and the camp personnel and campers love it. My boys played a prank on the campers recently. Pierce took the stage and he another leader pretended they were going to shave off all his beard and cut off his hair. With some slight of hand, lighting gymnastics, and identical wardrobe, they switched out clean-shaven Spencer for Pierce and gave everyone a scare that Pierce had actually given up his hair. Even though they are fraternal, it’s clear they’re from the same gene pool. And it’s clear, that gene pool is ours!
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Life with Quadruplets
As a mother of quadruplets, I've had plenty of crazy experiences raising "supertwins." I blog a lot of memories about my kids. Sometimes just my thoughts on things. I get those sometimes—when my brain works. Which is about one third of the time.