The Birth of the Twins, Part 2 of 4

The whole family was very excited to hear our news of expecting twins. This was unusual in both of our families and anticipation was high.

Of course my due date was pushed back to the original so I still had a month or so to go. Based on my size, no one (including myself) thought I could possibly go that long.

The doctor had told me to take it easy and be sure to have a rest break every afternoon off my feet. He said it was important to get as far past 36 weeks as possible so both babies would have fully developed lungs. So I was vigilant in complying because inside I was very fearful. I was so young and inexperienced that I couldn’t imagine both babies being healthy. I was scared to death that I would come home with only one – or none at all.

Family members would call and offer to buy a second crib or second high chair. It was so generous that I cried but I asked them to wait until the babies were born. I didn’t want to come home to two of everything if I didn’t have two babies to put in them.

Time passed and I grew even larger.

When I would lay on the couch for my afternoon break, my belly would shift to the side I was laying on. Then, when I sat up, I would have to gently shift it all back to the middle so I could stand up.

I began to have to stand sideways to do the dishes. I could no longer drive because my arms weren’t long enough to reach the steering wheel around my belly.

It was late May, early June and we were having a heat wave. We didn’t have air conditioning in our small rental house and I was miserable. I packed on 25 pounds in 3 weeks and couldn’t get my shoes on. My mother-in-law, Betty, came and got me to go to the obstetrician. I went in my slippers.

Dr. Clark, who I adored, said if I went much longer he would come to my house to see me. He and Betty were friends and he was a very kind man. Then, when Betty and I left the office she wanted to take me to lunch. I was glad to go since that was a rare treat at the time.

We went to Frisch’s and sat in a booth and talked while we ate. Betty kept reassuring me that everything would be just fine and I really wanted to believe her.

Finally it was time to leave and I started to scoot out of the booth. But after eating, my belly was firmly wedged against the edge of the booth and I couldn’t move. I froze.

Betty saw the look on my face and asked, “what’s wrong?”

I looked at her like a deer in the headlights and said, “I’m stuck.”

“Oh my god, are you sure???” she asked in alarm.

Tears filled my eyes as I wiggled back and forth and couldn’t move an inch.

“Sit still!” demanded Betty. “Don’t hurt those babies!”

I leaned my head back and took a deep breath. I tried to move again but nothing budged.

“I’m going to have them call the Fire Department,” said Betty.

“Oh, no! Please, no!” I wailed. “Please sit down and let’s think about this for a minute.”

Betty did as I asked and we looked at each other for a minute or so. “Betty,” I said. “I can’t have the Fire Department come. This is too embarrassing and I will never live it down.” Tears streamed down my face.

“Well, I’ll tell you right now that you are no bigger than I ever was so you don’t need to be embarrassed one bit,” Betty said. “And we are going to get you out of here.”

At that she stood up and pulled on my side of the table with all her might. And she moved it just enough that I was able to break loose and get out of the booth. Betty immediately stood me up and smoothed down my top and helped me get my balance. She held my arm as I waddled out of Frisch’s in my slippers and dried my eyes. Then she took me home and tucked me in for a rest break. I was exhausted.

(Note: This photo was taken BEFORE I gained that last 25 pounds and got stuck in the booth!)

Starr twins

But Betty never left me in spirit for a minute. She would call several times a day to check on me and show up often to bring food and do dishes and laundry. She was a one-woman rescue machine that took very good care of me.

Finally my due date was here. The doctor told me to call if I even THOUGHT I was in labor because these were definitely full term twins and they could come fast. He even told me to consider the possibility of triplets based on my size. So I spent a lot of my downtime picking out names for all the possibilities and writing them on paper to see how they looked.

My original twin names were…

Girls: Amanda and Miranda (Mandi and Randi) with the addition of Melinda if necessary. (yikes!)

Boys: William and Bradley (Bill and Brad) with the addition of Brian if necessary.

Mixed: first choice of each.

Meanwhile, I understand that it is not uncommon for late stage pregnancy to have vivid dreams. And boy did I have them. One in particular stood out…

I had my babies but they were not babies, they were pencils. 15 of them. After the birth I went to the hospital nursery to see them. They were in long skinny boxes with no names, just colors. There were 10 blue ones and 5 pink ones. I wondered what I would do with them and how I would explain this situation. Then I woke up. Geez!!!

Now the birth was imminent but my in-laws, Bill and Betty were constantly on the watch with us. On a Saturday night they called and wanted to take us out for pizza at one of our favorite places, The Castaways. We jumped at the chance. The only thing was, this place was located at the top of a VERY bumpy hill. Big Bill drove up it slowly but it was still quite jarring to me. He and Betty both laughed and said it was part of their secret plan to get those babies moving.

We enjoyed a very nice dinner even though I had to sit so far back from the table that I couldn’t reach my plate. My husband would put the pizza on the plate and hand it to me while everyone grinned. They weren’t making fun of me at all so it was quite fun.

After dinner we got up to leave and had to wind our way through all the tables to the exit door. At one point I turned around for something and was surprised to see most of the restaurant patrons staring at me in surprise. Many of them had forks frozen in mid-air as they took in the sight of my enormous belly. Betty immediately noticed and put her arm around me. “Let’s get you to the car,” she said. And I took comfort in her support.

Bill and Betty dropped us off at home and it was a wickedly hot night. Bill and I decided to sleep in the living room with the windows open as it was the coolest place in the house. I took the couch and he slept on the floor beside me.

I awoke the next morning, a Sunday, about 7am. Naturally my bladder was about to burst, so I got up and made my way to the bathroom. And all of sudden there was a whoosh of water that wouldn’t stop.

It was Sunday, June 10, 1973 and the arrival of the twins had begun…

peapod

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