The Birth of the Twins, Part 3 of 4

Finally these babies were really on their way. It was excitement, anticipation and fear all rolled into one. twins

So there I am, on the john, with water slowly but steadily leaking, wondering what to do. This was not something I had thought would happen. So I began to holler… “Bill! Bill, wake up!”

He did and came to the bathroom door. I explained the situation and he looked at me in total confusion.

“Bill,” I said, “you need to go back to the market (which was right behind our house across the alley) and get me some pads so I can deal with this water.”

He looked at me in total disbelief and said “NO! I can’t do that!”

“You HAVE to do that and you HAVE to do it right now!” I demanded.

He pulled on his clothes and realized he was trapped into this unpleasant mission. Bill disappeared out the back door while I sat in the bathroom and waited.

It took a while but he finally came back with what I needed.

“What took you so long?” I asked.

“The guy didn’t want to sell them to me,” he replied.

“Why in the world not?” I asked.

“Well, I didn’t exactly take them to the register,” he said. “I just told him the price and that I was going to take something off the shelf and leave. He wanted to know what it was and I couldn’t tell him. But when I explained the situation he let me have them. It just took a while.” I rolled my eyes because that was my Bill.

But at least we could now get ready to leave. I called the doc and he said come straight to the hospital. I also called my mom and Bill and Betty to tell them it was time.

I started having contractions and it was a bit startling. I suddenly knew this was going to be serious and not a whole lot of fun. But I could still be happy in between the pains and Bill and I were like Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball getting ready to go. I had a suitcase packed but it wasn’t latched because I kept changing what I wanted in it. Bill raced into the room and picked it up as it was and when he hit the front door he dropped it and everything flew out onto the front walk.

I glared at him but he was more excited than anything else. He stuffed it all back in the case and locked it shut and aimed the camera at me. I wish I had that photo to post here… it says it all!

We drove across town to the hospital and kept exchanging glances. “We are having our babies today!” we said to each other. And we were both smiling ear to ear because it seemed so unreal. At this point we were still “playing house” and it was like a magical fairy tale. Soon we would have two beautiful babes to live happily ever after with.

Well, that fantasy went down in flames pretty quick!

When we got off the elevator on the maternity floor, my mother was already there. I wondered what she would do all day since there was no family waiting room at that time. But I didn’t have long to worry about it.

I was taken to a labor room, put in a gown and given an enema. Ewwwwww! This was an old hospital without bathrooms in the rooms and no air conditioning (and I already mentioned the heat wave we were having.) So I immediately popped out of that bed and had to run down the hall to the bathroom. Bill helped me hold my gown closed on the way. When I reached the bathroom, one nurse yelled out, “Don’t close the door, you’ll smother in there!”

Bill draped himself across the door while I moaned and let the enema do its work. Contractions would hit and I would moan louder and Bill didn’t know what to do. But he was there and we were together, so it was fine.

After a long time I felt ready to go back to my room. But already, by this point, I could have cared less if that gown was covering me up. Bill tried to hold it shut while I stumbled back to my room.

We had arrived at the hospital about 10am and now it was noon or so. Since the docs had told us that twins come quick – in fact, practically “fall out,” we thought it wouldn’t take very long. We were WRONG.

The day grew hotter, the contractions grew harder and I was more miserable every hour. I had taken Lamaze classes and had naively insisted on a “natural birth” but I was beginning to regret that decision. Betty had cautioned me… “you think you want to hear that baby’s first cry, but you will be hearing them cry for years after that. Take the drugs!” she warned. I should have listened…

More relatives had arrived and they were all sitting outside the elevator since there was no family waiting room. The nurses were getting impatient about it, but Betty was friends with my doctor and he told them to let the family stay. They were a crowd! And they got hungry! My sister-in-law Karen took over and ordered food to be delivered. Twice. They all stayed all day. And one at a time they would come back to see me.

I got less and less thrilled to have visitors. I took my Lamaze training very seriously. It had instructed that I focus on some special spot while doing my breathing during contractions. There was a shiny metal trashcan in the room with a very bright reflection on it and that was my “spot.” So whenever someone came in the room to visit, they would stand between me and that trashcan. I would send dirty looks to my husband to have them move out of the way.

“You’re blocking the trashcan,” he would tell them.

“What?” and he would have to explain. They left the room in a hurry. I continued to stare at that trashcan.

I had a couple shots of Demerol but it was pretty much like taking an aspirin for a gunshot wound. It didn’t make a dent. I told the nurses I changed my mind and wanted something stronger. They advised me that I had waited too long and couldn’t have anything else. Eye yi yi!

Things grew more intense later that night. It had been a long day and I was dying of thirst in the heat. Bill actually got me a glass of water before he found out I wasn’t allowed to have any. But I begged for more. A nurse brought in a wet washcloth and held it to my lips. I clenched my teeth around it and sucked on it like a dog protecting a bone. She tried to pry it lose from my mouth and we had a battle. I think I got a good amount of liquid out of it before she got it away from me. However, I might have won that one, but I didn’t get any more…

We were down to serious business now. The doctor and nurses would come in and check and I would be as cheerful as I could be. “I’m fine,” I would say when they were in the room. But the very instant they left, I would lash out at my husband with curse words I didn’t even know I knew. I cussed him to tarnation and back whenever we were alone.

Finally, the doc came in and Bill said, “do you think you could stay in here for a while? She goes crazy when you leave the room and I don’t know what to do!” Now HE had the deer-in-headlights look and the doc seemed to totally understand.

After that there were always a couple other people in the room with us. I had to be on my “better” behavior. Drats!

It was getting towards midnight and all of the family was still there. They knew it couldn’t be much longer. But my father-in-law, Big Bill had to go to work the next day so he decided to go home. He talked briefly to my husband (his oldest son, Bill) and told him he was leaving. “Call me when those little girls are born,” he said.

Things speeded up at that point. I was wheeled into delivery and the time was finally upon us. I was so past the pain I didn’t care what happened. I just wanted my babies to get here. Baby number one was not face down as normal. The back of the head was “posterior” and had given me back labor for many hours.

In spite of being fully dilated, there wasn’t enough room for this baby to arrive. The doc made a strategic cut – which burned like fire. My immediate thought was “this must be what it is like to be stabbed!”

baby footprintsBut I didn’t have long to dwell on that. My first baby shot into to the world at 12:46 am on June 11, 1973. It was a gorgeous baby boy, 7 pounds, 2 ounces, wailing his little head off. It was one of the happiest moments of my life. They held him up to me just briefly and then put him in an incubator across the room. I looked at him with longing wanting to hold him close, but I still had another baby to deliver.

“Please,” I said, “don’t tell any of the family about him just yet. I want to know what both of my babies are first and then we can share with everyone else.” Everyone in the room nodded in agreement.

Then we waited.

And waited.

It got very quiet and I said, “this sure beats waiting 9 months for having baby number two!”

“Jesus!” said the anesthesiologist behind my head. “I think it IS going to be nine months!”

I was a bit delirious at the time and didn’t know what he was talking about. The fact is, most twins are born within 1-3 minutes of each other. We were going on 20 minutes. But I had no idea this was unusual.

Then everything went black.

Later, I woke up with a nurse applying pressure to my abdomen. “YOUCH!” I cried as I came back to consciousness.

I realized I was alone in the room with a nurse and everyone else was gone.

“What’s happening?” I cried in alarm. She didn’t answer me. But soon I was being wheeled down the hall and my husband, still in his scrubs, was trotting along beside me.

“What was it?” I asked in confusion.

Bill had a huge grin on his face and was completely ignoring me.

“Was the baby alive?” I squealed. That seemed to get his attention.

“Yes!” he cried. “It’s a boy!” And I laid back in total relief. I had two sons. I didn’t know their condition but they had been born alive and that was the first hurdle. I could handle anything that happened after that….

twins pea pod

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