It's Twins! How Four Became Our Family's Magic Number

In this month's letter from the editor, Parents' Liz Vaccariello shares the story of how she and her husband became proud members of the parents-of-twins club.

Liz Vaccariello in Yellow Dress Steve Vaccariello
It happened so fast. Steve leaned in and gripped my hand. I reclined on the doctor’s table in our OB’s closet-size Manhattan office, and together we watched the monitor. Dr. M worked his ultrasound wand over my lower belly until he saw the white oval that signaled I was pregnant. I felt my mouth go dry and realized it was both excitement and terror. Our family was planned, oh yes. But Steve and I had emotionally counted on several more months before we actually conceived.

Waiting was the name of our game. We’d dated seven years before getting married. We were married another seven before we seriously entertained the idea of children. “Remember, not deciding is a decision right there,” I’d tell my wanderlustful husband, who “didn’t want to talk about it right now” year after passing year. Then I read that mothers of advanced maternal age (is there a worse phrase?) had a higher likelihood of conceiving twins. That was all two type-A life planners needed to hear. We were ready to get going. No one but us was going to determine the size of our family. So now the question became: What was our magic number?

I said, if we only have one, the baby’s in a Björn and our lives hardly change. Steve wondered if single children were weird. (“It’s a fair question since both your mom and dad are only children, ha-ha.”) I checked the research on singles. We were good. 

“Just one?” Steve kidded with the doctor as I lay there. I rolled my eyes because it certainly was and this was no time for jokes. “Well let’s see,” said Dr. M, settling in for another look. “Oh, here’s another one. It’s two. It’s twins.”

Like a crazy person, I cackled right there on the exam table. My first thought was, DUDE, IF WE HADN’T ASKED, WHEN WERE YOU GOING TO NOTICE? And my second: God really does have a sense of humor. I pictured her on her cloud, smiling benevolently: Go ahead, you two. Make your plans and study your studies. I’m the one in control here.

And that’s how two kids from Cleveland found themselves sitting in a New York doctor’s office, facing their family’s future. It happened so fast; it had taken forever.

I invite you to e-mail me at liz@parents.com. You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter.