Two?

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A few weeks passed since I found out I was pregnant. Cler and I totally rocked our SATs. Well, I did, at least. My scores will be sent to me soon.

Hopefully my high score would help with scholarships. I'd been looking at schools and was probably going to stick with community college. It was easier on my extremely small wallet.

I kept my secret the best I could from Jace. I definitely wasn't showing yet, so he didn't know a thing, which was perfect. I tried my best to keep working fifteen to twenty hours a week, even though on top of the nausea I was starting to feel a little bloated.

And on top of that, my feet were already hurting. I tried to pretend it was just because my sneakers were three years old and it would subside when I finally got new ones for my birthday.

I let out the secret to the rest of my friend circle the day before my first appointment with the OBGYN. My two other friends, Heather and Maddox, were pretty surprised when I told them, and a little standoffish. I figured they just needed time to process it.

Cler wanted to talk about the little one growing inside of me every second of every day. She was thrilled about "being an auntie." She even started buying me sets of gender-neutral onesies and sleepers that were yellow, white, and grey, when she didn't know whether or not I was keeping the little one.

I went back and forth mentally each day, but looking at the clothes and imagining my baby in them made it harder and harder. I'd completely stopped reading up on the local adoption clinics, but my mom and Poppy didn't know about that.    

Now, we were a week away from the last day of school, and I was five minutes away from my very first doctor's appointment for the baby. I sat in the lobby, staring at the fish tank and twiddling my thumbs while thinking about how today was going to go. 

When my name was called, me, Poppy, and my mom went back into the examination room. They had me get changed into a gown before letting my family in. There wasn't a lot of room since there was only one extra chair, but Poppy absolutely insisted she come too.

The nurse asked me a bunch of questions, like how I was feeling and how far along I thought I was. I told her about my tiredness and foot pain, which was totally normal. I was doing better with nausea and most likely eight to ten weeks.

I had to do a few different tests, too. They took my blood and I had to do that nasty thing where I peed in a cup. I told them both of my pregnancy tests were already positive. Why did I need to do this, too?

The nurse put everything into the computer and told me Dr. Andrews would be in shortly. The three of us sat in silence until a nice young woman knocked on the door and came in. Her hair was up in a bun and she was dressed in a lab coat. She shook my hand and seemed really sweet.

"Hi Chrysanthemum, I'm Andrea Andrews, and I'll be your OBGYN throughout this process. It's so nice to meet you!" she said.

"You can call me Chrys," I said, shaking her hand. 

"Chrys. You got it." She wrote something on her clipboard. "According to your tests results, you're definitely pregnant. Congratulations."

Wow. What a surprise. I had no idea.

Mom nodded her head and Poppy let out one of her little excited squeals.

We sat for a while and talked with Doctor Andrews. She gave me recommendations for prenatal vitamins and told me what foods and activities I should avoid. Since I was a housekeeper, she told me to wear a mask whenever I was using a lot of cleaning products and not to lift things that were too heavy.

She handed me a bunch of pamphlets, including one on adoption, since my family thought it was still on the table. 

Dr. Andrews flipped through the papers on her clipboard. "Okay, I think that's everything! Are you ready for your first ultrasound?"

"Yes!" I said eagerly.

"Great. Let's get started. You can follow me," she said.

Mom carried my clothes for me, since I was preoccupied with keeping my gown closed. Dr. Andrews walked us down the hall to a dark room, where an ultrasound tech was waiting. Dr. Andrews told me she'd see me in a month and gave me a card with her phone extension before she left.

"You can lay down right over here," said the ultrasound tech. "My name is Brittany. I'm one of the ultrasound techs here. Is this your first ultrasound?"

"It is," I said, laying down.

I parted the gown to reveal my stomach, but since I was so early on in my pregnancy, the wand Brittany had wasn't actually going on my belly. It was going somewhere much less comfortable. I squinted at the screen as an image came up. I saw Brittany's face change.

"Oh boy! You're in for a real adventure, Chrys,!" Brittany said.

I looked at the screen and didn't have any clue what was happening, but Poppy sure did. She gasped and covered her mouth. Mom was still silent, but her eyes were wide.

"I don't get it," I said.

"How can you not see it?" Poppy said.

"There are two babies here," Brittany said. "It's twins." 

"I'm what?"

"Take a look at the screen here." Brittany pointed to the two separate blobs on the screen. One looked like a snowman, and the other looked more like a shrimp. "This separation right here shows that they're fraternal." 

Poppy squealed. "I bet it's a boy and a girl!"

"Well, we won't know that for a few months, but you may find out sooner since with twins you'll have more frequent ultrasounds," Brittany said. "Since I see twins here, it is protocol that I let you know about Vanishing Twin Syndrome, which is when a mother loses one twin early on. It's common before twelve weeks of pregnancy."

"How far along is she?" Mom asked.

"She looks to be about eight weeks on the dot," Brittany said. "If I had to guess, I'd say they'd be due sometime around early January or late December, but that's if you carry both twins to term. There's a possibility you could be carrying only one baby on your next ultrasound."

"Wow...I didn't know that was a thing," I said.

Brittany printed a few pictures and, much to my relief, finally pulled out the ultrasound wand, much to my relief. She left the room and I got all my clothes back on, then set up my appointment for next month.

Mom didn't say anything during the car ride home. I stared down at the pictures of my babies. They were the most beautiful shrimp and snowman I'd ever seen. Even though they were only about the size of a quarter, be they boys, girls, or one of each—it didn't matter. I knew right then and there that I loved them with all my heart.

"I know what you're thinking," Mom said. I could see her eyes staring back at me through the rearview mirror. "I see the way you're looking at them. You can't let yourself get attached, Chrys." She reached her hand back. "Hand them to me. You're only going to make this worse for yourself."

My eyes started to well up with tears. "No!"

"Chrys, don't do this. Give me the pictures."

"No! I'm not giving them to you! I'm keeping these pictures and I'm keeping my babies, too!"

She put her hand back on the steering wheel. I looked over at Poppy, who sat in the passenger's seat with her earbuds in. I don't think she even heard what just went on. Mom said nothing else. When we pulled into our driveway, I heard Mom sniffling. I'd only seen her cry one other time in my entire life.

I got out of the car and rubbed my bloated stomach. It hurt really bad that she was upset, but these babies weren't hers. They were mine. I always made things work out. I could make this work out too.

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