Ultimately, the doctor decided he could put his feelings aside, and convinced Sissy he would make things comfortable. It was a good sign, she thought, when he called to congratulate her upon learning she was pregnant.

At the ultrasound appointment, the doctor breezed into the exam room, dressed in navy scrubs and New Balance running shoes. He introduced himself with a smile and a handshake, then warned them to get ready. With Sissy's hormone levels, there was no telling how many fetuses they might find.

"We'll see what's in here in just a minute," he said, guiding the probe as he watched the monitor. Almost immediately, the screen showed two teardrop-shaped sacs.

"Do you see what I'm seeing?" he asked.

"Two!" they proclaimed in unison.

"I was wondering if it was that obvious," David said.

"It's that obvious," the doctor said. "It's twins."

They could hear a metronomic rhythm, swooshing like windshield wipers. "Two good heartbeats," the doctor said.

"Whew," David said. "I'm a little relieved that there's not a third one."

Until gender could be determined, Chad, David and Sissy labeled the babies Acorn and Butterbean. The doctor took measurements and printed ultrasound images for them to take home. "This looks just fine, normal and healthy," he said. "It's a very good start."

He briefed them on the challenges of a twin pregnancy. "It is a little higher-risk," he said. "Full term is sooner with twins. I'd like to get to 37 or 38 weeks if we can."

He said there would be frequent sonograms and that he would be watching for signs of preterm labor, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and anemia. Given Sissy's track record, he didn't anticipate problems, but you could never tell with twins.

"You could be going along great and the water breaks early or she starts dilating," he said. "It's very unpredictable."

A grandfather talk

Despite their giddiness, Chad and David had hesitated to share the news with their fathers. Both came from divorced families, both had troubled relationships with their dads, and neither had told their fathers they were trying to get Sissy pregnant.

It came as quite a surprise to Billy Hodge, therefore, when his son and daughter called.

"You know," Chad began nervously, "David and I have been trying to get pregnant. And, well, in fact, we are pregnant."

Sissy interjected: "You're not pregnant," she said.

"Right," Chad said, "we're not pregnant. Actually, Sissy's pregnant."

They filled the silence with explanations about egg retrievals and embryo transfers. Eventually, their father asked a few questions. Whose babies would they be, he wanted to know. Whose name would they bear?